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!