Monday, April 4, 2016

What Makes a Successful Painting

April 4, 2016

AH Hah  Moment

Color interest me a lot and I think that is one of the reasons I like to paint abstracts.  I recently read this article which states so well the ingredients of a successful painting.  It was especially helpful to me in painting the last couple of abstracts because I could use it as a test to see if the paintings held up to the guidelines in this article. 

I will summarize it here, but check it out if you have the April 2014 Watercolor Magazine.  Since I don't remember the proper way to give footnotes anymore, I'll list everything I can to credit the author and put it at the end of the summary. 


according to Richard Ellinger a composition will be unified, regardless of color when

1.  Hue, or a combination of closely related hues dominates the composition

2.  One value, or combination of closely related values dominates the composition

3.  One intensity, or combination of closely related intensities dominates the entire composition

4.  There is contrast in hue, value and intensity in the composition

5.  Hues appear in several places and are repeated throughout the composition.

(Some of this is copied from article and some is paraphrased)

Watercolor Magazine, April 2014, article by Donna Zagotta who referenced the book Color Structure and Design by Richard Ellinger, 1981

Donna Zagotta, the author of the article called "The Color Project" is a master of color, shape and value. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Inspiration for abstract painting

March 24, 2016

Fredericksburg Plein  Air Artists painted at Snead's Farm yesterday.  We have been so lucky having beautiful weather. 

The first thing that grabbed me was the pink color of the peach blossoms.  I love pink.  It made me think about painting an abstract based on that color.  Since I like to do a small study before a big painting I mixed lots of tints of pink both warm and cool and of neutrals and painted a 6x6.  I used warm white for most of this and cool neutrals.  There is a little spring green there. 

I kept what I have learned about composition in my mind and maybe still need to add some darks.  I think I will be brave and paint a 24x30 or 36x36. 

(I took a photo on my phone of the location, but don't know how to add it here from there.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Joan Wiberg Blog: FIND YOUR TRIBE

Check out Joan Wiberg's new blog.  Instagram is next.

Joan Wiberg Blog: FIND YOUR TRIBE: I am lucky enough to have a GROUP that I paint with once a week. Okay, I stalked them on facebook first, but they let me in.  The Fredericks...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Workshop with Anne Blair Brown

March 6, 2016 - Plein Air Painting

I am so excited and thrilled to be able to take a workshop with Anne Blair Brown.  Here is a link to her website:  I love everything about her paintings, the loose brushwork, the strong compostions, the colors, the variety.......

The two books I am reading to get ready are pictured here.   Both are very intense reading.  I even got a headache from trying absorb all this knowledge.  I have been reading in small amounts and even taking notes.  I am thinking this will help me get the most out of the workshop. 

Wish me luck, only a couple of weeks to go.

The Fredericksburg Plein Air group which meets once/week has been a big help, too.   Just being around other artists who love painting outside is such a positive experience.

We are going to start painting outside pretty soon, stay tuned.  Here is our facebook page:

To Join, go to our page and click join, then message your email address to get the weekly notifications of location. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What I have learned since my last post about Instagram....

March 1, 2016

Using Instagram has been a lot of " trial and error" which is my usual approach along with "try it and see what happens, you have nothing to lose."

First, thank you, to Mary T. for telling me in about how Instagram is an effective tool for selling art.  I view it as one of the many social media available to help artists.

Things I have learned about Instagram since last week:

Change privacy setting to Public

Use #'s -hashtags help increase your audience apparently.
(both of these tips were given to me by an especially nice young man. I had no idea about this before.)

Post often -  there must be a fine balance to this because I suspect you could become an annoyance if you post too much.  This is still in the trial phase. 

Follow other sites

Look at home page often because you will see photos according to what you have shown an interest in so far.  I have learned from looking at other artist's work. 

Include photos about you, part of your narrative.  Thanks, Dee.

My most recent posting on Instagram: 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Marketing Art

February 22, 2016

Three years ago I took my first marketing class online with Leslie Saeta.  I just checked and the challenge is still available.  Here is the link:   30 Marketing Ideas.  My own experiences are listed on old blog posts.  (There is a search button in right hand column of this blog which might have been one of the assignment of the 30 day challenge).

