Monday, December 27, 2010

New Website Gallery

Since coming back home to Massachusetts from my art studies in Annapolis, there has been a surprising number of people commissioning me for a charcoal portrait. They have been asking me where they can see some examples of my work in charcoals and so far, I have had to show them my blog. They wanted to know why I don't have charcoals on my website. Well, I am awfully new at charcoals having just taken my first class this October and November but what a good idea! So, yesterday, I started working with my website designer, Steve Eimer, to add a Charcoal Gallery to the site. It makes good sense. So until I get the official charcoal on-line gallery up, here are some of the works that I have done in the past few weeks. There will be more to come. You can check my Recent Works Blog to see each work as I create them.

Behind the scenes, James is a critical help. He can tell when something is off by even a few millimeters! He has an amazing eye. I also love that he is unafraid to just walk up and take a stick of charcoal and make these minor corrections. He has never worked in charcoal but he doesn't mind. He thinks that I am funny when I can't see my mistakes right away. I wish he would take up art. He would be truly amazing at it! Here he is fixing an eye on his sister's portrait that he thought looked "wonky-eyed."

I did a portrait of James...seeing I had done one of Alexandra. He didn't have to help me with this one and he said that it looks just like him. Glad that he likes it!

Here is Alexandra taking a photo with her cell of her portrait. She wanted to send the image to her boyfriend.

So, I have been very busy and very glad for it! I am so thankful for all of my great teachers in Annapolis; Rick Casali, Andree Tullier, John Ebersberger, and the Egeli's. What an amazing group of super tallented portrait artists and they are all so generous with their teachings and tips. They are a great group of people and I am looking forward to studying with them for one more month this winter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charcoal Portrait

This was my second charcoal portrait class working on this portrait. I would still like to work one more class on this one. I feel like I could take this portrait further. As in the head we sculpted this weekend, I tried to keep in mind the modeling of the head. I tried to see the side planes and the planes of the nose and mouth area.
It was nice to have a male model for a change. He was easy to draw with his strong features. The model is Craig Amaral and can be reached at for modelling.

Impressionist Painting Class

Today we did an outdoor color study of a still-life. The idea was to have the colors relate to each other in such a way that there is a convincing impression of bright sunlight and shade. I tried to pick one color note for each color mass for example, I tried to find one color to represent the table in light and the table in shadow... the bowl in light and the bowl in shadow both for the inside and the outside of the bowl. Once these colors work well together to describe the outdoor light, subtle colors can be added to better describe how the light varies in these masses. I am told that this is the opposite of how the old Impressionist master such as Monet would work. They would build up little impressions of light and build up the masses with them. We build the masses first and them model them with subtle impressions of color. John Ebersberger is my teacher for this class and his beautiful Impressionist paintings can be seen on his website. Just click on his name to follow the link.

Planes of the Head

This is one of the main reasons that I came to study in Annapolis. I wanted to understand the planes of the human head better so that I could have a better understanding to my approach of portraits. This is the result of three days of study and work. When the life size heads were completed we started smaller models just to go over one more time the basic structure of the head. I loved this class and even though it was a grooling three days 9 AM to 4PM I was sad when it was over. I would recommend my instructor, Rick Casali, to anyone who wants to learn human anatomy for artists. The last photo show Rick with the remains of the day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am starting to understand charcoal a little bit. Here are the most recent class studies. I am learning how to approach it and I am also starting to appreciate its properties.

Still, I always feel that I would like to finish it if I was given the time. Class is only a few hours and the time flies by.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pastel Portrait Class

I started a pastel portrait today in class. We worked on them for about 2 hours out of the three hour class. working from the live models is the best way to go. I still am trying to figure out how the pastels work and I am forever thinking of how it would be easier in oils but then I would not be learning pastels! We will have two more classes to work from this model. she is much more beautiful in real life and I hope to try to capture a little of that before I am done. All of these starts are good for me but I would like to make a finished work. That will come in time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Charcoal Portrait Class

I think that charcoal is nice to work with in the way that you can move it around and change it easily so in that way it is similar to oils. We had a model named Craig and we also had a female model. I don't often get the chance to have a man sit for me so I chose the man. Rick Casali, our teacher, walked us through the process. We are half way through and he has asked the same models to come back next Monday so that we can finish them. I had just started working on the shading so it will be good to have Craig sit for us again.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today was a day for studying the back of a statue or two.

