Sunday, August 23, 2020

My Blog Has Moved!

I moved my website several years ago to FASO. ... Fine Art Studio Online. They have grown and are offering so many things to their artists, like blogs and newsletters, just to mention two. It is a fantastic site and they work hard to help artists do their marketing and show their work.

But, I have many years of blog posts here on Blogger and am in the process of copying them to a document so I do not lose them. 

As followers of my blog here, I hope you will decide to follow me on the new platform at FASO. I am working hard at getting back to doing blog posts, and being good about sending an occasional newsletter ... at least one per month at least. Marketing has become such a key element on social media and being responsible for doing it ourselves.

Here is a link to the page on my website where you can sign up for my blog there:

Thank you for your following in the past and I hope there were blog posts that helped you in some way. That was the main purpose of my blog... besides marketing my work. I am a teacher and just cannot help myself! 😉

Friday, March 29, 2019

Team Teaching Workshop With Karen Margulis!

Karen Margulis and I will be doing our "Team Teaching Workshop" again this May in Blue Ridge, GA. You can email me and I will send all the information. You can also see the information and tips on my website: under the Workshop tab. This workshop fills up fast, so don't delay if you are interested. There are still a few places left in the workshop, but I don't expect them to be there very long. Each time we do this the workshop is full with a waiting list. The dates and a little info is in the flyer shown below and more about the workshop is in a paragraph of info below the flyer image!

If you have the idea you need more instruction for plein air painting, or just painting in general, this workshop is the one for you.

One view of our river!
The workshop base is the Savage cabin, located on 1 ½ acres on the Toccoa River, 7 miles from downtown Blue Ridge, GA (this is toward the Northeast). My address is considered Mineral Bluff.. There is the river ... of course! There is a barn with lean-to, stacks of wood, pump house, muscadine vines, a few pieces of farm equipment, wagon wheels, a deck at the river, pavilion with table and wooden swings, old-time painted metal glider and chairs, and a dirt/gravel road that winds to the property. Plenty of stuff to paint. It is an old cabin and unique. Some of our neighbors just a few doors down allow us to paint on their property also, with river views and some rock groups in the water... a beautiful area.

More Info!
We also plan the first day at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association in their workshop room. We show images on a screen and talk about working plein air. Karen and I both do a quick demo. After each or our demos, the students get to work on a piece that is shown on the big screen and think about the plein air approach. It helps to have a practice day before the next day of being outside with everything and trying to decide what to paint. Takes a little pressure off, maybe!

Come join us. You won't be sorry! We have great fun, and you learn loads from two teachers!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Painting Falling Water

Demonstration Painting and Studies

14" x 11" Pastel of Dry Falls

This "rather long" blog post is about my love of doing subject matter in a series sometimes. I hope you enjoy the conversation and seeing a little into my days and weeks of being an artist!

Though this was a demonstration, it is "finished" because I don't want to lose the freshness of it, but not as finished as many of my paintings. It is a pastel. It was a demo for the IAPS (International Assoc. of Pastel Societies) convention this past June in Albuquerque NM.  I demonstrated for Ampersand who create the Pastelbord that I use 99% of the time and also Terry Ludwig Pastels.

Here is my recent Studio Painting!

"Dry Falls Wonder" 24" x 18" Pastel

This painting is from the same photograph, but done in the studio and has been taken a lot further with details. I still feel it retains a freshness, but with addition of other added elements. This waterfall is "Dry Falls" in North Carolina. I have painted it several times in different formats, from different angles, etc. It seems to inspire me any time I see it, or my photos!

I'm going to show you other waterfalls or cascades I have done in the past year, some are also in progress, but I love the direction they are going in.

11" x 14" Pastel Demo

The next one (to the right), also a pastel, is another demo at the above mentioned convention. And, it is the same waterfall just from a different perspective! This one is a little less finished, but I'm not sure I will do anything more to it. Again, I love the freshness of the marks.
Below is a 20" x 16" from near Monteagle Tennessee, and is from a photo I took in a park called "Fiery Gizzard." What a name right?

"Musical Waters" 20" x 16" Pastel
16" x 12" Pastel Demo

The one to the right is the same waterfall as above (Dry Falls again), and also was the last demonstration painting I did at the Pastel Convention in Albuquerque... I don't think this one is finished enough, so there will be some adjustments in the future!

Below is an oil painting of a waterfall in the Blue Ridge, GA area. This painting is 16"x20" and was recently in a local show, and found a new home! Thank you to the friends that purchased this one!

"Freshness" Oil 16"x20"
Be sure to check out my website for some of my "water and rock" paintings.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What did Matt Smith Have to Say?

Discipline! One word!

Graphite Sketch 24"x18 "Water Power"
Washed With Water! Finish Shown Below

This is a blog post I intended to finish writing over a year ago, after returning from the Plein Air Convention in Tucson AZ. The draft was still in my blog site, so I decided to finish it. It seemed appropriate for me at this time, and I thought maybe for some of my friends. And... it is a long blog post with many short thoughts he mentioned... very interesting and thought provoking ones.

