Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Workshop by Robert Johnson
Photos of set-ups and steps involved in painting by Robert Johnson
Going over my notes was a good reminder of the methods used by Robert Johnson.  He gave us so much valuable information in that class.  He is an inspirational teacher devoted to helping his students. 

(this is the one I did in class)  Notice the soft and hard edges.  I learned about using warmth in the reflected light.  Even the horizon line is very soft, a point emphasized by the teacher. 

I showed you my completed painting from this set-up yesterday. 

Thank you to Robert Johnson

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review of workshop with Robert Johnson  ( Please make comments about whether this is helpful)

I took this workshop about 6 years ago in Richmond at the Brazier Gallery.  I had purchased Robert Johnson's book a number of years before that and to my surprise found a workhop sort of nearby.  I don't know if he still teaches at the Art League in Alexandria, Va, but he has an amazing website that includes demonstrations and photos of his work. If you ever have the chance, take his workshop.

You can see from his work why I was thrilled to take one of his classes.  I'll include some of the set-up photos and highlights from my notes.

I refer to this book often.  I had this one autographed, too



-  have concept of where the eye will move
- start with a design (10% of time goes to design stage)
-start with wash of transparent oxide red and cobalt blue or UB - work out problems at this early stage
-create depth by overlapping items
-Background is done with big brush, very dark and use medium, done loosely, then wipe out lights with paper towel (he uses viva)

-next did leaves with viridian and terra rosa, big dark shapes, no detail

We were doing rose paintings, after this general start, his direction was to "nail" a rose.  At this point every brush stroke counts, but still done in loose fashion thinking of shapes and values.

use background to carve out shapes

background done with vertical brushstrokes, keeps eye from catching lights and prevents glare in painting, used a neutral mix of cobalt blue, terra rosa, and yellow ochre

paints light with very thick paint

*(weakest part always sticks out, ptg rises to weakest point)  - the most frequent weak point is usually in the drawing;

-used warm for reflected light on vase

be aware of what's happening  at end of brush

Polarity - strength of painting is juxtaposing opposites

greenery - don't paint every detail - paint only a few leaves to perfection

push values (he said this many times)

think of objects in terms of planes

painting rug - don't be a slave to detail, scraped off excess paint to show weave of canvas

emphasis on drawing  - learn to draw without thinking, recommended book by Beverly Hale

think of objects as abstract shapes

emphasized use of soft and hard edges,

reflective surfaces - edges disappear- lose shape as go around

use best stroke at the moment to capture what your are seeing, the more economical the stroke, the more exciting it will be for the viewer

If you can't take a workshop, I would recommend buying any one of his DVD's.  One I have is very comprehensive and takes you through every step of the paintings. 

Tomorrow I will include more photos of the set-ups.  I need to find them from among the disorganized array of thousands of photos. 
(This is Robert Johnson's palette)

My painting from the class. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Four New Paintings for Heather Boutique, Fredericksburg, VA

Just framed and ready to go to Heather's.  The duckie and sneakers could be used as shower gifts or gifts for children.  I think they are the kind of thing that children would save as memories of childhood and keep them as they grow up.  I am using that idea with my own grandchildren. 

(The duckie is done with a palette knife.  I been trying that technique more and more lately, an inspiration from Leslie Saeta)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Q and A

 I thought this would be a good way to answer some questions that I received by e-mail.  It made me happy to receive them because my purpose in doing a blog was that it be something useful so thank you. 

How to start a painting?  If you go back to the archives listed on the right of this page I did a post in 2009 about starting a painting.  My own way of starting has changed a little since then.  I generally tone the board with Transparent Red Medium by Rembrandt because it is a nice warm color that looks good when it peeks through your paintings. 

I still rely on the method of toning with a neutral color (UB and Burnt Sienna mixed with a lot of OMS (odorless mineral spirits).  I did my most recent peony painting that way. 

Then, using a big brush I do a very loose drawing with paint mixed with a little OMS concentrating on just value.  I use a paper towel to lift out the lights.  (There are examples of this in old blogs, especially the one of painting a portrait of the dog TUX).  The second and third layers are when I add more detail and think about hard and soft edges. 

There are so many variations of this stage.  One that I like is using transparent colors to establish the lights and dark at that first stage of painting.  (that method is described in detail I on post dated April 2013.

What surface do you use?

