Monday, September 6, 2010

"Wild Wild West Hollywood"!!!

"Turquoise and Orange", 8x10 inches, oil on linen

Upcoming Show:

I'd like to invite all of you in the area to an upcoming event I'll be showing my work at billed as "Wild Wild West Hollywood Art Show and Celebrity Auction"

This is a charity event to benefit the "Gerry Forbes CJAY 92 Kids Foundation". The evening will include special guest appearances by local professional athletes, film and tv stars including Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle of CBC's "Heartland", Chris Potter of "The Young and the Restless" and "Kung Fu The Legend Continues", to name just a few. My good friend, wildlife artist Glenn Olson , will be the Featured Artist.

The evening's festivities also include a live auction, as well as a silent auction, with mayoralty candidate Craig Burrows as the celebrity auctioneer.

My painting, "Turquoise and Orange" (above), framed, 8x10 inches, oil on linen, retail $850, will be part of the auction with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Kids Foundation.

In addition, I will be showing a number of paintings which will be for sale with a percentage of the sale going to the foundation.

"Wild Wild West Hollywood Art Exhibit and Celebrity Gala"
September 18th, 2010 - 3:30 pm
Belgo Brasserie
501 - 8th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, AB
Tickets: $25

I would love to see you there!

Other news....

The Canadian Institute of Portrait Painters   has honoured me by asking me to be a juror for their "Open National Exhibition". The show is being held at Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, September 21 - October 15th, 2010. I'm really delighted to have this opportunity to be part of this exceptional show

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Model Break", oil on linen, 10x14
I'm happy to announce that my painting, "Model Break", was selected as part of the FAV15% (jury's favorite 15% of the entries) in the July 2010 FineArtViews Painting competition.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Petite Ochre Pot", Demo - Completed Painting

Completed Painting: "Petite Ochre Pot", oil on panel, 7x6

And, here is the completed painting. I have just continued to lay on pieces of paint with my larger bristle brush.....more paint, more refining, as I bring the background color in to create the beautiful shadows in the pot's form. In addition, to create space around the pot, I've lightened (made cooler) the surrounding area. You will notice the brushstrokes becoming more impasto in the completed piece, also. I've tried to leave them just as they are. To me, the brushstroke is incredibly beautiful. That's what painting is all about.

To see Steps #1 and #2 of this demonstration, please see below.

"Petite Ochre Pot" - Demo - Step #2

"Petite Ochre Pot", 7x6 inches

Step 2: I've let the underpainting dry overnight....blocking in the first step (see below) takes about 15 minutes but if I can, I like to work on a dry surface for this stage. Still using the largest bristle brush I can handle on such a diminutive panel, I begin to really have fun...applying paint! Again, I try not to concentrate on drawing, just enjoy the process of laying on pieces of paint. And of course, color.....the intial stage has captured the concept I have in mind...where the light hits the objects and where the shadow creates the space my little pot nestles into. I push and pull my values, in the darker areas keeping the paint thinner, while in the area of light and color, I've concentrated on color as well as paint quality. I love to see the brushstrokes and I try very hard to just lay in a piece of paint and not disturb it too much. At this stage it's inevitable because the little pot is being sculpted with paint. With brushstrokes, I bring the paint tube into focus, as well. Not too much going on with the berry branch as this point, but I have made a start on it....

"Petite Ochre Pot" - Demo - Step #1

Step #1 - "Petite Ochre Pot"

For my larger pieces I use oil primed linen but for many of the very small daily paintings, I prepare panels. In this case, I began by first gessoing a panel of hardboard with two coats of acrylic gesso. The gesso was applied with a large flat bristle brush in random strokes - you can see the brushstrokes in evidence. Once this was dry, I toned the panel using a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine blue with turps to make a greyed tone, rubbing off the excess with paper towelling and then letting it dry overnight. I set up the still-life in my studio under natural north light. Always, a concept forms firmly in my mind and at this time I begin to place the objects into the space using a large bristle filbert brush. I used a mixture of ultramarine and phthalo blues and burnt umber for this and concentrate on massing in the light and shadow, not on drawing.....this step takes just a few minutes to do, especially for such a tiny painting. When I can, I like to let this stage dry before I being to apply color. In this example, I let the paint dry overnight....

