Monday, March 2, 2015

Portrait Workshop, March 6,7,8th

This Message Made My Day.....
...........Darrell Anderson is my kinda instructor!!! I was just telling a friend how my portrait class with you provided me with strong technical concepts or approaches but more A MULTITUDE OF ONE LINERS THAT STUCK WITH ME TO THIS DAY! You I get as a person but better as an instructor! Have fun Darrell Anderson! "The beginning is the DIFFICULTY whereas the end just HAPPENS and will always be out of your control".... ME"

I try to teach in a way I'd like to be taught myself...but adapt it for each person's different style and skill level.  Admittedly it doesn't always happen just the way I'd like but after fifteen years of teaching art many of the instructional hiccups are worked out.

This coming weekend is your opportunity.  We cut off admissions for the portrait workshop on Wednesday.  Take a look and then contact the Winslow Art Center for more info: HERE.

What materials you choose are up to you.  Conte' with white charcoal pencil can make a beautifully expressive piece.

Gouache is simple to use and easily correctible and I love the way the colors work together.

 Watercolor either works....or not.  There doesn't seem to be an in-between but the luminosity of color is it's uniqueness.

And, of course, oils have the textural and sculptural qualities that make them so deeply expressive.  Here's another:

And, lastly, is simple paper and pencil.  I like it because it is a very direct and personal expression of both the artist and the subject.  

Unabashedly I'm trying to interest you in trying a weekend of portraiture.  This opportunity will come and go, and I likely won't be teaching another for at least a year.  I'd like you to come.

Contact the Winslow Art Center HERE for details.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Three From This Week

PAWA...... not the hip way to say 'power'.....  but it is the organization Plein Air Painters of Washington who had their winter get-together last Saturday.  We eat, we schmooze and we paint from models and still life.  If you are in Washington and paint outdoors you should join.  They are nice people.

These are paintings I did that day, the model in the morning and, not knowing what else to do, the still life right behind me in the afternoon.  Each took about two hours.

I had fun with both.  With 'Trudy' it was the cool colors bouncing into the shadowed side of her face against the sparkles of warmth from the spotlight.  In the still life I played with the steep angle of view as the setup was almost directly under me.

PAWA Still life, 20x20

By the way, my Portrait Workshop is next weekend.  We already have people coming but have room for a few more if you can make it.  Contact the Winslow Art Center (HERE) for more info and to sign up.  I'll post about this again in a day or two.

Two days ago a good friend invited me over to paint a little still life she had set least that's what got communicated to me.  So, expecting a simple little arrangement of maybe a few apples and a vase or something, I went over.  I painted.....and I picked the backlit spot just to make it more difficult. 

I had to go back.  Not only was it a bit of a challenge but the flowers kept moving all over and doing some jazzed up blossoming.  There was even one that completely vanished.  I don't know where it went....into hiding.  Tulips and daffodils do that.  I had to name the painting 'Blossom Blizzard'.....what else?

Blossom Blizzard, 15x18

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Early Spring, 10x12

I don't remember where.....

.....I was originally headed.  Somewhere between the house and the car I saw this scene at the driveway turn around.  So much for what it was I was originally doing.

The linen that had once held yesterday's problem painting got re-purposed to do this one.  Rather than  canvas on board or stretchers, I've lately been taping pieces of loose cut linen or canvas or paper on plywood boards using packing tape.  I've seen Richard Schmid and John Crump doing the same thing and I liked the way they could just wipe off paint that got beyond the edge, recreating a sharp line around the piece.

This is what I did when in Italy last Fall and liked the way it worked.  As long as I had enough plywood boards to mount to, I could keep just ahead of the ones that were still drying before peeling off the tape.

And I used it Tuesday when I painted a patio scene in Nancy's garden....wiped it off....and today when it was portrait Thursday....and I'll likely wipe those two also.

About wiping off (which I've been doing a lot of lately).   It's easy to think what gets wiped off is  to me a bad painting.  When I was learning, my friends and can tell you that was the case.  It was the swearing that gave me away....  I should have wiped off more, actually.

