Tuesday, February 23, 2010

25-minute sketch from today

Thought I'd post this, since it probably won't go on my website. I did this 8x8 oil sketch in 25 minutes. He's a great character, isn't he? Read more »


Friday, February 12, 2010


I can't help but at least mention that Dallas just got a record-breaking snowfall of 11+ inches yesterday, and the Wisconsin girl in me says, "This is what winter is supposed to look like!" However, my husband and I acted like awe-struck Texans late last night and went to play in the snow in the middle of the street. :-) Today as I write, I can hear children all around the neighborhood getting into snowball fights and building snowmen. If I were back "home" in the Midwest right now, I would probably be grumbling alongside everyone else who gets tired of cleaning the snow off their car every morning...but today I am enjoying the snow and reveling in its beauty. Read more »


Sketching and Style

The latest issue of Drawing Magazine features an amazing artist and friend of mine, Michael Mentler. Michael is the founder of the Society of Figurative Arts here in Dallas, and he teaches several portrait and figure classes at his studio. I go to his portrait group occasionally to paint from life, and during model breaks, Michael will often do what he likes to call "Chalk Talk," lectures involving demonstrating features and form with sketches on a chalk board. Some of his chalk sketches are masterpieces in and of themselves. He draws every day and has a vast wealth of knowledge built up from years of drawing from life, from reference, and from imagination. Richard Schmid has called him a "modern-day Leonardo," and Michael's sketchbooks, which are featured in t… Read more »


Friday, February 5, 2010

Priming new canvases today!

My canvas prep methods might be somewhat boring to talk about, but they are a big part of the direction my paintings take, as well as the end result. I take particular pride in knowing and implimenting classical techniques that help oil paintings last for generations. Today I applied the first coat of oil primer to five new canvases. Two days ago, I stretched a portrait-grade (finest weave) Belgian linen on three of them, and a slightly rougher grade on the other two. The selection of linen (I avoid using cotton canvas) is very important because in many ways it will dictate the style I paint with. The finer the weave, the tighter the details I can get - this is perfect for commissioned portraits, because portrait clients in general like a detailed portrait with a great likeness. The me… Read more »


Monday, February 1, 2010

Olga (almost finished!)

As with many of my portraits, I was forced to finish this painting from photographs. However, I'm using this time in my studio to try and add some creative liberties, especially with the background. I'm making some conscious choices to simplify different elements of the composition, while adding to the model's surroundings. There is a great deal of negative space in this 16x20 portrait, and I'd like to give it a very classical, traditional feel... I've begun by adding some drapery to the background, and by playing around with values surrounding the model's face. I'm almost finished - will post a picture as soon as "Olga" is done! Read more »


Tonal Arrangements

I've become utterly fascinated by a concept I just read about in the latest issue of International Artist. The article by James Gurney (the famous illustrator of the Dinotopia series) was entitled, the "Windmill Principle," and discussed a specific kind of tonal arrangement found in Rembrandt van Rijn's "The Mill." Here is the painting: The idea is that each value of the four vanes of the windmill represents one of the four possible tonal arrangements: light on dark, light on light, dark on light, and dark on dark. Here is Gurney's illustration: I began looking at all my paintings with fresh eyes and tried to find areas in my own work where I may have subconsciously followed this tonal arrangement. The most obvious one I could find was this portrait I did … Read more »

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