For daily paintworks I've been using gessobord by Ampersand for two reasons.  First, I like the smooth surface and, second, they are inexpensive if you order them on sale with the special discount and free shipping.  I watch for sales on Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama, Cheap Joe's and ASW, all online places.   I'm always looking for ways to save a little on supplies.  Art supplies are not cheap!

My favorite surface is Belgian linen mounted on Baltic wood that I order from Raymar.  These are luxurious and pricey.  Tux was done on Belgian linen.

Do you do an underpainting?

Yes, but it is fairly loose, emphasizing value and big shapes.  I add detail as the painting progresses. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Back to the subject of Marketing:

During the 30-day Marketing Challenge with Leslie Saeta, we were encouraged to let people know when something sells, and to spruce up our packaging.  I still need to add a nice bow, but want to buy those clear plastic bags first.  Now that I have decided on the frame size, I need to order bags, but in the meantime I think including the cards as a thank you make it a nice colorful surprise. 

The frames from my favorite, Franken Frames, gives the painting a nice finished look.  My husband puts paper and wire on the back so they look very professional. 
I still need to do a better job of advertising that the paintings are for sale. I have the DPW widget on the side panel of my blog, but half of the time I forget to put a link to DPW under the photo.  Here it is DAILY PAINTWORKS

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Workshop Info - Joe Anna Arnett ( an outstanding teacher)  She has a facebook page that shows many of her stunningly beautiful paintings. 
I am still painting everyday, but put most of those on Daily Paintworks
Painting  of mine done last year.  This is an Anna Belle Hydrangea, the petals are small than the one we are used to seeing, but I was keeping Joe Anna's voice in my head about having a shadow side, under-mixing color, neutral background.......

This helps me, too.  Re-reading my notes and selecting the most important points is a good exercise on its own.  I'll just hope it is helpful to someone else out there in blogland. 

I put most of my photos from the class on yesterday's post.  I still can't find the photo of the watermelon set-up.  That was my favorite from the class. 

I am just including highlights and tidbits of information.  The things I have to keep reminding myself to follow. 

 - The eye is fascinated by variety

-Painting and palette should be in the same light

-start with big brush

-center of interest does not have to be just one thing

-use thumbnails,  don't start too tight, almost do drawing at end

-cast shadow is only thing we have to show gravity,   consistency of tempertature is needed because it shows it lived in the same light

-undermix paint


irregularity is interesting

-add local color to shadows

-distance steals value, things disappear with distance

-crisp edges come forward

-people like to look at impasto, eye goes there first, eye will go to contrast

-establish darkest dark and lightest light


Photos from my next workshop with Robert Johnson.  I have been so lucky to take classes from these wonderful teachers. 


Both painted after that workhop.  Next blog I'll show work from class and photos of set-ups. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

 Work shop with Joe Anna Arnett - 2006

 Going through my notes from the workshop jogged my memory about what we covered in this workshop.    I would like to know from you if my just listing the highlights of that class would be helpful.  Please use the comment box to give me some feedback.  I have to go get my hair cut now so I'll wait for some direction from you on what would be useful. 

Pictures are from the class.  One is a demo by Joe Anna.  Will post more if I can find them. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013

Lillie and Maggie
6 s 6

I like doing these little beach paintings.  My friend sent me some great photos and my daughter-in-law sent me some lovely photos, too.  I'm all set.  There's no excuse not to do a series. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013 - Beach Paintings

I like the idea of taking on a challenge as a way to improve.  This "beach series" is turning into a challenge mostly because including figures seems to be a part of most of the paintings.  I've been thinking of the 30 day challenge or maybe just 30 beach paintings.  I haven't decided yet--too big of a commitment. 

So far here are two more.  Except for one, I've listed all of the beach paintings on Daily Paintworks.  There are only 4 or 5. 

Here are the paintings and the photos I used for the most recent ones:

6 x 6


Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's impossible not to develop your own style

 A question I used to have is how to develop your own style in your paintings,  but in classes and workshops that I've taken, the teachers always answered pretty much the same way saying it is impossible not to have your own style.  

My own theory is that your choices of instruction and studying other artists plays into that process.  I've noticed when deciding what class or workshop to take,  I usually look at the paintings of the teacher.  It's obvious, but i would never take a class from someone whose paintings I didn't like.  

I've been looking back at my own choices of classes and how they have influenced me.  In the end, I think you use a little of what you like from every class you take and before you know it you have your own style.  Maybe that is obvious, too.  

