Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Sunday Morning, Aix en Provence" 20x16"

Aix en Provence was full of surprises.  We were walking along a narrow cobblestone street when all at once, our path opened up into a town square filled to the brim with flower stalls.  The light, the color, and the fragrance caught us off guard.  A few steps further and we were back on the quiet cobblestones again.

Friday, October 31, 2014

"Red Bicycle, Paris", 11x14"

I think I could paint for a year using all the references I got in France over the last two weeks!  I was there with my mom and my niece to study the works and workspaces of the Impressionists.  One piece of information that stuck with me is that the Impressionists were quite scientific about their use of color. Complementary colors were used especially effectively by all of them.

In this piece, I used the complements purple/yellow to mix my grays, and I used red/green for the more vibrant colors.  I hope these lessons stay with me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Tuesday Morning", 5x7"

This past month has held a bumper crop of classes and workshops to be taught.  The palette knife painting above was created as a demo for one of my knife painting workshops, and I titled it "Tuesday Morning" simply because that is when it was painted!

Last month's marathon was culminated with a two day Color Theory workshop at Mainstreet in Lake Zurich, IL.  We pared our palettes down to five basic colors plus white, then got to mixing.  People were very surprised to learn that most of the "premixed" paint colors that we buy can be mixed using a simple palette-- including Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Viridian.  I still don't think they'd believe me if they hadn't mixed all these colors and then some on their own!

The last afternoon of the workshop, participants painted from black and white references and had to choose a color scheme: Monochromatic, Triadic, Complementary, Split Complementary, or Analagous.  Below are some of the paintings they created.  I was so excited to see the beautiful color harmonies they achieved!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Painting Knife Workshop

I was getting ready to teach a Painting Knife workshop this weekend, and stumbled upon a couple of Oldies But Goodies that I thought I'd pull out of the archives.  Both were painted thinly at first, using a brush, then I got out the trusty knife and laid down thick paint over everything I could.  They are still among my all time favorites.

And now for a little news-- I've started to teach art in the continuing education department at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.  So far, so good!  Still teaching at Mainstreet, too.

If you get Southwest Art magazine, you'll see an ad with some of my paintings there this month.  It was part of their American Impressionist Society feature.

Lots of teaching, not much posting!  I hope to get back to the easel very soon!

Friday, August 29, 2014

"Sunporch Bouquet" 9x12"

Early morning on my sunporch has the most serene filtered light.  Even a bunch of haphazard flowers from my garden plopped unceremoniously into a milk bottle have a wonderful glow about them. I want to hold on to these last summer moments before they disappear into fall.

For purchase information, please click on Ann Feldman Sunporch.

Friday, August 8, 2014

"The Barn Theater", 16x12"

This is a commission that I had to smile through as I was painting it.  It's a wedding present (sshh!) and the bride and groom met as actors at this theater near Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I hope they enjoy owning it as much as I enjoyed painting it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

"The Sentiment of Sunflowers" 24x12"

Sometimes, when I'm feeling "stuck", I'll pull out a completely new shape of canvas to shake things up a bit.  This long rectangular shape allowed me to focus on the abstract shapes of the flowers without having to go into a lot of detail on the vase or the background.

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Three Pears" Is Off To The AIS Show!

"Three Pears" has been selected for the 15th Annual American Impressionist Society national show.  I hope that if you will be in Denver in the fall, you'll try to stop by and see this amazing show.  Here are the details:

American Impressionist Society 15th Annual National Juried Exhbition

Reception: 10/2/2014 5 to 8pm
Location: Abend Gallery
2260 E Colfax Ave
Denver CO 80206

For the list of juried artists, click  here

Monday, July 21, 2014

"Flower Dance", 16x20"

"All real works of art look as though they were done in joy." - Robert Henri, The Art Spirit.

This past week or so, I've been searching for the joy, to no avail.  Days on end were spent painting, and each day ended with a thorough scraping.  I had nothing to show for my efforts.  I looked at my work at the end of the day, and saw no joy in the painting before me.  Rather than waste more time (and paint) trying to make something joyless look less so, I decided to scrap it all and start again.  And again.  And again.

Today, I pulled out a painting I had started months ago.  I started to fling paint at it with a palette knife, then I scraped through it and started again.  But this time, I'm happy to say, I saw the joy start to creep back in.  Instead of throwing it on the scrap heap, I'll post it in the hopes that you see a bit of joy in it too!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Couple of Portraits, 9x12 each

I've been asked many times if I have tried to translate my loose style into portraiture. Until recently, I haven't dared to, since I was afraid that when I loosened things up, I'd lose the likeness of my sitter.  I watched two of the best in person-- Jeff Watts and Carolyn Anderson as they painted portraits from life that were loose and interpretive.  "Nice for them", I thought.  But I'll never be able to do that!

