Saturday, January 30, 2010

Watercolor & Gouache

More winter painting in watercolor & gouache from the comfort of my car. All of these are small and on toned paper. I usually use Canson pastel paper on the "rough" side.

Watercolor & Gouache

Stapleton Kearns's blog, which you can get to from my links, has been discussing painting winter landscapes outdoors. Oils paints get very stiff in frigid temperatures, and I hate painting with cold hands. So, rather than standing outside and freezing, my alternative for doing winter landscapes is to paint from the comfort of my car with the heater on and the wipers going when necessary. I use a combination of transparent and opaque watercolors on toned paper. These samples are very small (usually 4"x6" or 5"x7"), and it is easier to do a small watercolor/gouache in the car, where water is the only medium sloshing around, than it is to do a small oil, where the smell of your solvent can be too strong in a confined space.

I have discovered other artists who do something similar. One is Erik Tiemens who has an inspiring blog called Virtual Gouache Land (great title), another is Nathan Fowkes, and also Marc Hanson (who I discovered on Facebook), Marc has a nice, little winter study from his car on his January 13th post.

Creating studies, using transparent and opaque watercolors, is not new. Turner, Whistler, Sargent, and Homer all used them, so don't let the modern notion of leaving the white of the paper, for your white, deter you from trying this delightful technique.

If you want to paint a winter scene (without freezing or resorting to painting from photographs), I suggest gouache and watercolor painting en car. :D

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trying new things - Painting at other studios

From October - December 2009, I painted twice a month with a group of artists called the High Street Painters. They are located in Brattleboro, VT, which is a 3 hour drive from my house. They meet at the studio of Andrea Scheidler, who is one of the Putney Painters. The studio is located in a storefront along High Street.

The studio is very different from mine. Where my light source is natural light coming from north-facing skylights, the light here is completely artificial. The model had a strong spotlight with a diffuser-type shade that gave a nice light. Andrea hired lovely models and had very interesting props, so her set-ups were much more elaborate than mine.

It is interesting to paint with other professional painters who have a completely different approach. It keeps you learning and prompts you to attempt new things. Prior to painting with them, I had never really used viridian in figure/portraits.

These photos are from a few different sessions.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday Evening Painting Demo

My weekly Thursday evening class is normally a still life class. However, this week I thought a portrait demo would be helpful because I want to change the weekly format to 3 still life classes and 1 portrait class per month. My daughter Annie posed, and here are a few photos from the session.

I used an extended palette, rather than a limited palette, and the painting is 14"x18".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Drawing - Endings

Trying to continue painting, drawing, or practicing any of the arts when you become a mom takes effort. You are a caregiver. On the other end of the spectrum, you may find yourself taking care of your parents or some older loved one, so you become a caregiver again. The same time restraints exist, if you are taking care of an older person that exists when you take care of young children, and it becomes very difficult to do artwork. Being flexible and often multi-tasking, in both situations, and not placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, is the way to go.

In 2007, I took care of my Mother-in-Law who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Taking care of an Alzheimer's patient, is very similar to caring for a young child, where constant supervision, support and guidance is needed. It takes a lot of work, and there is very little time to do any sort of artwork. During this period, I did several drawings.

I had always wanted to paint my Mother-in-Law when she was younger, but she never wanted to pose then. At this stage in her life, when the opportunity presented itself, she would sit and I would draw her. She seemed flattered that "The girl who whistled" (she couldn't remember my name) liked to study her face. It was a difficult time, but I am glad that I got this chance to draw her. Having my paper and drawing supplies ready made it possible. She passed away at home in February 2007. She was 86 years old.

Drawing - Beginnings

Drawing from life is a very intimate look into the way an artist sees and thinks. I like to draw on toned paper with conte, pastel pencils and white chalk. When my grandson George was born in Oregon, I did 2 tiny drawings of him when he was 3 days old. Being ready to draw, when the opportunity...or that little bit of time presents itself (like, when your child naps) is key to continuing to draw (or paint) when you become a mom.

Like my paintings, my drawings are often fast, notes really, suggesting light and form.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We began collecting casts when we attended the Art Students League in New York back in the seventies. Drawing and painting from a cast is extremely helpful in learning about planes of light, construction, proportion, and anatomy. Knowledge you gain from this can then be applied to painting from a model. Artists approach the study of casts in a variety of ways. We tend to fall into the comparative measuring group.

The top picture is a quick, little drawing in charcoal, conte and white chalk that I did. The middle picture shows our collection of casts. Some are masks, which hang against a wall, and some are free standing. Others are anatomical studies showing the muscles, one shows the planes of the head, and some are from famous sculptures. Jack is doing an oil study on paper from one of our masks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Painting with kids

When your children have outgrown the backpack and playpen, you can have them paint with you in the studio. Jack made Violet a pint-sized version of our studio easels (that he also made). She is very proud of her easel and even sometimes lets Emma use it.

