Monday, July 29, 2013

National Military Spouse Network Art Show - Seeing Daddy Off...

Seeing Daddy Off...
16 x 20
Oil on Canvas

In October I am curating an exhibition for the National Military Spouses' Network.  The artwork featured will be by military spouses, veterans spouses and, retired military spouses.  I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful group.  Click HERE for the prospectus to enter paintings or photography into the show.  The theme of the show is "Together we serve".

As one of the curators I have the opportunity to contribute to the show.  I LOVE to paint portraits and figurative pieces.  For this series a story will be told starting with this one.  This is a spouse and child seeing her loved one leave on a deployment.  It is an everyday part of life for a military spouse...never easy...but a part of life.  Every military spouse serves in a very special way.  I am proud to be a military brat, military spouse and mom to two military brats.    

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Copying "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt

This is the painting I am copying at the National Gallery of Art.  It is "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt.  The NGA has some interesting information about Mary Cassatt, Edward Degas and their professional relationship at this link.  

I began at home sketching the piece...a rough sketch...just to see where everything is on the canvas.  I sketched it three times.  Then I took a trip to the National Gallery of Art and took notes on style and color.  I study the brush strokes and try to figure out what colors were used.  

I arrive at the gallery and set up. While sketching I try to remember my notes.  In spite of my preparation I kept sketching the head too big!  The head is really very small on the canvas and I was making it much to prominent.  After calming down I think I have it proportionally correct. 

Then...color!  I got the folds of the fabric in and began placing color in the night gown.  It is dark...but I will lighten it up later on. 

Here is the result of my days' work.  I am happy with the folds...they still need work, and the gown has to be quite a bit can see the bowl and pitcher in the background...the value of the gown has to be lighter than I have some work to do.  I was afraid to start too light...but I will be able to lighten it up.  

I did meet a lot of nice always...and got some very nice comments in spite of my struggles.  One man was telling his son all about me and my work (his son was about three years old)...then he came back about a half hour later to say he forgot to tell me I was doing a good job!  hahaha!!!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


8 x 10
Oil on Raymar panel

I am taking a break from my work at the National Gallery of Art and finishing up some small works that have been on my plate for some time.  These two little girls are the subjects of many of my paintings and I just love them.  Here they were visiting and playing so intently I just had to try to capture the mood in oil.  

And now playtime for to my studio!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beatrice Townsend by John Singer Sargent - The finished copy

I just picked up my copy of Beatrice Townsend by John Singer Sargent.  I am pretty happy with it and wanted to recap the process.

As a Copyist at the National Gallery of Art I applied for permission...the piece has to be in a gallery that is approved for copyists and since only one copyist can be in a gallery at a time, I have to make sure there is a day available for me to work.  When I got the green light from the Registrars office I began my research...I had requested the Sargent piece and was thrilled that it was available for me to copy on Fridays.  First I looked up anything I could find on Beatrice Townsend but found precious little. I then researched Sargent and found a lot of good information including his palette.  It was explained and the author added colors I could use today since I was not familiar with some of the colors on the list.  I got this from Aaron Miller's blog and found it most informative. 

After reading a bit and researching I was itching to get started and I began sketching.  I usually sketch the piece two or three times just to see how everything lines up...where everything is on the canvas.  I like to have a good idea before I go to the gallery.  I also print out a small 8 x 10 copy of the piece to use for reference.  Once I feel comfortable with the sketches I head to the National Gallery of Art to begin. 

I brought a blank canvas and started at the very beginning.  Once I completed the sketching  and made sure everything was in the right place I started placing in colors.  I worked on matching brush strokes, especially with the little dog.  Those strokes were very definite and defining.  

Here are some pictures of me working a the gallery.

It is very common to have people stop and watch.  Solitude is the norm for my this sudden influx of interest in what I am doing takes some getting used to.  I am surprised at how well I am able to tune people out and just concentrate on the task at hand.  Having said that I try to be helpful and pleasant to anyone who has a comment or question for me.  

It was a challenge but great fun and I cannot wait to start my next piece.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Look, Up in the Sky - Portrait of my Son

"Look, Up In the Sky"
30 x 40
Oil on Canvas

This is my oldest son, Michael.  I have been contemplating his portrait for a long time.  The journey to get this done has been interesting to say the least.  Michael is an amazing person...future high school teacher, BBQ expert, blogger (see, and if you haven't friended him on FB and read his humorous status updates you are missing out.  That is not to mention how kind and supportive he is to his family and friends.  You can see him every second Saturday at the Workhouse Arts Center art walk with is lovely wife Marissa, supporting me and my artistic endeavors.  

While preparing to paint this portrait I called him over for a photo shoot.  I made him put on a suit jacket with one of his favorite tee shirts and pose in lots of different places.  Did I mention that months before I asked him to let his hair grow?  He has fabulous hair...I digress. 

I thought this was a good one...on the steps...looking scholarly...

An another with the books...he loves books.

Then amid a pile of books on a a leather couch with an old leather brief case that belonged to my father.  

Then leafing through the books...yes,  reading...he loves to read and this pose really shows his personality...

I even went so far as to begin a small 12 x 12 thumbnail sketch to prepare for the large portrait.  

Nothing seemed to express his personality...that larger than life...happy go lucky person who lives life to the fullest and is always smiling...that is when I realized that it is all about his personality.  It is not the is not the is the personality and no pose or scene is going to project the larger than life personality he possesses...SO...that is when I decided to paint his smiling exuberant expression with the caption "Look, Up in the Sky" to emphasize his love of comic books and specifically Superman.  

Now I know Paul Emsley was given lots of grief for painting a large portrait of Princess Kate's was said that you can't do that...blah, blah, blah.  I just know that I paint from my heart and this is what my heart sees.  

And now my humorous closing...I was planning this blogpost and was looking for the thumbnail sketch I began and could not find it anywhere.  I have never been accused of being neat and the sketch was hopelessly lost. I looked for days.  I finally decided to write the post and continue to look for the panel later.  Well, I found the 12 x 12 white panel on the floor, face down, right on top of my white 12 x 12 tiles in my studio.  It was placed perfectly and looked like a tile to the lady not wearing her glasses!  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Jayden - portrait of my grandson

8 x 10
Oil on Raymar Panel

This is my grandson Jayden.  He is sitting in his easy chair reading a book and has his helicopter blanket next to him...lovingly called "copka."  I wanted to paint this for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was to practice figures.  I love the perspective on the head and the angels of the legs.  

I realized that I have been painting and had not kept one painting of Jayden for myself!!! So this one is mine!  I am sure I will be painting more portraits of Jayden among other relatives... but I wanted to make sure I have one of my grandchild hung in my home.