Thursday, September 26, 2013

Accepted: Scottsdale Salon of Fine Arts

Scottsdale, Arizona is full of wonderful galleries, but Legacy Gallery is one of my favourites.  So I'm thrilled to have been accepted into the 3rd Annual Scottsdale Salon of Fine Arts which will be held at Legacy from November 7 to December 31.

Summer's Child
40 x 30
"Summer's Child" was one of 100 pieces accepted out of 1200 submissions.  I thought for a long time about whether or not to submit it because of the size of the painting - framing and shipping become more complex and expensive with size - but then I thought "what the heck" and entered it anyway. Big has its benefits: it makes a statement.

I'm glad that I took a chance!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ignat Ignatov: Putting Art to Work


Erik
Artist: Ignat Ignatov
Last winter I was fortunate enough to attend Ignat Ignatov's portraiture workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona, and to get to know him as a person as well as an artist.  A remark that he made about no longer feeling comfortable eating meat since he'd adopted a little, street dog (because how different is a cow or a pig from my dog? - to paraphrase), stuck with me as showing real decency and a willingness to look at the big picture.

So it was no surprise to see that he's taken on a project to help the many dogs on death row in LA's animal shelters.  Overcrowding is such a problem there that over 200 animals are killed each day in Los Angeles shelters.  I have to say that again: 200 EACH DAY. 

Ignat is auctioning paintings like the one above on his Facebook page to raise money for the animals' care, and encouraging potential adoptive families to come forward to get these poor souls into homes where they belong.  

Erik, the little guy in the painting, didn't live to see a new home.  

I made a donation to the Calgary Humane Society last week, because this is not just an LA problem.  I hope you'll do the same or, better still, adopt an animal and save a life.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Painting a Concept

Blue Robe
16 x 12
I've started this painting a lot of times and never found a satisfactory way to make it show what I want: movement.  Finally, I realized that I'd have to deviate pretty far from realism to show such an abstraction. So I looked to a master of dancers in motion: Degas.

What I've always loved about Degas' work is the fearless way that he simplified people into dynamic shapes and colours.  His figures are flatter than life, but seem more alive than many of the works of high realism that were popular in his time.  The use of lines in his paintings also appealed to me.  It's hard to slip those into a more literal image so I enjoyed this natural opportunity to use a strong, dark line.

The robe in my photos was green but the complimentary colour scheme of red and green seemed too harsh so I replaced it with a field of bluish patches and dynamic brushwork. In the figure I focused on colour rather than form; trying to capture the many fleeting hues that passed over the model as she danced in my studio. The resulting figure has a flatness and simplicity that I like and, to my eye, a sense of movement.  Finally.

Happy painting!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Oil Painting from the Ground Up Workshop, and Regular Class Begins

Rice Bowl and Little Onions
10 x 8
I'm jumping into the new teaching season at the Calgary School of Art this month with a workshop and my regular Tuesday class.  On Sept. 10th my regular 12 week class begins.  We'll concentrate on landscapes, both studio and plein air and end with  figurative painting.  **I had an unexpected opening this week, so if you're interested in joining this class, let me know**

Then, on September 28th, I'll be teaching "Oil Painting from the Ground Up", a foundations workshop that's designed for both beginners and experienced painters.

My focus for this workshop will be on the technical heart of oil painting.  We've got some new oil mediums available to us at the school this year, and we'll explore a few of them and learn how to build a technically-sound and visually-rich oil painting in the process.  

This will be fun day for experimenting with mark making, palette knife and brush techniques and creative colour choices.

You can read all about the workshop and register for it on the snazzy and efficient Calgary School of Art website.  Contact me if you've got any questions.

Happy painting!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Coarse linen and textural paint

Look Away
24 x 12
Flat shadows and dimensional lights: words I try to paint by.  It's not always easy because there's so much interesting and subtle detail in the shadow areas - gentle temperature changes which suggest the form - but when I give in to my oc impulses and depict them, I end up with a mixed message of a painting; one in which my goal isn't clear: am I most interested in the lit or the shadow side?

In this painting I kept the shadows to warm, thin scumbles and really laid it on thick in the lights.
You can see just how thick in this detail:

Like cake frosting, oil paint can be trowelled on in luscious layers, and it seems a shame when a painting doesn't show some of that natural, sculptural quality.

You can see that the fabric weave on this piece is very visible.  I'm experimenting with a coarse linen that's meant for large-scale work.  It's thick and heavy, and I like the way it resists buckling during stretching, but I bought it for its obvious texture, figuring it would push me to a more varied surface treatment.  In some places the weave is very visible, in some it's completely obscured, and in others it's somewhat visible.  On a smooth linen, I can get those paint consistencies as well, but this linen emphasizes them in a way that I like... this week.  Next week, who knows what I'll be looking for in a surface?  Ultra-smooth wooden panels, no doubt.

Happy painting!