Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Many Nameless Colours

18 x 14
This portrait came out of a recent 3 hour session with a model in my studio.  Jenny has gorgeous, English rose skin: creamy, and lightly peach tinted, and she wore a palette of neutrals that harmonized with it.

To avoid overwhelming all of the delicate tints of the arrangement, I put her in front of my favourite drapery, a cool, blue/green/grey, slightly shiny material that seems to hold every colour of cool end of the spectrum depending on the lighting conditions and the surrounding colours.  It's mid toned, like everything that Jenny was wearing.

This could have been a frustrating set up with nothing of substance to hang on to: no easy-to-name colours, no big values, none of the stuff that helps you get a handle on a subject, but it wasn't.  I totally enjoyed it.

After laying in a basic drawing and the dark of the hair, I nailed the part that seemed to me to be the key to the whole piece: the little area of light-struck skin on the right, next to the same-valued but cooler, light shirt.  If I could get the temperatures and hues right in that spot, I could relate every other piece of paint to them.  The paint had to be thick and opaque to read with the proper luminosity.

Once that area seemed right, all I had to do was compare each other colour and value to it.  I continually asked myself "is it warmer or cooler, lighter or darker, than that piece of paint?"  That helped me to make all of the non-colours that make up this painting.

It was such a stimulating exercise that I asked Jenny back and in the same outfit for a larger piece. Today was the start and I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Happy painting!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oceanside Art Gallery; a New Venture

S0LD at Oceanside Gallery

SOLD at Oceanside Gallery
One of the nicest things to come out of the Arabella article has been a new gallery for me.

Oceanside Art Gallery in Qualicum Beach, BC is a young gallery owned by a couple with a lot of gallery and curatorial experience.  Heather Tillmar Brown and her husband Steve, spotted my paintings in the magazine and invited me to show in their new space.

I joined them with pleasure, and it turns out to have been a smart move: they sold 2 paintings on the day that they arrived.

Thanks, Heather and Steve! I can tell that this will be a great relationship.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Painters are a Community

Artists work alone every day, connected by phone or email to society, but mostly, they're disconnected.  That's why it's both incredibly gratifying and super weird to be placed into the public eye.  Or at least the art-magazine-buying public's eye.

The feature of my work in Arabella magazine has brought many good things: people asking my galleries for my work, an invitation to join a new gallery (more on this in its own blog post), and connections - both old and new.

I've been inundated with emails from both people that I know and those that I don't, congratulating me on my work and on the article.  Most of the emails have been from artists, and the generosity of the notes has been amazing.

Whoever said that the art world is cut throat and competitive, missed something. It's also a community and I'm happy to belong to it.  We work alone, but we're still together.

Happy painting and thanks!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mexican Art Retreat February 25 - March 4

Casa Buena Art Retreat
Nayarit, Mexico
This is the retreat where I'll be teaching a week-long painting workshop 
from February 25 - March 4.  

Casa Buena is a Canadian-owned, magical place, filled with mosaics, Mexican pottery and tiles, flowers and jungle plants and the sound of the surf.  I was there last February and am thoroughly smitten.  
Better than February in Canada
We'll be painting a variety of subjects beginning with a still life demo in the evening of arrival.  
The following day will be devoted to still life and, after that, we'll branch out into landscape painting.  Our final subject will be portraiture and we'll have a local model sitting for us.  

Three subjects in a week sounds like a lot, but they're actually all related.  I use the same logical approach whether I'm painting a person, a landscape or a bowl of fruit.  Once you learn the method, you can paint anything.

Our focus will be the same for each as well: composition, simplification, massing, glowing colour, and expressive brushwork.  

I'll do a demo each day and spend the rest of the day hustling from easel to easel, helping you to problem solve your way to a good painting.  

In the evenings, I'll either demo or hold discussions about painting techniques and history for those who want to join me. 

This year will see some new subject matter and locations as well as the option to experience some of last year's highlights, notably, the jungle boat tour with it's exotic birds and alligators.  
Returning painters can choose to skip the jungle, but they'll be pleased to hear that we have a new excursions is a trip to what our hostess, Jane, describes as a market that has great shopping like Sayulitas but at lower prices.  We'll also be visiting a hot spring that day.  

It's a balanced retreat with a lot of painting and a bit of the stuff that regular folks love: shopping and sights.  

The Casa's comfy veranda
In between, expect to be well fed, comfortably housed, and warmly welcomed at the retreat.  

I hope you'll sign up and join me for an adventure!
Painting the fishing boats