Matt's first words I wrote down were: “Thin to Thick” and “Dark to Light” and “Discipline.” As a general rule this is probably the most important thing for an artist. Then he got down to talking specifics of doing a landscape. So these are little gems of wisdom. Some of them might be incomplete sentences, but they do contain those gems! All these next sentences and short paragraphs were statements he made while painting a demonstration painting. They were relevant to what he was painting, but even by themselves, with no context of a photograph of his painting, they are important things to think about. I hope you enjoy them! I know I did. It made my mind spiral to more thoughts about each one he uttered... so much so, that sometimes I missed the next sentence and I know I missed some very important words. Oh well, such is what happens when trying to write as fast as the speaker was speaking!

Identify the horizon line first. Why? It is constant. It may be obscured by trees, but be sure to identify where it is. His “horse power” is burnt sienna... his favorite color. (Look up his palette on line.) He also uses Yellow Ochre. (I might need to add this back to my palette). It is a good modifier for other colors. And, it can make a wonderful warm green with blue.

He holds his brush like a pencil instead of under the palm of his hand. At least I noticed this in the beginning.

Light references: Natural light, Direct, Reflective, Reflected blue sky light. Decide why the light is a certain one and where it is coming from. Shadows have reflective light in them. Don’t ignore this! The stronger the light source, the more reflected light you will find in the shadows.

Ultramarine blue with a cool red (alizarin crimson) for the cool shadows. Start with cool, intellectually it keeps him thinking cool in the shadows. There is “light, mid-tone & shadow.” Only temperature change will be for those background mountains. But, it still has to sit in that shadow family. He used cobalt blue saying it was easier to grey a color down. (I use this statement about greying a color down being easier than brightening one up!)

When working outdoors, an "oily medium" is not as good. There can be recurring issues....( hmmm, I wonder what that one meant. What recurring issues?)

There is pinky-violet in the lighter sections of the mountains. The Saguaro - more accents than taking over the sense of place. Use less arms!

In designing foregrounds, dirt patches, sage is a larger element. Whatever is out of harmony must go.
"Modify with the earth colors... which knocks the edge off those 'big' colors!" The "Form of the Land" is linear perspective. (I'll have to think about that one a little more.)

Viridian hue (has little thalo), puts yellow ochre or burnt sienna in it. Now the shadow side of it. think planes here, value, intensity and temperature. Hue is color: red, yellow, blue. He uses Holbein's Viridian hue. And, he uses Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Orange to create his reds. (My thought was to take red off my palette and try this.) His only reds on his palette are Alizarin Crimson (his cool red) and Burnt Sienna (his warm red). His three primary colors are Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, and Alizarin Crimson.

If you build structure into one thing where there are others of that element, the silhouette is recognizable on everything else. Above and beyond the subject ... the way we look at artwork in museums and galleries.

He said "Maynard Dixon --- look at his work."  Staying clean, staying structured! "Allow yourself the freedom to fail." "Follows you into the next painting and the next painting." "The painting is a living, breathing thing!" "Celebrates the organic quality instead of the thumbnail and uses his oil paint early." He said many tend to paint highlights too warm in the distance. And, if you paint the sky first, the rest of the painting will be too dark!

Back to the painting he was working on, the palo verde blooms were cool yellow mostly. And his strokes are going different ways... not all in one methodical way.

Now he knows where to add thicker paint. He uses a #2 flat... primed it with medium or solvent, to go over edges of where the sky and mountain meets. The color or value shifts to create where distant mountains go back. Study when you see it and where!

Whew! All this is my quickly taken notes... 1 1/2 years ago at that Plein Air Convention. But, I had great thoughts when reading the notebook and thought you might enjoy them even in this form.

Below is my finished pastel painting of the Lower Falls at Yellowstone ... from the above drawing and wash.

"Water Power" 24" x 18" Soft Pastel Painting

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Plein Air Festival 2017 Blue Ridge in GA

My Three Paintings in the 2017 Plein Air Festival Show
The past week from Thursday thru Sunday, I participated in the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (BRMAA) Plein Air Festival. We do it the second weekend of September each year to coincide with the World Wide Paint Out sponsored by the International Plein Air Painters (IPAP). It is always so much fun, and it is not an invitational event. Our purpose is to get as many artists to participate no matter the level of their plein air experience. We believe in taking the pressure off the artists that want to learn and paint from life.
Artists filing into show to hear awards!
There were 97 paintings submitted!

There is a one-day workshop usually given on Thursday by a teaching artist. This year it was Carly Hardy, with the premise of the class being "From Plein Air to Studio." She did a great job... I took the class. I feel like you can always learn something! We created a studio piece from a previously done plein air "study."

