Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Small Works Time ...

Reflections, 8 x 6

It's a Wrap, 6 x 6

Christmas is coming, and people like to purchase smaller works at affordable prices as gifts for themselves or others.  I truly enjoy the small format -- I can try things without investment, finish them quickly, save or paint over,  and move on.  The daily painters figured this out long ago... do daily 6 x 6 paintings from life -- which are fresh, painterly and which, without a doubt, improve one's skills dramatically.  I try to do a small "warm up" painting before starting a larger piece, and when I actually DO this, the day is a good painting day.... I like framing these small pieces in small floaters, so that the entire painted surface is visible.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Buon Giorno

Buon Giorno, 12 x 9

Well, we are back from our latest sojourn to Alaska to see the kids -- what a great time we had, despite the gloom, clouds and rain that settled over Sitka for 6 of the 7 days we were there.  We were missing the Tuscan sun, for sure, and are glad to be back for some good old Georgia sun at home.  

The painting above and the other studies from the Italy trip were done with Golden Open Acrylics.  The painting group and I decided to use these for travel, to avoid the solvent search and to speed drying time.  For the most part, we liked them.  The paints stayed workable enough for a 2-hour session, although they were a bit runny out of the tube.  I will probably use them next year for the painting trip to Provence  (for details on the great itinerary, check out, since I like the advantages in the field.  Also, I used just my basic four colors --  in the Goldens, they were Ultramarine Blue, Cad Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Primrose, and Titanium White.  I picked up a convenience color that we all enjoyed -- light ultramarine blue, which was a periwinkle-ish hue, and made a great violet purple.

Below is a harbor shot, so typical of Sitka... I took lots of photos of this type when we had any light at all, so I could interpret in paint some of the grey skies and wonderful reflections.  Inspiring me are the subtle, amazing Richard Schmid paintings of southeast Alaska in his book, "Alla Prima."

Monday, October 4, 2010

More Toscana!

Tuscan Morning, 12 x 12

A few more trip notes...the weather was sunny and perfect most days, and we painted in Cortona and also in Chianti, on the grounds of a castle overlooking amazing vistas.  We also had a cooking class at the Villa, and ate the most delicious tiny artichokes, porcini crostini, saffron-laced fresh pasta, roasted veal, and little raisin and vin santo biscotti for dessert.  We ate on the terrace, under umbrellas, and felt pretty lucky that day!  Afterwards, we actually painted, telling ourselves that the wine was freeing our brushstrokes...

As Jean Dortch said, "It is good to wear a hairnet when pouring wine!"

A couple of paintings follow, first two by Nancy Armstrong, and last two by Wendy Jackson (she used Arches Rough paper for a lot of gave a nice, sparkly effect).  All of our work was done with Golden Open Acrylics.

Nancy Armstrong, Views at the Villa di Piazzano

Wendy Jackson, Vistas, Villa di Piazzano

So far, that's all I have received, but am looking forward to getting more paintings.  I enjoyed using a transparent orange toning on most of my work there.  I mistakenly used a board toned that way today at a session with some other painters, when we had a model (a ballerina) -- whoa -- what a mess, and so difficult to judge values and color relationships.  Won't do that again!  It is very nice, however, to be using oils oncemore. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fabulous Trip to Tuscany

Cortona Vista, 12 x 9

This is one of many studies I started during our amazing trip to Tuscany 2 weeks ago.  My fellow painters were a congenial and delightful group - we just had so much fun!  Below is a shot of Kathy Bowman and Georgia McAuley setting up their easels at this spot on our last, rather overcast day.

Here is a shot of the whole group - our first night at the Villa di Piazzano, in the bar, of course, before dinner!

Left to right, back row:  Vickie Stallings, Georgia McAuley, Kathy Bowman, Nancy Armstrong
Then, in front: Me, Wendy Jackson, and Jean Dortch -- all good painters and great traveling friends.

Below are a few shots of the girls painting at the Villa, and some of their work.  I have so far only received images from 2 people, but you'll see a shot of their paintings on the grass from the first day.

Wendy Jackson, a study in Focus!

Georgia McAuley, modeling her black scrubs!

First morning's efforts - is that Tuscany or what?

Nancy Armstrong, love the hat!

Jean Dortch, the style setter, looking so arty with her EasyL Box!

Vicki Stallings, our shopping leader: "Don't Leave Me!"

Kathy Bowman, the Chef and Foodie!

We are off to Alaska to see the kids on Thursday, but I shall post again prior to departure, with some new work and some thoughts, and of course, some Italian paintings by the girls.  Buona notte...