Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Week Oil Class

I'm teaching a beginners oils class starting in January and still have some spots left.  Is there a better way to spend Wednesday evenings than playing with paint?  Not for me!
The course outline is posted below.  Hope to see you there!

STARTING IN OILS

Fat over lean?  Dark to light? Mediums?  Supports?
If learning oil painting seems as hard as learning a foreign language, this is the course for you.

In this 12 week course, we'll demystify this sumptuous, traditional medium and give you a solid foundation in the technical and creative aspects of oils.
You'll learn how to apply layers of pigment to create luminous, rich surfaces which will stand the test of time.

Our painting subjects will include still life, landscape and figurative and there will be plenty of demonstrations and individual instruction.

Cost: $300 for 12 weeks
Class size: Maximum of 10 students

January 6 to March 24
Wednesday evenings from 6pm to 9pm
TO REGISTER:  go to the Calgary School of Art website OR call Lisa at 403. 287-3106

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

People Watching


Everyone loves to look at people.  We watch them
in malls and surreptitiously on buses. We photograph them in foreign countries and, sometimes, we hang pictures of total strangers on our walls.  Such diverse painters as David A. Leffel and Malcolm Liepke have made great careers out of this fascination.
My favorite commissions are portraits for this very reason.  I know that, more than anything else I paint, these works will be looked at for a long time.  A picture of a person is never wallpaper in a room.  It has a presence; almost like a real person would.
Today I had the pleasure of delivering two portraits of young children to their mother. 
As with all commissions, I had a case of nerves before showing the paintings to her but, happily, she loved them.  The personalities of the children, as much as the likenesses, were clear to her eyes and she was delighted. 
I've included them here.  They're on copper and there is a lot of the warm, brushed metal visible in the works.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Painting on Copper

Like most artists that I know, I'm never content with my work.  I feel there are always ways to improve and new things to try in order to improve my paintings. 
Lately I've been experimenting with a new support to paint on: copper.
Copper painting has been around for hundreds of years.  Oils used on this surface don't crack the way that they do on more flexible supports like canvas because copper doesn't move with changes in humidity and temperature.  I've seen photos online of 400 year old paintings which look as fresh and bright as a 4 year old work.  And a painting on copper has great glow!
Degreasing is vital for the paint to adhere properly and, like everything to do with the technical aspects of oil painting, there are as many recommendations for preparing the metal as there are writers on the subject.  It's best to spend some time researching and pick a method that suits your own comfort level from rubbing the plate with garlic to sealing with alkyd or priming with lead white ground. 
I can't imagine putting a white ground on the metal because it's the natural colour that holds the greatest appeal for me in the first place. 
The above self portrait is on copper and has lots of metal showing through.  The surface is rich and luminous and the paints seem to have extra saturation on this support.  I'm definitely going to do more with copper in the future!