Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just a Few Still Life Paintings

Here are a few still life paintings from this year.  I think that it is helpful to see my set-ups.  Sometimes I just use the wall as my background, but I do use backdrops with different colors, as well.  The eggplant  and the top floral were demos in some of my weekly classes.

A Clever Idea

Very often, when I work on a painting, I will let it rest.  That means it sits unframed and leaning against the wall of the studio so I can think about it.  Something really bothered me about this painting, which was painted from life (like always).  I finally decided that the two main flowers were just too similar...they were about the same size and the faced the same direction, vying for attention.  

  In the seventies, I was a fashion illustrator for several pattern companies in NYC.  If you did any home sewing back then, chances are you might have seen one of my illustrations.  They were nothing like my paintings or drawings today, but were mostly in pen, watercolor or charcoal and very stylized.   Anyhow, doing an illustration involved turning in a preliminary "sketch" for approval, which was then returned to me with "corrections".  The "corrections" were on a piece of tracing paper place over my original drawing, and I would then do another illustration, a "final" incorporating the corrections.  Because I do not own Photoshop or something that could help me visualize what I wanted to do, I decided to try something similar to the pattern company "corrections".  Tracing paper was too murky, so I used acetate, which is clear and I could paint on it, but it would not bleed onto the painting. 

The top photo shows the painting, and the second photo shows the painting  with the "correction" done in oils on top of the acetate sheet which is  over the bottom right of the painting.  The last photo shows the "correction" on the acetate against the floor of the studio.  I thought it was a pretty neat idea! 

Cape Porpoise, ME

In September, I spent a week in Cape Porpoise, ME with 8 women (Wah Wah Sisters).  It was a painting vacation for most of us, with 6 painters and 2 bicyclists.  The weather was perfect allowing for plein air studies each day, as well as exploration of the little townand surrounding areas, dock, lobster shacks and galleries.  I brought both oils and watercolor/gouache for fast studies, and hopefully, I will work up some of the studies into larger studio pieces.  For most of the women, it was their third trip together, but it was my first.  

The smaller, graduated,  landscape palette was used for this trip, so that I could use my M Box easel and tripod, which took up little room.  Painting seascapes takes definite decisive action, because not only is the light changing, the water level changes too, producing very different effects the longer you paint.  Deciding what and where my light effect would be was very important.  Painting boats, that turn and move with the waves and wind, adds another dimension of difficulty to seascapes, but I plan to try it again next year!  Painting with a group is encouraging and inspiring!

Jeffersonville Art Festival - demo - August 13, 2011

I have been very slack in keeping up my blog, so I am trying to catch up on some of the paintings I did this year.  These photos were taken at the 3rd Annual Jeffersonville Art Festival, August 13, 2011.  It was a one-day festival featuring artists and craftsman, mostly from Lamoille County.  I decided to participate by being a demonstrator, where I would be painting "On the Spot", so that people could watch and ask questions.  

Choosing a nice shady spot, I painted the tents of some of the various vendors along Main Street in Jeffersonville.  It was a lot of fun to try to put in people, who wandered back and forth enjoying the beautiful day and supporting local artists.  Here is the result of that effort, a 10"x12" oil on panel.  Two of my grandkids came by to watch grandma in action.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Painting in Mass

There are 2 basics ways to approach painting.  One is to do a careful drawing in line and then proceed to fill this in with paint, which is a slow, indirect approach.   The other is to paint a relationship of lights to shadows by massing, without starting with a finished drawing, and this is faster (the artist is drawing and painting simutaneously, or drawing with the brush).   Massing is working for a general "Light Effect".  Maintaining the integrity of the masses, or holding the mass of light in relationship to the mass of shadow,  is what creates an illusion of light.  

When I had the Open Studio, I painted a couple of little head studies, and I decided to do a self-portrait, too.  I photographed the process, which gives a visual explanation of massing.  I took the top photo looking into a mirror, however, if I took the photo at the correct angle....the camera would have covered my face.  But, you get the idea.  I normally stand when I paint, but I sat for this one.  You can see my palette in the bottom photo.  As usual, I have my grayscale.  The portable walls with the paintings is from the December 3rd hanging for the Open Studio.  This was changed for the December 10th sale.

I began the head study with a basic umber shadow mass, then I massed the lights which included the side of my face, vest, hair and hat.  My 2 main masses that had to be protected were the shadow created by the brim of the hat across the front plane of my face and the mass of light, which included the side plane of my face.  The light hitting the green wall was a little lighter than the shadow plane.  With each pass, I tried to model a little bit of the features, but I subdued anything that might break up my mass.  The power of the illusion is in keeping a strong shadow mass to light mass relationship.

This tiny painting was done very quickly, and it holds together as a unified light effect.  Painting in mass allows the artist to make changes, developing the piece from general shapes to more specific details, and works well if you are under a time constraint.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More from the Open Studio December 10t

South wall - unframed paintings on the tables

6"x8" paintings, framed and unframed paintings and a detail from Jack's screen

North wall with skylights

6"x8" head study with model

6"x8" head study of Carl
My Open Studio Sale was held December 3rd and December 10th.  I re-hung the studio for December 10th, and changed the portable walls in the middle of the studio for better light.  In the picture with the north wall, you can see my card rack with note cards from some of our paintings, too.

I painted another head study.  When I re-hung the studio, I put all of my 8"x10" paintings together on the green wall, but for painting a head study I like a plain background.  So, I removed a few paintings in order for Carl to have the same background as Diane.  Both of these tiny paintings were done alla prima, or in one sitting.  
Here is the start of one of my 6"x8" head studies.

