The Everyday Life of a Working Artist


Attention! My blog is moving to my website in early January 2016. If you are receiving daily emails about this blog you will continue to receive them after the switch. Until then, you might want to head on over to my new blog here!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Sale Starts Monday!

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Cyber Monday Sale!
Join me for my Cyber Sale!

Five days of great savings 
November 26 - 30, 2012.

Savings on original artwork, workshops, webinARTs 
and merchandise.

Follow the link for great savings!
They won't last long ...

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Life Changing Cookbook!

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On this day before Thanksgiving I have decided to talk about cooking instead of art.
Most of my friends think I am a great cook. In truth, I am a good cook with a lot of great recipes. I even put a cookbook together with all of my great recipes (and all of my workshop students have been buying them). But once again, it's the recipes that outshine this cook every time.
I recently found a cookbook that I think is going to change my life in my kitchen. A friend of mine suggested it to me and it's called Ratio. I bought it on Amazon for less than $11.00. You can click the link to see it on Amazon. 
I read the entire book in one sitting. Twice.
This “cookbook” frees you from your dependency on recipes and simply explains how to "get your head out of your cookbooks and start cooking". As the back cover states, "Cooking, like so many endeavors, is defined by relationships. For instance, knowing exactly how much flour to put in a loaf of bread isn't nearly as useful as understanding the relationship between flour and water, or fat, or salt. That relationship is defined by a "ratio", and having a ratio in hand is like having a secret decoder ring that frees you from the tyranny of recipes."
The book shares thirty-three essential recipes and variations. With these ratios you can cook in your kitchen WITHOUT recipes and make countless doughs, batters and sauces without ever again having to look at a recipe.
I now know the ratio of pie dough is 3-2-1, three parts flour, two parts fat and one part liquid. With this small amount of information I am heading in to my kitchen to make my Thanksgiving pies … without a recipe. Sorry Betty Crocker, but I don't need you today. And I can't wait!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Waiting For the Holidays

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"Waiting For the Holidays"
Oil, 6" x 6" on museum quality canvas panel
Click here to purchase painting.

One of the things about teaching workshops is we forget how much they benefit the teacher. We all know that painting is the best way to improve your skills. But teaching students is so much better! In my workshops I spend a lot of time at the easels of my students. It's my job to teach them "the process" and the steps they need to follow to create a great painting. We spend a lot of time with color mixing, values and temperature. With 10 students, I can estimate I get at least 70 opportunities to help my students, at their easels, improve their paintings per day. What most of us forget is every time I do this I am learning too!
I just spent three of the last four weeks teaching workshops and I am thrilled with the results ... my students progress, their finished paintings and even my demo paintings! I am so excited about how much I learned over these past few weeks and am noticing it at my easel already. Yippee!
The painting above is one of my demos on the first day of my Newport Beach Four Day workshop that was held last week. I figured it was time to get in the mood for the holidays. If you follow my blog, you might recognize this painting from a blog post last week about photographing still life.
And here are a few more pictures ... check out the amazing paintings created in the workshop!


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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Front and Back

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"Front and Back"
Oil, 12" x 12" on museum archival canvas panel
Click here to purchase.

Teaching three workshops in four weeks is a lot but I am so happy! This week I am on Balboa Island teaching a workshop with the Debra Huse Gallery. We spent the last two days painting at the yacht club. we have already completed three paintings!
Tomorrow we head out to the docks to paint plein air. If the weather holds up we will be doing the same on Friday. I'll post pictures soon!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Photographing Still Life

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Still Life Photography in the Carriage House Studio
I thought I would share a few photography tips I use to photograph still life. I take these photos every month to use in my workshops as painting exercises. They are great for the first day of the workshop for learning how to apply paint with a palette knife.  In my October workshops we painted pumpkins and we will paint these in my November and December workshops.

The photo above shows my "photography studio". Actually it's just a counter top in my Carriage House Studio that I quickly set up. You can set up a similar "studio" just about anywhere! I have one of my glass palettes on the bottom (which are normally used to mix paint in my workshops), a piece of hardboard as a back drop and I use my leftover scrapbooking paper for the background. For a light source I attach one of my cheap hardware store lights to a table top easel. 

I took about 200 photos during this photo shoot, which is about typical. I constantly move the light source, change the items and configuration of the set up and change the background. I used pears, a pomegranate, apples and holiday ornaments for this photo shoot. I use a manual setting on my 35mm camera that allows just enough light but no flash.

As I take the photos I am looking to capture great light on the objects, shapes, shadows and reflections in the glass. I try to get exaggerated shadows that can easily be painted in shapes in my workshops. I upload all of the photos to iphoto and crop and edit the photos. Here are a few of the finalized photos from my photo shoot. You will see the completed paintings of some of these photos on my blog in the next few days as I start teaching tomorrow in Newport Beach.

I am writing a book about Palette Knife Painting which should be available sometime in early 2013. There is a chapter about photographing your art which includes still life set ups as well as photographing your completed paintings.

My fourth annual "Twelve Days of Christmas" promotion starts next month. Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog posts so you don't miss out. I'll be giving away over $1000 worth of free stuff!

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Calming Waters

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"Calming Waters"
Oil, 12" x 12"
Click here to purchase.

I am gearing up to teach my third workshop in as many weeks. I feel so blessed to be able to share my passion for palette knife painting. Although I must confess that for me personally, I think my workshops are just as much about discovering and enjoying the "love of painting". It may sound corny, but all artists struggle to find that wonderful sense of joy when painting. Life tends to get in the way and when we bring "outside stuff" into the studio then "outside stuff" often ends up on the canvas. So I like to create a joyful experience in my workshops. We paint, laugh, spend tons of time color mixing, laugh, paint, eat and paint some more. 
This week I head to Newport Beach for four glorious days. Two will be spent inside covering basics such as color mixing, values and palette knife painting. The last two days will be spent painting on Balboa Island. Does it get any better than this? And one night I am cooking a gourmet dinner for my students. That will be fun. And yummy!
If you would like to attend one of my workshops, I have space after the first of the year, starting with my January workshop taught at my home in South Pasadena. You can learn more here. I'd love to share my joy of painting with you!

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