Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Silent Night, Colorado

"Silent Night, Colorado", 8x6" oil on panel

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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Palette Knife Portrait

Oil on Gessoboard, 11x14"

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!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Tabasco Time", 6x8"

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?

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Class Schedule at the Ice House



September 22, October 27, and November 10, 2017

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: to sign up. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Mancini Challenge, continued

"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.

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Mancini Glassware", 9x12"

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.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Editing a Setup

"Harmony", 8x8"

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.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Glad To See You"

"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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Will You Be in Michigan?

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 hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Palette Knife Video

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.

Click on Ann Feldman Youtube to watch it now!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Abundance", 16x20"

I bought a small bunch of peonies from a farm stand last week, brought them home and put them in water.  The next morning, they had exploded into the most beautiful blooms you could imagine.  I couldn't let another minute go by without painting them, so I whisked them up to my studio and put them under lights.  They remained glorious for days while I labored away, trying to capture their beauty without overdoing the details.

After scraping my painting away three times, this is the iteration I was most happy with.  I hope you like it too.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Kelly", 9x12", oil on gessoed canvas

I could title this one "Youth and Idealism", since Kelly is leaving soon to study lions and elephants in their habitat in Africa.  I loved spending a few hours with someone so motivated to make the world a better place.

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


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.