The BRMAA sets up a "Quick Paint" usually on one of the days. This year it was Friday afternoon at the Serenberry Vineyards. Artists sign up to participate and must have their substrate stamped, and can only start when they blow the horn ... having one hour to create something ... stopping immediately when the blow the horn after that one hour. We take them to a central location and display them on small easels, and their is a judge. This year it was won by Elizabeth Carr for a sweet little watercolor. Congratulations, Betty!

1st Place, John Guernsey - Bottom left
"Toccoa River Rocks" Oil
On all days you can paint anywhere you wish within the parameters BRMAA have set. There is a bounty of beauty in this area for the artists to find many places to paint... Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, Downtown Blue Ridge, Mercier Orchard, various waterfalls, rocks and water, and loads of beautiful farms and land.
2nd Place, Shane McDonald - Upper Left
"Farmstead at Old Dial and Newport Rd." Oil

I was honored to judge this show... and it was extremely hard to do because there were so many "worthy" paintings. I could have given more awards, but was limited to 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, and one Honorable Mention. Here are photos of the winning paintings, and a few random shots of other paintings. They were taken with my cell phone, so apologies for any little inconsistencies!

3rd Place, Catherine Rich
"Chroma Flow" Oil-Bottom left
Honorable Mention, Charles Cashwell
"Mom's Place" Oil-Top

Candy Day

Camille "Candy" Day, and Ed Cahill, are fellow members of ELPA (Eastern League of Professional Artists) -  Candy's paintings to the left and Ed's here to the right. There were a couple of these that were award worthy!

Ed Cahill

More participating artists! Wish I knew the names for you. I could have given a couple of these an award!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Working in Series is fun!

"Freshness" Oil 16" x 20"
I love painting water and rocks, and trees, too. I often paint the same scene over and over again, also... but most times from a different side, perspective, in a different medium, etc. Just not the exact same painting!

Lately I have been concentrating on rocks and water, which led me to a few of my photos of waterfalls. All of a sudden it seemed I was on a roll with something that just kept speaking to me to do in oil paint, and also in soft pastels. I guess I need to also try something in acrylic. I love doing this because it teaches me so much each time I paint the similar scene, and also when working in a different medium!

The painting above started out with a pasture behind it, and an early fall dogwood which was turning ruby red. It was not working, so I scraped off some of the paint, and created a different background. The waterfall and rocks and water were working, so I was only concerned about the background becoming something restful! I think it works now... I know I am pleased enough that I will be submitting this one to a show.

"Water Power" 24"x18" Soft Pastel

Here is another one I did earlier this year. It can be seen at Frameworks Gallery in Marietta, GA. This is the majestic Lower Falls from Yellowstone Park! What a spectacular sight!

The next post will show you one waterfall where I did three demonstration paintings of it! What fun that was.

Be sure to check out my website for more paintings... mostly nature, and quite a number of rocks and water.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"To Draw Like Da Vinci"

"Roses & Blue Vase"
Graphite 20"x16"

Do you draw? Do you play? Do you make mistakes? Do you have favorite quotes?

A Couple of Favorite Quotes

To draw like Da Vinci, you need to follow his advice. “Train your visual mind to understand the shapes of forms and spaces, to recognize angles and directions of lines, to appreciate proportion, to understand perspective, to recognize gradations in tone and, above all, to be inspired by imagination. Without these, all the technical skills in the world will not produce a work of art.”

this one I keep by my easel!

“If you aren’t willing to make mistakes, you will never do anything creative!”

I love the first one, but the one just above is one of my favorite quotes to tell my students. It teaches me what I don’t want to do, and I remember it much better than if someone told me not to do a certain thing. Learning by making the mistake remains in the mind so much better than what someone tells you!

A pastel I brushed off part!
When working in pastel, the mistake … or let’s call it a path that I decide is not going to work … just gets brushed off with a stiff bristle brush that I cut the bristles down about halfway and at a slight angle. This leaves a ghost image but gets rid of the excess pastel on the board and allows me to add more layers of pastel. So, a little about a technique here, but this is to explain something very important about being an artist.

Being an artist is not totally about mastery of your medium. Medium means what the tools are you use to create your art. It could be anything from painting or drawing, in any of the “mediums” such as oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, etc. It could be that you are a sculptor, a mixed media specialist, builder of three-dimensional art, fine art craftsman building furniture or found object art … many ways of using that creative spirit of yours … being an artistic person with a vision. I believe that is being an artist! And, if we make mistakes, it is part of the process of learning, so why not embrace that part as well as all the other tools we use?

I heard a young man a few days ago mention he did art. I said, “so you are an artist?” He answered not he was not an artist. I tried to tell him that being an artist is doing something creative, no matter your level of experience. There are artists that are beginners, intermediate, advanced and professional. So if he does something creative, and he showed me a couple of his paintings, then he should say he is an artist. It would be okay to say he is a beginner … to clarify the statement.

So, make those mistakes, and try again. And, if you are doing something creative that could possibly be called art, then call yourself an artist. I do believe it might make you “own” the title and try a little harder to be an authentic you, an artist!