Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fun with colors

One of the first exercises that Gail Sauter had us do in her painting workshop was color mixing studies with the palette knife. It was an interesting and fun way to see the possible combinations of colors you could achieve by simply mixing 2 or 3 colors together with white. I still have them and refer to them occasionally as I paint now.

These first 2 images show mixing just 2 colors with white. These are only about 4" by 4" each, but look at the beautiful possibilities! One side shows the warmer range, the other shows the cooler range. Can you see which is which?

And here are some using 3 colors and white. Using the same three colors, you can see the warm colors created on the left and the cools on the right.

And this was a little study about using the opposite temperature to make your subject stand out. For instance, the left side shows a cool subject against a warmer background. The right side shows a warmer subject against a cooler background.
Fun! Just looking at these again makes me want to do more.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Frolic

Winter Frolic
12" x 12"x .75"
Oil with a palette knife on cradled canvas
$150 unframed

For an upcoming show at the Norfolk Library, there is a call for artists to submit work depicting the theme "Winter Frolic". This winter in Boston has been a snowing and cold one, so this theme seems appropriate. One of my favorite things to do in winter is ice skate. I found this old photo of my mother ice skating when she was younger. The back of the photo says it was taken in 1941 in Chicago. Doesn't this just capture the joys and the challenges of trying to ice skate?
I made the decision to paint in color even though the photo was in black and white. An interesting challenge since it becomes "my world" and I can make up colors that please me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photoshop's faux filter

I was telling a friend of mine that I was doing paintings with a palette knife and he told me that there is a filter in Photoshop that creates the same effect. I decided to give it a shot today. Since it's my birthday, my experimental image is this one of what looks to be my 6th birthday (judging by the candle count).

This photo reminds me that I used to cry when people started singing Happy Birthday to me. I hated everyone staring at me like that. Anyway, here it is using Photoshop's palette knife filter.

Interesting, but really? What about this looks like a palette knife? I think Adobe needs to work on that one.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meet the palette knife family

For a long time, I used just one favorite palette knife. You might remember seeing it in anearlier post? Well, I decided it was time to branch out a little and I found this wonderful set of detail painting knives online at Dick Blick. When Nancy from my painting class saw them, she said they looked like a little family. She was right. They each have their own personality, just like a family. So-I'd like to introduce you to my extended family.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Part 3-A unique commission

Julie at Custom Art Framing asked me to do a special painting as a gift for her father and stepmother. Since they were married in Japan, they have a very unique wedding photo.

However, Julie didn't want me to simply paint this image. She had a creative vision in mind. Her father and stepmother live in Utah and they love to ski. She asked that I paint them with skis on either side of them and she wanted the background setting to be their favorite ski resort, Deer Valley. I did a little research to see what Deer Valley looked like and got some good references for the skis and went to work. Are you ready? Here is the final painting.

Julie cracks up whenever she looks at it. She's framed it in a terrific new frame at her store. I can't wait to hear the exclamations of surprise coming from Utah soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Part 2-My first pet portrait commission

Ruby and Daisy
10" x 10"
Oil with a palette knife on artist board

The first pet portrait commission I received was from Kathy Weller of her dogs Daisy and Ruby. Kathy is an extremely talented pet portrait artist herself, so the fact that she wanted me to do a pet portrait painting for her was totally flattering. Here are the photos she sent me to use as reference. Aren't they the cutest things? You can see their personalities coming through in these images. I think my favorite part to paint was Daisy's tiny pink tongue sticking out.

I decided to use the dogs' positioning from one photo and the background from the other for more color. Here is a photo of the sketch stage.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Part 1-My first commission

I thought I would do a series of posts about some commission work I've done. Here is Part 1.

When people see the paintings in my Family Album Series, they often say "I have a family photo just like that." That's how I got my first commission. Nancy MacCallum asked me if I would do a painting for her from a favorite photo she had. Of course I said YES and when I saw the photo-what a treat. The colors and patterns were terrific and subject matter even more appealing to me-sisters! Here is the photo she gave me to paint. Nancy is the prim and proper one on the far left.

Some people ask me if I blow up the photo I'm going to paint and simply paint on top of the picture. Actually, I reproduce the photo by eye onto a primed artist board. This means the painting is not an exact replication of the photo, and with a palette knife, it's impossible to get a true likeness. I simply aim to get an impression of the moment. With that said, here are the "Sisters" in palette knife.