Now it's about a painting not getting where I need it to go.  It might be technically fine but if it isn't saying something new or adding to my visual vocabulary, there's no reason for it to stick around.  It isn't exciting me.

As much as I liked the scene this painting of early blooms was almost a wipe off.  It turned back from that when I saw the cool light on the shadowed side of the large tree and then saw it again in the blooming shrub.  Not only did that add to making the forms but it set up a warm cool vibration for the eye.

Don't forget the upcoming Oil Painting Class, the Portrait Workshop and the Marker Workshop through the Winslow Art Center (HERE).   ....and the Italy trip in October.

Thanks for visiting.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arroyo Footbridge, 9x12

Combining a plein air painting, a photo and my memory.....

.....brought this into existence.  It took all three; I wouldn't have attempted it from just a photo.

The painting source, done just around the corner in the same Sonoran arroyo, gave me the color notes.  The photo gave me the structural/shape information...but of course I changed some of that.  My memory brought forth the feeling of being there, the smells, the hot wind, the cool of the shade, the occasional passing kids and the fact that the photo didn't record the intensity of the glow under the bridge.  I kinda' like this one.

Plein air season is fast approaching.  Time to begin getting my gear ready.  What am I saying?'s always ready!

Check out my schedule of classes and workshops in a previous post HERE.

Thanks for checking in..... and here is the painting I drew color ideas from:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unexpected Quiet, 10x12

Only a block or two....

.....from a major shopping mall you can find this hidden sanctuary of quiet.  I missed until Rob Weiss told me about it.

The day was overcast and drab and I almost fell into the 'there's nothing to paint, go home' trap....but I went ahead despite the cold and gloom, tramping the painting gear down the trail.  I was still unconvinced but no sooner had I sketched it in than the sun lightened the sky long enough to let me get the essence of what was there.

This one really is just 'big shapes' and 'do-dads'.

Speaking of Shapes and Doo-dads, this is a good time to answer the question I frequently get: "What's the difference between Notan and Marker Drawing?"  That question has been bothering you, right?  So here you go.... I'm doing this so you can sleep at night.

Notan on the Left, Valued Markers on the Right

So here are 2x3 inch drawings done in each method.  While these are done from the painting it's the same method, but larger,  I'd use out in the field before committing to canvas or paper.

Both are design tools, used to accomplish the purpose of studying our world.  The information they provide is slightly different and they build on each other.

Notan gives quick immediate feedback on the overall dark and light pattern in a subject and, since drawing and painting are really just illusions about the effects of light, this is absolutely necessary information.  Light and Shadow/Dark have to be kept separate or there is no illusion of form.  Notans  are fast to do and re-do as you modify your design concepts.

Valued Marker Drawing is almost as fast as Notan however, where Notan gives a broad graphic definition, valued markers move things up a notch toward rendition to include some detail.  Here the detail of the sun bleached curved trunk focuses a point of interest lost in the Notan study.  Other do-dads, such as reeds, water reflections and tree shapes are also part of the overall design and feeling.

The Valued Marker Drawing only adds one more value if you disregard the black ink from the drawing.  It keeps the Notan structure but adds in more of the transitional values.  It's here I can make decisions, within the structure, of how to guide the eye.

I do both, but decidedly more valued marker drawing because when I wander the world I'm not always interested in the graphic structure in black and white.  Notan gives me intellectual information.  Valued Markers also let me have some fun.  I recommend you try both.

Having said that, I teach a Marker Drawing workshop on March 21st.  Mitch Albala teaches a Notan workshop in the beginning of May.  Check them out at the Winslow Art Center website HERE.

By the way, Gabor Svagrik has a good blog post on making progress with your painting when you are feeling artistically blocked.  Great advice.  I wish I had written it.  Find it HERE.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Classes, Workshops and Italy

Things come up so quickly.....