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Best Friends", 10x8 - Demonstration

"Best Friends", 8x10 oil on linen
Completed painting

Recently I realized that it would be a lot more efficient to be posting to one blog rather than both the blogs that I presently have in progress.  If you've visited my 'demonstration' blog lately you'll see that it's been very sadly neglected.  I've also decided it would be fun to re-post the demos here before I totally dismantle it, beginning with 'Best Friends'. 

Step 1: I try to approach each painting with a fresh approach in mind and not by formula. So, in this little painting (10x8), I've begun on a white oil primed linen surface, rather than a toned one, which I've stretched myself onto stretcher bars. With a large bristle brush, using my medium of choice, maroger, I block in the lights and darks of my concept not being concerned about drawing at this point, just placing my figures in their space on my canvas. This is done quickly. It's difficult to get coverage on a slippery oil primed surface, but I like this....I keep the darks airy and don't worry about the brushstrokes showing. All of this creates possibilities from which to work with. I let this stage dry overnight and can hardly wait to begin laying in pieces of paint tomorrow!


Step 2: As you can see, I have refined my dark areas. As I mentioned in step 1, it's tough to get coverage on a slippery surface such as oil primed linen, so today I concentrate on creating those dark areas. With a little dry paint now on the canvas, it's easier to work. Also, I begin to lay in color using a larger brush, without worrying about drawing. My aim at this point is to stay with my original concept for this painting. I want to set these little girls into a circle of focus. Everything else in the painting is secondary. This is a lot of stuff in a tiny painting and so my goal is to try to minimize detail in the outer areas of the girls' figures and in so doing, hopefully make this confined space that the girls are in, appear as if it is in a very large space. Does that makes sense? Their faces remain in shadow....this is fun to paint....the mere gesture of these little girls tells the complete story. I am aiming for simplicity and hope to achieve that in the design of light and shadow that I've created. Keeping the distant landscape simple, I use it to add some color and direct the eye to the heads.

                                                                           STEP #3
Step 3: Continuing to lay in pieces of paint, color as well as non-color, created by bringing the background color into the figures, creating their forms. Their faces are simply pieces of paint created with single, unaltered brushstrokes. I try to lay in the lights in an impasto fashion and not disturb the paint quality. I'm constantly pushing and pulling values...either making areas darker (keeping them thin) or areas brighter or lighter (impasto). This is so much fun!

Step 4: And the whole process continues. I endeavor to not lose sight of my original design and concept. Pushing the lights and de-emphasizing the areas that are unimportant, the area surrounding the girls. The landscape in the background is brightened and the paint quality thicker as I use this area to complete my original concept and design.

                                                        STEP #5 - Completed Painting

Completed Painting: "Best Friends", oil on linen, 10x8 A little more refining, brightening whites, more color, adjusting the background and the little painting is done. 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Model Break", 10x14, oil on linen

"Model Break", 10x14, oil on linen

Painting from life is especially satisfying, particularly painting the figure . Painting the figure has been my passion since I was a little girl ... I've just never been able to as often as I'd like.

It's been wonderful to have Natasha sit for me the past weeks.   I look forward to Tuesdays, knowing that she will join me in my studio when I get so engrossed in painting that the time just flies by.

Click on the image to enlarge....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Natasha" - completed painting, 16x12, oil on linen

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen

Here is the completed painting of Natasha.  My buddy, professional photographer Geoff Williams, photographed the painting for me.  He always does such a nice job.

To see the image larger, click on the image - use your browser 'back' button to get back to the blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"NATASHA" - work in progress

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen, work in progress

"Natasha", 16x12, oil on linen, work in progress
"Natasha" - detail

I'd like you to meet Natasha. Natasha is the lovely friend of my daughter Danica, who has graciously agreed to sit for me in my studio one day a week for the past number of weeks. In addition to being a beautiful model, Natasha is great company.

Figurative painting has been a passion for me since I was a little girl drawing all the important people in my life. While I've managed to paint a few portraits and figures each year, in the last few years I've decided to get more serious about it. Since I paint from life, it can sometimes be a bit problematic finding someone willing to sit for me for the hours required to complete a painting. (I have many unfinished paintings in my studio, as a result.) In addition, being so accustomed to painting from life I've found that when using a photo I'm unhappy with the results.

This painting was done from a photo taken of Natasha during a life session and supported by numerous painted studies. I began this small painting with the idea of doing a 1/2 hour quick study from the photo, wiping it clean and beginning again with the same idea. My friend, artist Liz Wiltzen, encouraged me to try this, in order to approach painting from the photo as if I was painting from life. Liz has lots of great ideas and this sounded like a winner.

