Friday, November 30, 2012

Still Waters, 6x8"

You just can't beat Colorado for rocky, wintery scenes.  I captured this moment near Maroon Bells in Aspen last spring.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fleeting Memories, 8x10"

This small painting was created with the help of an App on my phone!  Sharon, a friend at Mainstreet introduced me to "ValueViewer", which allows artists to view their work in grayscale to check on value massing.  My painting started as it was below left.  It didn't have much punch or excitement, so I downloaded it into the App and looked at it in grayscale (below right).  I could see that I needed to separate my darks and lights a bit more for drama.  I deepened the darks and lightened the lights, and I'm much happier with the result.

If you would be interested in purchasing this painting, please click on Ann Feldman Memories.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Autumn Reflections II, 10x8"

The fall here in the Midwest has been spectacular.  I couldn't resist painting another scene with our autumn colors!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Art Room-- A Blog to Check Out

"Children At the Beach", Joaquin Sorolla

Every now and then, I stumble upon a wonderful blog that I think you might like to know about.  Have you heard about The Art Room?  It's written by Taryn Day, a fantastic artist and friend of mine through Daily Paintworks.  Every month, Taryn chooses a theme and then posts work by artists both living and from the past who have noteworthy work in that area.  

This month, Taryn is exploring the art of the nude, and I sent her a few of my favorite Joaquin Sorolla paintings of children playing on the beach.  I've learned about so many new artists from her site, I thought you might like to drop in and see what's new also.  Taryn also conducts very lengthy interviews with contemporary artists about their work and motivation.  It's just fascinating!  I hope you enjoy your visit there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autumn on the Lake, 10x8"

"Autumn on the Lake", 10x8", Oil on Canvas mounted on Hardboard, Palette Knife

I will be donating the sale price of this palette knife painting to the American Red Cross as part of the Daily Paintworks Hurricane Sandy Relief Challenge. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Autumn Reflections, 8x10"

This painting was created as a demo for my Impressionism workshop at Mainstreet Art Centre.  It was painted with a palette knife and loads of oil paint.  Everyone tried their hand at the scene, and the results were spectacular.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Painting Portraits with Kevin Bielfuss

Portrait of Christie, Oil on Gessoed Hardboard, 16x20"  Ann Feldman

On the next day in the Kevin Bielfuss workshop, I attempted a looser, more painterly portrait.  I'm not happy yet, but I'm getting happier!  This portrait was painted on a hardboard (masonite) that was coated very thickly with gesso applied with a palette knife.  I love this surface because it forces an impressionistic feel from the very beginning, since there are so many cracks and crevasses in the gesso, and the oil paint sinks into them so beautifully.

Below are a few portrait "starts" by Kevin.  Notice that he starts very loosely (he doesn't measure), and he switches from raw sienna to pink as he moves ahead.  I think it's really helpful to see how an artist starts his paintings to understand the process underneath it all.

Here are a few notes that I found in my notebook after the class:

1. If a painting isn't going well, try doing the opposite of what you see going on.  Is it too soft?  Add impact.  Is it tight?  Loosen it up.  Dull?  Try a shot of color.

2.  Paintings can be thought of as cakes-- you need the "cake" or the structure before you can add the "icing", or the flourishes at the end.

3.  He thinks of his paintings as drawings; his work is very linear.  In the end stages, he brings his lines together and softens areas that need it.

4. His goal is to suggest rather than render his subject, because he finds this technique more interesting to look at.

There was so much to learn in this workshop!  I recommend Kevin's workshops to anyone interested in learning to paint the figure more abstractly, or anyone interested in taking their figure painting to the next level!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kevin Bielfuss Workshop, Day 1

Oil Sketch of Christie, Ann Feldman 9x11"

How lucky am I?  A workshop with Jeff Watts in August, and now Kevin Bielfuss here at Mainstreet in Illinois!  These last few months have been a time of study, practice, and hopefully of growth for me.  

If you've seen Kevin's work before, you may have been struck by the the beautiful abstract quality of his paintings which are also based solidly on reality.  My goal in studying with Kevin was to learn how to make my paintings more interesting by "abstracting" my compositions.  In other words, I wanted to learn how to design my paintings with geometric forms, rather than just the subject of my painting.  The sketch I attempted above was done on the first day of the workshop, and I'm inching closer to my goal. I tried to break up the space behind the model into interesting abstracted shapes.

