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Showing posts from October, 2011

FCA Figure Painting Workshop

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Painting and explaining - a right brain/left brain workout!
I taught a figure painting workshop for the local chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists yesterday.  It went well and was very invigorating for me.  The workshop participants were all accomplished artists who knew their way around a brush and were passionate about painting.

While I have no painting to show for the workshop (I gave the best demo piece to our excellent and long-suffering model, Susen who probably needed chiropractic work after the long, reclining pose), you can see some great  results in Alice Saltiel's blog.  Alice's education included enviable amounts of life drawing and the work that she produced yesterday sure shows it.  Enjoy!



In Defense of Oil Paint

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Green Tea 12 x 16
More times than you'd believe, I've had people tell me that a friend, relative or acquaintance of theirs used to oil paint, but quit because it was too toxic. Now, I'm often told, they use acrylics instead.
I find this perception of oils bizarre. There is nothing about oils that is more toxic than acrylics or even watercolours and pastels. All of these mediums use the same pigments, just different binders. Oil pigments are bound with a drying oil such as linseed or walnut; acrylics are bound in acrylic ( a plastic); watercolours and pastels are generally bound in gum arabic. So a cadmium red oil is dangerous and so is a cad red watercolour, acrylic or pastel. It's the cadmium that is deadly, not the binder. This means that all painters, regardless of their medium, should avoid skin contact with their paints. I use nitrile-coated gloves when I work and I bark at my students when they put a brush end in their mouths.
What is toxic about oil pain…

Painting a Still Life Start to Finish

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Berry Branch 20 x 16
I like the mental exercise of painting still lifes.  The set up alone can take an hour or more of tweaking and evaluating every aspect of the objects that I'm painting.  Things that I consider are: number, size, colour and shape of the objects; view point; repetition of colour, shape, and value; negative and positive shapes; balancing objects; light source; and much more.   If I can set the objects up well, the painting is easier, so I force myself not to skimp on this task.

Once it's set up, then I can work at leisure and that's when the fun begins.  I do a few quick thumbnail sketches to determine the overall pattern of dark shapes and shadows and to see if I can connect some of them and make pleasing abstract shapes.  Then - finally - I get to paint.  
The nice thing is that all of this prep work has made me very familiar with the subject and has allowed me to make a bunch of mental notes about how I'll paint it.  I might have noticed an opportunity…

Rendezvous Gallery, Vancouver, BC

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Wood Sprite 24 x 30
I'm thrilled to have been invited to join the artist roster at Rendezvous Gallery in Vancouver, BC.  
I've been waiting impatiently for this piece to dry so that I could send it off with some others to the gallery.  For me, this represents the Vancouver way of life as I remember it when I lived there in the '80s.  Though it's a huge city, I always felt close to the lush green of the the West Coast rainforest, and I'd often hike down the hill across from the University of British Columbia to lie on the beach.  For a mountain-born, landlocked-raised student, it was paradise!
Although my paints are calling from their storage place in the freezer, I'll spend the day wrapping paintings and head to the UPS store.  If you're painting on this lovely Autumn day, put on some paint for me!