Wednesday, December 3, 2014

White Out


“White…is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.” — G. K. Chesterton 





Perhaps someday I'll pass through this phase of liking really high-key paintings!  Right now, I continue to push the paler shades of white, or is it the "Whiter Shade of Pale?" 
As one will often hear at my workshops, "white isn't really white --  neighboring colors always influence what the viewer sees as white, so avoid using white straight from the tube!" 
That being said, Gamblin has a wonderful discourse on the various properties of white paint - you might want to check this link:  http://www.gamblincolors.com/newsletters/getting-the-white-right.html

Below are a few recent experiments in creating a pale yet strong balance, my ongoing challenge!


Softly Yours, 16 x 8




Intriguing Possibilities, 16 x 20




Quai d'Orsay, 16 x 12





Shimmery, 30 x 30



Morning Sun, 16 x 12





Annie in White, 22 x 15




Well, and it IS the Christmas season, so a white package is in order, non?  So much appreciation and love for the supportive and positive friends I've made this year in the painting community! 

Rock It! 6 x 6







p.s. below is a wall I saw yesterday at Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta, combining a lively abstract and a couple of my "whites" over the fireplace...the "Huffingtons" can surely hang artwork in a cool way!!






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Small Works Time, Etc!

Below are some recent small pieces, done as demos, or for fun, or for Small Works Season, now upon us!  I enjoy doing small studies, yet find even the simplest subjects are often challenging, and also great exercises in refining, paring down, adding and subtracting, all of it!  


30 Minute Class Demo, Nashville Workshop
16 x 8


30 Minute Class Demo, Atlanta Workshop
16 x 8


Little One, 22 x 16


Popsicle, 14 x 11


Subtle Patterns, 9 x 12



Simplicity, 12 x 9


So Many Thanks, 16 x 12


Windowsill, 8 x 16


Provencal Village, 14 x 11


Dianne's Roses, 12 x 12


SO glad to be home, with some painting time, family time, and cool weather.  The quest to become a better painter informs each day in so many ways... and I'm ever appreciative of the people who join me on this amazing path!



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Comings and Goings

September was a wonderful month, with of course, the magical painting trip to Provence, at the lovely French country home of Ann Huff, called Les Murets. 

So many thanks to all at Huff Harrington who coordinated our over the top experience!  
Seven painters accompanied me this year; we spent a week creating, talking, shopping, having un peu de rose, all of it... just a terrific group!
  

Below are a few snippets of the comings and goings....

Well, this is the perfect phrase, non?  
(Photo taken in the village of Cassis, on the Mediterranean)




Quick Study of Gordes, 9 x 12





Toutes les Femmes, with Gordes in view



Below are samples of the lovely studies done by this year's
Provencal Painters......


Isle sur la Sorgue, by Carol Cotten Smith




Confit Pot and Roses, by Julie Harris



Cassis Harbor, by Dianne Williams





Cliffside Beach, Cassis, by Dianne Harrison





Les Figues, by Helen Farson




Fenetre de Provence, by Laine Francis





Snippet of her watercolor Travel Sketchbook, along 
with her oil sketch
of Confit Pot and Roses, 
by Faye Phillips






Au Revoir, Provence !



Then upon my return, I had the great pleasure of traveling to Jeanie Smith's Studio in Nashville, TN, to teach a 2-day Painting Studies of Children Workshop..... Another great and very talented group, who taught me a lot!!  (check out www.carolcarmichaelpaints.com to see her delightful paintings and posts from this workshop)
  


Below are a few studies that I did before or right after the workshop... I'm at Atlanta Artists Center this weekend with the same format, and am so looking forward to that one too.


Soccer Girl! 16 x 10




Fancy Dress, 16 x 8





 And finally, a couple of small Parisian studies done after my return from France, inspired once more!


Busy Corner, Paris, 12 x 12




Shimmering Skies, Paris, 12 x 12



Truly, La Vie Est Belle...









Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Background Check

You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. (Richard Branson)



Unnamed (and unframed) Painting, 48 x 48, which is hanging in my newly renovated bedroom
(the local color of the flowers was "white," which I translated to greys and purples so they would show up).


Of late, like for the past three years (!), I have been favoring light backgrounds in my floral and still life paintings, and for that matter, figurative paintings as well.  Perhaps because I came out of a watercolor tradition, or because I like that look, or because my paintings seem to call for light and atmosphere...not totally sure, but when I am painting, light is what I am wanting!  The painting above, currently in my bedroom, was painted over a dry background previously applied...I painted the canvas with the wall paint used in the room (Benjamin Moore Sail Cloth :-)...just an experiment, but I kind of liked it.  By nature, however, that treatment is very flat, without paint dimension.

