Bailey II

Bailey was at Scottsdale Artists School yesterday for the first time. You may remember the first drawing of Bailey was at the Loft, a couple of months ago.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Saturday afternoon drawing session. Downtown Scottsdale temperatures were in the high 80′s, and the streets were full of sunshine and tourists checking out the local art galleries. As I left the Studio, I spotted a horse and carriage pulling smiling tourists past the iconic galleries and eateries. My camera unfortunately, was in my backpack in the back of my car.

Anyway, my choice was a sitting pose instead of just her face. Bailey has such beautiful eyes, I wish I had gone for the close up! But every painting is a lesson and the three-hour session was over all too quickly.

We had a surprise visit from David Kassan, who will be doing a demonstration at 5 o’clock PM Sunday night at the Legacy. David is truly a living master, and we will get an opportunity to watch his process and understand how he works to achieve his life portraits.

His model for Sunday night? Our very own Bailey! I caught a sneak peek of his charcoal sketch, he did of Bailey this afternoon. All I’m saying is that Sunday night is going to be very exciting!

I’ll be sure to catch a picture or two to share on Artsprings!

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Contemplation of Autumn

Autumn came to sit for us at Scottsdale Artist School a few weeks ago — a beautiful girl, with short, black hair and dark eyes. I loved her peaceful demeanor and quiet beauty. A wonderful Saturday afternoon painting Autumn, and this is the result.

“Contemplation of Autumn” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board, as well as a part of the “Painting Today” collection.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope your quiet moments are as graceful and serene as Autumn herself!

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Vanessa #2

Vanessa graced a “Monday Night — Open Session” at Scottsdale Artist’s School a week or so ago.

I love how she always changes things up for us, doing different things with her hair and dress but always leaves in the grace and beauty that makes Vanessa sparkle.

“Vanessa #2″ is a 12×16 oil on canvas-board and is part of the “Painting Today” series.

I hope that your day is something you get through as gracefully as Vanessa does a 3 hour session with a bunch of artists painting her. She is amazing!

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Painting Vanessa is always fun. Her hair is always different, her makeup perfect and her poses are always interesting.

We were talking during her break, and I told her that I must have six paintings of her at home that I have done.

She laughed and said, “you must be getting sick of me by now!”

I told her “No, I loved painting her and getting to know her and her approaches to posing always keeps it fresh for me as an artist.” And, at the same time, I know that she can go back to her poses after the break and recapture the grace that she possesses in each of her poses.

This “Vanessa” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board, and is a part of the “Painting Today” series.

Hope you enjoyed my “visit” with the beautiful Vanessa. I know I always do!

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White Tank Mountain Park

“Plein Air” painting is one of my favorite ways to spend a morning or afternoon.

Morning light is crisp and clean and full of promise for the new day. Evening light slowly lengthens and glows with a golden cast striking the tops of trees, buildings and mountains, as if to say, “Good Night” before the sun, boiling in a pot of oranges, yellows, purples and pinks, sinks below the horizon.

The “White Tank Mountain Park” painting was started at noon and finished around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, as the shadows just started to elongate. It’s almost as if the shadows chase away the light, a little at a time.

The park is beautiful! The Sonoran Desert at it’s finest, with the tall Saguaro cactus standing guard over mesquite bushes and the cholla cactus that spreads out over the ground.

Cholla is one of my late afternoon favorites because of it’s long, soft looking thorns that cover the cactus almost like fur. When the sun slides downward toward the West horizon, the outer surface of the cholla glow a hazy white from their sun drenched thorns. It’s a beautiful sight!

Painting outdoors is the best of my two favorite worlds: being outdoors and painting. Painting is more abstract because of time constraints, colors are boosted, lights and darks are marked out and arranged for optimal composition and Mother Nature keeps you company while you paint. Loving the Earth, marveling at the sky and listening to a concert of birds and insects. Wow! So peaceful!

Anyway, “White Tank Mountain Park” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board. It is part of the “Painting Today” series.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope your day is like the Sonoran Desert, surprisingly full of life!

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Athena’s name comes from Greek Mythology.

Legend claims that Athena was a favorite daughter of Zeus. She was a busy goddess with attributes of:  wisdom, strength, courage, inspiration, civilization, law & justice, just warfare, mathematics, crafts, arts and skill. She was, also, the patron goddess of Athens!

Our Athena, from “Monday Night – Open Session” at Scottsdale Artist’s School, seems to possess many of the attributes of the original Athena.

Certainly, she exuded an inner strength and was an inspiration to all the artists in the room. Because she was modeling in front of a room full of artists — she became our “goddess of the arts”, at least for three hours.

