Sunday, April 26, 2009

The year is flying by

Artful Garden Tour House 6 of 6
Jeff Dowd & Michaelene Conner
located in Briarlake
The house and garden has a very Asian feel and a great location for some sculptural pieces.
It's a very pleasant blend of modern architecure and traditional japanesse landscaping.

House 5 of 6
Tim McDaniel's house and garden in Toco Hills has a rustic feeling with a lot of hidden little areas and shade to enjoy a hot summers day. There is always a surprise around the next corner.

Garden 4 of 6 The Mansion, Buckhead
This site offers great views of very contemporary architecture played against a formal european garden setting. Could make for some dramatic paintings in the afternoon and mornings.

Garden 3 of 6
Bart and Erica Fanelli's home and garden is a quite woodlands theme with water features and soft irregular plantings that would offer painters a variety of subjects to focus on.

Garden 2 of 6
The home of Robert Norris in Deering Heights is a lush mixture of plantings with a mediterraenean style and beautiful pool. There is a good mixture of sun and shade most of the day.

Garden 1 of 6
The home and garden of Marcy McCall in Morningside is the smallest garden on the tour but offers one of the most interesting blends of architecural elements and variety of plants. It's a fairly shady lot and should offer artists a comfortable environment to paint.

Ok, it's Sunday evening and I've just spent the day thinking, pondering about my life, art and even connections to friends and loved ones and walking through the Inman Park Festival. Sometimes I wish I had a switch to just turn my head off but unfortunately that hasn't worked for me. So my only solution is to keep busy, focused if possible and make some art. Yes it's what I do. I had a teacher at the Academy of Art (John Morgan) who made the observation that I seem to paint my way through my problems. I hadn't realized how true that was at the time but have become so painfully aware of it these days. Being a creative type and really quite social I've filled my life with places to be and things to do. Sometimes I'm so busy it seems like I don't have time to finish anything. What's all this about?

If you have a clue, feel free to share your theory. In the mean time I'll share a little of my life around my art and teaching. Like, for example, I have a show coming up soon at the Griffin Davis Gallery in Atlanta. I'll have about 8 pieces in the show, all figurative/portraits. The gallery gave me the list after looking at my work on All of the pieces are portraits and not really what I would consider figurative but they are putting the show together so it's their call. I'll send out an invitation soon.

Another event fast approaching is the High Museum's Artful Garden Tour on May 16th. The tour will cover 6 fabulous gardens through out Atlanta's neighborhoods and will have plein-air painters as well as examples of pottery and sculpture in the gardens. Please come out and show your support for the High Museum, Artists and Gardeners. Here are some preview shot's of the houses and gardens on the tour. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pushing Paint Around, Self Portrait, Alla Prima

This oil self portrait was painted last night and in the wee hours of the morning. It's on an 12" X 16" wood panel. Just couldn't sleep so thought it would be more productive to paint than watch the infomercials. Besides, I have a figurative show coming up in early May at the Griffin Davis Gallery and mainly what they have selected are portraits and clothed studies. The focus of the show is figures but in day to day slice of life type images. I'm somewhat disappointed that I won't be showing many nudes, since I have a ton of them but I'm not curating the show.

Personally I find self portraits a very helpful and revealing explorations. Like most of us I try not looking in the mirror too long or with my glasses on. So instead, I get the full force of the tole the year has taken on me by painting the occasional self portrait. All joking aside though, a study like this reveals more than just the aging process. It is a great way to freely explore how your brush work and color skills have developed over the years. It also reveals the interior landscape
of ones self, maybe a little too well, and the state of ones life.

Happily, I can say I'm very proud of this painting even if it is of me! The brush work is strong and deliberate while not being fussy and overworked. Yes I wanted to noodle but resisted.
Hmmm, must be making some progress!

Hope this will inspire you to try the same, see what you learn and get out of your tight little circle. So turn on some tunes, get a cup of joe, wine or tea if you must and start swinging that brush. Happy painting!


Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Official! I'm now a "New Instructor at the Benson Center"

Just to let everyone know I'm now working for Fulton County as an Instructor at the Dorothy C. Benson Center in Sandy Springs. It's been a long wait, as the wheels of government never move quickly. It is the thing I've been hoping for though since September of last year.

I'll be teaching two days a week for now and in time probably more. Currently I have four classes I teach, two with the adult day care members which is a challenge for me but one I'm looking forward to. I've done some research on working with students who have Dementia and Early Onset Alzheimer's. Thus far I've found an Art Therapy that has shown encouraging results with people who suffer from these conditions. I'm applying for certification in the MMT program and hopeful of bringing some help to my students.