...moving along massing in the lights and shadows

Diane with scarf - 6"x8" oil on panel

  Here is a sequence of one of my head studies.  This one was done on December 3rd at the Open Studio Sale.  I am using a 6"x8" panel with a gray tone.  These panels were made during the summer at a panel-making class my husband taught.  

I began with a loose umber sketch followed by massing all of my shadows.  In the second picture down, I have pitched the background, and I massed my lights and shadows in relation to the background.  At this stage, the massing is very flat and general.  These basic masses are then developed as I model, edit and draw with the brush, working from the general shapes to more specific shapes.  As I continued to add details, I look to the "whole" to make sure that my painting has a unified light effect.  

Open Studio - Holiday Sale - December 3rd & December 10th

8"x10" oils by Karen Winslow

Some paintings along the east wall.  Jack Winslow painted the landscapes and the Trompe L'oeil.

Jack Winslow's double-sided screen.

Some paintings on the portable wall.  The ones with the mats are oil on paper.

6"x8" head study - this one was a sample and it was a demo that I painted at Lyme Art Association in one of my workshops.

Deciding on a purchase.  The top painting sold.

More paintings along the east wall.  
I have been remiss again in keeping up with my posting.  So basically, I will try to catch up by posting a bunch of photos to show you what I have been up to.  Starting with the latest event...I decided to do an Open Studio sale over 2 Saturdays in December.  The sale would include painting little portraits for anyone who had the time to sit for me. 

 Paintings, both framed and unframed, were all around the room.  The unframed ones were on tables, and framed ones were on the outer walls, as well as portable walls in the middle of the room.  Having paintings unframed saves me a lot of trouble and money, and it gives clients the option to purchase whatever frame might suit their own tastes.  Etchings were included in the unframed collections.  For people just beginning to buy and collect art, original etchings are affordable alternatives to buying original oils.  Unlike the "giclee" reproduction, an etching is a real piece of art.  Each print is individually inked, wiped and hand-pulled by the artist; and each print varies depending on the wipe, the pressure, the dampness of the paper, etc., making every print a unique piece, not a mass-produced reproduction. 

In the top photo, I hung all of my 8"x10" oils together on the moveable west wall.  All of these were painted from life, and 5 of them were demos in some of my workshops.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Month-Long Workshop..continued

Karen's demo and still life set-up  (14"x18" oil on panel)

Demonstration by Karen Winslow 8"x10" oil on panel

Miriam and Kathy with their paintings 

My month-long mentoring workshop included indoor still life painting, as well as the plein air classes.  Teaching students to work from life is challenging, especially when it involves anything from the garden. Flowers tend to turn towards the light or continue to open, and leaves (mostly those lying on the table)  droop or curl.  So, even though still life is relatively still, it still changes.   My goal is to get the artists to simplify what they are looking at into planes of light, and paint decisively.   It is not so much a "copy" of what they see, but an illusion of light, space, form and movement.

I generally paint alongside my students, as well, demonstrating and explaining as I go. The top 2 pictures were demonstrations from the class.   The bottom picture shows Miriam and Kathy with their radish paintings.  We had a few set-ups to choose from, and I painted so that they could see my painting and palette.  It helps to see how and what to mix, as well as how to "key" a painting.

All of my classes are process oriented, not product oriented.  Learning to use artistic principles to create a light effect is more important than "finish".  The more an artist can depict form by drawing with the brush and manipulating the paint to create depth, turn edges and model, the better and more "finished" the painting will become.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Month-Long Workshop - plein air studies in watercolor/gouache

Tiny set of watercolors

2 plein air studies in watercolor/gouache

Students by the brook
Students along the path
The month-long workshop consisted of outdoor landscape painting in oils, outdoor landscape painting in watercolor/gouache and indoor still life.  I always paint when I teach, demonstrating and explaining as I go.  For me, the outdoor painting in watercolor/gouache is relaxing.  It is the easiest medium to transport, because it is lightweight, and you can do several studies on a simple hike.  These studies can then act as a catalyst to further composition/color ideas, which in turn can be made into larger (more finished) studio pieces.

I posted a picture of my tiniest set of watercolors.  If you need to go light, this set fits the bill, because it can be tucked into a small bag.  With it, a few brushes, paper and small clipboard, you are all set.  The nice thing about this way of working, is that the painting dries and can be placed in a folder right away without damage.  

The 2 little plein air studies were done as demos during my class.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Month-long Workshop - outdoor landscape painting in oils

Karen Winslow demonstrating

Midday class by the Brewster River

Sunset class from Bryce Road in Cambridge

Morning class in Hyde Park

For the month of June, I taught an interesting workshop on outdoor landscape painting using the prismatic palette, outdoor landscape painting in watercolor/gouache, and indoor still life.  All work was from life, and the classes met 3-4 times a week.  Some of the landscape classes were held early morning, some midday, some at sunset and one for a moonrise.  The workshop was more a mentoring class, where I painted alongside my students, demonstrated, and gave one-on-one and group critiques.  It was informal, but intense, and students made great strides, working independently on days we did not meet together.

These photos are from some of the outdoor oil sessions.  The top photo and third photo shows my palette set-up, with the tonal scales for blues, grays, violets, pinks, greens, and earths.  When I finish a painting session, I mix together a lot of the colors left on the palette and place these new tones on the shelf that is second from the bottom.  These colors often act as a "soup" for other paintings.