Then I tried something completely new.  I painted these two portraits using only a very small round brush (#1, can you believe it?).  I scratched the poor thing down to the nub, but I learned that I can use paint in much the same way I can use a drawing medium, such as charcoal or pastel.  If I started to get tight, I'd use the brush to scratch away at the hard edges.   

As for the likeness, I found that as long as I have the eyes, nose and mouth in the right place, I could be pretty interpretive with the rest of the painting.  It's a baby step, but it was fun, and I'm ready to do some more!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Fall Teaching Schedule

My Fall Workshop Schedule has just been finalized, and I wanted you to be amongst the first to know. All of these workshops will be held at Mainstreet Art Centre, Lake Zurich, IL.

PALETTE KNIFE PAINTING, September 12 & 13, 2014.  Bring your palette knife, lots of paint, and a bit of courage to this workshop.  We'll be creating paintings together using only our palette knives.  Participants will learn how to manipulate paint and keep control of the process, ending with vibrant, exciting paintings.

COLOR THEORY, October 2 & 3, 2014.  This two day class will include lectures, demonstrations, and class projects to help to demystify color mixing and theory.  

IMPRESSIONISTIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES, November 3-24, 2014, Weekly on Tuesday Mornings.  Loosen up your painting style and explore new techniques to unleash your creativity.  We will be working with techniques such as "Fracturing" and "Destroy and Rebuild", as well as exploring different surfaces to give our paintings new life and atmosphere.

I'm excited to tell you that I'll be traveling to France in October to visit the studios, museums, and landscapes of the Impressionists.  I'll have so much to share when I'm back.  I cannot wait!

I hope you'll be able to join me for a workshop or two!  

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Homecoming", 12x9", And Artists Beware the Latest Scam

Well, I nearly fell for the latest scam out there, and I wanted to warn my artist friends about it.  I was contacted by a very nice "woman" named "Mary Collins" who wanted to buy three of my small pieces from me.  She loved my art!  Couldn't wait to see it on her wall!  Could I tell her my inspiration for each of these pieces?  I was happily reeled in for awhile, loving her compliments and enthusiasm for my work (what artist can't resist that?).  Then things got interesting.

"Mary" was in the process of moving to a new home.  And she was attending her sister's wedding, so she had her husband's private assistant make out a check to me.  When it arrived, it was a whopping $1,200 more than I had asked.  She told me that her husband's PA made a "terrible mistake", so could I please send the difference to her along with the paintings?  CUE THE ALARM BELLS!

I sprinted to my computer and looked up ART SCAMS.  Sure enough, these people are able to produce very authentic looking checks that get deposited into your bank account.  Your bank accepts the check at first, and puts the money in your account.  In the meantime, you cut a check back to the crooks.  Five days later, the bank finds out it's a phony and deducts the amount from your account, leaving you high and dry.

The only thing I lost was 15 minutes of my time, describing my paintings.  Not too bad.  If you're reading this "Mary", better start packing.  The authorities are on their way!

And now for something a bit more pleasant:  "Homecoming" is a scene from Nantucket, and it is in the East End Gallery in Nantucket.  I will not let the crooks get me down!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Isabella Stewart Gardner Courtyard", 10x8" And the Evolution of A Painting

The highlight of a visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is the central courtyard.  She designed the walls surrounding the courtyard based on the architecture of Venice, and when the sun filters down through the tree branches and rests on the priceless statues that are scattered about, the feeling can be quite transcendent!

I knew I wanted to paint a scene from this courtyard, but cameras are strictly forbidden everywhere in the museum-- only pencils and paper are allowed.  Good thing I never leave home without my trusty sketchbook.

When I arrived home, I went right to work.  I didn't want to forget the colors that I had committed  to memory.

My first "go" looked a bit lifeless, so I took a clean brush and destroyed it a bit to lose some edges and put a feeling of energy into it.

I calmed it down and adjusted the color.  I'm not sure that it's a perfect replica, but it is what remained in my imagination.

For purchase information, please click on Ann Feldman Gardner Courtyard.

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Windsong, Nantucket" 12x9"

I'm on my way today to visit daughter Emily in Boston.  I've convinced her that a trip to the Isabella Gardner museum is a "must" on our itinerary!  I will show you highlights of our visit, if I'm allowed to photograph there.

"Windsong, Nantucket" is in the East End Gallery in Nantucket.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Turnip Tempest", 12x12"

If you've  had a chance to check out my Youtube video, you know how much I love to fracture and destroy my paintings as I create them!  This painting is about as close to complete abstraction as I've ever come.  The world hasn't ended as a result, so I think I'll do some more of these.

