Sunday, March 22, 2009

Truth or Dare?

The bank- first layer of color- tilted to cut the glare
The depot- the drawing

The Mill- a start, with darks and lights.
This seemed like the right title for my post today. As an artist, you can portray what you see as closely as possible to the "real" thing, or you can take an inspiration from nature and do your own interpretation. One way is not better than the other way or more important. The question lies within you. What are you wanting to express? What do you want the viewer to see or feel by looking at your painting or drawing?

I guess I was ready to hear what watercolorist Tom Lynch and oil painter David Leffel were saying during their workshops last month. Both said, "Make a painting." I understood that meant put yourself into the work and the viewer will relate to it. So if that means you change a color, you move a tree, you lighten or darken an area to make the work itself better, then do it! It is not a "put see" as Jack Beal says. You are in control of the painting, it is not in control of you.

All that said, I have been working on my three commissioned paintings and still worrying about what I leave out, what I move, what I change to "make a painting." On most occasions, I work with a client about what they want. I change or enhance to please them. I am on my own with these. Since the images are "real" places and things that people will recognize, I want them to resemble the actual thing. But I also see where I can make the overall image "read" better. So how much of the truth do you give the viewer and how much do you dare to change? Think about it in your art if you paint or in your own line of work. How much will I change?
Stay tuned......
I leave for Epcot this Wednesday to paint in the World Showcase for three days. So as they say in WDW,
Have a Magical Day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Spring- time for painting outdoors!

I am just getting into the Spirit of Spring after returning home from two months in Florida. How do they know it's spring? Well, I know because it is almost time for my return to WDW's Epcot Artists in the Gardens. The event this year will be March 27, 28 & 29. This will be my third year to get to paint on site in the World Showcase along with twelve or so other artists. This year I will be painting in Canada. I will be taking my watercolors along with mats and bags so the paintings will be ready to go home with someone! It is really fun to be assigned a different country each year. I have been in Italy and the U.K. Having the artists painting in the countries looks very European. We interact with the visitors and are treated to our meals and room. We will be staying in the Wilderness Lodge. I hope we have great weather this year and get lots of painting time. Starting the last week of March and into May, Epcot will be filled with beautiful flowers and garden spots. This is the place to come if you are a garden lover, and who isn't?

Coming up in April will be the Sketching Callaway workshop at another beautiful spot, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. I taught the workshop last spring in May and we had a great time working in our sketching journals. This year I plan to add tips on drawing buildings or fences in perspective along with the flowers and landscape. Most gardens have some type of structure or rows of plants, so I think it will be helpful to demonstrate. The dates are Saturday and Sunday, April 25 & 26. Registration: or phone 706-663-5153. All supplies are provided.

It's Springtime, let's get out and paint!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Working with a Master

David's painting demo

David's model demo. David starting his painting. My first still life set up.

David and I are all grins
Nancy's portrait by David

Some photos from the week long workshop at Longboat Key with master
artist, David Leffel.

I went back and forth on whether to take it.
I really love his work. I really felt he is a
great American master artist, but was I ready to give up a week of Florida sunshine to paint indoors? Did I feel that I was up to the task of painting with him?

In the end, I was more than happy that I gave up my week outside. David not only is a master artist, he is very personable. Soft spoken, he makes painting seem so effortless. Every stroke has meaning. He just enjoys painting! Some secrets? There are no secrets. There are no tricks. Painting is hard work. You must paint to learn how to paint. No one will love your painting unless you love it first. I could just listen and watch him all day.

You can imagine on the last day how I felt when he came by and told me my jar in my still life was wonderful. I almost cried! I need to shoot my paintings. I have been working all week in the studio on one of three large paintings for a commission due next month! But will try to catch up with my paintings from Florida plus my oil still lifes from the workshop. Before you know it, it will be time to head back to Florida for the Artists in the Gardens in Epcot the last weekend of the month.
Think Spring!