Monday, September 29, 2008

Robert Burridge - Pear Still Life

I love painting pears - I have been painting them for years. And I always seem to do a Pear Demo and assignment on the first day of my "Loosen Up" Workshops. I start off with the pure shape of a circle with a triangle on top - kind of like a jack-in-the-box. I create the voluptuous, figurative shape by putting lights against darks. In the case of this still life, the background on the left side is the darkest and the light source is hitting the pear at its fullest against the dark background. The right side of the pear - because it is more in the shadow, is darker than the background on the right side. So it doesn't look like it's floating, I always place the pear on a table and I always place a shadow to anchor it. I try not to place the pear in the center of the painting; it's more interesting to have my subject slightly offset. The final stroke of color is the "WOW!" I like creating small surprises - in this painting the surprise color is a kiss of hot pink Opera by Holbein. What gives it a wow is the extended color, glowing on the pear as well as the table. Pulls it all together. 
Original acrylic painting on paper, quarter sheet (11" x 14") - $450 + $20 shipping/handling.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Michael Chesley Johnson - Autumn Splendor

In my mind, there's nothing finer than painting in the autumn. I love to be out on a warm afternoon when the grasshoppers are singing their last songs and the sun sets a golden fire in the fields. This week, I went to one of my favorite wet areas, a marsh near Eagle Hill Bog, to paint the marsh grasses. The trick was to make the grasses incandescent. I kept the shadowed parts of the grasses red and warm, warmer than the sunlit tops, and then made sure the highlights on the tops were the brightest extreme in the painting.

"Autumn Splendor" 8x10, oil, en plein air
$150+$5 shipping

Friday, September 26, 2008

Carol Marine - "Getting On?"

Carol Marine - "Getting On?" - 6x6in. - bid

I am in Santa Fe at the moment teaching a workshop. Today is the last day and so far we have had a blast! I've got a great group - very enthousiastic. Check out my blog for photos.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Vince Fazio 6x8 oil on canvas panel $100

This is the first painting I did at the Villa where we hosted the workshop with Randall Sexton and Marcia Burtt. We had a great group of painters who worked rain and shine. Though the first day was kind of gray and overcast it can bring out the local colors in a strong way. This painting was done by starting with oversaturated color and adding white into it as needed with a larger rather than smaller brush. More from italy in the next few posts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Betsey Nelson- Head Study II

Betsey Nelson 12x10 $360

This is a second head study done of the same man in Head Study I (see earlier blog posting). Again same principles apply just a more "finished" study. But does it say anymore than the other?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Robert Burridge - Stars of the Big Top #3

As part of my Circus Series, I'm not done yet! Last month it was Trapeze Stars and this month I'm doing a series of Circus Clowns. The clowns are not typical funny faces or scary faces, but more about humans who dress up as clowns and work in the circus. It's a job. Their actual job is to draw your attention to themselves and way from the roustabouts, changing equipment and scenery in the other rings. They are always waiting in the wings, ready to go on.
Original painting - acrylic and collage on 12 x 12 inch canvas. $675 + 50 Shipping/handling.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Adele Earnshaw - "Little Dogie"

Inspired by a recent trip to Colorado, I've done a series of 'little dogies'. This little oil is 6" x 6" on Ampersand gesso board.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Michael Chesley Johnson - Pastel Nocturne

Although I've painted nocturnes in oil, I've never done a night painting in pastel. I thought I'd give it a try. Unlike oil painting at night, you don't have the color mixing issue. (In the glow of my headlamp, Ultramarine Blue oil paint looks a lot like Alizarin Crimson oil paint, and it's mostly because I always arrange my palette in the same way that I can tell them apart.) But you do have the color selection issue -- which is, in my mind, almost as difficult.

We had a beautiful full moon this morning, and when I woke around 4, I decided to take advantage of it. I loaded up my pastel gear and hiked down to our beach through the apple trees. The ripe apples seem even more fragrant in the night. As I moved out into a clearing, I saw Friar's Head, lying in the distance like a black slab in a silvery sea.

I set up my pastel box. I keep it well-organized. It has six sections, one for each color family. I divide each section with cool colors at one end and warm colors at the other. In addition, I sort the pastels in each section by value. With this level of organization, you'd think it'd be a piece of cake in the dark to find the correct cool, dark purple I need. Not so - there are subtle but important variations among those cool, dark purples. They were almost impossible to see under my headlamp.

I found myself looking at the scene, deciding (or guessing) what color a certain shape before me was, and then reaching into the box where I remembered that particular color should be. But was it the correct cool, dark purple? The best I could do was get right the color family, the temperature and the value. Whether it was a slightly redder purple or a slightly bluer one was hard to tell. But this isn't a problem unique to pastel; it's the same with mixing oil paint in the dark.

