Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Poppies and Grapes, 16x20, oil, in progress

Setting up a still life can be difficult.  What to choose?  I have a studio full of stuff - family favorites, antiques and thrift shop treasures.  This large stoneware urn is one of my favorite pieces.

Some of my stuff.

Set up and underpainting.
I started with a rub-out to create my underpainting.  This allows me to adjust the shapes and tones to create the look I want.  It's more important to create a pleasing composition on the canvas than to copy the set up exactly. I have touched on that theory in my earlier blogs.  And since you can only get three things wrong in a painting - the shape, the tone or the color - the underpainting takes care of the shapes and tones and now I can concentrate on color.

After two hours of painting.
I let the underpainting dry overnight and then the fun begins.  I painted this morning for two hours and was pleased with my progress.  After lunch I'll lay in the background.  This will give me a chance to soften edges while everything is still wet.

After three more hours of painting.
I added color to the background, worked on the stoneware urn and corrected the edges of the poppies.  I changed the tabletop and like the feeling of more space.  I will add another poppy but wanted to work on it a bit more.  The strength of the grapes will help me determine the placement of the third poppy.  The poppies are orange, but look pink in the photos.

This painting will need many more hours of work and I am pleased with the results, so far.

My painting companion.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Grumble, Grumble.

The other day I received an email from Windows, stating that they will not be supporting Windows XP after April 8th, so I will be shopping for a new computer - probably a Windows 8.  All my files and programs will need to be transferred and I am so glad that my son will help.  Too complicated for me.   In the meantime, I am reorganizing my files, etc, etc.  You know how much time all this computer stuff takes.

I am also reorganizing my studio and sorting through the paintings that I brought back from the gallery.  I have updated my ebay art page and now have 78 items listed - studies, prints, minis and a few originals.  All this takes time, but it's worth it.  I have had good luck on ebay.  Here's the link if you want to take a look.  My ebay art page.

I have also updated both my website and the gallery website.

Today is another gray day, cold and dreary outside with plenty of snow and ice on the ground and more white stuff to come in the next day or so.  It's difficult to go for a walk as there is still lots of ice on the ground here.

A good day for grumbling.  Think I'll go down and make some tea.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brass and Fruit, 12x16, oil

Brass and Fruit, 12x16, oil

As I mentioned in my March Newsletter, after sixteen years in Belfast, Maine, The Working Art Gallery has retired.  Our physical gallery will be replaced by our virtual gallery and I will continue the website.  We have enjoyed the gallery and all the great people we have met over the years, but we are looking forward to more free time.  If you'd like to visit the gallery and see what we have been up to these past sixteen years, here is the link.

I have started bringing my paintings home.  Some paintings will go to another gallery,  some will be listed on ebay and some I will keep.  This was always a favorite of mine, so it is now hanging in my home.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Color Mixing vs "I Can't Mix Color!"

"I can't mix color!"  Over the many years of teaching oil painting, this is one of the most frequent statements heard in my art class. I'm afraid that there is no magic solution.  In order to solve this problem you need to do some serious studying and application.  I gave my students homework that would rectify this problem and the students who applied themselves saw marked improvement. There is always the student who "didn't have the time" or didn't want to make the effort and they are the most difficult to teach.

Good painting is a balancing act between shapes (drawing, edges, linear perspective), tones (the five tone values, aerial perspective) and color. Shapes and tones give us a monochromatic painting. Color adds the magic.  Isn't that a good reason to learn more about color mixing?

This is a slow, deliberate and time consuming exercise.  The amount of effort you put into this will determine your results. I think it's a fascinating exercise.

Let's start with purples.  We know that red and blue make purple. That's easy enough. But what red and what blue?  You have to visually experiment.  Put out all your reds and blues and begin to experiment with mixtures.  This is the only way you will see the differences.  Cad Red Light and Cerulean Blue will give you a different purple than will a mixture of Windsor Red and Ultramarine Blue.

As you experiment with different red and blue mixtures, begin to add bits of their complements - green (red's complement) and orange (blue's complement). Don't forget yellow (purple's complement). Add small amounts of complements to separate mixtures and compare the results. Notice how the temperature and hue change.  Add white to lighten and note the results.

Take your time and keep your mixtures clean. Make all the possible color combinations you can and mentally note the results.  Some people like to make color charts, that's fine, but I never did.  Your color mixtures will vary by the amount of each pigment you add and that amount is variable unless you measure. Visually experiment and understand the why of your mixtures. Soon you will be able to mix colors by sight and not formula.

Purple is one of the three secondary colors on the color wheel. Try this exercise with the other two secondary colors - orange (mixture of yellow and red) and green (mixture of blue and yellow).

I also suggest playing with your colors at the end of your painting session.  Instead of scraping them away, take a few minutes to mix different colors together.  Try mixtures that are unfamiliar to you - you will be surprised at the variety of colors you can mix.

I hope you will take the time to experiment with your colors.  You will be amazed at the number of colors you can mix from these combinations.  Notice that using a limited palette of colors will improve your color harmony and that most colors straight from the tube are too harsh to be used alone.  Work slowly and study the results.  Then you won't have to say, "I can't mix colors!" and your art teacher will sigh with relief.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cold Maine Morning, 8x10, oil

Spring, where are you?  I'm looking out my window watching the snow fall again, adding more white to an already white landscape.

Yesterday, in class, I hope we have painted the last snow scene for this winter. Working with white is always a challenge because technically white is not a color and should never be used alone. The color of snow is influenced by its surroundings and must be tempered with subtle color and temperature shifts. These subtle additions are determined by the color of the light, the sky, trees and objects in the area.  If you take the time to really look, you will see an amazing amount of color in snow.