This was such fun to paint and I am really pleased with how it turned out. I'm pretty sure she is too : )

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Power of Art

Thanks to Shepard Fairey for this powerful image of our new leader.

And here is what Obama said to Shepard about this image, "Thank you for using your art in support of my campaign. Your art, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign, has the ability to encourage Americans to question the status quo and think they can achieve change."
“And that,” Fairey concluded, “says it all right there.”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, snowy Sunday

It's snowing again today. So what else is new this winter? As I watch the kids head down our street with their sleds, it makes me think of this painting I did from a photo that my husband, Polo, took of my stepdaughters, Marissa and Ariana sledding. The snow sure is pretty when you don't have to drive in it.

Polo usually does the shoveling though, lucky guy. Here is a sketch he did for his latest illustration "Snowman". Somewhat of a self portrait I imagine?
The finished color illustration is at at Gallery 9 in Norwood.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tony and Mini Tony

Last night was so fun. We had painting class–a full house–and everyone did wonderful new paintings. Afterwards we had a party to celebrate Tony's birthday as well as to say "goodbye for awhile" as he and his wife head out on a road trip to Sedona. At the party, I gave Tony the panting I wrote about yesterday. Here is Tony, his wife Judy, and his new painting. How cute is that?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Tony

Today is Thursday and that means painting class-yeah! A few weeks ago, our instructor Kim Morin Weineck, had us pick names out of a hat (kind of like Secret Santa, except not secret) and bring in 2 photo references for that person to paint. Tony picked my name. Here is one of the photos he brought in for me to paint. This is a photo of Tony.

And this is my painting of Tony in palette knife.

Today also happens to be Tony's birthday so I'm going to give the painting to him tonight. Shhhh. Don't tell him. And, this month, Tony's artwork will be featured at Perks, a cool coffee shop in Norwood Center. There is a reception this weekend. Check it out.
I also want to share with you the wonderful paintings Cindy did from the references I gave her as soon as I can get pictures of them. They are stellar. I loved this exercise. Great idea, Kim! It was really interesting to see what everyone did.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My famous pin!

This is exciting...You may remember on January 4 I wrote about my new palette knife pin? Well, yesterday the Massachusetts Cultural Council noticed Nancy Rosetta's blog on the Boston Handmade site about it and they linked to it! See the third paragraph down on their blog, called Art Sake. That is so thrilling. I will wear it even more proudly now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Painting stages

I completed this painting last year for my sister and I remembered to stop and take a few photos of the various stages as I was painting. This was painted from an old family photograph when we were living in Jacksonville Florida. And of course, using only a palette knife. This first photo shows the sketch stage. The second image was taken about halfway through the process and the third image is the final painting. If you click on the third image, it will enlarge the photo so you can really see the detail.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I love when fun coincidences happen in my life. Today I was thinking about the artist Gail Sauter, who taught the Boston painting workshop I reference in my artist statement. She is the one who got me hooked on using a palette knife. When I went to her website, I happened to notice that she started a journal (you could call it a blog I suppose)
on January 1 of this year, just like I did! Check out the beautiful Matisse painting posted on January 3. I've never seen that painting before, and it's just lovely. It has something of a palette knife feel about, doesn't it? I now have a link to her journal in my blog list.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New slideshow

As a new blogger, I've been experimenting with some of the cool gadgets that are available through Blogspot. Today I added a slideshow to my blog. Check it out in the right hand column. I've uploaded images of my Mini Masters paintings there. If you double click on the image, it should take you to my album on the
Picasa Web Albums site. How cool is that?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My shiny new palette knife pin

I was so excited to see on Nancy Rosetta's blog that the pin I commissioned her to make for me was done. I think it came out terrific and I can't wait to wear it. Here are the images I sent her for reference.

And here is the final pin. Just terrific. Nice job Nancy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Check one off the list

I love to make lists. The first thing on my list of things I want to do in 2009 is "start a blog". Well-ta da! Welcome to my blog. I plan to keep it updated with the progress of my artwork and other art related happenings in my life. I hope you enjoy it. Happy New Year.
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