Happy Halloween

In honor of perhaps the silliest day of the year, I present the ultimate in decoration...

The Bob Ross Tattoo

This piece was created by Shane O'Neill of Wilmington, DE; he definitely has mad portrait skillz.

And he turned that boring piece of flesh into a happy, little limb.


Andrew McDermott

I first learned of Andrew McDermott in a 2003 Pastel Journal article. He stuck in my head.

Several years later, I sought out one of his rainy, urban pastels to do in colored pencils. He inspired me to do more rainy and night scenes of my own.

Okay, to my point...check out the progression on the opening page of his website. It's something like stop motion photography on his street scene painting from an early stage to finishing. It's quite a learning experience. And very cool.


Still Life in Oil by Trisha Adams

Lucky in demos once again, I was able to catch Leesburg artist Trisha Adams in action at the Ayr Hill Gallery in Vienna, VA recently.

Trisha has only been painting seven years, but she has received much acclaim since moving from graphic to fine art. She credits it in part to her daily commitment to paint. Her painting daily is like someone painting weekly for 20 years, or the like. She also readily admits they are not all successes. I like how she takes risks.

For the demo, she set up a still life with freesia (silk, but looked absolutely real), apples, Oriental pot, and vase. The cloth was golden and the gallery wall was purple.

She said she prefers smoother canvases, but not one brand over another. She chose a pale yellow ground because it was what she had on hand. Same goes for the square format.

Midway through, she added in a blue cotton towel. Just because. She was talking about folds and creases.

She is definitely a spontaneous and whimsical painter.

I asked her at the end of the two hour demo how far along she thought she might be and she replied 65%. I hope to watch her website to see the finished painting.


KAAA Show and Sale on Saturday

I had a lot of fun at the Kingstowne Area Artists Show and Sale. A bit partial I guess, but I think my paintings really shown on this rainy day. The continued positive feedback I received was priceless, as was the helpful brawn in hauling in so many pieces and easels.

Seeing art in person is leaps and bounds better than any photographed art! It makes a huge difference to the viewer and their level of appreciation. I also enjoyed hearing that my variety of frames was pleasing and they all wind up going well together, too. I understand from others that I have an eye for frames and I would definitely agree.

You might notice my jewelry pieces to the left, above. I love to wear silver and beads are just so addicting. I primarily created earrings with a few bracelets, all with glass, crystal, stones, and/or silver.

My next foray into showing my art will be on Wednesday, October 28 with several other Workhouse artists at the opening of the new Marriott Residence Inn at 641 Backlick Road in Springfield, VA from 11:30 to 1:30. I will also bring materials to demo, but I'm still deciding just what that will be.
Hope to see you there!


Red Awning

Sykesville, MD is a scenic and quaint old town. The sky brooded in moodiness most of the day. I'd met a group from MAPAPA for a Paint Out Plus, meaning we started the day with a demo. This day, our instructor was Barbara Nuss. Her reputation had preceded her and I was thrilled to buy her book, 14 Formulas for Fabulous Landscapes, and to get it signed. She is also President of Washington Society of Landscape Painters, the local veneration of painters.

Barbara brought us together to learn about a tool for perspective called the Prospek. Available from Jerry's Artarama, it is very helpful in measuring an object in the distance and translating it to the canvas or paper. Easy to use, my sixth grader loves using it as he draws.

Here's Barbara at work.

My day brought me Red Awning, which is of a trucking company 180 degrees from where Barbara painted. I chose it so I could paint and have my pastels in the shade of a building, but I also liked the angle of the road and the thrust of the building. When Barbara saw my work, she commented that I must be a student of Jack Pardue. Although I've met him, I've not yet taken a class or workshop from him. However, I consider it high praise, indeed.

Red Awning
Soft Pastel on Pastelboard


Finishing Touches

This is yet another vista from Hillsborough Vineyards near Leesburg, VA. The first day of our workshop there, I spied it for my second day. Turns out, so did Richard McKinley for his demo that morning. Call it bravery or ignorance, I decided to pursue it regardless.

This day required pastel underpaintings with water. I feel that this is my least successful underpainting method. Being daring in workshop and class environments, I decided to go complementary with the piece, using Senneliers for the purest of pigment. In part because they are so soft, the underpainting wound up being too dark and crazy, although the work did have good bones.

After working on it for quite a while, I'd covered almost all of the underpainting, except for some tree trunk details (aka runs) to the upper left. Doing his rounds amongst the participants, Richard decided to pull out the potential of this painting. I'm sure you can identify the flourishes he added.

Finishing Touches
Soft Pastel on Mounted Wallis with a Pastel and Water Underpainting

Occoquan Glow

First off, let me say how much I love plein air painting. Just look at all the friends who drop by! See right --->

Second, let's talk underpainting preferences. Although paper towel and pastel underpaintings work well, I am finding that I prefer using watercolor if I can achieve enough color saturation. I also like how it runs and easily splatters while not filling the tooth.