Unlike oil paint, however, which stays on the palette where you put it, pastel sticks don't. I have a little tray (my "working palette") that I put my pastel sticks in as I work so I can find them again easily. Well, they rolled around and got jumbled up a bit. Oops! Is this the purple or the green? I had to work very hard at keeping the pastel sticks that were in use separate.

I ended up focussing more on value than anything and tried to approximate the temperatures. Even so, I was pretty satisfied with the result. Here's the painting after a few minor tweaks in the studio:

"Friar's Head, Moonlight"
5x7, pastel, en plein air
$60+$5 shipping

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Journey to England:7

Libby Caldwell, Oil on Panel, 6 x 8 $115.

Journal entry 7: View from the Beach Hut.
As we sat on the front porch of the beach hut, this was our view looking out to sea. Out over the sand and small pools that were left behind by the tide. I had been sketching people as they made their way across the sand; they would often stop and the children would play in the shallow pools of water. Dogs would run by, yachts would sail by, but now all was still, and I wanted to capture this peaceful view on the only small panel I had with me, and the limited palette I had carried down to the beach that day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Betsey Nelson - Head Study I

Head Study 12x10 oil $360
This another study done using spots of color instead of paintings things (in this case features).
This creates a much more painterly piece and much more interesting painting at least to this artist.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peggy Sands • Sedona Sketch

This was a large thumbnail that overflowed it's box... It sat on my table a few days. 
I liked it so much I turned it into a little watercolor painting
I can't get over the color of the rocks here.

Robert Burridge - Circus Bird #2

My intentions that morning were to complete a series of small canvas pieces - all 12x12 Birds. My previous bird series had all been black, white, various shades of grey and maybe just a little red for the red winged black birds. 
I started off in black and white but just got that urge to push into color. The more color I added, the funner it got! I added collage papers for texture and added even more color.
I didn't want to create a screaming circus wagon of jarring color. I purposefully used my color wheel and chose a color combination that allowed for a vivid, WOW focal point. 
The focal point in this series are circus masks on my performing birds!
Original acrylic on canvas, $675 + 25 shipping/handling.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Michael Chesley Johnson - Salt Marsh Overcast

Lately, I've been trying a new approach with my oil paintings. I've been using oil pastel for my initial block-in and then washing over it with mineral spirits to create an underpainting before applying traditional oil paints. Why? I find I can control the drawing better with oil pastel. And what's more, if you don't cover the underpainting completely, some of the wonderful "scribbly" marks will show through and energize the final surface.

I must warn you about oil pastels, though. They contain a non-drying vegetable oil. You must use enough mineral spirits to dissolve and wash out this oil so the following layers of traditional oil paints adhere properly.

Here's a recent painting I did this way. I like the way my underpainting shows through.

"Salt Marsh Overcast" 9x12, oil/oil pastel
$300+$10 shipping

- Michael Chesley Johnson PSA MPAC PSNM

Monday, September 8, 2008

Carol Marine - "St. Blasien"

Carol Marine - 8" x 10" - Oil on panel - SOLD

I recently took a trip to Germany with my family to meet my husband's birth-parents. They live in a small town in the Black Forest called Schluchsee, and about 15 minutes away is St. Blasien, where this was painted. I was fairly overwhelmed with the possibilities of subjects - Germany is a BEAUTIFUL place!! I actually had a bit of a frustrating time painting there - please see my blog for more.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Journey to England:6

Libby Caldwell, Oil on Prepared Paper, 12.5 x 15.5 SOLD

Journal entry 6: July 2008.
A sunlit alley in a small town in England. We had found the perfect place for lunch, and thought we should walk around the town for a while before heading for home. This alley came as a surprise along a shady pavement, like a little jewel.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Backyard Landscape

Vince Fazio 9 x 12 Oil on canvas $140.00

This is a plein air landscape using the backyard in the late afternoon with strong diagonal shadows to break up the composition. I need to get more plein air painting practice in as I am heading to Italy next week to do a workshop with Randall Sexton for the Arts Center. Next Post will be Italia.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Betsey Nelson - Bess In White

oil 16x12 $760
This sketch reminds me of Hawthornes words about not painting the features. Putting in the right spots of color. Also his advice of putting variety in whites. Both wonderful bits of advice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Robert Burridge - Bouquet a Day

Bouquet a Day is part of a series on 12x12 inch canvas, using acrylic paint and collage. I wanted to paint seven small pieces that would go together as well as stand on their own. I started this series out by first "making a mess" of color all over the canvas, then created the vase and flowers by painting the negative shapes. I then added the water in the vase, stems and specific flowers to pull the painting together. When I do a series like this, I line up all seven canvases and paint them at the same time. It is a great warmup time in the studio for me, getting me ready to work on my larger paintings.
Original 12x12, acrylic on canvas. $625 plus $50 shipping.