.....I'm lucky to make it to stuff it myself.....but I wanted to give a heads up on several events:

Painting to Your Next Level, Session 2, begins February 24th.  Class begins at 9:30 and runs until mid afternoon.  I leave at 1:30 but the studio is open for everyone in the class until 4:30.  Open to Oil, Gouache, Acrylic, Pastel....did I miss any?....and to all comers.

Portrait Intensive, March 6th, 7th and 8th.  Friday will be a demo and talk from 6:30 to 8:30.  I do this so participants will get full days worth of painting on Saturday and Sunday, which will run from 9:30 to 4:30.  Open to all media including good old paper and pencil.

Marker Workshop, March 21st, 9:30 to 4:00.  This is a fun course in how to use valued markers to quickly make sketches and studies.  Painless art instruction!  Beginners very welcome.  If you need supplies I can supply them at cost.

Italy Extravaganza.  Any time I go to Europe it's an extravaganza.....but in this case we will be drawing and painting the Italian landscape, cityscape, people or anything else that happens to get in our path.  The details are currently being hammered together for somewhere around the second week in October, 2015.   Pencil it in!

Information about all these classes, workshops or extravaganzas can be found by going to the website of the Winslow Art Center HERE.

Hope to see you in one of them, at least.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Thanks

'Grocery Run'
Wanted to post a 'Thank You'..... the recent flurry of people who have ordered my book 'Value Sketching With Markers'.  I think you'll enjoy what you pick up in the book, whether you are a sketcher or painter.  If you don't have one but are interested it's under the tab at the top of this page.

The drawing above I did yesterday coming home from grocery shopping.  It is just three values, white from the paper, plus a 30% and 60% grey marker.  I could have gone one more level darker in selected places but as it was it gave me the information I would need for a painting.  I contemplated accenting a few small bits around the larger house.  When in doubt, stop.

Here are two recent visual excursions.  These have all three marker values in them.  The point of drawing this way isn't to create a accurate rendition of what I see but to condense and move values around to simplify what is out there.  I makes for pleasing, more easily understood, artwork.

'Incoming Tide'

Still Life Study
When sketching outdoors I use 30%, 60% and 80% values of grey because there is generally so much light outside that the darker values get raised.  Indoors 30%, 70% and 90% seem to work best.....but it's your call.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Foggy Friday, 11x14

'Foggy Friday' is a continuation.....

......of the previous post, 'Estuary'.

This is the morning painting when the fog was just barely beginning to lift.  Rob Weiss was close to a finish about the time I began so his painting got the full Friday fog feeling.  (Alliteration....couldn't help doing it....)

Rob's painting, a similar view, is on his Facebook page HERE.  Scroll down and find the painting (he also just posted it on his blog HERE)....and notice the great painting he did for Black History Month while there.  Outstanding.

In this one the light in the sky was beginning to show more color as things progressed, doing a little color mirroring of the driftwood. That wood actually took most of my time.  So many little color shapes to balance.....

By the way, here is a shot of what happens when you put three thickly painted wet portraits (two of which I liked) in the back of your van next to a rolled up sleeping bag.  That bag had sat back there for months without moving a bit....until that day.  Every time I took a corner it removed a little more paint.

And I didn't even get a monoprint out of it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Estuary, 9x12

Friend and Dedicated Painter.....

.....Rob Weiss (his blog is HERE) gave me a call last Friday to say he was just down the street painting, so why not come too.  Within five minutes I was out the door.

The morning was pretty foggy but slowly clearing and Rob did a couple of terrific pieces from the same spot but looking different directions.  He had to leave about the time I was beginning this second one and the sun was breaking through the first three layers of clouds.  

There was something about the design of the water channel and the patterns in the sea grass that was intriguing.  As the sun broke through, the trees on that opposite bank began to contribute their glow and the painting fell together.

Now I want to do a larger one but maybe on a squarish panel.

I'll post the morning piece later.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Bit About Drawing

After posting I got some Questions.....

....about this drawing.  Most were about detail, perspective, markers, perspective, using white gouache, perspective, drawing with a pen and perspective.  That about covers it, I think.

