Sunday, April 17, 2016

Portrait Society of America Conference - Reflections of my experience.

 Some pictures from the Portrait Society of America's Conference...and my impressions...

Rose Frantzen's discussing her piece "Locket"

Dinner with artist friends

Max Ginsburg sketching class/demo

Carol Arnold during my sketching/demo breakout session

Watching Rose Franzen paint this piece was absolutely amazing.  She throws color on the canvas with what seems like reckless abandon and in the end this wonderful likeness emerges.  I am in awe of her talent. 

Reflections of my conference experience...

I have been gathering my thoughts since attending the Portrait Society of America's Conference here in Reston, VA.  I am overwhelmed by the amazing artists I met, the amazing artists I reconnected with and the ones I was able to learn from.  The weekend starts on a Thursday night with an amazing group of artists...15 in all...painting 5 models...three artists to a model.  They are arranged in a large circle and spectators walk around and around admiring the process of creating portraits in 15 different styles.  Some begin with a blank canvas and start swishing brushes wildly while others begin with quiet, definitive strokes building from the inside out.  It is awe-inspiring to watch.  After a couple of hours we are presented 15 fabulous portraits.  While circling and watching...artists are connecting, chatting, and meeting other artists.  They are discussing techniques, color palettes, and artistic energy.  It is an amazing event. 

From there the Conference is a blur of painting demonstrations, portfolio critiques, workshops, exhibits and sales of art materials, conversations with friends/artists, lunches, and presentations by prominent artists such a Michael Shane Neal, Everett Raymond Kinstler, James Gurney and Daniel Greene to name just a few.  I found myself attending my breakout session...running to grab some lunch, running to get some books signed...running to get my portfolio critiqued...running back so I don't miss the next event.  I was constantly on the between...or as I ran I bumped into people I know, Facebook friends, and managed to get into the Exhibition and Sales area to purchase some much needed (hahaha) art supplies. 

Other highlights included meeting and actually getting to talk to Rose Frantzen and having her sign her book, "Portrait of Maquoketa", having Anna Rose Bain sign my copy of her book "The Wait and the Reward", meeting Jennifer Balkan and getting to discuss her artwork,  meeting Tina Garrett and talking to her about everything, a lovely discussion with Ted Reed and other dinner guests... I know I am leaving some names out but the list is so is overwhelming to remember it all!  I was able to have my portfolio critiqued three times by Julian Hess, Elizabeth Zanzinger and Brenda Hash.  Three different perspectives that will certainly help my future efforts.  

If you ever thought about attending but were hesitant because you were't sure if you would connect with anyone, let me put your mind at ease.  It is a given that you will find artists to talk to, to share ideas with, to learn from BUT even if you don't talk to will be busy running from place to place to take advantage of all that is offered.  It is a blur of activity from start to finish.  

In closing I have to mention words spoken to me by Daniel Greene..."Study...just Study"  I plan on putting those words in my new studio as soon as I move in.  They will serve to motivate me as well as remind me of a wonderful critique and a more wonderful dinner with artist friends.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mom - Mad Hatter

Mom - Mad Hatter
9 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel

I come by my love of hats honestly.  My mom always loved hats and had some of the most fabulously outrageous ones...I loved them all.  She often wore tall hats as she is only 5 feet tall and my dad was 6 feet 3 inches.  I wish she had kept them...but alas a military lifestyle is not conducive to holding onto things that were not necessities.  

I collect hats. Love to wear them and I use them extensively as props for my models when I paint and I just love looking at them.  I am always looking for something unusual...but a top hat with a blusher veil will always wins me over.  

This portrait is one of the ones that I thought was finished a couple of days ago.  Then after letting it sit and re-evaluating I decided to re-work some if it...which led to re-working all of it a few more times.  The last thing I did was the reflection of the shirt on the neck, cheek and chin.  Then I had to call it done.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


