Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Women Painting Women: 2014

I'm so pleased to have a painting in the Women Painting Women: 5th Anniversary and International Juried Exhibit at Principle Gallery, Charleston, SC. Opening Sept 5, 2014, 5-8 pm.

Here's a preview of the show.

Matter Deep Publishing has produced a gorgeous catalog available through MagCloud.

Buy it: WPW: Principle Gallery Charleston, SC  2014 Catalog

Gnosis,  21x32, oil on canvas over panel
My model was fellow artist Cindy Procious. And here are a few details:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Grafitti Artist Inspired My Latest Painting

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls and whispered in the sound of silence.
            ~Paul Simon, Sound of Silence, written in February 1964

A Poem in Four Letters, 24x29, oil on canvas over panel
Thank you stranger, for writing, in 1964, those four letters on the NYC 5th Ave subway station wall. Those letters inspired the penning of Simon’s song and circuitously, 50 years later, my painting, A Poem in Four Letters.

Here’s the inspiration timeline:

-In 1964 a wall writer slashes a four letter word on a subway wall in NYC at the 5th Avenue station.
-Simon and Garfunkel have a photo shoot with the poem in evidence in the background for their ‘Wednesday Morning, 3 am’ (1964) album cover.
-In 1966, Paul Simon’s writes and records, with Art Garfunkel, Poem on the Underground Wall.
-I fall in love with the song sometime in the late 1970’s.
-In 2003 my daughter hears the song for the first time and thinks the four letter word poem is love. That moment sticks with me.
-In 2014, I paint Poem in Four Letters about my model’s alter ego, the song and my daughter’s reaction to it. 

A question I enjoy asking people ever since doing my Incognito Project painting series and book about it, is Who is your alter ego?

A friend and favorite model wanted to be portrayed as a graffiti artist. He and I discussed various ideas as to what he should be painting.


I knew that I wanted the message to be something up lifting. After hours spent googling, I realized that there are many visual symbols for hate, but not a singular one that was synonymous with love. That was a sad revelation to me. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fast Lane at Principle Gallery Charleston

Check out and subscribe to Principle Gallery's new YouTube Channels! They'll be adding videos, like this one of Fast Lane in progress, from their other artists and events.



Here are the links for the Alexandria and Charleston locations. One more sampling below, is a time lapse video of Teresa Oaxaca's recent live painting demo. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Paintings Reveal a Geek Artist

I'm so pleased and honored to have work in the June issue of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. It contains an ad for my work that includes three paintings: Day Star, Silver Flower and Near the Tannhauser Gate.

The work is available through Principle Gallery, Alexandria and Charleston locations.
I'm afraid these titles reveal my geek side a bit. The women are painted as allegories for day and night, but that seemed a tad boring as titles so I went looking for something more poetic. Day Star and Silver Flower are Lord of the Rings references to the sun and moon. 

Day Star, 11x14, oil
And a few details:

Super close-ups are a great record of the artist's journey through a painting. I was paying close attention to the color temperature shifts in the skin here. I'd decided that the light is predominately cool and the shadows are mostly warm with a slight cool reflected light on the far side of the face. This thinking helps to solidify a plan of attack when choosing which colors to use and where to use them. 

Click Read more to see other detail shots and painting tips:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Celebrating the Portrait as Fine Art

I'm so pleased to have work showing at Haynes Galleries, in their Thomaston, Maine location. The show includes many artists who's work I admire, respect and drool over. The Celebrating the Portrait as Fine Art  exhibit will be up through July 26, 2014.
Haynes Galleries, Thomaston, Maine
Enlightenment, 24x24, oil on panel, Building a Life Series
Click read more to see details, and an article about the show.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Women Painting Women 2014 Call for Works

Two galleries are hosting Women Painting Women shows this fall.

The first call for work, with a deadline coming up fast later this month is from Principle Gallery-Charleston.

The second is from Richard J Demato Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY. He has a call for work with a swiftly approaching deadline later this month too.

I still believe in this very important mission and am inspired by the work and the artists that have been shown as a result of the group.