Looking for more texture in this recent piece, I used the spatula pictured below the painting to place chunks of pale paint in shifting temperatures.  Since the subject matter is strong and simple, I wanted the background to have visual interest, yet play a supporting role.

Infinite Possibilities, 36 x 36




Silicone spatula from Bed, Bath and Beyond



And, in another background variation, the piece below features white roses; of course, a white background wouldn't cut it.  Here I mixed some lively, yet subtle, color and washed it on the canvas with lots of solvent right after I had placed basic flower shapes with vine charcoal.  I left bare canvas peeking through, creating a light-shot effect (yet another experiment)!


Sunshine and Roses, 30 x 30


Backgrounds serve to support the central idea, but sometimes it is fun to push it a bit and see what happens; to me, traditional subject matter can be enlivened with an "abstract-ish" supporting backdrop.  AND, change is easy to effect if background overpowers the central idea -- another reason I love painting in oil!


“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” ~Picasso



Thursday, July 31, 2014

It Would be Natural



Abundance, 14 x 20

...to say I am a "floral" painter, or a "still life" painter, but I still like to think of myself as a "painter," period!
With that in mind, I recently booked one of my favorite Atlanta models, Annie Jefferson, to sit for one morning at my last two Alla Prima (supposedly still life) workshops.  This shift in expected subject matter turned out to be a success!  Without my forcing the participants to paint from the figure, all of them chose to do so for the morning session.
After all, we are translating light and form to the canvas, and it is almost irrelevant what the what of it is!  What IS important, at least to me, is the "buzz" I get from what I am seeing.
It's that response, when I am able to catch a bit of it in paint, that makes a painting more than the sum of its parts.

Annie at Atlanta Artists Center Workshop, June, 2014


Annie at the Art Loft, Workshop in Dahlonega, GA, June, 2014



Annie at Dianne's studio in Roswell, GA, for a private painting day, last year


La Parisienne, 24 x 20
  
(Thank you, Annie, for inspiring me and so many others)!

I feel that my subjects choose me rather than my choosing them... it's like a seed planted in my mind that develops gradually until the painting takes form. (David Band)








Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dream Your Paintings



"I dream my paintings, and then I paint my dream,"
Vincent Van Gogh



"Andy," 12 x 12,
Thirty-Minute Workshop Demo,
Atlanta Artists Center, May, 2014


Recent Study,   "Her Own Magic," 16 x 16


Below is an excerpt from my handout for the workshop I will be teaching June 13th and 14th at Atlanta Artists' Center.  I am honored to be able to share these times with fellow painters!

Paint is the language we are using to communicate. We are the lucky ones.  Not many people have this ability, this fine journey, this camaraderie, this evolution of seeing… PAINTERS DO…. We get to spend our time in this absorbing quest, while trying to slow the clock from its swift passage. 
Remember, we are ever-evolving; that’s what keeps us intrigued and staying with it; life is ever-changing.  We never get it done; we just ride the wave and enjoy the ride -- reaching new stages, then jumping beyond.  AND, every now and then, a painting magically paints itself; practice in drawing and in direct painting can make those magic moments more likely to happen.

Two spaces have opened for this workshop; if you can attend at the last minute, contact Zindi at Atlanta Artists Center (404) 237-2324.





Monday, June 2, 2014

Synergy

You Honor Me, 30 x 30 
A tribute to my art friends and fellow painters

Yes, synergy!  I have been enjoying conversations and critiques with some very talented painting friends in the Atlanta area, and am finding the sharing helps us each to be more.
Synergy is so much more rewarding than split energy -- i.e. doubting oneself, over-analyzing one's own work, trying to produce rather than to create.   
My workshops are great for synergy too -- we all lift each other, joining forces to get excited again, finding the freedom in the stream of positive sharing.

So, get with a few (serious, dedicated) painters who like to have fun, and watch what happens!

Very simple set up


 Bonjour, 36 x 36, first (kinda boring) finish


Bonjour (same painting, perked up), 36 x 36
I gave it some new life, thanks to synergy and great art discussions!


It comes back to dancing that line between joy and skill -- we want to stay fresh and engaged through our connections to others; the FUN is what it's about.

  
A designed beauty of synergy is that is serves only to add, never subtract." 
 Barb Rentenbach