Kevin painted a demo for us on the first day (below).  He starts his paintings very loosely, using a paper drawing stump dipped in mineral spirits and raw sienna.  This gives him the ability to compose without going too dark too quickly.  He then switches to a tiny brush with raw sienna to nail down his drawing.   He then dips his brush into different colors (pink and blue) to give him a road map of his most recent strokes.

He spent a good deal of his time working on the head of the model in the painting.  Using a thicker flat brush, he moved quickly around the painting to fill in and connect the forms around the model.

I'll share more with you from the workshop in the next few days.  Thanks so much for visiting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Charlie's Angels, 28x24"

You guessed it-- Dad's name is Charlie!  This is one of those projects I was sorry to see end.  I will miss their smiling faces in my studio.  The painting is home now in New York City.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Open Studio Session with Paula, 12x16"

Portrait season is back again at Mainstreet!  During the fall and winter months, we meet every two weeks to paint with models.  Last night, fellow artist Paula donned a scarf and sat for us.  I tried to stay mindful of not over blending my color and leaving the painting quite loose overall. I didn't want all those hours spent with Jeff Watts to go down the drain.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Sky" Has a New Home

Sky, 20x16"

Dear Friends, I'm happy to announce that "Sky" has a new home-- the Button Petter Gallery in Saugatuk, Michigan.  They have chosen me to be their newest exhibiting artist, and I couldn't be more excited.  During their open house yesterday, I was treated like the newest member of a very happy family, and I met several artists there whom I have long admired.  I have to pinch myself regularly to make myself believe that I will have paintings hanging alongside theirs.  It's a dream come true.

And now I have to get to work! They are expecting more work, and I have to deliver.  If I go "radio silent" on my blog for awhile, it means I'm up in the studio, slapping on the paint.  I promise to try to get some sun now and then.  And some coffee.  I think I'm going to need it.

Thank you so much for your continuing support.  I appreciate it much more than you know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Last Day with Jeff Watts

Copy of Dan Gerhartz Portrait

I'm jumping ahead to the last day of the Jeff Watts workshop to spare you my growing pains and frustrations with myself.  I always tell myself that if a workshop seems easy and I produce really good work with each project, I'm probably not pushing myself enough.  Suffice to say that all my work during my week with Jeff was not beautiful.  But I did have many "Aha" moments.  Here are a few of them:

SLOW DOWN.  Loose painterly paintings just look as if they were created quickly.  In fact, it takes a lot of time and thought to interpret a painting rather than just copy what's in front of you.

THINK ABOUT WHAT'S BENEATH THE SURFACE.  In figurative and portrait work, understanding the anatomy under the skin solves many problems.

USE MORE PAINT.  Skimpy paint makes wimpy paintings (OK, that's my quote, but I learned it with Jeff).  Illumination happens with generous thick paint.

PAINT ABSTRACTIONS.  Look for abstract shapes everywhere and paint them.  The end result is a painting that is interesting to look at.

USE SMALLER BRUSHES.  Loose paintings can look as if they were created with large swaths of paint applied with large brushes.  Often, they are not.  Paint small abstractions and meld them together in the last phase of painting.  This will give you a controlled approach which will be more successful.

I hope that you enjoyed my workshop notes with Jeff Watts.  He certainly inspired me to push myself and my painting in new directions.  I would certainly recommend his workshops to you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gesture Portrait, Jeff Watts Workshop

Monochrome Gesture Portrait

On the third day of the Jeff Watts workshop, we created quick gesture portraits of a model who sat all day for us.  I decided to concentrate on my lights/darks and edges (and besides, my knees were knocking from nervousness) so I stuck with the monochrome portrait.  I learned how to pick out abstract shapes in the face to make it more interesting to look at.  I also learned to make edges disappear so that the viewer has to fill in some information.