In figure painting class we started out with a statue. We will have a live model next week! First we used charcoal to study the subject, then we removed almost all the charcoal leaving a ghost image. Then we painted the light and dark of the back ground and the light and dark of the object. That is how we are to start the live figure model, too. It was fun and I learned a lot but the three hours went by like 15 minutes! It was so fast! I wished that I had more time to work on it but it was great anyway.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting the Basics!

I am studying in Annapolis. Being basically self taught, I feel that I have a lot of gaps in my art education. I decided to fill them in! Here are a few examples of what my studies look like.

This block study is from drawing class. My teacher, Andree Tullier is great at teaching the tools needed to draw freehand. We measure angles and distances with a straight thin stick or paintbrush handle. With these blocks we also studied tones using a six tone scale that we placed on the edge of our drawings.

In figure drawing, we are learning to look "inside" the body for the rib cage and pelvis. We try to find the "long lines" and we observe the slant of the shoulders, mid-section and hips. We learn to look at the flow of the human body because it truly is amazing the way the muscles flow together.

In Pastel Portraiture we are learning about the planes of the head and how to describe these in pastel. This class is very difficult for me because I have very little experience with pastels. They are very messy and wonderful in the way that their colors just jump out. I think once I learn how to handle the medium, I will love creating pastel portraits. This portrait is about half way done. I hope that the model can sit for me again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Classes in Annapolis

Art class...impressionism...a start of a painting. People are less intimidating to paint...they are not quite symmetrical. A person can lean. A pear can lean, too... but a can't lean. If I am uncomfortable painting something, that is means there is a chance to learn something.

A New Toy!

I found a great tiny watercolor kit from Japan called Koi. You can see the brush just under the paints. The brush holds water so I do not need to bring a water bottle. I just put my journal and this Koi paint kit in my handbag and it is all that I need to make small watercolor studies anywhere I go; museums, views from my car, or to work out ideas before I paint a larger work. I love it. It is a great way to make color thumbnail composition studies. These two small studies are of two works by the artist Kim English. The second one of the girls eating lunch reminds me of me and my sisters when we were young. He is amazing when it comes to plein air painting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

P-town Nature Trail

I drove to Provincetown this morning. There was no traffic congestion, I am pretty sure due to the fact that Friday we are expecting a hurricane. Today I found a nice spot on a nature trail and started to paint a fallen tree limb.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Padanaram Sailboat

I am right in the middle of this painting. Thought that I would show the progress as I go at it. It may be finished tomorrow if there is good light and the weather man says this is the case!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starting a New Painting

Today I painted most of the foundation for a new painting. It is of one of my favorite places to go, Padanaram Harbor. It is so peaceful and quaint that it seems like it must be a long drive from the city but it is only 10 minutes away. It is a great place to grab lunch and watch the boats and the people fishing on the bridge.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

El-Ghadi Family Finished and Delivered

Last month I brought the finished family portrait to it's new home. I am so glad that I got the chance to do this work for them. I had to make some changes along the way. The son's head was redone and you can see from the previous post that many other minor changes were made. This was the most people I have had on one canvas making it my most challenging work to date but now I am eager to take on the challenge of more of these larger works.

My thanks go to the El-ghadi's for choosing me to paint their family and for the kindness and openness that they have shown to me throughout this long and happy process.

You can click on the image of the painting to zoom in for more detail!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Commission in Progress

The family portrait is coming along nicely. It is difficult work but I love it and bit by bit is coming to life. I don't know how long it will take me to finish but I have found that I have to block out big chunks of time for days in a row to keep the momentum flowing and my focus clear. I can not put aside five hours one day and then come back two days later and pick up where I left off so it is good to have 10 or 12 hours set aside two or three days in a row. I am learning! Five people all on one canvas is more than double what I have ever painted and I love the challenge.