It really made a difference for  me in a lot of ways.  I use a lot of the ideas that Leslie suggested and it made me fearless about social media.  The best tip was to find a local retail place and ask if they would show your art.   Thank you, Heather Boutique, for showing and selling my art.   My latest discovery is INSTAGRAM.  Although it was a mystery to me at first I've been exploring it and trying to figure out how to use it. 

This article explains how it can help artists.  Article about how to sell art on Instagram

It said to use it to tell a narrative about your art.  I'm still trying to figure out what that means, but will  discover that as I go.  My plan is to put a couple of photos on each day and see what happens.

I hope these links and ideas are helpful to you.  Please share your ideas about marketing in the comments. 

One more link to Instagram:

(Leslie said to link everything)

Always link to where you are selling your art: Daily Paintworks

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How I start most of my paintings....

February 16, 2016

I start my paintings several different ways, sometimes even with a white canvas, but mostly doing a value study with burnt sienna or transparent red oxide.  I do a very loose drawing except for architecture or the center of interest.  Once the three value work is finished I go back and emphasize darks using a mix of Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, my accent dark.  Plus I wipe out the lights with a paper towel and oms.

Step I

Step 2

Premix the colors used in the painting and try to follow my rule of having darks across the top of palette  (accent dark in top right corner), tints on the very bottom and middle values in the middle of the palette.  There is also attention to warms and cools.  I use these colors as a starting point and continue to mix for variety as I go.  That is why the palette looks so messy, but organized if that is possible. 

Step 3

Apply blocks of color all over.

 Step 4 - Finish color and refine shapes, check for edges,

Posted on Daily Paintworks.  8x10 - Snow Day  in Fredericksburg

Monday, February 8, 2016

Developing your own style

February 8, 2016

When I painted these tulips today I was thinking about how there are little pieces of things I have learned from taking workshops, looking at DVD's,  and studying online blogs. 

These are things I was thinking about today and yesterday doing these two paintings: 

Robert Johnson - put a brush stroke down once and leave it alone  (scrape it off if it looks wrong and start again rather than messing around with it on the canvas.

Qiang Huang - just watched his new DVD which is terrific.  I like the brushes he uses, too.  Qualita from Jerry's Artarama.  Awhile ago I bought the 1-inch angular one that is very versatile.  I recommend his DVD.  Great info about value and basics of oil painting!

Nancy Franke - starts on a white canvas but retains her darks so well.  Use big brushes.

Dreama Tolle Perry - having a transparent dark underneath to help retain the darks.  Use color like confetti.

Every teacher I have ever had emphasizes darks and artists I have studied online also do this.

Carolyn Anderson - don't paint up to the lines (from original drawing), but over the line and inside the line.  She is a great person to study regarding edges.  Think of shapes, not lines. 

Somewhere I read that using red, yellow and blue in the background gives it luminosity.  There is also a lot written about pulling colors of the painting into the background.  Color is in the air.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Display Your Paintings in a Room Setting

February 6, 2016

Leslie Saeta displays her paintings so well in room settings and gave some ideas of how to do this on her blog.  Here is the link:

I started doing this on facebook by just taking a photo of one hanging in my dining room.  As a result of this post,  I received some great ideas from facebook friends.  Thank you

Although I just blundered through this first one and it might have worked by accident, I will try to figure it out.  Below is the link to the APP.  I think you can even pull in your own room photos.  This is a good start. 

Display your paintings in a room setting  (link to APP)

My example shows a painting which is really an 8x8 painting, but it in the room setting it looks gigantic. 

I need to start painting bigger or find a way to display my small paintings in groups. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Painting Loosely

February 4, 2016

Patti Frasier at Daily Paintworks

Patti Frasier, an artist in Fredericksburg, Virginia, taught our class this past weekend.  She is such a talented artist who paints with loose and bold brushwork, while maintaining strong color and great lights and darks. 

She generously demonstrated her techniques for painting loosely and provided us with notes and tips about painting which summarized everything you need to know about painting. 

Here is the work of two students that shows so well  strong color, luscious paint and beautiful brushwork. 

Patti shows her work on Daily Paintworks, a website for artists.  Here is a link to her vibrant work where she sell her paintings.

Patti Frasier at Daily Paintworks

Thank you, Patti, for being our teacher this week.  You are an awesome teacher.