8 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel


Last weekend I went to the National Mall and visited the World War II memorial.  There was a group of "Rosie the Riveters" being brought in as part of the Honor Flight program.  To greet these wonderful women who worked in the factories during World War II, there were young women dressed up in "Rosie the Riveters" outfits and other vintage costumes.  One woman bought a vintage brownie and cub scout uniform uniform and dressed up her little ones to join in the fun.  I was so taken with nostalgia and the adorableness of the kids that I just had to, with permission, take a couple of quick pictures.  As I am having a hard time focusing during our preparation for our move to North Carolina...this fun little painting was a welcome respite from my larger, more detailed pieces.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

scribble people - inspired by Andrew Wyeth

Scribble People
9 x 12
sketch paper

I have been doing a lot of sketching and I really love it.  I have been dismayed, though, that my sketches never look as good as others I have seen.  I refer to my work as scribbling instead of sketching.  I never felt worthy of the term sketching.  I started reading "Wyeth at Kuerners" written by Betsy James Wyeth.  It is a book of Andrew Wyeth's sketches...As I looked at the beautiful art work by Andrew Wyeth I took notice of his sketches.  They were incomplete...messy...and absolutely brilliant.  He sketched the same thing multiple times, the same figure, the same composition with slight variations...always refining, repositioning.  Of course his finished paintings are beyond description they are so marvelous.  

When I started this sketch I decided to never let my pencil leave the paper.  It worked for the most part...I did have a pause or two but for the most part it is one long scribble line.  As I sketched I thought about who these people are and how I could relate to them.  Down the line I started with a woman in a tall hat with a cross body bag, followed with the profile of a youngster...another woman with a large hat and a feathered plume...a hard hat/helmet adorns the head of another depicting my military heritage...a chef's hat reminds me of my families love for cooking...a love that I do not share...but I appreciate that others enjoy the creativity of their culinary efforts.  The end of the line is a figure in a baseball cap leaning on a love of sports is for playing much more than watching.  

So, while my sketches are messy, I know they serve a purpose and I will continue.  

As an aside...I highly recommend "Wyeth at Kuerners" book to anyone who is interested in composition and studying the genius of a realistic, abstract artist.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

selfie - graphite on sketch paper

This is graphite on a 9 x 12 piece of sketch book paper.  And by graphite I mean a #2 pencil.  I started sketching with #2 pencils because they are so readily available and I usually have one in my purse.  I sketch selfies quite often because I want to practice...I want to practice facial features and gestures...and I am the only one I sketch myself.   I try to sketch my husband in the evenings when we are relaxing and watching TV...but sometimes he moves too much.  I am working on sketching when my model moves and can get a reasonable likeness...sometimes I keep two or three sketches going hoping he will settle back into a previous position.  It is a challenge...a challenge I enjoy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Colonel

The Colonel
16 x 20
Oil on Ramar Panel


I love painting my husband.  He is pretty cooperative...modeling is not his favorite thing to do...but I can talk him into it from time to time.  I love to paint him because his face is so interesting.  He has these wonderful deep set eyes that are a chameleon like gray/green/blue depending upon his surroundings.  They are the kind of eyes that look translucent.  His brow is furrowed and has a slight scar above his lip on his left side.  I know his face so well.  

Often when we are out in restaurants or just sitting in a park I will say to him "stay just as you are" and he knows by now to just sit icily still while I whip out my phone and take pictures.  The I may direct him to put his coffee cup down or turn one direction or another.  He knows that the atmosphere is perfect and I am trying to capture the light!  Then I do studies when I get home...until I can get him to sit for me again!  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sketching my way through my life...

I have alway wanted to sketch my way through my life...but never took the initiative...

I always see these fabulous sketch journals posted by fabulous artists and I have always wanted to do one.  I knew mine would not be fabulous but I decided to begin one and see how I do.  I started with pictures I had taken in Japan while on my fabulous adventure with Carrie Roets Waller and Debra Keirce.  I sorted the pictures and began sketching in pencil...using a fabulous accordion sketchbook I purchased in Japan.  Once the basic sketch was done I used a ink marker to darken the lines.  I then decided I would put a watercolor wash on some of the pictures.  I wasn't as happy with the watercolor wash as I had imagined so stopped it.  I tried my watercolor pencils and they seemed to work better.  It is probably because it is not watercolor paper...or maybe just operator error!  hahaha!  

Anyway...a quick message to Carrie to let me know the names of places I had forgotten and I had my sketch journal! 

I may add some more sketches...I have a couple of pages left.  But I am semi-pleased with my first attempt.  

My plan is to sketch my way through Venice...on my next adventure!