Monday, July 28, 2014

Songbird - quick sketch of a very special little lady

11 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel

I just took a quick trip to San Jose, California for an International School of Bangkok, Thailand all grades reunion.  It was a wonderful week.  I saw lots of old friends and made new friends that know what it is like to attend an overseas school.  The best part was attending with my two older brothers.  So fun to re-live our childhood experiences.  

To warm up and get ready to begin my paintings this week I started with this quick sketch of a very special songbird...she is so very cute...I fall in love with her every time I see her pictures.  I am sure I will paint her again.  What a great way to warm off I go to...paint, paint, paint... 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Impressions of Cate

Impressions of Cate
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar panel


A week or so ago I was fortunate to have a friend's daughter sit for me.  I painted most of this while Cate was in my studio and finished up after she left.  Cate is a beautiful young girl with fabulous, luxurious hair.  She was so fun to work with.  She was game for dressing up, wearing hats, and very natural in all her poses.  I was amazed at her maturity and ability to poised and elegant.  I look forward to having her sit for me again as I pursue painting from life.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Copying at the National Gallery of Art - Autumn by Winslow Homer

I have been diligently copying at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  Winslow Homer's "Autumn" has been challenging me but I love every minute of it.  My concerns were first with getting the drawing right...I spent time sketching time at home and then gridded my canvas and a hard copy of the painting.  That gives me a rough idea of where everything will be placed on the canvas.  I have learned the hard way never to count on the grid though.  A lot can happen and things get I measure constantly and step back to assess my progress.  

The rich, deep colors of autumn are part of the reason this painting intrigued me and they are proving to be so fun to copy.  I love this piece! 

While painting...I turned around and noticed a young artist sketching.  I asked what she was sketching and she said "you painting"!!!  How fun is that?  As I painted and she sketched I thought it a perfect photo opportunity.  I asked her if I could take a picture of the scene and she agreed.  I love seeing young artists in the gallery...and I especially love it when they are sketching!  

A young asian man asked if he could ask me a question.  He was very soft spoken and asked what the significance is in American Art.  WOW!!!   That is not a question for a short answer!  As he pointed to the paintings in the room and motioned around the gallery I said that many American artists studied and worked with European artists...the significance is more than I can express in a few moments.  Their work recorded history, their experimentation with styles broke down barriers and paved the way for artists to express themselves in countless ways.  

So...what do you think.  What is the significance in American art?  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ballerina - Pointe Shoes



My cousin's daughter takes ballet...What a treat for me!  She agreed to come over for a photo shoot.  I took dozens of pictures of her with long tutu's, short tutu's, leotards and...most importantly Toe shoes...which I found out are REALLY called Pointe Shoes.  She is a beautiful girl and a fabulous model.  Her body lines and expressions were more than I could have hoped for.  It was a wonderful day.  Since then I peruse the photos often selecting different ones to paint.  I have painted her about 8 times...only two will ever be seen by the public ;)...but I have had a ball.  This is my favorite.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sharing - A boy and his dog

16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel


I just love this scene for so many reasons.  It shows the special bond between a boy and his shows the selfless act of sharing his cup of water...and it shows the complete and utter trust between the two.  It was a joy to paint.

In other bits of good news I have had the complete and utter privilege of photographing both of my parents in a recent photo shoot and plan on portraits of them both in the near future.  They are in their late 80's and cannot sit for me but agreed to the shoot.  

AND I begin my next copy at the National Gallery of Art this Wednesday.  I am painting "Autumn" by Winslow Homer.  I love the deep rich reds and greens in this piece...and of course the figurative work also.  Stay tuned to see my progress...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Child in a Straw Hat - National Gallery of Art - Copyist program

I am nearing the end of "Child in a Straw Hat" by Mary Cassatt...copying at the National Gallery of Art.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this piece and it is coming together quickly.  I chose it because I love the expression on the little girl's face.  It has been said that she was called away from her playmates to pose for this portrait and that caused the less than pleased expression on her face.  

As with my other copies my biggest challenge is mixing the colors to create the copy.  The colors in the original are so is such a good lesson for me.  Mix but not over mix...create soft strokes but boldly, and paint with thick globs of paint.  

Passers by are always very complimentary.  When I am feeling like I am lost someone will whisper "that is so good" as they walk by and I am encouraged to continue.  A young man of about 12 did ask me if I was trying to match the same colors as in the original.  I was struggling at the time and just looked at him and said "are you going to critique my work"?  He sheepishly said "no"...I did smile and wish him a good day.  He walked away smiling...I hope I didn't scare him.  Bruce says I scare people sometimes...It is hard for me to believe that is true ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Child with a Straw Hat by Mary Cassatt - Copying at the National Gallery

There is a wonderful exhibit at the National Gallery of Art featuring works by Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt.  The exhibit explains compositions, thoughts, and techniques of both artists while delving into their unique relationship.  

I am fortunate to currently be copying a Mary Cassatt piece titled "Child in a Straw Hat" at the National Gallery on Fridays.  I began by gridding my canvas and doing a rough sketch of  the piece paying close attention to the facial features.  I love the piece because the little girl's face is unusual...she does not look happy and rumor says she may have been pulled away from playmates to pose for this piece.  

When copying these pieces I find color to be the most challenging and where I really feel like I am learning the most. Once I mixed a reasonable color for the dress, I started putting together mixes for the background.  It will need some adjusting this Friday.

This is where I stopped for the day.  But before I stopped...there was an incident...
My husband works nearby and visits when he wants to check on my progress.  When he arrived I turned my back on my canvas for a moment and while I was turned someone from a tour group decided to pick up my paintbrush!!!!  OHMYGOODNESS!!!  Fortunately everyone in her group yelled at her and she quickly replaced it...but it was quite a shock!  In the SAME DAY a couple of women decided to sit on the stool and pose for pictures while I was in the ladies room!  You can imagine my surprise when I arrived at my easel to see it occupied!  Never a dull moment at the National Gallery of Art!!