Here is a step study done at one of my Monday morning classes. I don't spend a lot of time on the initial drawing but just get big shapes and angles that interest me. I then lay in the first big color notes which I will modify on the second go around. I usually stop here and finish the painting either by returning to the location another day or in my studio, utilizing my painting memory. The finished painting is available and is currently in a show at Roger's Gardens, Corona Del Mar, CA.
This is a study that I did on location at Yosemite National Park. I spent some time observing how the water was falling and organizing the light/dark patterns.
Bridal Falls, 11" x 14" oil on canvas, Still Available
Here is a painting I did later in the studio from my color study. I changed the composition and refined the painting. I much prefer working from a color study than a photograph. I had to rely on my painting memory which I have developed over the years by painting on location.
Cascading Water, 16" x 12", oil on canvas, Still Available
Here is a start of a demonstration that I did at Ellis Creek, one of my favorite locations in Petaluma, CA. As you can see, I overstate the warm of the light in the first pass. I make sure that I organize my lights and shadows and try to get the big notes of color. As I develop the painting, I state the minor changes within the big forms. As my husband says, "If you don't get a good start, your finished." I have included a photo of the location. As you can see, there is no color information in this reference. It is the years of painting on location that allows me to interpret the light key of nature
I was out painting last week in my favorite neighborhood and a woman came up to me and asked, “Are you the artist who illustrated the Secret Life of the Seine?” I was amazed that she could look at what I was painting and make this connection. I said that was years ago (1994), and, yes, I was the artist. She and her sister both like my colorful paintings and have followed my career over the years.
This 1994 illustration job was filled with unanticipated and random connections. Here they are:
I had decided to take my daughter to France and I didn’t know how or where but I was telling everyone we were going to France. I eventually was offered an all-expense paid trip to the south of France (this is another story) where I was going to teach a few workshops. I didn’t know how I was going to fill these workshops.
Here is where the universe stepped in to help me. Around that time, I got an illustration job to do the cover of the book, The Secret Life of the Seine, by Mort Rosenblum. Mort lived on a boat on the Seine and had olive trees in the south of France. It so happens, that his sister worked for the San Francisco Chronicle so they ran my illustration on the cover of the Sunday Travel Section promoting the book and at the end of the article there was a bio on me along with a listing of my workshops in France. I was on the phone for the next few weeks and filled all my French workshops!
This slideshow is a series of paintings I have done in this neighborhood.
" I have often thought of an art school where the model might hold the pose in one room and the work might be done in another. The pupils would have their places in both rooms, one for observation and the other for work. The pupil could return to the model room for information. In getting the information he could view the model from his place or could walk about and get an all-around concept; he could also make any sketches he might desire to make – for information – but these drawings are not to be carried into the work room. Into this room he only carries what he knows."
Robert Henri The Art Spirit
The first time I read this, it was frightening to me. So I went out and started trying to draw and paint from memory. If I was in a cafe, I would start drawing someone and immediately they would move so I would try and finish the drawing from memory. The more I did this, the better I got. When I am on location and I see a figure that I want to put into my painting, instead of taking my camera out, I put my brush down and just try to paint the figure in my head. I then quickly pick up my brush and put it into the painting.
I apply the Robert Henri principle in my figure class on Friday mornings. The drawing on the left was done from memory. I just looked at the model for about 5 minutes and then I turned around and sketched the figure from memory. The figure next to it on the bottom was done by looking at the model. The other figure drawings are quick 20 minutes demos.
The convention was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with like-minded artists. I saw a lot of old friends. My new book was released and I was pleased with all the sales. We also sold a lot of our Paint Saver Palettes.
We are now following up on the connections we made at the convention.
My favorite part of this convention was the Marketing Book Camp. I learned so much and my head is spinning. I love listening to the new ideas that Eric Rhoads has about promotion. I highly recommend his Boot Camp DVD's.
Back home - here is another favorite spot of mine in Petaluma, CA. I have returned many times over the years to repaint this scene.
I have several favorite scenes that I paint repeatedly in my hometown, Petaluma, CA. Each time I set up it seems like a completely new experience.
Here are a series of paintings of one of my favorite locations, Ellis Creek. The atmosphere determines the color of the light,
I have been using these Gessobord 1/8" panels. I love this surface, especially with the palette knife. With a brush, it takes some getting used to after painting on linen canvas. Now I paint with both brushes and palette knives on this surface and am pleased with the results.
This is the ONLY brand of gessoboard I recommend. The others are too slick.
Rosemary and Co makes great brushes. Currently I like the Shiraz Flat.
Michaels American Painter (Flat) brushes are cheap and I like the feel of them. You can go on-line to Michaels and find coupons. With a 50% discount, the brushes end up costing me the equivalent of a cup of coffee. If they don't last, you can just toss and replace.
Also, I recommend the RGM No 50 Palette knife. You can get detail as well as broad strokes.
We sell the Paint Saver Palette. This is a product I personally endorse because my paints are always ready. During my workshops, I spend a lot of time just getting people organized so they don't have to fight their equipment when they are out on location.
The Soltek is a great easel for easy set-up. I also take it when I travel because it fits into my backpack and I can carry it on the plane. It is hard to find a backpack that it fits in. I have a Kelty 3100 but they don't make it any more. I am looking for a replacement. I will let you know when I find one.
Oops - I let my blog go into hibernation over the winter. I apologize for that and won't let this happen again - I promise.
I just returned from my 5-day workshop at the Scottsdale Artists' School. Many of my students were from colder climates so they were very appreciative of the warm weather. The school is using one of my demos of the back of the school in their opening page where they welcome students - how cool is that?!
Speaking of the southwest - Southwest Magazine is doing a feature article on me in their June issue! It should go out to subscribers some time in May.
Here is the demonstration of the school that will be featured in the opening page of next year's catalog. (It is a picture of the painting on my easel with the school scene in the background). This was my fourth year teaching there and I plan to return again next year around the same time. Come join me in Scottsdale for spring training and take my 5-day workshop next year.
Here are some of the perks:
1. Gallery Walk on Thursday with some of the best galleries in the country participating. (Legacy and Overland to name a few)
2. Someone from Legacy Gallery will give a talk on Tuesday morning about submitting to galleries and answer general questions you may have about gallery representation.
3. The school has "Thirsty Thursday" where they provide food and beverages (both alcoholic and non). This is an opportunity to meet with other students and teachers who were there during the past week.
3. Free model sessions on Monday and Wednesday evening if you are up to it.
Below in the slide show, are some more pictures from Scottsdale, including my mudhead (no features - just color notes) demo.
In the past few months, I have been on both sides of the "easel." In September, I was one of three judges for the First Mendocino Open Paint Out (MOPO). All judges had to come to consensus before awarding prizes. By participating, I realized how many of the artists came very close to receiving an award. This experience reminded me how subjective judging can be.
I was also able to paint at this event and here is one of my paintings, "Mendocino Garden – 12" x 9".
Fast Forward to October: I was asked to participate in the Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational. I found myself hoping for some acknowledgement for all my hard work. The show was spectacular and there were many paintings that I felt were deserving of an award. I received the second place prize, $2,500 Award of Excellence, sponsored by Aliso Creek Inn. Grateful to receive this award, my recent experience of being a judge allowed me to keep it in perspective.
My advice to other painters - "Keep entering those shows, improve your skills, and you will be acknowledged from time to time. However, winning awards is not the goal. These awards are subjective, and should not define who you are as a painter - that is up to you."
Here is the award-winning painting with a smiling artist. "Morning Meditation 24" x 20""