Athena, it was a joy to paint you!

The painting, “Athena” is an 11×14 oil on canvas-board and part of the “Painting Today” series.  Thanks for stopping by!  May your day be one of “mythological” awesomeness!

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Nandi was our model for “Monday Night – Open Studio” at Scottsdale Artist’s School.

Petite, with a lovely face and black hair that seemed to tumble down one side almost to her waist, I loved it that I ended up on the side of the room where her face was framed by that tumbling hair.

“Nandi” is a 12×16 oil on canvas board. It is a part of the “Painting Today” series.

So glad that you had time to stop by today for a visit. We hope to have more new stuff up soon.

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Bailey walked into a Saturday session at The Loft in February, on a cold morning. It was going to be a nude session, but all the artists agreed that her “layered look” was spectacular. Especially, with her smokey eyes framed by her hair and the hood of her jacket! Besides, it was a tad cold in there that morning.

The painting of Bailey seemed to do itself. Her features, traced out in pencil flowed onto the canvas-board as I filled in lights and darks and tone, striving to capture her pale skin and light brown hair.

It was the layers of clothes that took time. In the space of four hours, I seemed to have accomplished my goal. A beautiful girl on a crisp February morning, posing in an art school in downtown Tempe.

Needless to say, she made my day! Thank you, Bailey. The painting, “Bailey” is a 16×12 oil on canvas board, and it is in the “Painting Today” series.

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Bowl of Brown Eggs

There’s an old adage that says that a hen with dark feet will lay brown eggs, while a hen with light-colored yellow feet will lay white eggs. In my limited experience, this is true. My white Leghorn had yellow feet and laid white eggs. The rest of my chickens, all different breeds, like Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Barred Rock and a Polish chicken, all had dark-colored feet and laid brown eggs, some with speckles in them.

I had a very special chicken known as a Araucana chicken. Araucanas are sometimes called “the Easter Chicken” for 2 reasons:

  1. They lay a beautiful blue-green egg.
  2. They hide their eggs.

I can tell you something else. They are smart, loyal and can be trained. I named mine Penny for her Copper colored feathers. She looked more like a wild bird than a chicken. She was a little better flyer than the others and could, when asked, fly and perch on my shoulder. She would also give “kisses” — I don’t recommend asking for one, it will be a “peck” and it’s one of those times that “love hurts”. Anyway, Penny was killed by a dog who dug underneath my fence, and I hope Penny will be among my never-forgotten animal family at the Rainbow Bridge!

Back to my eggs that must have come from dark footed birds. Still working on subtle shadows and color shifts. And now that a “Bowl of Brown Eggs” is part of the “Painting Today” series, as an 8×10 oil on canvas-board, I think it is time for an omelet!

Thanks for stopping by! We are “eggs-cited” to see you here!

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Romancing the Statue

Cast Drawings were a very important part of an artist’s training in classical drawing and painting.

A young, aspiring art apprentice might have sat in the courtyard staring at the sculpted art of Michelangelo, slowly out lining, measuring and sketching the form per his master’s orders. Years later, art schools purchased casts made of plaster and used them in preparation for drawing the live form. The old master’s method of cast drawing, today, is not taught as often as it once was. Casts of sculptures are rare and expensive, and the teaching methods have evolved away from cast drawing.

Yet, I have been lucky enough to know two instructors who insist that to pass up the cast is to miss a step in the learning to draw process. The lessons? Shadow, light, line and perspective, basic components of training the eye to see and the hand to draw.

Placing the cast in a Shadow Box lined in black paint or black material and shining a spotlight on the cast illuminates the cast with no outside light influence. The result is an almost scientific experiment in light and shadow as it falls on the cast. Picking out the biggest shapes in shadow and light becomes easier with high contrast and sharp edges to launch the drawing from.

This painting was done from a ceramic figurine I picked up, because it reminded me of some of the plaster casts I have seen. The difference between ceramic and plaster are many, but as far as painting is concerned, we deal with two completely different surfaces. Light is absorbed by the plaster cast, but a ceramic surface reflects light, making some of the shadows less defined and a bit harder to see. Painting this piece was challenging and the folds of the toga attire added to the fun. I could imagine myself in the heart of Rome painting some of the oldest and most famous statues in the world. The bust figurine is less than 4 inches tall, but, isn’t imagination wonderful?

“Romancing the Statue” is an 8×10 oil on canvas-board and is part of the Painting Today series.

Who knows? I may try again and bring him to “life” with a bit more color! Thanks for stopping by. I certainly appreciate it!

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