There was a theme.

So let's break it down.

When drawing something....anything.... I often try to find a 'yardstick' to work from.  In this case it was that lamppost in the foreground.

It was the first thing drawn on the page because I knew I could hang everything else off of it.  Knowing perspective can be handy when getting in trouble but most of the time I ignore in this case.  Once I had the post visualized on the page and then drawn in I looked at the larger scene to find where other objects 'hung' off that pole.

The background is dimmed in this image but you can see where different parts intersect the lamppost, like here:

The ruler is established.  Then the lines were drawn in.  In this image I tried to erase everything but the original drawing but it became too time consuming to get them all.....  you can get the idea:

That was followed by 30% and 60% grey toned markers (see my book on Sketching With Valued Markers):

And finally 80% grey marker and white gouache diluted with water to different consistencies and, therefore, different values.  I had a bottle of drinking water and a small brush but no I used the palm of my hand.

Magic happened.

The whole thing is based on using that lamppost as a drawing 'ruler'.  The concept of perspective didn't enter my mind....but where things lined up with that lamppost plus relative vertical and horizontal distances did.

Using these ideas greatly simplifies what looks to be a complicated scene to get on paper.

I explored this 'ruler' idea in another blog about drawing in Italy from last September HERE.

If you are interested in perspective (it does come in handy) the best book I've found is from a man who used to live in Seattle named Norling.  It's only $6 at Amazon HERE and you might be able to find it used elsewhere.  It's been around a bit but does a good job of explaining things simply.

Thanks for asking the questions.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gouache Workshop 2015

Today was the Winslow Art Center Gouache Workshop and.....

.....some of you were able to be there to create beautiful pieces of art.  We got a wall full of paintings and didn't even get them all up for the photo.

This was the demo I did to help cement the concept of painting the big shapes before putting in the 'do-dads'....and using a big brush.  Except for the four individual grapes, the whole painting was done with a one inch flat.  Everyone seemed to get the idea because the last paintings of the day were definitely strong artistic statements.

Here is the wall full of color:

Such a committed crew.....even if they had a hard time pronouncing 'gouache'.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Deanna's Sunflowers' and 'Pine Street'

Gouache is not one of your Grandmother's hot dishes....

   It's actually a great art medium, blending the best of watercolor and oil painting.....AND I'm teaching a workshop on it this Saturday.  The materials are already purchased so you only have to bring your live body and have fun.  Here is a link to the Winslow Art Center to find out more and sign up.  The materials fee will be about $25.

I find gouache one of the more liberating artistic mediums.  It is really just watercolor with calcium carbonate added to make it opaque when you paint thick....but when you paint thin it can create all that watercolor transparency and movement.   For me it encourages experimentation and rapid execution of pieces.  Make all the mistakes you want and just keep going.

Here is a simpler way to use it through using toned paper, a marker pen, some toned markers and a bit of white gouache.  Magic.  Did it today walking back to the ferry from getting some art supplies in Seattle.

It looks far more complicated than it really was to do.  Those touches of gouache make everything sparkle.  Come join us and have some fun learning a new and simpler way to create!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mask With Red Vase, 10x12


......came sneaking in almost under my radar.  I could have sworn it was 2012 a couple of months ago, and as to 2013 and 2014, did they really happen?  Since I must be going through life a little asleep it's time for a change.....but What? I ask.

Well, one change is happening without even thinking much about it.  My art is re-forming itself.  I think it had to do with having pneumonia, but it may have been Italy or painting more in the summer or who knows.  'Experiment' is in the air.

Take this mysterious little painting.  I was over at a friends house varnishing a portrait she had acquired from me when I spied this in the room.  It needed to be painted, despite not really having an artistic objective or point except that 'I liked it'.

That's what's happening.  Painting just for painting's sake, watching the strokes go on and the color harmonies form with little regard to making form or composition or having something that could be sold or whether anyone will like it.  It think 'Play' might be the word.

