I captured this moment at the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans one hot steamy morning. The guy on the far left is looking at his cell phone; isn't that a new classic pose? Everyone else in the scene could have been lifted from just about any time period in history. Chatting or leaning back to catch a few winks. This piece was painted with a palette knife, and I used a brush to touch up the smaller details. The paint is very thick, and took about a month to dry.
Oil on Board, 14x11"
One sunny morning in Greece, I glimpsed this family group out for breakfast next to the sea. Once again, I was struck by their classic poses. The girl with her back to us could be on a cell phone (naturally), or she could be buttering her scone, who knows? Grandmother holds the baby to give his mother a moment of peace, while Grandfather is in full vacation mode, relaxing with his coffee. I decided to take out their surroundings almost completely, to allow the family dynamic to take the stage. I hope you get the feeling of sunshine and relaxation even so.
If you're interested in either of these paintings, please give my friend Jeremy Hildt a call at his gallery in the Drake Hotel, Chicago. (312) 255-0005.
If you find yourself in Michigan this summer, you should plan a trip to Traverse City and stop into the Crooked Tree Art Gallery there. The Oil Painters of America is exhibiting their 2018 Juried Salon Show there this summer. Beautiful paintings from across the country are in the show, and well worth the trip. My painting "Early Morning, Key Largo" is in there with them. Contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing this little painting. Here's the link to their website: Crooked Tree Gallery.
Here are a few paintings that have found new homes this summer. Please check my website Ann Feldman Artist for the whereabouts of my latest paintings. You can also sign up on this website to receive an email every time a new painting is added to this site.
After a few decades of listening to husband John talk about the virtues of Colorado and missing our sons who live there, I have finally given in. We have bought some property in Boulder, and will be in the process of selling our Barrington home, knocking down the house on the new property, and building a new one. I'm girding myself for the roller coaster that is to become my new life.
This is truly a bittersweet move. I will miss the life we have built here, and the wonderful friends that we've made. My consolation is that we will stay in touch and visits will be made. But first we have to build that house!
I hope that you'll stay with me and my blog. I'll let you know how the move is going, and how I find my footing as an artist in a new community. If I haven't said it lately, your support has meant the world to me. Just knowing that people are reading what I have to say has been wonderful. Thank you, and let's go on a new journey together!
And Now For Our Regular Program:
When I paint a portrait from life, I have limited time with the model. In two to three hours, I try to capture the essence of the person, and having a set amount of time forces me to focus quickly on the story I want to tell. More times than not, I'll never touch these studies again because I want the painting to remain a study. And let's face it, I usually overwork things if I go back in with lots of time on my side.
This little painting is an exception. The version above is the reworked version. Here is the original after about 3 hours with the model. See if you can tell what I reworked, and I'll explain what I did below.
The first thing that bothered me with my study was that she appeared to be scowling! Nobody wants an angry painting. I gave her a slight brow lift and turned up the corners of her mouth ever so slightly. I zapped up the color on her mouth and gave her a fuller lower lip. Better already.
Then I looked at color temperature. The shadow under her chin was actually very warm, sort of a dark reddish brown. If the shadow is that warm, the light areas of her face will be cooler, and I had painted them quite warm initially. I glazed a layer of light blue over the warm yellowish areas to cool them down, and added light blue highlights.
I looked at the transition between the shadowy area on her cheek and the light area and decided to add a flush of light red to the transition area. Cheek color made her come alive.
And then I put my brushes down! If I kept working, all the spontaneity would be lost. I think this painting says what I wanted it to, and I'll call it quits now.
Last night, I painted with my regular portrait group at Bill's house. Jeannette tucked a red rose behind her ear, which gave our paintings just the right pop of color. My painting is unfinished and has lots of little drawing errors that I would love to attack, but for now, I'm enjoying the spontaneous feel of it. I may even leave it like it is.
Here we are in Bill's studio. Jeannette was wearing a fabulous turquoise blouse that I didn't have time to get to. Bill chose this color combination because the red and blue were positively vibrating against one another.
