Saturday, February 28, 2009

Robert Burridge - Floral Studies

I've blogged about my warmup paintings, but I don't think I've shown an overall view of them. The size is 9x12 inches - acrylic on paper. All are gessoed and are varnished when completed. I work on at least a series of three - similar colors, compositions, etc. My warmups follow a distinct composition - the still life one above illustrates one of my favorites - the "Cruciform" composition. When I work on a still life painting, I pay attention to the composition, the color combination and the light source. In this case you can see the light bathe the flowers - coming in from the left, with the vase casting a shadow on the right.
I call these 9x12 studies "small original paintings" - I have them on my website. Please inquire as to availablility. 
$275 + shipping, handling and CA sales tax (if applicable) 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carol Marine - "Looking Up"

Carol Marine - "Looking Up" - 6x6in. - SOLD

This started out as a challenge to myself. I wanted to see if I could do a high key, mostly white painting with relatively few strokes - all deliberate. I ended up getting a little more fussy than I wanted, but I really like the result.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Color Triads

"Schnebly Hill Chasm"
9x12, pastel

I remember reading somewhere that the triad of secondaries makes for the most pleasing color harmony because the natural landscape consists of orange, green and purple. This wasn't on my mind when I painted the picture above, but in retrospect, I unwittingly used this triad. Most likely, it's because I painted what I saw.

My secondaries run from the pure hues to neutrals and in a variety of temperatures. It'd be a good quiz for students to see how many they kind find. (Any takers?)

This was painted during late morning at Schnebly Hill, when Munds Mountain is backlit. The chasm in the foreground is part of a wash that runs into Bear Wallow Canyon. The rock ledges are steep and dramatic - worth exploring, for sure.

By the way, there are still openings in my pastel workshop for the end of March.  We'll have glorious weather and long days for painting!  I hope to see some of you there.

Michael Chesley Johnson -

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adele Earnshaw- "Knee Deep"

Perhaps I'm anxious for spring - but this week I was inspired to paint something with lots of color. This is a scene I saw in Colorado this past summer. "Knee Deep" is an 8 x 10 oil on gessoed board.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Robert Burridge - Still Life with Oranges

My studio assignment this past week was to work on a series of small works - each featuring a different specific composition and color combination from my color wheel.
My goals for this painting included the following: Diagonal composition (diagonal line of oranges), Red as the the dominant color with Compose Blue as the focal point and 2 "spice colors" around the focal point (Cadmium Green Light and Katsura Blue). I also wanted to create a painterly still life that would retain the original abstractness. I was pleased with the outcome.
Original 10x10 acrylic on paper painting - inquire as to availability.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carol Marine - "Peeking"

Carol Marine - "Peeking" - 6x6in. - SOLD

I recently went through a bit of an artists block. I am going through a period in my life where I am so incredibly busy I never have time to just sit down and ponder. I think sometimes we push ourselves and push ourselves until we lose the inspiration we started with. The other day I forced myself to sit down for several hours and just sketch and think and do nothing else. Of course it was enjoyable - the forcing came from the need to attend to other responsibilites. I came out of this time with new ideas and new things to try. Sometimes we have to MAKE time for this sort of re-energizing or re-inspiring. Unfortunately it isn't productive in the short-term, which is what makes ME hesitate to do it, but the long-term benefits are huge!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Picking the Right Color

"Red Rock Crossing Hues"
5x7, pastel

I've seen many students agonize over selecting "just the right green" from their pastels or mixing "just the right blue" with their oil paints. The implication of this is that they're trying to duplicate the scene before them photographically by painting exactly the colors that they see.

The problem with this approach is that we are often faced with a world of dull or monotonous color. Too much green in moist New England, too much brown in the desert Southwest, too much grey in the foggy Northwest. Duplicating the scene may give you a painting that doesn't quite work. We all remember those fantastic scenes we've photographed, only to look at the photographs back home and sadly learn that the camera failed to capture the feeling. It's the same with painting.

Here's a better approach. Pick a color that's close and works well with your other colors. Think of getting the color relationships right, not the exact colors.

Above is a case in point. Under the hazy, almost-overcast light, the red rock slab had a little more orangey-red in it than I've painted it. I didn't have quite the right pastel color. Still, the colors all work together.

Michael Chesley Johnson

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vince Fazio - Sunset Ceremony (stage 1)

"Sunset Ceremony" 24x36 oil on canvas NFS

This represents a "first stopping point" for this painting. Next week I will publish the next stage. There is no telling what goes on between a beginning and an end. Usually though it is something difficult. The difficult middle. Though at this stage it is the intent to "keep it all fresh", to not make it difficult. To not make the 'will to finish' something that goes too far. Bonnard said a painting is best when it is two-thirds done. What is your opinion?
Please Email me for purchase information.

