Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple, Bottle and Urn {a new still life painting}

20100730 Apple Bottle and Urn 8x10
Still Life with Apple, Bottle, and Urn – 8" x 10" (20.3 x 25 cm) – Oil on Canvas
Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.
{Here is a link to the whole series}

When working on this series it was important to me to have similar objects and shapes, however I also wanted to experiment with how the reflections differed with the square bottle versus the round wine bottle. With this painting I learned it is important to emphasize the color in the reflections, overstating the reds in the bottle makes it easier for the viewer to perceive the shiny reflective quality of the bottle.

This morning I am flying down to San Antonio to visit family and to attend a wedding. I will be out and about for the next several days. I am hoping to get some time to be a tourist and visit some galleries and museums, though this may not happen as time seems to always slip by and the days get filled when surrounded by family :)

Have a wonderful week, Liz

PS. Have you seen this list of Top 20 Art Movies?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 4: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem


I was at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) again today and with each time I learn new things. Today more time was spent chatting and answering questions for curious observers that were visiting the gallery because I forgot my ipod. It was nice interacting more with the museum visitors and the security guards. Two visitors were particularly interested in why I was painting this piece, and what type of paint was on my palette, and why I was using a maul stick.

For the first question, I answered because I want to learn how to paint like this, to gain the patience it takes to complete such a complex composition and become more comfortable with handling paint in this manner {that is thin oil paint with lots of medium and a smooth canvas}. For the other two questions, I answered that I use simple oil paint supplies and the maul stick helps steady my hand.

It was interesting how a little thing like not having headphones on will totally change the experience. I may not wear headphones on a more regular basis...

Here are some progress shots:

End of Week 3
{Where I started this week}

End of Week 4: before lunch
{right before lunch}

It took me awhile to get into the grove. I ended up wiping down the carnation flower once because I got confused with the variety of petal shapes and thus the scale started to grow.

Tonight as I write this, I am realizing that the intricate detailing of this flower may be beyond my current skill level, I am hopeful that as time goes on I will figure out the handling of such subtle shading, then I will return to the flower to get it closer to what is in the original painting.

End of Week 4:
{status at end of the day}

By the end of the day I began to further refine the lower pea pods and finalize the details in the leaves. Though it is the snail that feels right, I got it pretty fast, learning to use a dry sable brush to soften the edges of the shell to give the sense of it turning into space. De Heem must have used brushes with only a few hairs each because the detail in the snail's skin has tiny, tiny little dots that give the impression of the wet bumpy skin. I used a #2 round sable brush and felt it was too big for some areas!

End of Week 4: Snail
{detail of the snail}

Now I need to think about where to focus on next week. Little by little, this painting will come together.

Thanks for visiting and being a part of this journey, Liz

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pears, Bottle, and Bowl {a new still life painting}

20100728 Forelle Pears Bottle and Bowl 8x10
Still Life with Forelle Pears, Bottle, and Bowl – 8" x 10" (20.3 x 25 cm) – Oil on Canvas
Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.

I am a little behind on posting these paintings. It seems like I am late in getting a lot done lately... the run up to Labor Day weekend always is full of loose ends and this summer is no different.

Tomorrow I am headed back to the NGA and will share my progress with you soon :)

Thanks for stopping by, Liz

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peaches and Bowl {a new still life painting}


And thank you for all the kind support about the recent still life paintings series I just completed. I really appreciate your encouraging words and emails.

For the next few blog posts I will share some of the paintings with you. This is the second painting of eight completed for the show {here is the first painting of the series}.

20100727 Peaches and Bowl 8x10
Still Life with Peaches and Bowl – 8" x 10" (20.3 x 25 cm) – Oil on Canvas
Please stop in the Shooting Star Gallery during September and October if you're in the Hampton Roads area. You can preview my new work here - most of these pieces will be up on the wall by September 1st. It is a privilege to be invited to participate in this group show.

Thanks for stopping by, Liz

PS. This week I discovered a wonderful blog about art. Thank you Little Augury for introducing me to it :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Work Delivered

New Still Life Series
{new still life series}

Yesterday I delivered these eight paintings to Shooting Star Gallery in Suffolk, VA in preparation for a group show, "Food for Thought... ". This series has been my main focus for the past four weeks. The show opens on August 28th, and the reception will be held on Saturday, September 18, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. I will post more information about the individual paintings once the show opens.

Before driving to Suffolk yesterday morning I hung the series in my living room to get an idea of how they may look in a home. Sometimes I get myopic when looking at my paintings on the easel and find it is important to view a painting in a different setting. I think these would look lovely in a dining room...

This week has been wonderful, getting this series completed, delivered to the gallery, and receiving the good news that my painting "Fresh Peaches" has been accepted into the Audubon Artists Annual Juried Show, which will be held in NYC at the Salmagundi Club Galleries on 5th Avenue in September. So this fall I will be in back to back shows in the big apple, this one and the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Annual Open Exhibition in October.