This particular morning saw me at my studio with this idea in mind. I grabbed a fresh canvas - untoned, gave it a quick wash of burnt umber and ultramarine blue, barely discernible from the photo, and enthusiastically began. Well, I must confess, 1/2 hour turned into an hour and pretty soon into an hour and I was having so much fun that before I knew it, I'd devoted the whole day to this painting. As I told Liz later, it was just too much fun to wipe off as suddenly it felt like I wasn't using a photograph at all. Mission accomplished!

In addition to working from the photo with hopeful results, I was able to paint 'alla prima', attempting to finish things as I went (Alla prima comes from Italian, literally meaning "at once".)

So, the moral of the story is...paint from a photo as if you're painting from life - with gusto, and follow Liz' exercise advice.

Natasha and others will continue to sit for me each week. Truly, painting from life is where progress and growth lies - and that's all that truly matters.

This painting is now complete and I will post a photo of the completed painting in a few days.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Petite Pitcher" - Daily #10

"Petite Pitcher", oil on panel, 8 x 6

I have such an assortment of vases and vessels in my studio - it's a candy store for the still life painter.  The great thing about doing these little 'dailies' is having the opportunity to paint anything I want.  I've had my eye on this little pitcher but not had the opportunity to do it justice with my brush, until now.  The floral pattern has almost worn off over time and many years of handling.

This painting is available at Art Country Canada Gallery

"Mac" - Daily #9

"Mac", oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

I love painting little round Mac apples!   There is just something indescribable about putting pieces of paint on a surface to create such simple beauty.

This was the demo that I painted at my "Painting Dailies" workshop a few weeks ago.   I wasn't able to finish it in the few minutes that I did the demonstration but I did go back to it a few days later and this is the end result.

The workshop was a huge success and participants managed to complete as many as 4 'Dailies' in the 2-day-workshop, working from life.   I was truly impressed!  In addition, everyone learned how to prepare and prime panels for their 'dailies', as well as en plein air painting.

This painting is available for purchase at Art Country Canada Gallery

"Ochre Vase" - Daily #8

"Daily" -  "Ochre Vase", oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

This tiny ochre vase has made an appearance in several of my larger works so far.  I love its colour and its beautiful little shape.

For my recent "Painting Dailies" workshop, I prepared a bunch of panels for the participants and for my own use.   This is one of them.   I found working on the smooth acrylic primed panel a little different from my linen... a change of surface is always fun!

This painting is available at Art Country Canada Gallery

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Spring Pasture" Daily Painting #7

"Spring Pasture", oil on linen on panel, 6 x 8 inches (appx)
I love cows and I also love to paint them.   I photographed these cows many years ago and have painted them several times.   I can still remember this day as if it was yesterday.
This painting is now available for purchase at Art Country Canada Gallery/

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Angela" Daily Painting # 6

"Angela", oil on linen on panel, 8 x 5 3/4 inches

Very important portrait in a very tiny format!   Lots of fun painting this alla prima portrait of Angela...  A great way to work out a larger painting.

This painting is now available at Art Country Canada Gallery

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Salt Pottery with Grapes" - Daily #5

"Salt Vase with Grapes", oil on linen on panel, 6 3/4 x 6 1/4 inches

As a painter of 'chiaroscuro' (light and shadow) I'm enjoying painting these little 'dailies' in a higher key (lighter).   It's fun to put the paint on in such an impasto way.
All of these paintings are painted from life and the objects in them are life-size or smaller.  Placing the grapes in the vase gives you an idea of the scale. 
I bought this tiny little vase at a pottery sale last year and could hardly wait to paint it.   I'm sure you'll see it again one day..... 

This painting is now available at Art Country Canada Gallery

"Chinese Vase with Orange", Daily #4

"Chinese Vase with Orange", oil on linen on panel 8 x 7 1/4 inches
I love painting oranges and I also love painting orange in combination with blue.   Both are my favourite colours so I suppose that's a large part of it.   For me, it's pretty hard to go wrong with that combination.    I'm not sure if this little painting truly qualifies as a 'Daily' (where are those 'Daily Police' anyway?) because of its size, but what the heck.  I'm using up some panels that I have in inventory so it works for me.  

