Coat Hangers

Using diagonals or “armatures" became very important to me about 12 years ago. I found it was like taking coat hangers and finding ways to carefully hang the "coats of my designs" on them. Since I have been talking about the use of diagonals to enhance a painting, I...

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Diagonals Rock!

Just like using color harmonies, planning compositions can be a complex issue. And if anyone knew how to plan out composition, it was Vermeer... One of the reasons we like to look at paintings is that reality is filtered through someone else's vision. Painters select...

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Dolphins

Commissions of animals can be complex. So much to think about! This is Phin. A commission from a mentoree and it is quite spectacular. Look at all that texture! But maybe too much texture? Phin is named after the Miami Dolphins and so the artist wanted to know if it...

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Snap To It

Now let's put color harmony knowledge to work. I love taking a painting and then making it “snap” to a color chord. I have gotten a bit off-track with all the analysis of color harmonies, so let's go back to paintings from mentorees... Here is another lovely painting....

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The 5-Chord

I had a harder time finding a painting based on a 5-color chord from Sorolla, and this one below may even be stretching it a bit. Some of the violet seems to run to red-violet. He mostly seemed to use 3 or 4 color chords, especially triads in the primary hues, but...

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Quad Chords

Going back to Sorolla as our master of color, we can see he knew the value of using more than just 3 colors in his paintings. There are 2 “chords" that use 4 colors instead of 3. The first combination consists of rotating every 3rd color around the wheel.  (thirds...

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Harmony

So last week I touched on how to use color harmonies in a painting. Since then I have had requests asking to talk about color harmonies some more, so this week I thought I would take a break from mentorship pieces to show how a true color master, Sorolla, used color...

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Time for Color

Another way to add “wow” to a painting is through effective use of color harmonies. They can give big impact to a painting with just a little bit of planning... Here is the original from another lovely artist. The thing that is fighting for attention the most here is...

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Hat Trick

Just because an object looks a certain way, it doesn’t mean it has to be painted that way... Here is another painting that I think has so much going for it. His face is beautifully done. There are so many subtle shifts in color showing clear form and structure and he...

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Relationships

While on the topic of finding the focus in a work, I guess I need to mention that a focus doesn’t have to be one spot or even one thing. The focus could even be intangible- like a relationship between 2 things….. Here his another beautiful drawing that crossed my path...

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Focus

Sometimes finding a focus in a work is as simple as asking yourself, “Why am I painting this image?” Once you have that answer, the journey then becomes about finding ways to channel that intent. Here is a beautiful pastel painting from another one of my “mentorees.”...

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Mentorship

One of the best things I have found about teaching workshops and working with artists is that it has honed my ability to zero in quickly on the essence of an image, finding what a painting is saying whether the creator is aware of the conversation or not … I was...

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Birthday Girl

Well,  I did it.  I made it to half a century on this earth….. Today is my birthday!  Best wishes to any Taurus birthdays out there!  And what do you do when you turn 50?  Well, in my case I ran away to Canada this past weekend with my best gal-pals and got a tattoo....

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Powwow

I love meeting unique people.  Those that are not afraid to be who they are- no matter what that is-- gets my highest respect. It is so easy nowadays to get caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality.  Especially here in the States.  So when I got the...

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The Workshop

Last weekend I was teaching a workshop in Cleveland.  I don’t teach very often, too many “mommy” responsibilities at home, but I do enjoy  a weekend out…. The main thing that always strikes me about a workshop is how so many artists can paint the exact same model and...

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“Friends of the Studio Part” 6 – Dusty Children

My children get dirty.  And I like to leave them that way….  no, no, not my actual children,  my pastel sticks….. I don’t worry about keeping my pastel sticks clean-  who cares?  Yes, they look pretty in the box, so shiny and bright, but then there is the stress of...

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“Friends of the Studio” Part 5 – A Box of Many Colors

I am a big believer in picking out a color harmony for a painting.  Planned color can unify a piece and beyond that, colors that "sing” together nicely can create a specific mood. Enter my color chip box…. Finding a way to begin to pick out colors for a painting can...

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“Friends of the Studio” Part 4 – Gloves in a Bottle

Pastel has a way of getting everywhere and it can be very drying to the skin…. Pastels can actually draw out the oils from the skin and in the winter I have been known to have very cracked and bleeding hands.   Some pastel artists are so good at using gloves, but I...

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“Friends of the Studio” Part 3 – Reflections

A good portrait has something stirring alive beneath the surface.  Know what it is?  The artist. Every portrait is not only a reflection of the model, but also of the creator. The danger is getting caught up in working on a portrait so much that I can’t see the...

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