The other day, I was going through some old paintings stacked in my studio, and I came upon this one. It is my very first portrait painted in oil, oh so many years ago! Miles of canvas later, I'm still enjoying painting people from life. In fact, nothing gives me more joy than capturing someone in art. I have no idea why I'm constantly driven to do so, but I'm still loving the journey and the endless challenge.
Yesterday was an eventful day at the J. Petter Gallery in Saugatuck. I was joined by five other Petter Gallery artists, Eddie Mitchell, Nina Weiss,Carla Sutton, Gert Olsen, and Lisa Vanderhill for the Second Saturday event. We were on hand for the afternoon to paint, chat with visitors, and show our latest work.
"Fractured Sunflowers" was debuted at the show, along with two other large pieces. Images of all my paintings at the Petter Gallery can be seen by clicking on Ann Feldman Petter Gallery.
Here are a couple of photos I snapped during a brief lull in the activity:
One of the highlights of my day was talking with the other artists, trading stories about our history with the gallery. Nina Weiss has been exhibiting there for 25 years! Once again, I pinch myself to make sure I'm awake. Sometimes I can't believe my good fortune to be exhibited there.
And a big shout out of thanks to my dear friend Jayne, who traveled with me and helped me with the schlepping of all those paintings and demo setup. What would I do without you Jayne???
I hope you all will have a chance to visit this wonderful gallery. Tell them Ann sent you!
Before I recap our April class, I'll announce the date of our next class at the BCAC studio in the Ice House Mall in Barrington, IL:
May 4th, 2018
MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!
(Thanks for the pun, Kimberley!)
Please email me to let me know if you'd like to attend this class, from 9:30- 3:30pm. The topic for this class will be "Painting With Abstraction"
And now for our recap:
Four Apples, Four Application Techniques
Artists tell me that sometimes, it's hard to know which brush to use to get the effect that they're after. We focused in our April class on brush selection and technique. Each of the apples above were painted with the same color palette, but you can see that they appear very different from each other. Application of the paint is everything!
THE FILBERT BRUSH
The Filbert Brush
This apple was painted using a filbert brush, which has a semi-oval top. This brush gives us very soft edges and a somewhat thinner paint application because it tends to dig in to the underlying layers if the paint is still wet. In my example, the wet Burnt Sienna wash blended with the other paint colors, giving it a more subdued look. Filbert brushes are wonderful therefore, for painting soft things and subjects with softer edges, such as portraits, furry animals, and clouds.
THE FLAT (OR BRIGHT) BRUSH
The Flat Brush
Flat brushes are great for crisp edges and thicker paint application. Notice the left side of this apple and the defined edge there. And even though I used the same colors as the example above, the colors didn't blend as much with my underlying tone and they remained truer. I use this type of brush for most of my work. It's a great choice for all subjects requiring hard and soft edges, as well as straighter lines. I reach for this brush when I paint architecture, still life subjects with defined edges such as plates and glasses, trunks on trees, furniture, etc.
THE PALETTE KNIFE
For the thickest paint application possible, you can't beat a palette knife. And although you can get some nice hard edges, they probably won't go exactly where you think they will. But that's the beauty of the palette knife- since the paint and the knife have ideas of their own, we're forced to give up on our need to be exact or perfect. Any subject can be painted with a palette knife, and be prepared to use a LOT of paint, and allow the painting to surprise you!
THE ROUND BRUSH
Round brushes are usually used when we are drawing in our initial shapes before we start really painting. In this example, I used a small drawing brush to "scribble in" layers of paint, one on top of the other. This method gives an airy, soft appearance to your paintings. If you'd like to try to make your paintings appear more impressionistic and loose, you may wish to try this method.
I hope you have a chance to try each of these methods to help you discover which one you'd like to try on your next painting!
Whenever I'm feeling a bit rusty, I like to go back to my art school days, and paint the basics. Fruit, elipses, and cloth are wonderful subjects to sharpen my focus and observation skills. And I never tire of painting a still life setup, no matter how simple. Even though the cloth may be orange, I challenge myself to find other colors to describe the cloth without going too bright. And pears almost always have cool colors (green, blue) and warm colors (red, orange, yellow) wandering around in them. Even the bowls are painted with many underlying colors to make them appear more complex, and to give the painting some atmosphere.
