Saturday, November 26, 2016

Let the Dead Paintings Die

There is great power in the spoken word. As a lover of words - especially beautiful words - I've always known this. But the older I get, the more I realize what a responsibility we have towards what we say or don't say. Words have power to break resolve, crush hopes, or batter one's spirit. They also have the ability to encourage, motivate, and embolden. Over the years I've been on the receiving end of some wise advice, and several of those conversations will always stand out to me as having changed my life in some way. While I won't burden you with every single life lesson I've learned, I will tell you about one recent conversation that helped tear down a huge mental block I was facing in my art (I've written about some of these mental blocks, or "fences,… Read more »


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Print or Original?

We all want to own original art, but sometimes prints are more affordable, and perhaps more readily available if the original has already sold. However, nothing compares to original art. Here is a testimonial from someone who bought prints of my work and was very happy with them, but when she got an original, she was compelled to write about the difference.  "Print or original? To those reading, I am an artist so I appreciate originals and the creation thereof.  I am also the mother of four children, who will one day soon need braces, and cars, and college tuition.  A couple years ago my daughters modeled for Anna in their ballet attire.  It was a fun for them to have that experience.  I work primarily outdoors en plein air, so a portrait studio was something entirely new!  My girls … Read more »


Friday, November 11, 2016

On Interruptions and Motion

Recently I began a new series exploring dance and the illusion of motion in my paintings, thanks to a fantastic new model who was willing to collaborate with me. I have been thinking about the word "interruption," and how irksome it can be both in real life and in a work of art. An interruption during a painting session - whether it be from a phone call, a salesperson ringing the doorbell, or a fussy toddler waking from her nap -- often takes what might have been a great moment of inspiration and turns it on its head. You might lose your train of thought entirely and feel creatively derailed. Likewise, a work of art itself can feel like it has been "interrupted." A painting should naturally flow and lead the viewer's eye from one place to another without sending th… Read more »


Monday, September 19, 2016

Between Fences and Freedom - New Self Portrait

This summer was one of dramatic highs and lows. It was a summer of scrapping entire projects after hours of time invested, and of learning from my mistakes the hardest way... by having to start over completely (more than once!). It was one of very little productivity and a lot of self doubt and thwarted efforts to paint something of significance. It was one of discovering my own limits and realizing I had imposed those limits on myself. It was a season of learning and growth - the painful kind - with no real breakthroughs except small victories here and there, and a whole lot of realization that sheer willpower and gritting one's teeth doesn't necessarily make your art and life better. Before I go further... let me clarify something. The struggles mentioned above are not entirely … Read more »


Friday, August 19, 2016

Filming a NEW Instructional DVD: "Creating Vibrant Skin Tones"

During the last weekend of July, I made the trek to Salt Lake City, UT to film a new instructional DVD with Bella Muse Productions. This production company is incredibly professional and they did a wonderful job! I'm looking forward to seeing the final result. You can sign up for their emails on their website to get updates on the DVD's release date . Meanwhile, here are a few fun pics from filming. A huge thanks to my beautiful model, Caitlin! She was absolutely wonderful to paint! I so enjoyed working with Elizabeth Robbins, producer and artist extraordinaire. Here we are in front of her gallery in Ogden, UT. Read more »


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beauty in the Midst of Chaos

Lately my heart has been heavy. Everywhere I look, families, marriages, and nations -- are becoming divided and falling apart. I feel burdened with a weight I can't possibly bear, because it feels like there is nothing I can do to ease the pain or mend what is torn. Through the pain I just keep painting. I paint because there is nothing else I can do, at this moment, besides pray. I remember why I am a painter, and most especially a portrait painter: because PEOPLE are what matter. Human beings, with all their flaws, selfish urges, and imperfections... and human beings, with all their strength, passion, beauty, and divine spirit. If only we could show each other unconditional love and respect... the  true reflection of the Good and the Beautiful. But we are flawed. I see it in myself e… Read more »


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Oh Whatever... Just Paint What You Love

I had grand plans of hiking in the mountains over Fourth of July weekend, but instead my daughter came down with a cold and consequently, so did I. Thankfully, I still got some time to paint. So here were my holiday "fireworks," a sketch of some day lilies from our back yard. "Day Lilies" - 10"x10" oil on gallery wrap linen I painted these freely and without worrying whether or not they would turn out. I've been slowly learning that the best paintings are done with a positive assumption that they will turn out, no matter what bumps or hiccups they meet along the way. I've also been re-learning to paint with my canvas and reference photo upside down when I'm doing studio work. Over the weekend I also finished this 12x16 studio piece of my sister in … Read more »


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On Plateaus, Abstraction, and Light Bulb Moments

Last month I participated in the Oil Painters of America national exhibition and convention . The fact that the OPA is celebrating their 25th anniversary made it even more of an honor to be on faculty. I felt like a bit of a hotshot, having taught a workshop that week and then painting in a group demo for the OPA... until I sat in on a landscape demo by master artist Kevin McPherson, and I realized anew that I know nothing ! His demo was so abstract, my brain couldn't wrap itself around the idea of what he was doing. He started with an informal grid (based on the ideas of Andrew Loomis), then started dropping pieces/shapes of color into the grid. He had a photo reference, but was composing his painting based on the grid, rather than by copying the photo. It took a long time before it st… Read more »


Monday, June 20, 2016

Intro to Finishing a Studio Painting (part 1 of 3) with Anna Rose Bain

So... ever since painting that demo of Jessie at my workshop last month, I've been chipping away at a large studio painting (42x24") of that same pose and setting. Here's an informal clip on the inspiration behind this piece. I'll have a couple more videos after this highlighting the finishing touches! Read more »


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Week in Dallas, May 9-16

This past month has been a bit crazy, but I thought I'd share about my trip to Dallas last week for a two-day portrait workshop and the Oil Painters of America 25th anniversary convention and exhibition. Since Dallas is my former home, I jumped at the chance to go back. It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and painting students; I was pleasantly surprised to make lots of new friends, too. Steve, Cece and I all piled in the car and drove the 12 hours from Denver to Dallas. We broke it up over two days, of course, and were relieved to discover that Elmo apps on the iPad were the perfect distraction for our car seat-imprisoned toddler. She is such a good kid - she really did great on the road trip and did even better all week as Steve whisked her off to the zoo a… Read more »


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Art of the Portrait: Recap Day 2

Day 2 of the "Art of the Portrait" (April 15) was jam-packed with wonderful things, including the opening ceremony (which includes a slideshow presentation of all the faculty, finalists and Certificate of Excellence winners), and an incredibly educational and entertaining lecture by James Gurney about the science of facial recognition and seeing . He also shared a clip from his new video, "Painting Portraits in the Wild." James Gurney was followed by a two hour demo by Quang Ho and Rose Frantzen . These two are the painting dream team. Rose was like a hurricane on stage... her energy could not be contained! Her start consisted of throwing paint on the canvas with a rubber spatula! Quang looked over and said, "What the hell are you doing?" The whole demo was hil… Read more »

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