Gesture Portrait, Jeff Watts

And here is Jeff's fantastic full color portrait, painted in a single sitting.  He starts with transparent washes of color over most of the canvas, then goes in with smaller brushes to pick out the abstract shapes that he sees.  He constantly moves all around the canvas, laying in new color, then going back to paint shapes next to every brush stroke.  A very difficult technique to attempt, but I learned so much just watching him paint!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Late Summer in the Forest, 9x12"

I want to invite all my friends and artists to come to the Art in Nature event on September 23rd at the Crabtree Forest Preserve in Barrington.  I'll be there, rain or shine, painting out in nature.  Artists will be painting all through the forest that day, and there will be music and children's activities, too.  Plenty of art to see and purchase!  The hours will be 10:30-4:00.  I hope I'll see you there!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Figure Studies, Jeff Watts Workshop

On the second day of the workshop, we got down to the serious business of painting figures using burnt umber and white.  I learned something very important that day-- I tended to smooth things out on my figure studies, which made them boring!  Jeff suggested that I paint abstract shapes in different directions on the model to make them interesting to look at.

And here's a reason that figure studies are difficult.  You have to understand the anatomy underneath it all and build out from there.  Here is an example of how Jeff starts a figure study.

He plots the skeleton and major muscle structures before he begins to paint.  Taking the time to study anatomy is well worth the effort when painting figures and portraits.  He showed us an App that he uses called "Visible Body" which shows the skeleton and muscle groups from every layer and angle.  It even shows the muscles in motion.  I hope that I'll have the discipline to delve into this and stick with it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jeff Watts Workshop, Day 1

"Hemal", 12x16",  Ann Feldman

I'm just back from Encinitas, California, where I spent a week in a portrait/figurative workshop with Jeff Watts.  First of all, I'd like to say that being a serious student in Encinitas over Labor Day is nearly impossible.  Constant parades of surfers on their way to the beach and the sound of clinking Margarita glasses on neighboring decks were quite a distraction!   I decided to be good during the day and enjoy Encinitas in the evenings.  My mom and sister-in-law breezed through and enjoyed the good life with me, too.  A good balance, I think...

The first day, we watched Jeff demo a monochrome pick-out (below), then we tried our hand at it with a wonderful model/student named Hemal.  The drawing is laid down on a white panel and sprayed with fixative.  Washes of Burnt Umber are painted over the entire surface, and the darks are laid in with smaller brushes and the light areas are "picked out" with cotton swabs, cotton cloths, and paper towel.  

"Demo Head Study", 12x16", Jeff Watts

Don't let Jeff's painterly style fool you-- he works slowly and methodically throughout the painting process.  He constantly looks for anatomical abstractions and paints them in one by one, connecting them as he goes along.  Artist Note: He told us not to forget that edges and value are non-tolerant.  They must be rendered correctly.  Composition and color are where the creativity and fun happen.  

I'll be posting more from this very enlightening workshop.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Breakfast in Montreal, 6x8"

This is a quick oil sketch of my niece Jorie having her breakfast "al fresco" in Montreal. I used a hardboard that had been coated with several thick layers of gesso to give the painting a nice rough impressionistic feel from the beginning.

Friday, August 17, 2012

So Much for Galoshes, 8x10"

I was lucky enough to snap this scene in Montreal last month.  I couldn't help but smile at the never-ending battle of parents everywhere who try to keep their kids dressed appropriately for the weather, only to turn around and find that all their attempts are for nothing!  To bid on this painting, please click on Ann Feldman Galoshes.

DEMO ANNOUNCEMENT:  If you are an artist in the Chicago area, I'll be giving a painting demonstration for the Palatine Art League on September 7th.  It would be great to see you there!  Email for information and to register.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Dock at First Light, 10x8"

Ann's Painting
If you are interested in this painting please click here.

Once a week or so, I join my good friends Frankie and Barb (both wonderful teachers and painters!) to kayak around Lake Zurich in the early morning before we start our day.  Yesterday, the light was so glorious that we vowed to return the next day at first light to paint.  

Frankie's Painting

Barb's Painting

We spent about an hour and a half on the dock, pointed in the same direction.  I love coming up for air at the end of an intense painting session to see how each artist interpreted the same scene.  Each person leaves their distinctive "fingerprint" on the scene, and we each chose to highlight something different in our painting.