I use either my large John Pike palette with Holbein paints or my Pelikan set of 24 opaque colors, which is convenient and very easy to carry. They merge with Pastelboard for a vibrancy I do not see elsewhere.

Here is a watercolor underpainting from my Workhouse Plein Air pastel class with Carol Iglesias, who is in Studio #407.

It's a gooey, beautiful mess, but just look at the depth of color that can be achieved!

Almost immediately, Carol told me I was at 90% with it, so I put reins on myself. Because I tend to work quickly and heavy-handedly (which, of course, have their place, too), I decided to stick with harder pastels like Van Gogh and Girault. They gave me the discipline to leave a lot of the watercolor still showing, making the piece quite multidimensional.

Occoquan Glow
Soft Pastel with Watercolor Underpainting on Pastelboard


Genteel Winter

My works are usually done alla prima, which translates for me, "what happens outsides, stays outside." Not only do I like the challenge of painting en plein air, I like having one shot to do it. That's not to say each shot is successful, but each shot represents another rung on the learning ladder.

I began Genteel Winter en plein air near Ashland, Virginia, a while back. It was a lovely afternoon for painting the end of bare winter, which is punctuated so strongly with with the contrast between deciduous and coniferous trees.

And there were the yellow and orange grasses I love.

It took a spell of sitting on a shelf in my studio for me to find what it needed and to bring it to a place I am happy to show.

This painting is on a prepared surface of pumice gel on white Gessoboard, which is not for the detail-oriented subject matter. It does not have a tinting or an underpainting, just loads of texture due to a clunky, full brush. The name of the piece pays homage to my Southern heritage and the mild and beautiful Southern winter, which that day felt genteel, polite, and pleasant.

Genteel Winter
Soft Pastel on Gessoboard and Prepared Pumice Surface

Art Prints

KAAA Show and Sale, noon to 5 Saturday, Kingstowne

Kingstowne Area Artists Association will have over a dozen artists displaying their paintings and photography October 24 from noon until 5PM at the Snyder Center on Van Dorn. Please come by for some refreshments as well.


Old Town Editions

I recently saw a presentation by Old Town Editions, Alexandria, VA, at the Springfield Art Guild. Not only were the printmaking partners personable, they were incredibly passionate about printing. One is a professional photographer with a business degree and the other is a MFA painter. They aim to get it right.

When they grab the image of the original, they aren't scanning on a flatbed. They call it "capturing," creating an image over about 25 minutes. They explained many of the technicalities and bragged in the best way about their equipment, particularly when compared to traditional commercial printers. They even gave paper swatches to the attendees and we, amazingly, each can have a painting captured for free. Whoa!

So, if your printer makes files small enough that they can be emailed, you need to find another printer. Visit the Old Town Editions website for more educational reading.

Now to decide which one I want to be captured. Better yet, you tell me.


Richard McKinley Critique

It felt like a rumble from the 1950s. We gathered cars around so they could act as easels. This gives you a small glimpse into the quality of the work coming from these talented artists.

It was a great way to close out an inspiring workshop, "expecially" seeing the incredible and inspiring work of fellow MPS members.


Workhouse Opening

Join us for a Wine and Cheese Reception at the Workhouse Arts Center featuring pieces from the Workhouse Artists Associates and the Workhouse Artists Guild.

Visit the Workhouse Gallery in W-16 from 2-4pm on Sunday, October 18. Also take some time to visit the Workhouse Artists Studios from noon until 5pm.


Richard McKinley's Watercolor Underpainting

On Day 3, we shifted to Yellow Wood, a beautiful, rolling farm and manor house near Leesburg, Virginia. We got in the demo in the morning and painted a bit in the afternoon, then the rains came. Many thanks to Amy for inviting the crowd to her home and studio.

Starting off, we gathered at the foot of a hill for the demo. Richard painted the line of trees at the top. The clouds came and went, but he was able to complete the piece, although we got rain in the afternoon and weren't able to finish.

Here are many photos and several videos. (If I can get Blogger to cooperate, more of the latter will be uploaded.)

Richard arranges his small Heilman Box traditionally, but the right portion is reserved for grays. On purpose, they are the ones closest to his right hand. He separates the grays out, because, if they were mixed in with the other colors, the more vivid hues would outshine them and he would naturally choose the brighter colors. The way it is laid out, he can consciously chooses grays with them being grouped together.

Here Richard displays his deliberate form. (00:45)

Although the transparency of watercolor gets a bad wrap when compared to a pastel underpainting, Richard obtains a depth of color with them. I didn't notice the pan watercolor brand he used, but he did recommend that anyone who uses tubed watercolors should to squeeze them out in advance so they'd be more hard and pan-like. That way, the brush isn't overloaded. Also notice he used a spray bottle for texture, just as he had with the pastel underpainting.

Richards discusses painting as moves and counter moves, plus the unfortunate mindless moves. He reminds us to slow down and be present. (1:39)