So check them out and see if you have appropriate work to submit. Good luck!

You may find more information about the group on any of my posts or on the WPW blog. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Varnish an Oil Painting

I use Gamvar varnish and a Liquitex Freesyle brush, 4 inch.

Prior to Gamvar I do one very thin coat of Galkyd, thinned a bit with OMS. This acts as a first coat of varnish but but is actually a medium and will bond with the paint layers of the painting.

It can still be painted back into if you see something that needs work and allows you to continue to modify the painting. It evens out the sunk in (dull) areas of the surface so that it will take the varnish nicely.

Here's a video I made of the Gamvar varnish application.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Alla Prima

I'm practicing for another Face Off live painting demo. This time at Principle Gallery's Charleston location, April 4, 2014, 5-8pm. I'll be painting alongside Rachel Constantine and Alia El-Bermani from the same model. The event is free and open to the public. Please stop by and see us!

This is a painting I did last week. I thought everyone might enjoy seeing a few shots of the piece in progress. This is an alla prima process which means that it was painted in one sitting. Alla Prima is Italian and literally means "at once." I apologize for the less than adequate iPhone images.

This was after one 20 minute session. I try to get the head the right size, decide the placement of the features and notice the areas of shadow and light. I'm blocking in with burnt umber slightly thinned with my medium mixture of linseed oil/OMS in a 60/40 ratio.
Next I continued working on the umber shapes. I rubbed out the reflected light with a T-Shirt. I blocked in the light areas noticing the peculiarities of the shapes, and varied the color slightly where I saw big changes.
During this session I continued making adjustments to the shadow and light shapes. I brought the hairline down and worked on the shape of the face. Between this step and the final I had one more session that I forgot to shoot :(
Meghan in a Cool Mood, 20x16, oil sketch on canvas board.
All told, it was a 3 hour model session. With breaks, we had five 20 minute sessions of actual time with the model.

Alla Prima Pros:
Alla prima painting is an entirely different style of painting than my studio work. I highly recommend it. I think it's fun, exhilarating and it has made me a better painter. It improves confidence with a brush and decision making, because, let's face it, there's no time to ponder a particular shade of pink! Just get something down that is close and move on.

Time Distortion:
One very strange thing I've noticed about these sessions is that the first 20 minutes seems very long, and with each successive session, time seems to go faster and faster. It's a very strange phenomenon because the feeling is so pronounced. I'm used to getting "in the zone" while I work but it feels different. Maybe it's because the timer's interruption causes artificial breaks rather than times when I'm naturally coming out of the zone, like bathroom or food breaks or some body part or another has gone to sleep.

The time passing faster is a lot like life, isn't it? Time seems to pass faster all the time as we age and it's the same with the life of each of these little sketches.

Other tid bits:
~The canvas is Frederix Belgian Linen Paint Board.
~It was stained with an acrylic wash in burn umber.
~I use almost exclusively Rembrandt oil paints, and Silver & Rosemary brushes.

I invite you to follow me on Tumblr and on InstagramClick Alla Prima to see my other posts on the this fun subject.

Enjoy! See you in Charleston. 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Art Facts That Makes You Go Huh?!!!


Yeah, this happened.

The painting (bottom image) is The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642, Oil on canvas, 142.9"×172.0", located in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The top image is a 17th century copy with indication of the areas cut down in 1715.

According to Wiki:

In 1715, upon its removal from the Kloveniersdoelen to the Amsterdam Town Hall, the painting was trimmed on all four sides. This was done, presumably, to fit the painting between two columns and was an all-too-common practice before the 19th century. This alteration resulted in the loss of two characters on the left side of the painting, the top of the arch, the balustrade, and the edge of the step. This balustrade and step were key visual tools used by Rembrandt to give the painting a forward motion. A 17th-century copy of the painting by Gerrit Lundens at the National Gallery, London shows the original composition.

I discovered this Art Fact That Makes You go Huh?!!! while researching for a previous blog post, Tableau Vivant.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Correct Lighting for an Artist's Studio

We can’t all be lucky enough to have huge, custom built studios, complete with a wall of north light windows. Here's a White Stripes video to explain how we all have fell at some point about needing a bigger, better room!