With all that is in the works, I am eager to start something new, and to pursue some new ideas that appeared last night when I was trying to go to sleep. I was so tired yesterday but unable to unwind and fall asleep... Does this ever happen to you? New ideas, concepts just start popping into your head and they seem so great that you are distracted and must stay awake alittle longer to think about them more. Well that was my night last night, hopefully tonight I will fall directly asleep.

Have a wonderful evening and weekend,



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Horton {a new drawing}

20100810 Horton dwg
{Horton - 19" x 12" - Mixed Media}

Here is a portrait of my friend's basset hound. It was drawn using the Robert Liberace method that employs terracotta and black verithin pencils with a white pastel pencil used for the highlights and areas lighter in tone than the prepared paper.

Week 3: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem

Hello Friends,

This Tuesday was my day at the National Gallery of Art this week. At the end of last week I sorted out a game plan of how to tackle this painting. Which is by setting a goal of working on a small portion of it each week, say a 5x5 inch or so square area of the painting and bringing in up to a certain level, knowing full well that I will need to come back at another time to lay another layer of detail or glaze on top of what I have already completed. By breaking each area down into smaller chunks, the complexity of the painting becomes manageable, and at the end of the day I feel like I have accomplished something. I think it would be very easy to become discouraged working on this painting...

Working with oil paint thinned with a linseed oil and damar varnish medium, I set to work and by the end of the day was pleased with where I left off.

End of Week 2
{status at the end of week 2}

End of Week 3
{Status at the end of week 3}

For this week's painting session I only used a sable brushes, a #6 kolinsky cat's tongue filbert and a #2 kolinsky cat's tongue filbert by Escoda. Each time I am surprised by how much can be accomplished with such tiny brushes and how in the future even more delicate brushes will be required...

{The Goal}

Have a wonderful evening,
thanks for reading and sharing this experience with me :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

In the Studio

Slim in the studio
{Slim sharing the morning with me}
Like the model stand? I have thought about getting something that is dedicated to just that, one that adjusts in height like what Carol Marine has, but then I realized that stacking various boxes works just as well, and the boxes double as storage for various studio supplies....

I am still working on paintings that will be unveiled later, keeping my busy and happy :) However I miss sharing new work with you, so here is a partially complete still life that has been on hold for the past three weeks.

{work in progress}

This mid-point phase is a good example of the new method I have been using, it entails working on specific areas of a painting and refining to a certain level before moving on to a new adjacent area. I plan on finishing the initial lay in of the painting and then go over it again, refining and adding greater detail and depth to the painting. A fellow classmate of mine asserts that for a painting to really gain the luminous quality that only oil paint can provide it must be worked on a minimum of three different times where the paint has had an opportunity to dry between each session.

I have been chewing on that idea a lot over the past few weeks, and have come to agree with her. Because there is something special that happens when you come back to a painting after a break, apply a fine layer of linseed oil to bring out the color and then lay in new paint. The painting begins to glow. I also think that the mind continues to ponder and work on the idea of the painting, so the subject matter becomes understood to a greater extent, and I feel the emotional harmony that first inspired me is more able to be translated into the painting.

Have a wonderful weekend, Liz

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 2: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem

For the past week I have been busy preparing for the upcoming Suffolk show {more to come after I deliver the paintings to the gallery} and then before I realized it Monday was upon me and it was time to return to the National Gallery of Art (NGA).

Week 2: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem
{at the end of the day}

Between last week and this week I thought about what method would be best to use when copying the painting, finally I realized that using a medium to thin the paint and to apply layer upon layer of paint to resemble what de Heem created in the original painting. For this week I really focused on the lower portion of the painting, trying to capture the affect of the marble table, and refining some proportions of the glass vase. I made the decision to paint the entire table surface and then to later paint on top of this with the details of the pea pods and such. I used a medium of linseed oil with a few drops of damar varnish and a #2 filbert bristle brush and sometimes a #2 sable filbert brush. During the day it became clear that next week I will need to bring a maul stick to stabilize my hand.

This painting is full of detail -- insects, thorns, and subtle highlights -- it will be a pleasure seeing how this experience unfolds...

{detail of the de Heem painting}

Thanks for stopping by and reading,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Copyist at the National Gallery of Art

Dutch, 1606 - 1683/1684
Vase of Flowers, c. 1660

At the beginning of the summer with the help of a good friend, a former professor, a former boss, and a few current art instructors, Danni Dawson, Kurt Schwarz, and Robert Liberace, I began the application process to be a copyist at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) here in DC. They all kindly provided letters of reference for me, and I am eternally thankful for their effort, as I know this is going to be a great learning experience.

Monday was my first day at it, and I chose the de Heem painting above as my first painting to copy. Here is a photo of where I was at the end of the day. By 4pm I was dog tired and admitting to myself that I had bitten off more than I can chew, especially as I cannot see all the detail of the painting because we are required to stand 4 feet away from the painting… This is by far the most complicated painting I have ever attempted! Danni is always encouraging me to slow down and really observe what I see, so hopefully this painting will teach me to have the patience required to complete a painting with this much detail.

Week 1: Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem

{my setup in Gallery 50}

So for the next several weeks, I will be going to the NGA to paint and I will share my progress with you, or lack of it…

Have a wonderful evening, Liz