"Turnip Tempest" is available through the East End Gallery in Nantucket.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Echoes of Innocence", 18x24" And A New YouTube

And now for a little exciting news: I have just finished my very first Youtube!  It is titled "Impressionistic Painting Techniques with Ann Feldman".  I hope that if you have a few minutes, you'll take a look.  Click on Ann Feldman Youtube to visit.  And please feel free to share it with other artists and friends!

Here's a little story behind this painting.  A few months ago, I was playing tennis with my usual vigor and abandon.  All of a sudden, the ball was coming straight at me, and I had a "deer in the headlights" moment.  At the last instant, I put my hand out to block the ball and ended up breaking my finger and knuckle in several places.  Naturally, it was my ring finger, so the wedding ring ended up getting sawed off in the ER.  After forgetting the ring in the examining room, I was reunited with it again later that day.

To say that my tennis friend felt bad for what I went through that day is an understatement!  OK, so here's where the painting comes in:  she sent me these beautiful flowers to speed my recovery, so I decided to paint them.  And here they are!  This painting is available through the Button Petter Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Job Well Done", 14x11"

Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg, Illinois is an artist's dream locale.  The farm is kept as it was in the 1800's, and all the workers do their jobs in period costume.  I feel just like one of the kids that arrive in droves in school buses when I'm there.  When I catch a scene like this one, my heart skips a beat and I feel very lucky indeed.

This painting is in Saugatuck, Michigan at the Button Petter Gallery.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Paulette", 12x16" Painting with Three Colors

Last week, I taught a two day workshop in Huntley, Illinois on Color.  We worked with a limited palette of red, yellow, and blue to really learn the properties of the colors and how to mix them effectively.  On the evening between the two classes, I went to open studio to paint.  All I had on my palette were my three colors, so I decided to put my theory to the test and paint only with what I had.  This portrait is the result.

Paulette is a student of mine who has just graduated from high school.  We will miss her so much when she leaves to go to college.  An accomplished artist who will go on to do fabulous things with her life.

Below, you can see the color wheel that we mixed in class.  (My students were MUCH neater than I was).  Three colors can go a long way, and can eliminate a lot of confusion along the way.  Once we have a really good understanding of the primary properties, we can go on to add other colors to our palette.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Reflections in Blue", 20x24"

Once again, I took a perfectly fine and "normal" looking painting and fractured it to make it more interesting (at least to me).  This one is on its way to the East End Gallery in Nantucket.  I hope it's happy there!

Tomorrow, I'll be giving my very first workshop on Color in Huntley, Illinois to the Pencil and Palette Club.  I've been having many requests for this workshop, and will be offering it in the fall at Mainstreet Art Centre.  The first day of the workshop, we'll concentrate on mixing pure, vivid colors, and the second day, we will be working in the "mud".  I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teaching Notes: It's Not Easy Being Green!

Over the weekend, I spent some time at Crabtree Nature Preserve with some intrepid landscape enthusiasts.  Our mission: to paint a predominantly green landscape with interesting color and solid values (like us!).

We started our very green project with a bright red wash. Red, as we know, is the complement of green, so we had a nice color vibration underneath our painting from the outset.  We then drew in the major shapes of the landscape using the same bright red color on our drawing brushes.

It's hard to see the forest for the trees!  In order to see the major value areas and shapes, we turned our reference photos upside down. This forces our minds to quiet down and stop commanding us to paint in a certain way.  We can more easily observe our subject as puzzle pieces of value and color.

Instead of painting our landscape in green, green, and more green, we asked ourselves, "what other colors can be used in this value area?" Out came surprising combinations of purple, orange, and blue, just to name a few.

A few of the finished products!  Way to go, artists!!!


I'm putting together my teaching schedule at Mainstreet in Lake Zurich, IL for next year, so I'd love to know if there is a workshop or class you'd be interested in.  So far, I've had requests for Palette Knife, Fracturing, and Color Workshops.  The Portrait and Impressionism Classes have also been popular, but I want to offer what YOU are interested in, so if you have any thoughts, shoot me an email or leave me a comment here.

And thank you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

"The Poetry of Abstraction" 18x24"

Sometimes, when a painting is going nowhere, the more I try to make it work, the worse it looks.  At that point, the best thing to do is to admit that it's a loss and hack away at it with abandon.  It's ruined anyway, so why not?

