Teeth

I see portraits all the time with teeth… oh man, just don’t do it.

read more

Brushing Up

A brush is an artist’s friend, so we need to take care of our pals…

read more

The Devil

“It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off…”   – Florence and the Machine

read more

Getting The World to Tilt

The weather has been nice where I am lately so I recently found myself out on the grass looking up at white, fluffy clouds moving quickly past the trees.

read more

Getting Curves

And just like an an awkward teenage girl, when a line grows up it can get curvy.

read more

A Crit

So while in quarantine I have been doing critiques for artists…

read more

Impact

Sometimes a light shines in the darkness… or at least into your living room.

read more

Flowers

I am busier then ever… so why do I feel that I am not getting much done?

read more

Arrested Momentum

In the very beginning of designing this painting I asked myself- “What is most important?”

read more

Light and Air

Hang in there everyone! Glad you could join me again this week from containment. I sincerely hope that talking about painting will keep your mind off any worries for a few minutes and we can chat about beauty and art…

read more

Purple People

“What color should I use for skin?” I get asked this question all of the time.

read more

This Is Not A Pink Rose

I often see artists getting ready to paint something like this flower above and I watch them getting out all their pretty, pink pastel sticks or start to mix up pink paint… uh… nope.

read more

Raindrops

I got new glasses.... And in getting new glasses I discovered a few things. I am not that young anymore. Yes, I finally had to break down and get Progressives. Or those pesky "bifocals" as we used to call them. Ok, I am almost 52 years old, so I guess I did pretty...

read more

Shooting Stars, a Deserted Island and Pirate Booty

Over the holidays I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the Caribbean with my daughters’s boyfriend's family who live in Antigua so I got to be surrounded by all three of my kids in 80 degree weather. On New Year's Day we heard about a meteor shower that would be...

read more

Psst…

One of my favorite books of all time is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I know there is a movie coming out soon based on the the book, but I don't think I can go see the film. The entire reason that I love the book so much is in the writing. It is the one book that...

read more

Color of Light

All light sources have an inherent color. Photos tend to throw things off so we see things as “white light” yet did you ever paint something, say, a sunset, and when you added white to the sky it just looked plain “off” or even felt not very lit? Why do some paintings glow with light and some just seem chalky?

read more

Sketchy Endeavors

While you are reading this I am in day 4 of Jury Duty. Yup, this week I am a servant of the State.

read more

The Lies That Photos Tell

If you paint portraits from photos, you instantly have a battle on your hands because those pesky photo references tell lies. Here’s why.

read more

Color Color Color…

Controlling color is one of the most important things you can do as an artist… as well as the most difficult.

read more

By A Nose…

My students often complain about painting a nose. I hear ya, they are tough… so let’s look at a few things to make painting the schnoz a little bit easier.

read more

Running Around Like a …

Nope you didn’t miss anything … I have skipped a few blog posts. But a wise artist once told me that we have to bend “when life gets in the way” so here is what has been keeping me so busy.

read more

Illumination

I recently posted a little oil painting that I was working on last week and was pleasantly surprised when it received a lot of attention on Facebook. SO cool! So I thought I would show how this little image came to be.

read more

Learning Never Stops

I am always amazed when people tell me, “Oh! you are so talented!!” as though my work stems magically from fairies and pixie dust. Nope. Good art is created out of dedicated time and knowledge.

read more

Walking in the Leaves

Recently someone asked me if I had a plan for my career now going forward. Goals for awards, shows etc… in other words, what does success look like to me now?

read more

Chocolate Snob

Chocolate is my friend. Well, maybe we are a bit too close when I see photos of myself.

read more

ALL the Colors

Last week I was in Iowa City. I took my daughter to college orientation for the University of Iowa. My days with her home all the time are numbered, and soon it will just be my son and I. On the flight this is what he packed…

read more

Joy

“Painting a landscape is illusionary…  like trying to catch rainbows…”
–  Phil Salvato

read more

Alexander Soukas. Visiting Master

Last week I had the honor of inviting and studying with Alexander Soukas from Denver, Colorado as part of the Master Series of Workshops I am setting up here in Sewickley at Sweetwater Center for the Arts.

read more

War

Sometimes a painting just keeps tapping me on the shoulder until I confront it, design it and then try to execute it. Sometimes this conversation with an image takes years.