In the top photo, Emma is using the easel. She is 2 years old in this photo. Her studio attire includes big rubber boots with ducks! I was working on a floral still life while Emma painted. You can see my set-up and easel, and if you look down a few photos, you can see me working on this painting.

Violet is painting in the middle photo, and she is standing next to the little easel in the last photo. I included this bottom picture because you can see Jack's big landscape, "Vermont Summer" on the wall. This painting was on the cover of American Artist magazine in February 1991, which included a nice article about both of us. :)

Moms who Paint

My daughter Priscilla is a mom who paints. Moms who paint need to be flexible, they need to be able to paint whenever they can (like between naps) but setting aside some time to paint is important. Being prepared is also important. If you have little children, some sort of playpen that can be set up in your painting area so that the child can see you, works well. Priscilla attends some of the "Open" figure/portrait sessions, but she also sets up and paints still life in my studio. A backpack and a playpen become part of a mom/artist's painting equipment.

Moms who Paint

My original thought on my blog was to encourage moms who paint. When I began teaching, around 1997, I discovered that many of the women in my workshops or classes had painted in high school or college, and then they stopped cold when they had children. No doubt, it is hard to keep painting with little kids, but I did it, and I had 5 children within 9 years, so I know it can be done. It does take some planning and a few gadgets, but it can be done. Here are a few pictures of my daughter Priscilla. She attends the "Open" figure sessions when she can. As you can see, she uses a backpack, which is what I did too. You can see many more pictures, if you keep going back to older posts in the blog, where I am painting with a backpack. The backpack is a mom's best friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Open Figure/Portrait Sessions 2009

One of the best things about the new studio is sharing it with other artists. The "Open" figure/portrait sessions give artists a chance to draw or paint directly from a model. Originialy, we hosted these sessions every Saturday from 1pm-4pm, but beginning in November, we began holding them the second and forth Saturday of each month from 10am-4pm. Artists bring their own materials, but we have 8 easels and some tables available to use. It is fun to try new things. I began experimenting with various limited palettes.

Still posting things that happened in 2009...

I taught 3 workshops for Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester, VT in 2009. The top pictures shows me doing a crit for one of my students in the Elements of Landscape Painting workshop. The bottom picture shows me doing one of many florals that I produced in the summer.

Monday, January 04, 2010

2 Person Show at Visions of Vermont Gallery 2009

I took the top picture after the opening, but I like looking through the dining room to the other room where Jack is sitting in front of his painting. Having a show, and keeping it intact for the duration of the show, is often difficult. As people purchased work, some wanted to take the paintings, which of course changes the overall look of the show. So, when this happened, Jane put the "red dots" and the labels along the door frame to indicate which paintings had sold.

In the bottom picture, you can see my daughter's family again and another artist friend. The painting on the right sold and was taken after the opening.

2 Person Show at Visions of Vermont Gallery 2009

Our paintings hung in 5 rooms. In the top picture, I am standing behind Jamie, who studies with me on Thursday evenings. You can see some of her work, if you scroll down to view pictures from my Thursday night classes. My painting on the right sold.

The bottom photo is one of Jack's large studio paintings. It is 48"x72" (image), and it was painted from a compilation of several of his plein air paintings and drawings. We are posed in front of this painting in the pictures below.

2 Person Show at Visions of Vermont Gallery 2009

Jack and I had three 2-Person exhibits in 2009. The first was at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester, where I also taught 3 workshops this past summer. The second was at Visions of Vermont Fine Art in Jeffersonville, Vermont. It is a beautiful gallery in a restored Victorian home on Main Street. The exhibition celebrated 30 years of Winslow Art Studio, and our paintings hung throughout the home and were on display for the month of October. Here are some photos from the opening. In the top picture, we are standing in front of another one of Jack's large landscapes with our daughter, Anne, and 4 of our grandchildren. In the bottom picture, you can see some of our paintings, the gallery owners Jane and Terry, and our daughter Priscilla with her 3 children. I thought Emma's crown was excellent opening attire. :)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Exploring Limited Palettes

Anders Zorn, a Swedish painter and contemporary of John Singer Sargent, was reputed to have painted many of his protraits using just these 4 colors: white, black, yellow ochre and vermillion. In 2009, I began exploring this palette in my "Open" figure/portrait sessions. The model for this session had huge blue eyes, and it was a challenge to make her eye appear blue, without using any blue paint.

Exploring Limited Palettes

In 2009, I began exploring various limited palettes in my figure/portrait painting sessions. The one that was most intriguing was the alleged "Zorn" palette, which consisted of these 4 colors: white, black, yellow ochre and vermillion (or cadmium red light).

Every Saturday, I hosted an "Open" figure/portrait session at my studio from 1pm-4pm, and the model would take a repeated pose. Here we are towards the end of the session, and I am holding Phineus, my grandson.