Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sullivan's Island Painting Expedition, November 2010

It's been nearly a week since I've returned from a week-long painting trip in a beach house on Sullivan's Island, S.C. with 11 other artists. I've been searching for the words to describe how much fun this was, how much camraderie we shared and how much I learned from the intense and talented artists I painted with.

First of all, the artists and the links to their sites:

The artist who signed up to go, should have been there but couldn't make it:

And two artists who were with us a lot and generously did so much for everyone, Shannon by feeding us an incredible oyster roast and letting us set up easels in her home and Stanka by standing in FREEZING cold while we painted her:

This painting group was set up by Sadie, Alia and Diane, the amazing, hardworking artists who set up the Women Painting Women blog . They've written in their blogs about the group and the terrific show at the Robert Lange Gallery in Charleston, SC . Please, visit their blogs to see more photos and hear more about our group. My heartfelt thanks to these wonderful artists for creating this very special event and to the gallery for making the show such a hit.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Painting at the "Women Painting Women" Show at the Robert Lange Gallery, starting Nov. 5th, 2010

My painting "Is it Dusk or Dawn?" (oil, 24" x 36") will be shown at the 'Women Painting Women' group show at the Robery Lange Gallery (see the gallery's blog at http://paintdifferent.blogspot.com/2010/08/women-painting-women.html ) in Charleston, S.C.
The show features over 50 invited women artists from all around the world and opens Nov. 5th, 5:30 to 8:30.

The show began as a result of Sadie Valeri's idea for a blog about women painting other women. Sadie writes about the genesis for the show on her own blog here: http://sadievaleri.blogspot.com/2010/09/women-painting-women-show-at-robert.html

A subgroup of women artists will be renting a house on nearby Sullivan's Island for the week of Nov. 5th - Nov. 12th, painting models and plein air landscapes. Sadie includes a list of them on her blog. I'll be there with the group and, I hope, blogging about it. I'm really looking forward to both events, the show and the painting group - there is so much talent and of course it should be a lot of fun as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Congratulations, Ilaria Rosselli del Turco!

I don’t want to miss the opportunity to congratulate my friend Ilaria Rosselli del Turco, a wonderful artist who has been recognized for her excellent work by having a painting accepted into the prestigious BP Portrait show at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Ilaria’s painting “Portrait of Geneva “ will be hanging at the BP show through September 19th, 2010. You can read more about the BP Show at http://www.npg.org.uk/. You can read more about Ilaria on her website http://www.ilardt.com/ and on her blog at http://www.ilardt.blogspot.com/.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Workshop at Scottsdale Artist's School, July 6 - 8, 2010

I had a terrific time at my workshop this week at Scottsdale Artists School - it's a treat to paint with such good artists (and nice people) - thanks again, everybody, it was a real honor and a lot of fun to be around you. (Sorry about the 110+ heat here... .)
Pictured Left to Right: Ju Oshiro, Larry Herron, me, Paolo Acuna, Greer Jennison, Nancy Sage, Chris Cook and Doug Bell

Thursday, July 1, 2010

William Whitaker Signature Brushes From Trekell

I'm excited to see that Trekell (http://www.trekell.com/) has added a new line of high quality brushes as 'William Whitaker Signature Brushes'. Mr. Whitaker (http://www.williamwhitaker.com/) has been my teacher and is a true master, as well as being a terrific human being. His finely detailed paintings are beautifully crafted. We can't attribute this all to the brushes, but they look good, don't they? Anyway,I plan to order some of these as soon as I can.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photos from PAOA Workshop, June 19th, 2010

Here are a few photos from my 3-hour workshop last Saturday for the Portrait Artists of Arizona group. We had a terrific, beautiful model (thanks, Jessica).
I'm teaching again in a couple of weeks at Scottsdale Artists School (see info in the right column). I'm looking forward to all of us having a chance to paint a model for three days in the same pose - we'll deal with gesture and design issues as well as the usual portrait concerns. Contact SAS or me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Art Books: New Book from Dorian Vallejo, "Drawings: Inspired By Life"

Dorian Vallejo is a wonderful artist living in New Jersey who has collected together a volume of his work, "Drawings: Inspired By Life," available at http://www.drawingsfromlife.com/Pages/Book/Book_Page.html . The book is $38.99 plus shipping (this sounds like a fantastic bargain to me).