I'll be teaching an all day class at the BCAC Studio in the Ice House Mall in Barrington on April 6th, and we'll be talking about brushes and brushwork. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced students sometimes need to "brush up" on what brush to use when! Filberts, flats, brights, rounds, and palette knives all have their jobs to do. Let me know if you'd like to join us in April by sending me an email, and I'll supply you with the details.
I've been away from the easel for a few weeks, and was feeling rusty when I went to my friend Bill's studio to paint Cassidy last night. I decided to make things as simple as possible for myself, spending time on carefully drawing the underlying shapes and finding my darks and lights with a neutral color before adding any color.
I used Burnt Umber, thinned with a bit of mineral spirits to lay down the drawing and find my darks and lights.
Gradually, I built up the color in thin layers, using the initial drawing as my guide. Approaching the portrait in this measured step by step approach kept me on track and in control.
Our ongoing class at the Barrington Cultural Arts Center Studio in the Ice House has covered a lot of ground this fall! The last several classes focused on portraiture and figure painting. Here are a few examples of the demos from these classes:
Painting the Features
Painting the Form of the Head
Abstracting the Head
Abstracting the Figure
And Here's What's Next:
Our next set of classes will focus on brushwork and paint application. Many students have told me that they would love to get back to basics and learn about which brushes to use for different effects, and how to use brushwork to make their paintings more interpretive. This is my favorite subject! I can't wait to dive into this new area.
If you'd like to join us, please send me an email to reserve a spot. Our next class will be on February 16th at the Ice House Mall in Barrington, IL. We start at 9:30am, and class continues until 3:30 to give everyone plenty of time for painting. I'd love to see you there!
The holiday season is upon us, ready or not! This time of year, I reflect on how fortunate I am to have fellow artists, students, and friends who have embarked on this art journey with me. I want to thank you for following me, viewing my art, and perhaps for sending me a word or two now and then. Just knowing that you're out there means the world to me!
For those of you in the area, I've scheduled a class at the BCAC studio in the Ice House in Barrington on Friday, January 12. If you'd like to join us, please send me an email.
Last Friday, I taught a class on portraiture, and I gave a demonstration on how to set up and draw the foundation of a portrait. After the drawing was in and the shadow areas were mapped out, I wanted to show the class that finishing the portrait can be very interpretive and fun. As long as we follow the drawing and shadow/light areas that have already been established, anything goes-- even paint applied thickly with a palette knife!
Since I originated in New Orleans, it stands to reason that there's always a bottle of McIlhenny's Tabasco sauce on our table at home. The other day, I decided to do a quick painting of this constant friend.
This got me to thinking about recognizable brands, like Heinz ketchup, Smucker's jelly, and Wonder bread, and how fun it is to raise them to new status by painting them. Much as Andy Warhol did in his day.
I wrote to the wonderful artist Carol Marine about this, and she thought it would be a good idea to make this project the weekly challenge for Dailypaintworks. Click here to see the challenge, and to see what other artists have done with it. And maybe think about entering the challenge yourself! I'd love to see what you would do-- what brand deserves artistic recognition in your life?
Fall is just around the corner, so it's time to mark our calendars for some upcoming classes at the Ice House! Classes start at 9:30 until noon, then we break for an hour lunch and resume at 1:00, ending at 3:30. We have a demo/lecture from Ann in the morning, then everyone works on their own projects or on a project suggested by Ann. The fee is $65 for the full day, $35 for a half day.
This fall, the demonstrations will focus on portraiture, in keeping with the BCAC's "Back Nine" Project. The basics of setting up a portrait, mixing realistic color, and painting the features will be covered. Students should feel free to work on portrait references during class time, or any subject they would like (landscapes, still life, etc).
Please bring along a portable easel if you have one, and all your usual painting supplies.
Please email Ann at: Ann.firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Looking forward to seeing you there!
"Forgotten Teacup", 9x12" oil on canvas mounted on board
The second half of the Dailypaintworks challenge was tougher than I thought it would be. After copying a master work, we were to paint an original painting with the master work serving as inspiration. I set up a still life, put the Mancini copy on my easel for easy reference, and got to work.
