Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple Shapes

In Motion, 12 x 12

I'm getting ready for my Summer workshop on painting children, which is happening next Sunday, June 17th....So I have been doing a few studies to get warmed up, focusing on the simple shape and attitude of the subjects.  

I use photos I have taken in the past few years, mostly of Sarah and Eli, my sweet grandchildren, as the basis for many of the children-themed paintings.  Usually, the photo serves as a reference for what I wish to convey.

Below, however, is a painting I did last year, where I was a bit literal -- the second painting is the revision done recently, eliminating unnecessary detail.  

Photo Reference

Here is the first one:  I put a pillow and the arm of the chair to fill in that space where I couldn't see the figures... i.e. "too loyal" to the source material.

Next photo is a recent revision of the same painting, eliminating the horizontal forms at the bottom; instead, I just suggested form with loose strokes, and I like it better.

Read to Me, 12 x 16

Painting colors are the same, more like the bottom photo, but different cameras and different light produce WAY different results, despite my editing efforts!  Anyway, to me, the bottom take on the subject has better flow.

This Sunday's workshop, "Painting Children from Photos," is being held at Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta.  It is one day, from 9 until 4, and because it turned out to be on Father's Day, I have a few spaces that opened up.  If anyone is interested at the last minute, contact Sarah at Huff Harrington, 404-257-0511.   Also, I have scheduled another one-day workshop on painting children on July 22, 2012.  There are a couple of spaces left in that one as well, so call Sarah at HH if you are interested!


  1. I love these! thanks so much for showing the source photo and explaining the process of adding the pillow and then eliminating it. I learned a lot from this post!

  2. Wonderful paintings. I wish I was close enough to attend your workshop. I'm sure it will be great!
    Stay inspired!

  3. Trois magnifiques peintures... Vous avez merveilleusement bien capturé la douceur, la délicatesse et la naturelle expression des enfants.
    J'aime beaucoup la dernière peinture. Merci de nous montrer la photo de référence.
    La toute première peinture aussi me plaît beaucoup. Je suis heureuse de pouvoir prochainement admirer vos prochaines nouvelles oeuvres.
    Gros bisous

  4. These are wonderful, Nancy! Thanks for talking through some of your thinking on the process! Maybe one day, I will try to get away for your workshop on painting children. I have two friends from Nashville who are signed up for your October workshop. I told them that they were in for a "breath of spring" to their painting. I know they will love the workshop. You are such an inspiration!

  5. So glad I read your blog this morning because I just got one of the available spots for this Sunday. Very excited!

  6. Such sweet paintings! Wish I could take a workshop from you ..... hope to someday!

  7. Both paintings are lovely. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about your process.

  8. These kids are adorable and your paintings do a great job capturing their innocence!

  9. Your paintings look wonderful. I do enjoy seeing the less is more concept working with the second painting. Very nice. Have a great workshop.

  10. Always love your children's paintings- they are just so beautifully done with strong shapes and wonderful colors. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the different paintings and the changes you made-love them both! I see Carol Carmichael is lucky enough to get in your workshop-you will love her and she you- what fun!!!