I can't wait to get a copy of this book - I've been a fan of his for a long time. He has been a huge inspiration to me in my own work. What a treat to see all these in one volume. Bravo, Dorian!

Monday, May 3, 2010

At the Jack Richeson Co. booth last week, PSA Convention, Reston VA

I just want to say thanks again to the wonderful people at the Jack Richeson art supply company (http://www.richesonart.com/) for letting me demo at their booth at the Portrait Society of America convention last week in Reston, VA. Their products are terrific and I really enjoyed working with them. (I wish I'd taken a photo of the other side of this canvas I'm working on - aluminum stretcher bars - I'm ordering them from Richeson on my next big commission.) Richeson also has, hands down, the best brush soap I've ever used.
I also wanted to thank my friend and incredible artist Juan Martinez (http://www.juanmartinez.com/) for bravely sitting for me for the demo. He is a chief instructor at Toronto's Academy of Realist Art and has written extensively on training in the classical tradition. Juan is also a TV star - check out his site for more information about him and his work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

'Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it' - Leonardo da Vinci

I had a nice discussion with an artist last week about painting portrait head studies. She felt she was pretty accurate with still life paintings, but when it came down to painting heads in a tight time frame (two or three hours is a tight time frame) she didn't do as well.
My off the cuff advice was to continue doing the still life studies, but what I should have advised her to do was to get one of these planes of the head casts. Many years ago I studied with a woman who made us do a charcoal drawing of this cast before every portrait painting. That practice really helped me understand the shapes and relative values of what is going on with a head as the different planes turn away from the light source. Naturally, this head is a prototype, not an actual individualized head and so all results will vary. But it will help you form a set of presumptions in your brain - not assumptions, presumptions -to look for when painting from life. (In other words, you can presume there is an indentation below the lower lip - but it's not always there in every subject. And if it isn't there, you might decide that this characteristic is something that you might want to pay special attention to.) It helps you to see the sculptural forms as you paint and (important when there is a timer ticking) with practice can help you make judgements a little more quickly.
This is a cast designed by John Asaro many years ago. My own cast is an plaster one (notice the cracked base, glued together when it fell out of my car. Rats.) The newer ones are plastic (gray plastic, I believe) and are more durable; they are available here: http://www.planesofthehead.com/index.php I've also seen a variety of good planes casts on the internet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Using Binoculars

I've been using these for a few months now and I think they are a terrific tool for anybody who wants to improve their work from life. I am of course indebted to the indefatigable David Kassan for this suggestion (http://www.davidkassan.com/).

I know what you're thinking... this is just a tool to render the life out of things, and who needs all that detail? But hear me out:

1. These aren't just any binoculars, these are the Pentax 0.5m Papilo 6.5 x 21, 'extremely close focusing' 0.5m/1.6ft binos. In other words, you don't have to be standing too far away to use them, as you would with other binos. They are good for a situation where a model is on the other side of the room from you, for example, or where it's awkward to walk up and get a closer look at what you're doing.

2. You don't use them for designing a painting, or planning the concept, or squinting for shadows, or even necessarily for detail. You use them to establish accuracy of placement. I find them especially useful to help me with any spatial confusion I might have on an object. In other words, if I can't really see what is in front of something else, I might be tempted to treat the whole area as one unit. This is fine if that is what you want in your painting, but if you want to add detail, or sharpen an edge, etc. for any aesthetic purpose, it is nice to see what you're doing and make an informed decision. It's a decision making tool, basically.

3. The binos help you focus your mind on the area you're painting. This last point surprised me, frankly. I suppose it's a little like putting blinders on a horse - you're not distracted by the nonsense going on next to you, or what else might be rumbling around in your mind at the moment. You're focused on getting one particular area correct - that's it.