Libby Caldwell - Off Route 1

Oil on panel, 9 x 9.5, $210

I don't always approach a painting the same way. Sometimes I start with a charcoal sketch, followed by blocking in of color. Sometimes I'll do a tonal underpainting, and paint multiple glazes over it. I started this piece with a reference photo, and made no preliminary sketching on the panel before painting. This is the way I love to paint, it's exciting, I have a feeling of freedom while I paint as there is no 'plan' and there are no guidelines - just a blank panel or canvas. It is immediate, and I paint the world I see in my imagination.
So, in this painting I did keep the two figures accurate that were in the photograph. There were trees, but the scale and the colors, and the removal of superfluous items from the photo all made the very personal image I have painted. I was aiming for the 'feeling' rather than the 'reality' in this particular piece.

Please Email me for purchase information.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Robert Burridge - Special Effects

I like to play with textures and special effects! Rubbing alcohol, aka Isopropyl alcohol, when dribbled over a very wet aquamedia painting will cause the paint to spread out in an instant pattern of dots and rings. It takes a little practice! The results dry into a beautiful, random pattern. I use this technique to break up a flat, solid section of wet paint. It adds “visual texture.” The painting above, “Winged Messenger” has the dots and rings in the lower left corner. When you try this technique, I suggest using the alcohol sparingly - and in one section only. Not overall... a little goes a long way!

Winged Messenger, 36x36, original acrylic painting on canvas - Sold

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Carol Marine - "Obsession"

Carol Marine - "Obsession" - 6x6in. - SOLD

One challenge of doing a painting every day is coming up with things to paint. Most of the time I really don't have this problem as I see endless possibilities for combinations of fruit and flowers and color. But whenever I tire of my usual subjects for a day I look around me for something a little different. And to my right, brushes! It goes to show, you never know where you're going to find your next inspiriation, so don't ever stop looking around you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Rain in Sedona

The day before, we had rain, which is an uncommon but welcome event in this dry country. Needless to say, we painted from indoors, but looking out at the view.

I chose pastel to do two small sketches. I was interested more in color and value than anything else. I worked especially on the cool reds and greens in the distant hills and the relationship to the warmer foreground greens. For the distant hills, I chose two pastels of the same value - a rather vivid red-violet and a blue-green. After blocking in the hills, I layered the complement of each over them to neutralize the rich color somewhat. I also used a bit of "real" grey to cool them down further.

For both of these pieces, I used the "Belgian Mist" color of the Wallis Sanded Pastel Paper plus the hard Polychromos pastels. Having the paper already toned a warm grey helped warm up and harmonize the cool, sometimes discordant colors I used in the underpainting.

Michael Chesley Johnson

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Libby Caldwell - In a Foreign Land...

8 x 10 mixed media (gold leaf and oil paint) on panel $175

A painting from a dream, January 2009.

Please Email me for purchase information.

Robert Burridge - Before and After

Typically, in my studio I work on six warm-up paintings every morning. They are similar in size and all of the same theme, or series that I am working on that day. It usually takes me three passes to get the painting to where I can honestly say it's good enough to stop! The above is a before and after of a painting, 10 x10 inch square of Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, 140 lb. My goal was to make a circus-themed painting, yet highlight a specific composition. In the "Before" painting, I stopped too soon. The theme was there; it was adequate. Yet, after looking at the painting for awhile, I knew that I needed to push my constellation composition and use it as my "WOW" -- as illustrated in the "After" painting. Successful!

I am teaching a workshop at the Sedona Art Center in April - "Fix & Finish," where we will refocus painting intentions and goals to get paintings finished, signed, varnished and out the door. It's great fun!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Workshop Demonstration Paintings

I taught a one-day Introduction to Pastel workshop for the Sedona Art Center on Saturday. It was a great class, and everyone had a good time. I did two demonstrations to illustrate a couple of basic approaches to painting in pastel. In the first, I painted with soft pastel on steel-grey Canson paper. This is a very direct approach without any underpainting, and it's about as close to drawing as you can get. Pastel is a wonderful transition medium to get you from drawing, which is something we've all done in grade school, to real painting. Beginners really enjoy this.

In the second method, I created an underpainting on sanded paper with pastel that I then "scrubbed in" with rubbing alcohol. This establishes a good foundation of value and color. Once it dried, I finished with more pastel. This more advanced method is very much like painting - you even use a brush to create textures and brush strokes in the underpainting stage.

The first painting is the dry technique, and the second is the wet technique. (Neither painting is really finished at this point; they are just illustrative sketches.)

Michael Chesley Johnson PSA MPAC PSNM

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Coat of Many Colors" Adele Earnshaw

I am intrigued by guinea fowl. In parts of the U.S. they are used as watchdogs as they are the first to notice something that doesn't belong in the neighborhood.

"Coat of Many Colors" is 10" x 6" and was painted alla prima. I used complementary colors to give the painting some punch and worked hard at keeping soft edges except for the head, which is the focal point. Unfortunately, I could not get a decent photo of this piece without glare from the paint. I finally scanned it - but there is still some glare. The background is actually a bright, opaque Viridian.

This painting has a companion - a peahen. Perhaps I'll post it here next week.
I call the pair 'The Odd Couple'.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Libby Caldwell - And in the dream...

9 x 12 mixed media on panel $210

A painting from a dream, January 2009.

Please Email me for purchase information.