Who knows where this will go.....but this is the year to let more of it happen and see.

Upcoming Teaching schedule at the Winslow Art Center:
  Weekly Painting Class Session I.  Open to Oil, Acrylic, Gouache, Pastel.  January 13th to Feb 10th on Tuesdays, 9:30 to 2:30, open studio until 4:30.
  Gouache Workshop. January 31st, 9:30 to 4:00.
  Weekly Painting Class Session II.  Open to Oil, Acrylic, Gouache, Pastel.  February 24th to March 24th on Tuesdays, 9:30 to 2:30, open studio until 4:30. 
  Portrait Workshop.  March 7th and 8th, 9:30 to 4:00.
  Marker Workshop.  March 21st, 9:30 to 4:00.

Here's to an artistic 2015!

LOOK HERE:  Just after I finished this blog entry I ran across a blog post from Marc Hanson, terrific landscape artist....well, mostly landscapes.  He writes a very good article about his own ideas about beginning the new year with a 'breakout'.  Worth your read HERE.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pricilla, 20x24

This is one of several paintings.....

..... that I'm giving away this month.  It is an affliction I go through periodically and, although not a boon to my pocketbook and against any marketing advice, it certainly makes me feel I will likely continue the practice whenever the mood strikes.

I loved painting this model, playing with brushwork and paint thickness during the three hours it took.  The palette was limited to Ultramarine Blue, Cad Yellow Light, Burnt Sienna and Cad Red Light.

It was her dress that pleased me most.  It was a complex cross hatch pattern of black and white that, if I had put it in as I saw it, would have made it a painting without movement.   Viewers need movement to maintain interest, I think.  Too much explained information and the mind doesn't get involved.  OK, Vermeer and Velasquez seemed to pull it off, but even their work is greatly simplified.

I'm going to show up at 'Pricilla's' place of work and hand it to her.  Should be fun.

Hope you all are having a great Holiday Season with friends and relatives! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Scream Online

A Great Day.....

.....ends even better when you find out you've been published in an international online magazine for the arts, the SCREAM online.  Despite the fact I knew it was coming sometime it took me by complete surprise.  Check it out HERE.  Thanks, 'Scream'!

Marker Drawing, ever since the day I accidentally 'discovered' it, has just been a fun activity.  Pretty soon it led to a handout, then some workshops, then a longer class handout....and then a book which you can find a link to in the above menu.

Many artists use markers for quick sketches to study compositional ideas, and I do also.  But the pieces can go beyond that into sketching on toned paper, recording color notes, and even into printmaking in the form of monotypes and etchings.  I highly recommend it as a way to study painting without hauling around a lot of brushes and paint.

Here is one I did recently in Italy which uses white gouache to help separate values.  Give it a try.  If you are in the area I will be having another Marker Workshop in March 2015.  It usually fills up.  Find out about it at the Winslow Art Center, HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Erica, 11x14

Usually there is a Goal.....

.....that I have in mind when I paint.  'Light effect' is always at the top of the list and I add one or maybe two other things depending on the subject.  Last Thursday it was 'brushwork', specifically that I wanted to end up with a piece that had identifiable brushstrokes and pieces of paint in an interesting design.

What do you suppose Erica does for a living?  Here are your choices: Manager of a Cupcake Emporium, runs Safaris in Africa, or is a mechanic on a Washington State Ferry.  Look at her, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Here is a closeup to buy some time while you decide......and to tell you how much I like the colors that can be found in shadows.  Those shadows are usually the first thing I paint, setting the mood and direction for the rest of the painting.  The reds, greens, blues and purples, subtle though they are, make the light struck portions sing.

OK.  You've had time to guess and if you picked 'Runs Safaris in Africa' you'd be right.  HERE is her website.  She has been doing it for over a decade and has some great stories and off beat adventures.  I didn't know there was an African version of the piranha with huge teeth that people actually like to fish for.

Off into another day.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mountain Crossing, 10x12

It was a group effort.....