I started painting with the Mancini copy in sight for inspiration
My mantra as I painted was, "Lots of paint, Keep it loose". This part of the challenge was difficult, because now it was up to me to decide which edges I should lose, which highlights to hit the hardest, and what areas I could abstract entirely. Mancini wasn't making the decisions anymore!
A few hours later
One of the most interesting parts of the challenge to me was that no matter how hard I may try to copy the style of a master, when it comes time to paint my own rendition, the painting won't look like it was painted by Mancini. My style surfaces, no matter how hard I try to mimic someone else's. It's my "fingerprint", and while I can absorb the influences of other painters, my paintings will always look pretty much like my own. And I guess that's not an entirely bad thing!
I learned so much from this challenge. If you'd like to see what other people painted, here's the link.
Do you have a favorite painting? One of my favorites in the world is "Resting", by Antonio Mancini. Every time I visit the Art Institute of Chicago, I make a beeline for this painting to marvel at his loose treatment of shapes, thick paint, and rich color. But what always gets to me the most is that glassware on the table! How on earth did he do that? I stand in wonderment while my companions drift into other rooms. I can never tear myself away.
Dailypaintworks had a challenge last week, to copy a master painting. Julie Ford Oliver, a painter I've admired for years, decided to copy a Mancini painting, and she inspired me to swallow my fear and take on the challenge of a Mancini myself!
I started out with a flat brush and quickly found out that I couldn't get his haphazard patterns this way. I switched to a palette knife, and I was off to the races. Most of my time was spent on the background. I couldn't proceed to the glassware until the background was well established. I didn't want to put in a lot of work on the objects if I had to go back in and fuss with what was behind them.
To really get a loose effect, I had to stand back from my easel and let my whole arm move with the knife. At times I was terrified, and at times I was elated. The second half of the challenge is to create a new painting inspired by the painting we copied. I hope I can find the energy to tackle it. For now, I think I'll raise a toast to Mancini and thank him for the lessons he taught me today.
Artists are lucky. We can instantly "photo shop" anything to suit our vision as we paint. I did exactly that with the setup I was using when I painted "Harmony". Here it is:
As I started to paint these hydrangeas, I realized that the colors in the setup were very cool-- all I could see was blue, green, and a little blue-green, even in the flowers! I wanted to introduce some interesting colors, so I imagined my setup without color at all:
When I looked at the reference without any color in it, my mind started to add some colors that weren't there. As long as I stuck to my values (dark, middle, and light), I could add any colors that came to mind, and the painting would read correctly. I also decided to simplify my shapes by using a very large brush.
In the end, my painting isn't a "portrait of flowers", but an "interpretation of flowers", which I felt happy with.
"Glad To See You", 8x8" oil on cradled 2" gesso board, $135
At the J. Petter Gallery
I was so "Glad To See" so many friendly faces at the Petter Gallery this past weekend for the artists' exhibition. Nine artists set up around the gallery to show their techniques while a guitarist played in the background and wine and appetizers were passed. This is the little painting I worked on during the exhibition.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was when three brothers, ages 4 to 8 stopped by to watch me paint. They lined up like silent soldiers and seriously studied every move I made. To break the ice, I showed them the particular flowers I was looking at for my painting, and I asked them, "Do you think my painting looks like the flowers?". The middle brother flatly said "No". Ah well, can't win them all, I thought to myself, and went back to work while the brothers huddled together and whispered. A moment later, the oldest brother stepped up and said, "Excuse me, we don't think your painting looks like the flowers, because we think it looks better". They turned on their heels and marched off to find their parents.
I took a moment to smile and think that perhaps we experienced together what it means to interpret a subject in a painting. Maybe it doesn't look just like the "thing", but after passing through our eyes, our minds, and our hands, something even more descriptive can be the result.
Hi Friends, if you're planing to be in Michigan this weekend, I'd love to see you in Saugatuck on July 8th! I'll be at the J. Petter Gallery from 4:00- 7:00pm, painting and chatting with whoever stops by. I'll also bring along some small paintings like this one to show and sell.
I've just uploaded a new video to Youtube, titled "Palette Knife Painting Techniques in Oil". This video takes you step by step through my palette knife painting process. It's a labor of love; I hope you enjoy it too! I'd love to hear what you think.