That is exactly what happened with this painting.  The original version is below, and I hated it.  So I put fresh paint over the whole thing, then took a palette knife to it, fractured it, and painted it again.  I think the new version is more interesting to look at, and the color is fresher.  And what the heck, it's something different!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"The Logic of a Summer Garden II" 20x16"

I had so much fun fracturing my last piece, I decided to do it again!  This painting went with us to Saugatuck and is happily hanging at the Button Petter Gallery.  (Can a painting be happy?  Well, I'm happy that it's there!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

"The Logic of a Summer Garden I" 20x16"

This is an example of the "Fracturing" technique that I've been experimenting with lately.  I had my paintings lined up at the studio for framing the other day, and a young boy pointed at this one and said,"It looks shattered!" Made me happy to know that my intention was understood by one so young.

This painting is shown at the Button Petter Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Expectant Spring II" 11x14"

In an attempt to keep the lessons I learned in Carolyn Anderson's class fresh in my mind, I painted another pastoral scene today.  This time, I "bounced" a bit of red into my greens to be sure that my color was harmonized throughout.  

And here is another scene from New Harmony Indiana that I thought you might enjoy.  Painters were descending on the town in preparation for the "First Brush of Spring" plein air paintout, and so many people were happy to chat with them and see their latest works.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Expectant Spring" 11x14", And some thoughts on Carolyn Anderson's Workshop

I'm just back from another whirlwind week in New Harmony, Indiana, where I attended a workshop with Carolyn Anderson.  What an eye-opening experience! Here are some highlights of what I learned from Carolyn:

Try not to paint "things".  Instead, focus on line, value, color, and shape.

When painting from a photo, try not to go too dark.  As we know, photos lie, and darks can get darker, lights get lighter.  We have to adjust for this.

Pay close attention to color harmony and temperature.  In the painting above, I didn't have a good temperature balance. Carolyn showed me how to "bounce" a cool blueish/green color throughout the painting to make it seem more cohesive.

I'll have some more thoughts on my time with Carolyn in future posts.  In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from the idyllic town of New Harmony!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Aspen Season" 5x7" And thoughts on palette knife painting

This tiny painting was created using only a palette knife.  It can be pretty intimidating to try to paint with a knife and lots of thick, uncontrollable paint, but I've found that if you keep a few things in mind as you paint, the process can be simplified and made a lot less scary.

First, start with a really good "map" underneath your painting.  The drawing below is what I had underneath my painting.  Each area is labeled with an L (for light), M (for middle), or D (for dark).  These are reminders for my values (light vs dark) as I paint.  The sky, yellow trees, and the foreground are labeled "L" because they are the lightest areas of the painting.  Background trees are "D" because they are dark, and the hillside is labeled "M" because it falls in the middle value range.

Once I have my map ready, I start to lay in my paint with my knife.  Another rule that I live by is to paint the areas farthest away and work up to the closest areas.  In this case, the sky is where I started, then I moved to the background trees, then the hill, then the foreground.  The yellow trees and the trunks were the last things to be touched. When I do this, I lay paint on top of paint, and I don't have  to paint around anything.  It also keeps my paint areas fresh and clean.

I hope that you try to paint with a palette knife-- it is a guaranteed way to loosen up your paintings!

For purchase information, please click on "Ann Feldman Aspen Season".

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Abstracted Flowers", 9x12"

I was in the mood this morning to throw some paint around, so I took out my palette knife and went to town.  Is this too much?  Did I go too far?  I confess that this was the most I've enjoyed a painting session in quite some time.  Sometimes a pleasant morning should be the only goal, so I guess in that, I've succeeded.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Just A Thought" 9x12", And a Lesson in Painting the Eye

Terry stopped in to pose for our Open Studio session last night.  Since I had been painting all that day, I was warmed up and ready to go.  I put down thick paint with a bare minimum of detail.  I decided to stop painting as soon as I had a good gesture.  If I noodled it with it any more, I think I would have killed the spontaneity.

In my Monday Evening Portrait class, we have been working on painting features.  Here is my method for painting an eye ( I used a #2 filbert brush for the entire process):

 We will use a photo of Christy for our model.

 After putting down a base of light skin tone, I find the entire shadow area of the eye socket.  I put this in with a middle value of purple warmed with a bit of cadmium red.

 On the top of the shadow form, I paint in the brow with a dark mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

 Once the brow is in, I can see where the iris belongs.  Using the same mixture as the brow, I loosely paint in the iris.

I add the lash line with the same dark mixture.

 I add the "white" of the eye, which in reality is a very light gray.  I find the lid crease and darken it.

 And now for the fun part-- the details!  I highlighted the lid and the brow bone.  I darkened the shadow underneath the eye to give it more dimension.  Then I added a hint of red in the tear duct and placed a tiny highlight on the eye between the pupil and the colored area of the eye.  I lightened the eye color on the bottom half of the iris.  Voila!