.....all of us in my class painting from the same photo.  If I had been sharper I would have taken some photos to show a room of ten paintings of orange trees, all slightly different but all successful.

This one is mine.  The misty clouds weren't actually there but it seemed to need a couple of subtle horizontals to add dimension and balance.  There are a few other inventions and deletions around the piece.  It's often good....often much depart the text.

Friday is the opening of the PAWA show (plein air painters of Washington) at the American Art Company in Tacoma.  It's on Broadway just off 11th.

I was down there last Saturday and the artwork is amazing.  It would be well worth the trip just to see the high quality paintings.  Jeremy Lipking will be there as judge.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Changes, 24x30

Life Changes

A Young Girl Just Beginning Her Turn....

.....around the next corner of life, leaving behind the stuffed animals and toys....but never to forget them.  Toy Story all over again.  I should have named this 'Don't Go Changing' but, really, the change is nice to watch and we all wish them the best.  Ah, I'm getting nostalgic.

I thought it was portrait day at our small painting group so brought a large canvas.  If I had remembered it was still life day I would have brought a canvas formatted differently....but I think this worked out.

I had fun with this, although it was hard to compose and I think I'd try something different if I did it again.  At least this one alludes to a story.  Someone once told me that illustrations tell stories, paintings play with color and shape.  That doesn't make sense to me but there might be some element of truth there.

With that in mind I can't help think of Jamie Wyeth's painting of pumpkins with carved faces being thrown over the cliffs of the island he lives on.  It is both story and that makes me laugh every time I see it.  There is something about the grotesque grinning faces cascading down that tickles me.

Maine painter Carol Douglas has an image of those freed pumpkins on her blog HERE.

How did I get off on all that?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oksana, 10x12

Take a beautiful Russian model, throw in.....

......homemade potato soup, a glass of wine and excellent company.  All the makings of a delightful afternoon....and it was.

Since I had just driven back from Montana in some very cold weather and gotten back very tired late the night before I didn't plan on painting.   However, once I saw the cool lighting and backlit colors emanating from Oksana's face I couldn't resist.

Contre-jour lighting, meaning 'into the light', is hard on the eyes but great for color explorations.  Charles Reid does a lot of it, mostly in watercolor but also a few oils.  Shadows have a transparency about them allowing for transparent or semi-opaque color possibilities.  It feels like you can almost reach into them.

So I had some fun.

Come have some fun yourself in my Marker Workshop on Friday, November 21st.  Learn to draw in a different way using gray toned markers.  It is amazing how quickly you can make simple drawings come to life using these markers.  They are also great for planning out your next painting.

Join us.  We have a lot of fun!  Oksana might be there....    

Monday, November 3, 2014

Painting Pixies

Appeasing the Painting Pixies.....

Last Thursday I was talking with Pam Fermanis about a curious thing.  That's the day I get together with a small group of accomplished artists to paint portraits...and sometimes still life.

Pam was feeling that it was 'just one of those days' as nothing was really turning out for her.  Our conversation veered quickly to how one day can be so creatively different than even the day before.  Using the same paint, brushes, canvas and what-all, one day can be so successful that it almost feels like you could just walk away and let the tools finish the painting.  The next day, no matter how hard you try, or how mentally aware you are, nothing seems to work.

Same tools, same artist, similar subject....yet nothing works.  Sometimes it leaves me speechless....or swearing....or ready to quit painting for the 1,000th time.

Scientifically speaking, I've decided it's the Painting Pixies.  There is no other logical conclusion.  One day they like you and the next they don't care a whit.

While I felt for Pam, I was having a good day.  The PP's had blessed me with their magic.

The first painting I did was of my friend Francis and took about 2 1/2 hours to complete the 18x24 canvas.  He was in motion, making it fun to try and have it all work and still get a likeness.

Since I had almost an hour to go before we quit, I slapped on a 20x24 and did the still life in less than an hour.  See.  The Pixies were liking me that day.  I could have dozed off and it still would have worked out.

Two paintings in four hours.  I sure hope they don't expect anything in return.....