Drawbacks in using these include arm strain from holding them up to your eyes, and the sheer goofiness of how they look when you put them on top of your other glasses.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Three Day Workshop, "Painting the Three-Quarter Pose" July 6th, 7th, 8th in Scottsdale

I'll be teaching a three-day workshop this summer at Scottsdale Artists School (http://www.scottsdaleartistschool.org/) on July 10th, 11th and 12th, 2010. The class will be on painting the portrait pose with hands, a "three quarter figure" pose. This will give us an opportunity to explore the expresion of an individual's personality using body language and hands. We'll also address drawing, values, strong design, accurate color, as well as clothing concerns.
I've set up the class for oil painters, but I see no reason why you shouldn't work in drawing media if you wanted to draw from a model in the same pose for three days.

I've taught this workshop a couple of times during the past several years (I've posted a photo here from a few years back) and I'm really looking forward to teaching again this summer. I'll write more about the workshop and how to register for it as we get a little closer to the date - meanwhile, please contact me if you have any questions.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Congratulations, Sharon Knettell!

Congratulations to Sharon Knettell for her beautiful painting, featured on the cover of the March, 2010 issue of Artist's Magazine!

(Click on her link - http://www.sharonknettell.com/ to see more of her work.) Sharon has been a great help to me in setting up my own studio for life painting sessions and I love her passionate and sensual work. She has a remarkable talent for arranging color in her setups. I'm including a photo of her teaching at Scottsdale Artists School a couple of years ago - she brought her own costumes (tutus, corsets, etc.) for the models - really great stuff.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Drawing DVD coming soon from David Kassan

New York artist David Kassan is a terrific draftsman and generous teacher who does beautiful work (see my previous post in 2007: http://lindatraceybrandon.blogspot.com/2007/09/drawing-with-david-kassan-in-brooklyn.html ).
His new drawing DVD is about to be released - to see the trailer, click on the button at http://dvd.davidkassan.com/ and then sign up for email notification. Of course, I haven't seen the DVD yet, but I'm sure it will be a good one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gerome Exhibit at the Getty Museum, June 15 - Sept. 12, 2010

Fans of Jean-Leon Gerome (French, 1824 - 1904) will be happy to hear that the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (http://www.getty.edu/visit/exhibitions/future.html ) will be hosting a special exhibit of Gerome's work from June 15th to Sept. 12th, 2010. This particular painting, Pollice Verso, has long been one of the jewels at the Phoenix Art Museum and it's good to know that it will be part of the show. I'm also attaching a photo of the sculpture of Gerome with his gladiator models at the Musee d'Orsay.

Artdaily has more information about Gerome here: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=35768

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oil Sketch on Frosted Mylar

Frosted Mylar is an affordable and archieval support if you plan on painting lots of figurative work from life. If you're generally new to doing this kind of life work and don't want to waste a lot of expensive linen during your first sessions, try the frosted Mylar. It's good for open studio sketches and for making preliminary sketches for paintings on more traditional supports. In my case, I was trying out a new pair of binoculars in an open studio situation and I wasn't sure if I would be able to find the right place to set up. (I'm going to blog about binoculars later.)The Mylar comes in a big sheet which costs around $5.00 (the portion shown is a quarter sheet). It's opaque and semi-absorbent - actually, it's a little hard to describe, but the strokes show up well and I especially like the way transparent paint reacts to it. I've taped the sheet onto a board to do the actual painting. I've been wondering how I'd frame this piece - I think I would glue the edges of the Mylar to a white gessoed board of the same size and then put the piece under glass (with a spacer between the glass and the Mylar). Everything I've read about Mylar indicates it's archieval but I might still be inclined to put it under glass and treat it as I would a drawing.The open studio session was three hours, but I wiped off my first head and started a new, smaller version, so this one is at about an hour and a half of painting. My wonderful teacher William Whitaker (http://www.williamwhitaker.com/) showed his students how to use Mylar a few years ago and since then I've seen other artists using it as well.