The other two classes are for members who a fully functional and they seem eager to learn what I have to offer. Currently I'm teaching an Oil Painting Class as well as Water Media. I'll be covering both a traditional approach as well as Alla-Prima method in my oil painting class. The Water Media class will cover all water based media including watercolor, acrylic, gouache and dyes. I'll be covering different experimental techniques to create depth and texture with these media as well as some basic illustration approaches which should give them a well rounded knowledge of all water based media.

So, when I'm not pushing paint around myself - I'll be teaching others to do so or thinking about how I'm going to teach them to push paint around. Doesn't sound bad to me!

I have a few current paintings to post for you to see and as always your comments are welcomed. I have several shows or events coming up soon so will be busy in the studio creating, finishing or cleaning up painting for display. So if you don't hear from me as often for the next several months, no worries, I'm just doing what I was put here to do. Call me, stop bye or just check in, I always have some time for a cup of coffee and some conversation.


"Pale Nude" Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas 11" X 14"
This is one of my favorite models these days. I find her flesh tones wonderful to paint. She reminds me of the figures of Valasques and the china white flesh tones he could achieve. This particular pose captures some of her quite personality and feels very much like her when I view it. It is a rather pale painting for me though and I'm always tempted to get back in there and push some of the colors. To date I've resisted and if I follow my own advice will leave it alone. It stands on its own and is a true likeness, so nothing really needs to be satisfied in it.

"Black and White 1 " Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas, 11" X 14"
This is the first of a series of paintings I've started of these two very different appearing models. In fact though they are so much the same energy and complement each other wonderfully. They have been best friends for years and it shows in their comfortable and intimate way with each other. Once you've seen them together it's hard to think of them separately. My focus of this series is about the models of course but also about the whole experience of being an artists model. Therefore the background becomes a part of the story along with the participating artists.

Male figure sketches from the Marietta Cobb Museum Figure Sketch Night. It was a fun experience but limited to dry media. We wouldn't want to get paint on an Art Museums floors of wall, now would we!

In spite of the some what up tight attitude about keeping the spaces pristine, all who came had a good time. The models, a group of teen age boys seemed to enjoy themselves as well. I always liked the space of those rooms and had often thought 'what a great studio space they would make'. See, dreams do come true from time to time.

"Midtown Plein Air Study" Oil on canvas 9" X 12"
I couldn't resist stopping along Howell Mill Road at 14th street and painting this little cityscape. It's not my usual choice of subjects but I've looked at this view for sometime now and it's just one of those places that caught my eye.

"Take 5" Oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 9" X 12"
This is a figure study accomplished in about 2 hours at the AAC Monday Figure Sketch Group. It is loser and freer than most of my oil sketches and more suggestive of the model which is a direction I've been encouraged to go in. I was very pleased with the results and liked the thicker more direct layers of paint I laid down. It hovers somewhere between representational and abstract which I feel works well with the subject matter. What do you think? Comments are always welcomed.

"India Amey" Oil on wood panel, 11" X 14"
Painted at the Atlanta Artists Center. This is a fairly typical figure study in oil. It was painted in approximately 2 hours during the Monday morning figure group. I liked the sketchy felling of this painting and the way the paint laid down on this wooden panel. The piece is currently hung at the Atlanta Artists Center as one of the featured paintings in their Dogwood Show.

" In search of the golden fleece" Oil on Linen Panel 9" X 12"
This small landscape was started as a demo in a class of mine. It's on a linen panel I made and painted in thick oil paint. It was a very fun painting to create and I was happy with the results of the layering of color over color. This is the effect I'd like to get in the rest of my work but requires a longer time and material commitment than I've been willing of able to incorporate in my larger body of work to date.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Across the Finish line!

Completed the 30" X 68" commissioned painting and getting it ready for delivery. You can scroll down to see photos of the piece in progress which should give you an idea of how I work from start to finish. The overall result of this piece is pleasant enough and gives on a calm feeling when looking at it. I also feel the painting has good depth of field and is effective in drawing the viewer into the composition. The sense of light is warm and should brighten the room considerably. All of these were concerns of the client and desires they had in commissioning a painting.

For me, I'll say this is not what I would normally choose to do as a subject but it gave me a chance to stretch my skills and work on composing a composition that would strongly direct the viewers eye. I would also like to say that working on such a horizontal format presented it's own unique challenges which I feel I was successful at handling.

As always waiting for the clients reaction is a bit nerve racking but I'm confident that they will be pleased with the result once the painting is in place.

As you can see this is not a small piece. This photo was taken in progress just after I started bringing up the light areas. If you compare it to the final image you'll see quite a change in brightness of the colors and increased contrast throughout the whole painting. From this point I'd estimate that about 60 percent of the canvas received additional layers of paint till it was finished.

Thanks again for checking out my blog page. If you have any comments please share them with me on this site. Your observations and comments will help others in their journey to make better art and live life artfully.