So what do you do when you you are working in a spare bedroom, (where my old studio was) the basement, a garage, a corner of the kitchen (I've also had one there) or a converted family room? That's where my current studio is and I love it. I've had many different light solutions but this is the best yet for my space.



Things to consider:

Size of the studio:


My ceiling height is 9'7" and the floor space of the area where I paint is 14.5"x20". The corners of the room are a little dark, but there is plenty of light over my easel area. The ceiling are tall enough that I don't get a glare on the painting.

What kind and how many light fixtures do you need:

We replaced the standard family room ceiling fixture with two kitchen fixtures. Each holds 4- 48" florescent lights. We had two switches in the room, one for the light and one for a ceiling fan. We wired one switch to each light so I have the flexibility of having only one light on at a time. This is useful for still life set ups or lighting a model.

Choosing bulbs:

Color Temperature or K-When choosing lights we looked for daylight bulbs, 5000k which is considered horizon daylight. Bulbs below 5000k tend to be too warm, and 5500-6000k is considered vertical daylight and equivalent to electronic flash. Those bulbs are too cool blue for my taste. 

CRI or Color Rendering Index of the bulb- The CRI measures of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Bulbs with a number close to 100 are the best, preferred for use in print businesses and anywhere color accuracy is important. This Philips bulb (F32T8/TL950) is one with the highest CRI of 98 that I found.



Where to get bulbs:

I found them on Amazon. Other place have them cheaper but most sell in bulk of a minimum of 25 bulbs.

I have a few GE Sunshine F32's mixed in which are also 5000k but have a color rendering index of only 86. When those go out I'll probably replace them with the F32T8/TL950 bulbs.

More about CRI:

You can make yourself crazy researching this because much has been written about CRI and color temperature of lighting, but my solution seems to be working really well. 

With my old lighting, pole lights with color corrected bulbs placed at different places throughout the studio, I would have surprises when I looked at the painting in different light. I was constantly moving paintings back and forth between the studio and up to the kitchen which had better, natural lighting, to check the color. I was constantly moving the light around to avoid glare on the paintings. Happily these bulbs corrected that.

Most of this information first appeared in my email Newsletter, that you can sign up for here!

Good luck and happy painting in whatever little room you call your own!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tableau Vivant

Tableau vivant (plural: tableaux vivants) means "living picture". The term is French and describes a group of costumed actors or artist's models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit to replicate a painting or photograph.

Throughout the duration of the display, the people participating do not speak or move. The approach thus marries the art forms of the stage with those of painting or photography.
The Three Fates Tableau Vivant, by Nele, Eva, Kato of Belgium.
Last year I was contacted by Nele, Eva and Kato, 17 year old art students from Belgium.

"First of all we want to say that we really like your work. That's why we've chosen to imitate 'The three fates'. Our teacher of art at school gave us an assignment: turn a painting into a 'living work' ('tableau vivant' we call it). And that's what we did with 'The Three Fates'.

Wow, I was amazed at what a great job they did capturing the essence of the painting and honored that they'd choose my painting. There is poignancy in the fact that my painting, which is of my artist friends; Diane Feissel, Sadie Valerie and Alia El-Bermani, are founders of the Women Painting Women movement, has inspired young women artists on the other side of the world! Thank you Nele, Eva and Kato for sharing your work with me!

The Three Fates, 30x40, oil on panel 

In 2012, I heard from Tami Ross

"I am a film student at SCAD (savannah College of Art and Design) in Savannah, GA.  This quarter I am taking a lighting class and our first project was to take a painting that inspires us and re-create it with a little narrative. I used 'Power Struggle' and wanted to share my short film with you."



Awesome! Her male model even has a cleft chin like Pete. She did a great job creating her own narrative for the painting.
Power Struggle, 30x40, oil on panel
Inspiration for posting this now, is an amazing video of a Night Watch tableau vivant sent to my email inbox this morning.



And here is the painting.

The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq (Dutch: De Nachtwacht),
1642 by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn.
Enjoy!

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