Thursday, January 29, 2009

Queen of the Street

This challenge is my first painting after the workshop, and I tried to utilize all that I learned in Vancouver, but alas, mission unaccomplished, but not impossible. What I learned is making sense and I can hardly wait to paint, but I'll be away for awhile so regrettably, I'll have to put painting on hold for awhile. After being inspired by Adebanji, I have started drawing, and it's kind of fun. I'm just a little shy about the doing it in public part, but it's coming. So that's what I'll have to be satisfied with...drawing, and that's probably the best thing I could be doing. Drawing skills are so critical to creating a good painting that I have decided to push myself here. There I said it out loud, and it kind of sounds like a resolution or something...ha! I am officially committed.
oil on RayMar panel 9" x 11 1/2"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Here's a picture of the graduating class of '09. Home coming queen Liz is the very shy one with the perfect teeth, (sort of sitting in the middle). Then we had Lynn, Lucy, Louise on the far right,(are you beginning to see a pattern here?), Ilona (Loney) and me Larry or Laverne and Last,( that would be Pat in the white...ha!) She was the last to arrive. What a great group we had, with everyone enjoying themselves and leaving all the richer and more inspired for having attended. And by the way, these girls can paint. We can never thank you enough Liz, and I hope we can all do it again some time.

Liz's Amazing 15 Minute Demo

This photo demo is worth more than a million or two of my words. I couldn't describe what we were trying to do nearly as well as what's shown in this sequence. ENJOY!!! Thanks Liz.

Liz's Excellent Workshop

Some examples of my ten to twenty minute paintings.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Painting Workshop

I've just returned from beautiful Vancouver, B.C. and Liz Wiltzen's three day workshop. The main focus was to learn to paint alla prima in a loose and painterly fashion, and to create interest and excitement in our work. This was my first ever workshop, and I must say, that it was all and more than I had hoped for. Liz instructed and inspired all six of us to reach out and stretch ourselves artistically. She is a very engaging, professional and giving person who can flat out paint. Upon seeing her work which is absolutely beautiful, one cannot help but want to emulate in some way what they are seeing. The woman is a star!

On day one, we started by reviewing several of Liz's paintings where she discussed composition, colour/values and process. What created interest and why. Then we watched her do a couple of demos where she demonstrated with a few deft strokes how she wanted us to proceed with thirty second paint sketches of a live model. After the buzzer went, we wiped the 9" x 12" raymar linen panels which she had given us, and got ready for the next attempt. This went on for the next two and a half days with time limits increasing to one, two, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty and sixty minutes. Liz would do demos every so often, and walk around offering words of advice and encouragement.

The whole idea of these quick paintings was to learn how to get it down and not let the drawings within get too "precious". We basically drew figures with thin paint in the thirty second drills just trying to realize angles and proportions. As time limits increased, we blocked in the figures and started including background shapes. At this point we would have nothing but a large shape with no inside defining lines. Then we would start to add colours, using thicker paint as we layered, sculpting with our paints, rediscovering our edges. As the painting developed, we would add highlights to show direction of light and give it shape and life. We were encouraged to lose our edges and find them again three or four times to create depth and interest. Hard edges for the most part were a no no. All of these exercises were eventually tiring, but so much fun. Liz also impressed upon us how important it is to have lots of paint on our palettes. When you run low on paint, you tend to take shortcuts, and ultimately fall short of doing the best job possible.

By day three, I think we all had made some amazing progress thanks to our fearless leader, but as our confidence grew, our paintings again began to become more detailed, so Liz had us go back to the thirty second to five minute drills. My fifty minute painting is at the top of this post. I wasn't too happy with the colour and highlights, but the proportions and feel of the pose are not too bad.

I would also like to acknowledge our fabulous models Wanda and Helene for offering up so many amazing poses and outfits, and virtually turning into granite until the buzzer went.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lisbon in progress

Before I leave for Liz's workshop, I thought I would post an update photo of the Lisbon painting (48" x 72") that, yes, I'm STILL working on. This has been a long process of painting, looking, tweaking, painting then looking, looking and more looking. I feel good about it so far, and don't think there are any major changes to be made, but a lot of tune-ups. All you great artists out there, any helpful comments to help make this piece as good as it can be, would be appreciated. Email me if you like. I'm still working on the foreground, couple on the left, guy on right, tables, chairs and shadows. Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Lovely Grace Eichi

I was paging through Dominique Eichi's very interesting blog and came across this wonderful photo of her friend Grace. I emailed Dominique to ask permission to reference her photo, but because her web site is under construction (still worth viewing), I'm not sure she got the message. Sorry Dominique, I was inspired, couldn't wait (always been my downfall), so I painted away yesterday, and now all I can say is, if you like it, I'll be very happy to mail it as my gift to you. I just listed my email on my profile page if you want to forward your address. What a beautiful girl Grace is, (I think she is a chocolate lab). It was a good bit of fun painting her.
oil on masonite 8" x 8"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jefferson Memorial

Another new experience courtesy of DSFDF. Painting a night scene is something I have been thinking about for awhile, so it was neat to see this challenge come up. Karin's tips were very useful, as I started on a black surface for the first time and worked to light. I really liked it and found drawing with white paint an interesting alternative from the burnt umber which I usually use. With this change, I didn't have to cover dark, hard lines and found that this piece came together really quite quickly. All told, approximately 2 1 /2 for me. Even with my new camera, photography is still an issue. It's all about the lighting!
oil on masonite 8" x 6 1/2"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When it comes to making blog entries, I am not much of a writer, but I felt it would be okay to mention that I am going to attend a three day workshop starting Jan.22 in Vancouver with Liz Wiltzen. I am very excited about this for several reasons. First and foremost, Liz is an absolutely amazing artist whose work speaks for itself. I've never attended a workshop, so this is like grade one or two of my art education. Having just started with oils, I don't have a lot of bad habits yet, so I look forward to learning a ton from her. She was influenced by Kim English among others, who is a wizard at handling light and painting with an economy of strokes and details. Liz incorporates a lot of this in her own work and teachings. We will be painting from live models alla prima, which I understand is starting and finishing a piece in one go. It's all about painting quickly, wiping it off and doing it again and again. She wants us to see less details. (without my glasses that's easy). Anyway, it should be a fabulous experience. There are spots available if anyone is interested...just check Liz's site. Cheers