Monday, April 11, 2016

Paint Diet

Dance Music, 40 x 30 - warm and cool color

I have found that it is vexing to many workshop participants to limit their colors - whether to six pigments, a warm and cool of each primary, or even worse to some,  MY everyday palette:
Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Red Medium, and Ultramarine Blue, plus white.    

Yet, using a limited palette:

1.   Simplifies one's life, especially when traveling.
2.   Automatically creates color harmony, since all colors are derived from the basic three.
3.   Aids in understanding the Warm/Cool dynamic.
4.   And best of all, we can create some very subtle and sophisticated colors!

Any limited palette DOES, however, mean lots of time mixing...but it means less time buying and squeezing out paint too.  Also, my personal tendency is to throw anything on my palette into the pile, which is a likely path to mud. 

To me, the pros are worth the tradeoffs, but each of us has to utimately find her own sweet spot.  
After my workshop two weeks ago, however, I rediscovered true appreciation of the Paint Diet, as its benefits unfolded before my eyes in the wonderful work each participant created (wish I had more images to share).

Below are some of my recent pieces, along with two by Kathleen Smithson, who has come to
embrace the potential of "limits," (offering Unlimited Potential).

 Beach Girl, 18 x 14 - mostly warm color

 Remembering Alaska, 36 x 36 - cool and muted color

Pattern Dance, 30 x 30,  strong and subtle, high-contrast color

Below are two paintings by workshop friend, Kathleen Smithson, who told me she has been on the  PAINT DIET for a year!  Look at the colors she achieves... 
(and again, I regret only having two out of SO many nice paintings done at my last workshop hosted by Jeanne Matey at Soulful Art Studio in Cumming, GA).

 Smithson, Spring Ideas,  45-minute workshop study

 Smithson, Light on Roses,  60-minute workshop study

 Here are two more recent studies by me, both high-key and happily created 
with lots of Lukas 1862 white, plus red, blue and yellow!  Woohoo...

Warm Up, 9 x 12

Pink Coat, 18 x 14

So, why not?  Slim Down and Have some Fun - try the 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Time Flies

Last Saturday was the 10th Anniversary Celebration at Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta.  I have been lucky enough to be represented by them for the entire 10 years.  When Ann (Huff) and Meg (Harrington) joined forces, they decided to open their venture in a nifty small house, "Your Home for Art." 

Huff Harrington Fine Art
Rickenbacker Drive, Atlanta

Cozy and bright inside

It is not on a main thoroughfare (though just off one), nor located on a "gallery row," nor in a shopping area where walk-ins might happen.  No problem!  They gathered a group of artists, held spunky openings, with titles like "Splash," "Luminosity," and "Bastille Day." They got to know designers, advertised in magazines, held book signings in the gallery, and made it all work in a most splendid way!  Then, five years later they opened Huff Harrington Home, an emporium of good taste in furniture, all things French, cool jewels, and lots of art, bien sur!!  The amazing group of positive people that Ann and Meg have gathered sell loads of paintings and help collectors see the HH-inspired vision of artwork in their homes.  (My special thanks to Linda, Mac and Sam for all you do).
Last Saturday, there were painting demos during the day -- with Millie Gosch, Melissa Payne Baker and me at the easel, followed by a lovely party that night!  All enjoyed yummy wines, food, champagne and lively music by a group featuring the talented Pascal Bouterin, who not only is a long-term Huff Harrington painter, but a top jazz musician.

Below are a few photos of the goings-on!

Here I am painting in the gallery with Sarah, my sweet granddaughter, as model

Oil Sketch of Sarah, 18 x 14

My second demo done that afternoon

Festivities began in earnest at 6:00 p.m.!

Ann Huff and friend at the party

Pascal Bouterin on the drums, in front of cool paintings
by Lorraine Christie and Trip Park

My friend and fellow artist, Helen Farson, who came
from Greensboro, NC for the party.  She also
went to Provence on a painting trip with me in 2014.

A Provence-inspired painting by Helen Farson

Speaking of Provence, Huff Harrington sponsors painting trips to Les Murets, a lovely and charming getaway not far from Gordes.  I have been one of the painters leading these trips since 2011, and what a special experience it is.  Yesterday, I learned that two spaces have opened for the June, 2016, trip led by Bethanne Cople, who has been a gallery artist since the opening of HH as well.  If you are interested, give Linda a call at 404-257-0511, and check out The Artful Lifestyle blog on last year's art trip with Bethanne here -

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right," Henry Ford

Ann and Meg thought they could and they DID -- create one of the best galleries in Atlanta, that is --  Bonne Anniversaire!  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Let Go of Resistance

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused 
by our standing in our own sunshine," 
Henry Ward Beecher

That quote is so true -- as I emphasize at my workshops, relax!  Quit judging your work so harshly. 
Take time to appreciate the day, the cool air, the birds, the camaraderie of other painters and happy friends. 
Now it's time to paint. 
Breathe, appreciate, enjoy the process; fret not about the result.  Free yourself from worry - and let it FLY!

In January, I did a blog post at the request of Kelley Sanford on this very topic, where I discussed a few ideas for getting in the zone. 
(check it out at

"It is hard work and great art to make life not so serious,"  

John Irving

"Sunshine and Hope," 24 x 20,
Donation for Winship Cancer Center Benefit Luncheon,
March 1st

"Opening Night," 20 x 16,
Quinlan Gala and Auction, 
March 5th

"Possibilities," 30 x 24, 
part of Huff Harrington 10th Anniversary Celebration & Show,
February 27th

"Appreciation," 36 x 24, 
part of Huff Harrington 10th Anniversary Celebration & Show,
February 27th

"We Make Beautiful Music," 20 x 16, 
part of Huff Harrington 10th Anniversary Celebration & Show,
February 27th

And finally something fun, my paintings in the window
at Reinert Fine Art, Charleston, 
January 26th

So far in 2016, 
the primary focus has been on taking my own advice!  
Relax,  Stay in the moment,  
Release (self-imposed) pressure, Get back to the joy.

The joy truly IS in the process, not the result.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Times

Merry, Merry Christmas!

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers,"

~ Claude Monet

"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; 

I do and I understand,"  

~ Chinese Proverb

“To me, beauty appears when one feels deeply,”

~ Dorothea Lange

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 
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