Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gesture and Feeling

"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence,"

Henri Matisse

She Shimmers, 16 x 12 
(from a photo of a workshop 
student's granddaughter, which she kindly shared)

While preparing to teach a workshop later this week on painting children/the figure from photographs, I have been printing my handouts, and actually reading my own words on the importance of drawing practice to hone the eye.  It is essential to catch the correct angles, relationships, all of it -- in order to express the gesture and feeling of the subject. When those key elements are off, the painting does not resonate!

Pictured below are a few studies of late, where the truth of the pose is expressed to varying degrees; it is evident that I need to practice what I preach with more regularity!!  Also, I've included several very nice studies done by participants in my September figure workshop in Macon, all of which are quick timed exercises, resulting in very strong and true expressions of gesture and feeling.

My Moment, 12 x 9

Butterflies, 24 x 20

Soccer Girl, 16 x 8
Macon workshop demo 
( I have many photos of this
little girl, and I LOVE her vibe)

Fast Walker, 14 x 11
20 minute Macon workshop demo, 
done with chip brush from hardware store,
(one of our "warm up" tools)!

Here are a few studies done in Macon last month.  AND, I missed getting photos of many other terrific ones
 (all done in 90 minutes or less)....

Carol Costello

 Maureen Persons

Debbie Schuchmann

Debbie Schuchmann

Incidentally, today I learned that there are 2 - 3 spots in my workshop at Atlanta Artists Center this coming Friday and Saturday on painting children/the figure from photos...so 
call Zindi at AAC (404) 237-2324, if you would like to join us!  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fields of Gold

"You can tell the sun in his jealous sky,
when we walked in fields of gold,"
from a song by Eva Cassidy

Last week, we were visiting Aspen, Colorado, and it is impossible to describe, or to even capture in a photo, the shimmering gold light shooting forth from the aspen trees and the flowers all around. What a magical and inspiring time to visit!   Eva Cassidy's song was playing on my iPhone and in my mind...

Oh to be able to create that magic on canvas... I am hoping to 
carry this inspiration forward!

It's the dark values that make these yellows sing
(Flowers near the Aspen Institute)

AND.. the complementary colors of the sky pop the yellow as well 

Softer, but so strong - love the pattern here
(Rio Grande Trail, on the Roaring Fork)

I shall carry these golden Aspen inspirations in my mind, as I go for bolder color in my work.

The pieces below are still in my high-key vibe, but I am feeling a change in the wind :-

  I have included them because they are at least inspired by golden light...

Beautiful Music, 24 x 30

Rainy Day Roses, 30 x 30

Sunshine of My Life, 40 x 30

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Further Swimming -- Let it Go!

"Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.. if you love what you are doing, you will be successful."    -  Albert Schweitzer

I think sometimes I try too hard to figure out what the expectations of me and my paintings are, rather than painting what I feel.  Lately, it's been refreshing to let that go!

I like the photo below of my palette mixtures -- which would make a cool abstract painting -- better in many ways than lots of my "real" paintings.  I have, however, turned a corner of sorts for me --  letting spots of paint fly and enjoying the process.    Knowing the basics is necessary, but fun experimentation is giving me a new lease on life -- woohoo!  

Photo of my palette mixtures

Welcome Home, Charleston, 12 x 12

Class Demo,  
from recent Opelika Workshop, 
White Roses, 14 x 11

Knock First, Charleston, 16 x 12

 Sunny Morning, Charleston, 12 x 9

April Sunshapes, Charleston, 14 x 11

 Block-In (which I like better) of painting below 

Au Nom de la Rose, 30 x 24

Memories of Provence, 48 x 36

Sunporch Bouquet, 18 x 18

Tutu and Boots, 16 x 12
 Class Demo, 
recent Opelika Workshop


"You were never in control anyway," 

Steve Maraboli,
Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Swimming Along

“Swimming is simply moving meditation.” 

Sestri Levante Morning, 9 x 14

Ooh, the heat of summer, which I have learned to appreciate, is upon us here in Atlanta...
the sun is shining brightly and I swim whenever I can in the mornings  -- as it's so very nice to float along and stay loose.  
Of course, staying loose is easier said than done, both in life and in painting!

The Italian painting trip was truly a special time -- a joining of like minds, in very many ways.  Along the sparkling Ligurian coast, it's easy to be enchanted, by the views, the lovely food, and the chance to paint small slices of the shimmering color and beauty!  The paintings here were plein air sketches or petite demos.

Morning Colors, 12 x 9, Oil Sketch

Colors of Liguria, 12 x 12

Time Apart , 12 x 9, Oil Sketch

Memories of a Special Time with Special People:

Molte Grazie!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sparks of Light

Wander a whole summer if you can. Thousands of God's blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted.   (John Muir)

You are the Sunshine of My Life, detail of 40 x 30 painting

Sun Hat, 16 x 8

I saw her at the pool on Sunday and had to do this quick study
(after a surreptitious photo)!

Summer is here...the light is incredible...AND, as we leave tomorrow for an Italian painting experience with many good friends,  
I am so appreciative of it all, and the surprises to come.  
A re-boot is in order, and here it is just in time! 

This art life just gets better and better....

Summer Table, 40 x 40

Yellow Peonies, 12 x 9

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dreaming Along

"Listen to the color of your dreams,"
The Beatles 
(Tomorrow Never Knows)

Lots of travel the past month -- so much fun and re-charging too!  With extra time to think outside the studio, I have been transforming my goals as a painter as well.  Why  not?  I am painting for ME now, feeling my way into the subject, no longer worrying about the subject itself.  The subject is the starting point -- for my dreaming and fun while at the easel. 

Most importantly, I am learning to paint what I like and hope that others will like it too ...instead of trying to anticipate what the unknown "others" might want!
It is truly exciting to be able to refine and re-imagine this painting dream -- that what keeps it interesting, non?

Below are some recent paintings:

Points of Light, 12 x 9
Small study from a photo

Brand New Day, 12 x 12
Painting below is based upon this small one, done from a life set-up.

Rose Colored Glasses, 40 x 40

Set Up Photo for painting below-

Surprising Liaisons, 24 x 24

 Tender Mercies, 12 x 12
Study from life set-up, and inspiration for large piece below.

Sometimes When We Touch, 48 x 36

This is an exciting week here in Atlanta -- lots of very prominent national plein air painters are coming in for the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational April 22nd - 26th; then the next week the Portrait Society of America annual conference will be taking place here as well.  I plan to be inspired by it all and to have some fun too!!