It's fun to see all the little paintings lined up in my studio.  Very satisfying....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Two and A Half Shallots"- Daily #3

"Two and A Half Shallots", oil on linen panel, 4 1/4 x 9 inches

I'm flying by the seat of my pants but seem to be getting into a rhythm with my "Dailies".   Began this unusual formatted painting but wasn't able to finish it in one day.  I'll admit, it was a little ambitious, for me, for  a 'daily', but I was so excited to use this little panel, I couldn't resist the challenge.  

The past few days our usually bright blue and sunny skies were obliterated by early morning fog that hung around all day long.   Still around today and makes for a very gloomy studio for me.   I paint from life under the north-lit windows of my studio, so as a result, on gloomy days like these it tends to make the painting day a little shorter.  I did manage to put the finishing touches on "Two and A Half Shallots" on the second day, in no time at all.

This 'Daily' is painted on linen  mounted on panel.   I make the majority of the panels myself, with the exception of the "Panelli" panel I used in my last daily painting.    The little panels I make myself are either made from masonite or mdf board which I have cut to size and then apply a few coats of acrylic primer or often I will glue to the surface scraps of my oil primed Belgian linen.  I make my larger canvases from scratch using Belgian linen that is primed with oil lead primer, which I do myself.  You can see a demo of  the process for making oil primed linen on my demonstration blog here as well as demos of dailies I painted a number of years ago. 

I should mention that not all the paintings posted to my blogs are 'Dailies'....I also post my gallery paintings, which are larger, on the site as well.

Hope you're enjoying them as much as I am painting them!  Please write or comment, I'd love to hear from you.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Windmill Blue" - Daily #2

"Windmill Blue", oil on panel, 6 x 8 inches
This is my second 'Daily' painting and I have to admit, I'm really enjoying this.  I'm also
coming away with a renewed respect and admiration for 'alla prima' painters - painting a painting in 'one go'.    My usual approach is a 'direct' one; working without a drawing and with a large brush.  But, I like to build my paintings and often work on a dry surface.   Painting wet-in-wet until the painting is entirely complete is a new experience for me!   I won't was tough for me.  I wanted to leave areas til the next day knowing that I can build on the day's work.  It was tiring, knowing that each brush stroke was a final statement. 

To add to the excitement I was painting on a new surface.  Those that know me know how fussy I am about the surfaces that I paint on, making my own canvases, often from scratch, on oil primed belgian linen.   This 'Daily' is painted on a 6 x 8 inch  "Panelli" wooden panel.   You can see from the photo that it is primed with an acrylic gesso and it has an unusual finish.  Much like one would get from a roller when painting a wall.   It was unusual, but fun.

I'm hooked on these little paintings!   What fun!   I've signed it so it's messing with it tomorrow.  This is what 'Daily' painting is about.

Tomorrow is a new day ... and another 'Daily Painting'.... hope you check back to see how I spend my day!

You can click on the images here and enlarge the photo.  Keep in mind that, depending on the size of your computer screen, these are very little paintings so you'll most likely be looking at an image much larger than the original!   (to get back to the blog, click on the 'back' arrow) 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Painting "Dailies" #1

Daily #1
oil on linen on panel,  5 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches
This painting is available for purchase at Art Country Canada Gallery

Recently I've been preparing for my next workshop, "Painting Dailies".   While planning the workshop I've experienced a renewed excitement for these miniature masterpieces.   Yesterday I could hardly wait to get to my studio to paint a 'Daily' again; it's been awhile.   Here is the finished painting, untitled at this point.     It is so satisfying to paint these tiny gems... and even more fun to share it with you.

I don't have a formula when painting a 'daily', it really depends on what other pieces I'm working on and how much time I have.  When I was regularly painting them several years ago, I aimed at painting one 'Daily' per week while I was working on larger gallery pieces. This seemed to work best for me at the time.

Yesterday I began this one and painted it alla prima (all in one go) in a few hours.  Tomorrow I hope to have a new one to post for you. 

Artists around the world have been smitten by the 'Daily Painting' bug, inspired by the father of the 'Painting A Day'  movement (PAD), American artist, Duane Keiser .  There are no rules in daily daily painting 'police' out there telling you that you must complete a painting today or even this week.   But I can't think of a more fun way to rapidly improve skills, create discipline and keep your work fresh.

Typically, 'Dailies' are painting in the following sizes: 6x8, 5x7, 5x5, 6x6 and other odd small sizes. 

I'm really looking forward to my 'Dailies' workshop.  The date is February 27th and 28th, 2010 and there are still a few spaces open - class size max 6-7 students.