Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Art of the Dance

"At the ballet, you really feel like you're in the presence of something outside the rest of your life. Higher than the rest of your life." -  Robert Caro

"It is essential to do the same subject over again, ten times, a hundred times. Nothing in art must seen to be chance, not even movement." -  Edgar Degas

Here are some detail shots of my latest large-scale figurative piece, "The Prima Ballerina," 36x36, oil on linen.  I hope to have my model, Emma back, for many more paintings - she is absolutely elegant!









If you ever want to learn how to paint white, do a high-key painting like this! It will blow your mind! :-)

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recap: Putney Painters Week at the Scottsdale Artists School

This past week, I had the amazing privilege of attending Nancy's Guzik's three-day workshop in Scottsdale, AZ. The workshop was part of "Putney Painters Week"-- an event hosted by the Scottsdale Artists School and the Legacy Gallery -- and was one of several workshops and demos by some of the best artists in the country, including Kathy Anderson, Rosemary Ladd, Daniel Keys, Casey Baugh, and Stephanie Birdsall.

I came with an open mind and a feeling of immense gratitude to be surrounded by such inspiring and gifted artists. And for the entire week, I was pretty much unable to wipe the silly smile off my face. For me, this was heaven. I don't think I've ever had such fellowship with like-minded people, many of whom were my own age!

Nancy's workshop consisted of drawing on the first day, and then painting for the next two. She spent an entire morning doing a painting demo for us to show how she deals patiently with the subject, mostly by being patient with herself and not allowing fear to take over. She has mastered the art of channeling her fear (yes, even she gets afraid!) and turning it into a controlled excitement that can be used to better the painting. Here are some pictures from her demo:



 Below: this is about as far as she got after the morning session. It is a great likeness and painted with complete sensitivity as well as confidence.


Since all of our models this week were children, I learned a great deal about the difference between a child's features and an adult's, as well as how to capture the child's age. It was also fun to see how Nancy kept the children happy and entertained between sittings. They would color or draw, or make up stories to think about while they sat still (not an easy thing for a young kid!). All of the kids we worked with were stunning models and great at sitting still!

By day 2, I was biting at the bit to start painting, so you can imagine my excitement when our model turned out to be this beautiful 13-year-old with a sweet little dog that sat by her side the entire time! The dog's name was Angel... I think I'll title my painting, "Two Angels."



Below: mine at its start. It was actually a pretty good likeness. I worked slower than I usually do though, trying my best to follow Nancy's advice and direction.


This is as far as I got. I'll be sure to finish it in my studio, though. (Never mind those yellow marks - that happened in transit on the plane ride home...an easy fix)


Below: here's our model from the last day of the workshop. This time we worked for 6 hours, and as a glutton for punishment, I decided to attempt head and hands once more. While I may not be 100% happy with what I did, I believe I learned a lot and look forward to utilizing this new information at home in my studio! And, as my friend Kim Carlton told me once, "If you're happy with a painting you did in a workshop, then you didn't learn anything!"


I decided to stick around for two more days after the workshop ended to enjoy some of the other events with Putney Painters Week, including the "Dueling Brushes" demo by Kathy Anderson and Stephanie Birdsall (see below), and the opening reception for the Putney Painters exhibition and sale.


I had a wonderful time meeting many of the great artists in this show, and getting to know some of them a little better. Nancy, of course, is a ray of sunshine.


Friday: Casey Baugh gave a fabulous painting demo. I learned a lot from him about designing a good composition and taking your time with posing the model to create an image with lasting impact. He is also amazing at painting edges! Wow.


The finished demo.


Below: lunch with some fabulous young artists. From left to right (not including yours truly): Tyler Murphy, Daniel Keys, Ryan Mellody, Michelle Dunaway, Qiang-Huang, and Taaron Parsons. I am so blessed to have met these people. We have so much in common; it's just great to know that we're all in the same boat - trying to make it as artists and create great art, to the very best of our ability.



For more pictures from this week, see my Facebook album. Next week I'll be in Judy Carducci's workshop, so there will be even more to learn and write about! We'll see if my brain can handle it... ;-)

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