When I first started to paint and didn't even know about workshops, I was looking through an art magazine and noticed that a class was offered by the author of my favorite book at the time.  It seemed amazing to me how I could actually take a class from someone so accomplished.  There it was in the magazine.  I got online, signed my husband and me for the class and we attended the class in South Carolina, a great experience from a wonderful teacher.

To show you what I groupie I was, here is a photo of the teachers book that I had autographed.  In my next blog I'll tell you more about that workshop and other workshops that I have taken.    

Paintings that I did during and right after that class:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm still catching up with postings.....

Yesterday I learned that this one sold at Backdoor Gallery in Fredericksburg, VA


What I learned from doing this painting was the benefit of painting the same subject over and over.    I painted these turnips every day for a least a week and my students painted them, too.  They were shriveled up by the time I gave up on them which is okay because turnips might be the only food I'm not crazy about eating, but I do love them for their colors.  Does anyone even know a good turnip recipe?  

I forgot to post this one from Sunday.  It is part of the alleged beach series I am doing.  I'm running out of good beach photos.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Painting from yesterday, June 10, 2013   (almost back on schedule for painting a day)

I've painted these red sneakers several times before, but never in the 6 x 6 format.  I always like painting them because of the memories attached since they belonged to my son who now has a family of his own.  I've got to get some of my granddaughter's baby shoes.  She has some nice raspberry colored mary janes on the last time I saw her. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My 5 paintings for  Daily Paintworks this week...  (my only goal, I've decided is to improve and trying to do a painting every day really helps with that, I hope)
6 x 6  Oil
"It's a Boy", 6 x 6

8 x 10 - oil Knock-out Roses

"It's a Girl" - 6 x 6 Oil
6 x 6 oil -Day at the Beach

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Studio 26 - LibertyTown Arts Workshop,  Fredericksburg, VA

A couple of days ago I wrote a little about where I have my studio, LibertyTown Arts Workshop.  I share the studio with Larry Southworth and Lynette Reed and would like to show some of their work.  Every two months we rotate our paintings to a different wall.  Today was our day to change and get ready for First Friday.

I want to show some of Larry's paintings.    I like the way he shows the reflections on water and such exciting skies and clouds.  I've always admired his devotion and dedication to painting

I hope we have a lot of visitors to our studio tonight.  If you have the chance please stop by our Studio.

Lynette will be having a show during the summer and I'll include photos of her work sometime in July.

Lucky for me to share a studio with such talented artists and be a part of LibertyTown Arts Workshop.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I read somewhere the value of having traditions in a family.  Each Christmas from the time my son was born I gave him a nutcracker (along with a few other things).  They started out being small and cheap, but as time went on I started to look for really nice ones.  We also would go out for lunch together before Christmas to pick out the nutcracker as he got older.  It was our tradition.  This is the year I will hand over the collection.  He has a family and a house with a fireplace for his nutcrackers.

A friend told me how she gives her granddaughter a painting for her birthday each year that represents the number of her birthday.  This year she is giving her one of  my paintings that shows 5 ducks in a row.  This tradition will get harder with time for sure, but what a nice idea. 

I saved more  things than I should have from my son's childhood, but I'm glad I did because they have given me great subjects to paint.  I've  done paintings of all of the baby shoes I saved.  The rubber duckies have come in handy, too.  Not exactly a tradition, just preserving memories. 

In the end, I think art has a lasting quality that helps us  remember special times. 

  My son's baby shoes:  I haven't parted with all of these yet. 

Ideas for gifts of art for new babies:  (I'll be showing these at Heather Boutique as soon as the paint dries)  I gave each of my new granddaughters, Hannah and Madeline, a dress like this now I need to do paintings for them, too.  The rubber duckie is one of treasures from my son's childhood. 


It's a Girl   It's a Boy

My friends birthday idea:

Happy Birthday 5 years old

This is the tradition for First Communion now.  Lillie was the first to make her First Communion last month. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where I work

I am lucky to be a part of LibertyTown Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg, Va.  This weekend we had our 10th Anniversary.  There were all kinds of festivities especially for kids.  The founder, Dan Finnegan, took some great photos that are all included on Facebook.  I'll link you there.  Here is just one photo of Dan doing the drawing for my May give-away.  You should also look at the great pottery he makes. 

Melody Ballard Soroka won the drawing, but I haven't been able to get in touch with her.  I made the mistake of thinking that if someone "liked" you on facebook that you could get in touch with them.  I sent a friend request which is all I can think of to make a connection.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I want to get her painting to her. Another "live and learn" for me.  I posted the info on facebook, too.


(sorry my studio looks pretty messy)