Thanks Frankie and Barb, what a great way to start the day!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Survivors, 6x6"

I respect any flower that can withstand our drought-plagued summer here in the Midwest.  These tiny beauties are my tough survivors (I'm so proud of them!).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tea Roses, 10x8"

A student at Mainstreet brought in a little cluster of tea roses from her garden and put them on the front desk.  They were so perfect I couldn't resist painting them.

To bid on this painting, please click Ann Feldman Tea Roses.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Floral Fantasy, 16x12"

This is another piece that I recently shipped off to the East End Gallery in Nantucket.  I painted this one in one marathon session.  The three yellow flowers were established first, and then the rest was added, subtracted, moved, and painted over about a thousand times.  This process is fun and frustrating at the same time, and I'm left with lots of very wet paint on the canvas and on myself.  I do wish the Fed Ex man would alert me when I open the door with a purple mustache.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spanish Platter, 12x12"

I have a new relationship with the East End Gallery in Nantucket this summer.  Business is good and paintings are selling!  This painting is one of a group that I sent out east recently.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Clear Blue Friends, 16x12"

Painting glass is just about the most fun you can have in art, in my opinion.  The balance of transparency along with the blue color of the jars had to be just right, but I tried to keep these jars as simple as possible and not fuss with them too much.

This painting is no longer available. Thank you for your interest in my art!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Telephone Posies, 8x10"

You must be wondering where on earth the telephone is in this painting!  Well, I put telephone in the title because this little still life reminded me of the telephone game we all played when we were kids.  I started with the setup shown below, and painted it in a very restrained, realistic fashion.  Then I used the second painting as a reference for the third painting, but I painted this version in a very impressionistic method.  Interesting to see the evolution from beginning to end, I think.

To bid on this painting, please click on Ann Feldman Posies.  Thank you!

I painted the last version as part of a demo for the Barrington Cultural Arts Council yesterday.  We discussed the differences in approach and technique for traditional paintings and impressionistic ones.  We covered everything from new colors in toning the canvas to painting with broken color and losing edges.  Great questions from the participants and a few good laughs made for a very enjoyable afternoon! Thank you BCAC!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mariana came in to pose for our last portrait class last week.  I'm already looking forward to starting classes again next fall!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Demo at Hoffman Estates

I visited my friends at the Hoffman Estates Art League recently to put on a demo on Impressionist painting techniques.  I took a traditional painting and re-worked it impressionistically.  Here is the result after two hours of intense talking and painting.  We discussed drawing, edges, and broken color, just to name a few things.  This was painted using thick paint and flat brushes, switching to a palette knife at the very end.

And here's a little announcement:  I've posted some favorite paintings as notecards for sale.  If you would be interested, please click here.

Thank you for your interest in my art!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thanks A Latte, 8x10"

Hi Friends,  Thanks to all of you who have been showing support to me these last several months.  You know who you are-- blog followers, students, teachers, neighbors, friends old and new.  You've taken the time and effort to give me encouragement in some way, and I am so grateful.

Thanks a latte!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Sunday Afternoon", 14x11" Oil (Palette Knife) on Board.  Sold.
"Sunday Showoff", 6x6" Oil (Palette Knife) on Board.  Sold.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

La Playa (Oil Sketch), 8x6" (sold)

The past few weeks at Mainstreet Art Centre have been dedicated to small, quick studies done in 15 minute increments to encourage everyone to put down the most important elements of the painting without any detail or "over thinking". Frankie Johnson has been leading this project, with great success and breakthroughs for everyone! I couldn't resist sneaking in the back of the class to try my hand at a few. (Thank you Frankie!) This is a quick study of a beach scene which I may develop into an actual painting. Thank you for your interest in my art!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Flowers for the Table, 12x12"

Yellow is a difficult color to keep fresh in a painting. Every time another color is added to it, the intensity is weakened quite a bit. To get the flowers to appear fresh, I put on thick paint with a palette knife at the very end of my process. To keep the yellow "bouncing around" in the painting, I mixed it into almost all of the other colors-- including the purple! To bid on this painting, please click on Ann Feldman Flowers for the Table.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Carnaval II, 9x12"

Today was "play day"! I pulled out all the media that I never use anymore: watercolor, gesso, ink, charcoal, and pastel, and started to throw it on various papers and boards. I had five different projects going, and decided to take this one to completion. If I'm still feeling adventurous, I'll develop the others, too.