Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We Have History


Jen With Glasses, May, 2017


I've been painting portraits from live model sittings for many years now.  Heaven knows I don't do it for fame or fortune; I rarely sell one of these paintings, and I have dozens of them stacked high in my studio.  On the evenings when I get together with my fellow artists to gather around a model, it's often snowing or raining hard, and I don't get home again until around 11:00pm.  




Painting Jen in the Studio



So why do I do it, week after week, year after year?  Because no other subject gives me a thrill the way capturing a person's likeness, and sometimes even their personality on canvas does. I can paint a really wonderful apple or bunch of flowers, or even a sunset and be happy with it, but I'm never as fulfilled as I am after a session with a live, breathing human being in front of me, surrounded by like-minded artists who are my friends.  

We are all after the same thing-- to describe and translate the uniqueness of the person sitting before us onto canvas.  And when we come close, we feel that thrill.

And we will be back next week!


Jen, 2013




Jen, 2016










Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Fairy Dance", 24x12"

"Fairy Dance", oil on gesso board, 24x12"

You might not believe this but I actually stumbled upon this very scene last summer!  John and I were poking around the shops in Telluride and came outside to see this little group of fairies putting on a performance for their parents in a tiny park.  I couldn't have posed them any better if I had tried.  I loved the way the sunshine lit up their wings.

So often, fairies are idealized in paintings to represent the most beautiful and graceful creatures that we can imagine.  Another reason this scene grabbed my heart was the coltish awkwardness and innocence of the scene.  These fairies were dancing with abandon for those who love them best.  

And what artist could resist painting a scene like that?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Starting with a Transparent Wash


"Meditation on Joy"
9x12", oil on canvas mounted on hardboard
The Hildt Gallery, Chicago

I thought I'd try a completely different approach with this little floral abstract painting.  Instead of setting up a floral arrangement to paint from, I thought I'd let the painting "create itself" this time.  




I started the painting with a little bit of paint and a whole lot of Gamsol (a paint solvent) to make my oil paint behave similarly to watercolor paint.  I dropped the different colors on the canvas and let them run together and spill right off the bottom.  All the while, I was observing what parts of the painting were speaking to me.  I wanted to develop the areas I liked with just enough detail without ruining the spontaneity of the abstract underneath.


Little by little, I snuck up on the painting, adding small dashes of color wherever I wanted to.  This was a pretty long, drawn out process.  After every few brush strokes, I stepped back about six feet and asked myself what I should do next.  To me, the process of abstract painting is much more intensive and tiring than painting from a reference.  In abstract painting, it's just you and the painting, without any outside guidance from reality.  


After this painting is mounted and framed, it's off to the Hildt Gallery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Spring Class Dates

"Transparent Wash" Demonstration

ANNOUNCING SPRING CLASS SCHEDULE 
AT THE ICE HOUSE 


I have some new class dates to share with you for the spring and early summer. If you’d like to join us on any of these dates, please send me an email so I can put your name on the class list, and I will confirm with you a week before the class.  Prepayment will confirm your spot.  Classes have waitlists, so to avoid disappointment, please sign up early!

April 7th June 9th
May 5th June 30th
May 26th

We meet in the studio at the Ice House Mall in Barrington.  Class starts at 9:30 with a demo/lecture from me, then everyone works on their own projects, or a project suggested by me.  We break at noon for lunch, then resume at 1:00 until 3:30 for more painting time.  

For the morning only session, the fee is $35.  The whole day fee is $65.  Participants have enjoyed having the entire day to devote to painting, and we get a lot done. I hope you can join us! 



















“Painting on Black Gesso” demonstration                                                           "Fracturing" demonstration


                                                                      "Painting Glass" demonstration








Friday, January 27, 2017

Red Flowers


I confess that I have a stack of dud paintings in my studio that's about neck-high.  Sometimes I'll pull one out of the pile and have a go at it with fresh paint and a palette knife.  I tell myself that it's ruined anyway, so what have I got to lose?

Here's a photo of the ho-hum painting that I started with.  I used the painting as my guide, and fractured and piled paint right on top of it.  I prefer the newer improved painting so much more.  I'd love to know if you agree!




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Painting With 5 Colors ( A New YouTube)


I gave a demo the other day on how to paint a still life using a limited palette of colors.  I used two reds, two blues, one yellow, and white.  Here's the painting that resulted.

Several people had questions about how to paint with such a limited number of colors, so I decided to make a YouTube video to demonstrate it!  It's 14 minutes long, but you can fast forward through it to get the idea.  Or what the heck, get out a cup of coffee and let me entertain you!

I'd be interested to know if you like these little YouTubes, and if there are other topics you'd like to have me demonstrate.

Click on Ann Feldman YouTube to see the video.