I, for one, am tired of looking at snow and look forward to spring greens, which are even harder to paint.  But it is a challenge I'll accept and share with you. Hopefully, soon!

Cold Maine Morning, 8x10, oil, SOLD

This painting now lives in Newfoundland.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 2014 Newsletter. To Everything There Is A Season........

“To everything there is a season …..….” so goes the well-known song. Finally, spring has arrived and brought not only a change in the weather, but also a change for our gallery as well. My partner and his wife have relocated from South Carolina to Belfast, Maine, and will live on the second and third floors of our gallery building. The first floor will continue to be the home of Raven’s Nest Gallery operated by Maine artist and antique collector, Jude Nickerson. Our gallery’s physical presence will be replaced by its virtual presence.

My partner, Louis Masciovecchio, and I have owned and operated an art gallery in Belfast, Maine, since 1999 and now it is time to slow down and paint. Now that we are both retired and he is back in Maine, we hope to be able to paint together again without the responsibilities of the business getting in the way.

I would like to share the history of our gallery, taken directly from our website.

Three Maine artists, Louis Masciovecchio, Celene Farris and Dianne Horton, established The Working Art Gallery in January 1999 on Front Street at the Belfast waterfront. The name was chosen because the three artists maintained their studios at the gallery. Visitors were encouraged to watch and ask questions. Celene also offered art classes at the gallery. The three artists helped to establish The Belfast Arts Association, working closely with the other galleries to create a vibrant art community in Belfast.

In September of 2003, the gallery moved to its own building at 65 Main Street in historic downtown Belfast. (The William Crosby Building, 1857). The gallery expanded to two floors and added a visiting artists’ gallery giving new, up and coming artists the opportunity to display their work in a gallery setting. A classroom on the second floor was now used for Celene's expanded oil painting classes. Louis and his wife used the third floor apartment when they visited Maine.

The gallery continued to grow, representing over 30 local artists. In November 2006, Maine artist, Sheryl Tripp, became the gallery’s new manager and added The Aina Moja Shop, a project of Expanding Opportunities, a non-profit organization supporting native African artists in Kenya and other Kenyan charities.

When the local newspaper began its “Best of the Best” People’s Choice Awards Competition in 2007, the gallery was voted the top art gallery in Waldo County. The gallery continued to receive recognition each subsequent year.

At the close of 2011, after thirteen busy years, Celene and Louis decided it was time to downsize the gallery and give themselves more free time to paint. They moved their gallery to the second floor and featured the work of Louis Masciovecchio, Sheryl Tripp and Celene Farris.

On the first floor, noted Maine artist and antique collector, Jude Nickerson, opened her new signature gallery, Raven’s Nest Gallery, featuring an exciting mix of Maine art and Maine antiques. And she agreed to oversee the smaller gallery on the second floor.”

It has been great fun and lots of work operating an art gallery. I won’t miss the paperwork and the long hours, but I will miss all the wonderful people I have met along the way. We have worked with so many talented artists, both local and from away. It has been a privilege to be part of their art community and I have devoted two pages on our website showing their work and contact information. I will continue to update our gallery’s website presence. I will also miss all our wonderful customers. We have had so much fun and enjoyed ourselves immensely, but it has taken a great deal of the time that we will now be able to use for painting – both plein air and in our studios.

Lou and Mary’s furniture has arrived and all the artwork on the second floor will be removed so they can use the wonderful space as their home. They have an awesome view from their living room and new back deck overlooking the water and the new boatyard. From their front windows, they can look out across the bay. Belfast is a charming community and they are pleased to be back. You can visit The Working Art Gallery here.

I will be shipping some of my paintings to my new gallery in McKinney, Texas. Some I will add to my Ebay page. I have had good luck with Ebay. It’s an easy way to sell and I am developing a customer base with repeat sales. I also have a few local venues that will accept more work, such as our local hospital and The Fireside Inn’s Ocean Edge Gallery on Route One in Belfast. I will continue to teach at my home studio. I have two small classes that I really enjoy. And, of course, there is my new venture into social media. I do enjoy writing my blog and newsletters and have met many new friends. Our new puppy has kept me busy, but she is growing up and requires less supervision. She is currently sleeping across my feet as I work at the computer.

Happy spring, everyone.


PS. I'd like to invite you all to visit my Blog. I have written more than 50 blog posts and will continue to add more on a regular basis. I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts as an artist and teacher.

If you wish to automatically receive my new blog posts through your email, there is a sign up link on the right hand column of my blog page. You can opt out at any time, but I hope you will enjoy these visits to my studio. And I would enjoy hearing from you. Thank you.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

More Paintings From The Hospital Benefit Series, Belfast, Maine

Rocks at Ocean Point, 12x16, oil  $600

Rain, Rain, Go Away, 14x11, oil  $550

These are two of my paintings that are currently available at the Radiology Department, Waldo County General Hospital, Belfast, Maine.  The paintings can be purchased directly at the hospital or contact me and I will arrange pick up and shipping. Either way, 50% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Mammography Patient Assistance Fund.  Shipping charges are actual costs and will be added to the price.   

I am framing other paintings and will be rotating my work at the hospital in the next week or two.  Any unsold paintings will be on their way to another gallery, so if you want to purchase and donate at the same time, don't wait too long.

Waiting for the Tide, 12x16, oil, SOLD

This painting has a new home and also helped a woman get the mammography tests she needed but couldn't afford.

Click here to see more paintings available at the hospital.

Thank you for visiting.