read more

The Rest Is Just Noise

Do you hate the painting you are working on? Frustrated with it and just wanna get it “over with?” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone looking at the painting will know…

read more

Flying Buttresses

“It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.”
– Andrew Wyeth

Yup… composition is king.

read more

Be Not Afraid

“I don’t think that there is anything that is really magical unless it has a terrifying quality.”
-Andrew Wyeth

read more

The Value of Design Part 2

“The way I feel about things is so much better than the way I’ve been able to paint them. The image I had in my head before I started is not quite – never quite – completely conveyed in paint.”
– Andrew Wyeth

read more

The Value of Design

One of the most prized possessions I have in my studio space is an old book I bought for $6.99 from a second-hand book store.

read more

Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green

Yes, there is a watercolor book that has this very title, and yes, it is worth reading cover to cover. To understand color, for me there was no better way then studying it in the watercolor medium. I worked in watercolor for years and it had a great side effect- I...

read more

Chiller Theater

Warning-  if you have an aversion to horror films or are a very tidy artist, you may want to look away…

read more

Crazy Quilt

“It is not our job to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves
Like the trees, and be born again,
Drawing up from the great roots.”
~ Robert Bly

I found myself complaining recently that I was feeling quite scattered. Starting projects, stopping projects. Throwing myself into events and paintings only to table them soon after…

read more

On Guard!

Last Sunday I went to the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio. I almost got thrown out…

read more

Inertia

Some years ago I heard the amazing portrait painter, Howard Sanden, talk about his work. He said the most difficult thing for an artist to overcome is inertia…

read more

Artist Guild

Monday night was the second meeting of the new Artist Guild here in Pittsburgh. How do I know? I am running it.

read more

Making Lemonade Part 3

Oh the happiness of a well-struck red... So continuing my talk about this painting, I was very tickled when I started adding in the light catching on the ends of her hair that came forward in space and caught the light... just a few scribbles really, made while I...

read more

Making Lemonade Part 2

I have to say the painting I posted last week has been a different kind of painting for me. I was less interested in "perfect" color or even in a perfect rendering than I was in making a statement. It was rather liberating... Sure, I labored over the face- who doesn't...

read more

Making Lemonade

So the painting I posted last week went thought a bunch of stages. Here is the beginning of the painting... Unlike most pastellists, I like working on a white surface. Since I used to work in watercolor, I find a white surface a wonderful way to push the pastels to be...

read more

Lemons

Welcome to the first blog of the New Year and to the first painting of my New Life…

read more

Another Old Lang Syne

I love music. There are songs that for some reason or another go right through me. They can bring me right back to a certain age and what was going on in my life right then... I am not a musician, I was a very suck-y flute player in high school at best. But there is...

read more

Traveling

Nope,  I am not talking about going anywhere... I am talking about how shapes can be put to use through design to travel around an image. A master? Norman Rockwell. Last week I came across this image on Facebook. It stopped me in my tracks and not for the reasons you...

read more

Artist Guild

5 months ago I moved to an amazing little town 15 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. My location was deliberate. There are artists here. And as I have walked around town going to pilates, the grocery store and even while snacking at the wonderful eateries here, I kept...

read more

Ferrari Red

“You can only paint the smell of damp pine needles by being there: a photograph is a poor substitute for working from the real thing when painting a landscape.” -David Bellamy

read more

Three of a Kind

I have 2 daughters and when we get together like this week, when my oldest daughter comes home from college for the holiday, we are like 3 peas in a pod... Last May I wrote about turning 50 and how in order to celebrate I ran way with my best friends and got a tattoo...

read more

The POWER of Pastel

This week I have a secret ... Well, maybe not a big secret. I have been talking about it for a while now, but I am writing a book! Over the years, artists have told me that I needed to do it since they have taken my workshops and then said that I have warped their...

read more

A Swan is Born

Just like giving birth to triplets, a painting is not born all at once ... Last week I was a bit sassy talking about all the things that can get out of control when starting a painting, so it is only fair to show the meandering path one recent painting took and all...

read more

Demons

It is Halloween and since I have been talking about scary topics like divorce and botox, let's talk about an even scarier thing... starting a new painting. Gulp. It can fill ya full of fear. But if the hope is stronger than the weakness in your knees, you can approach...

read more

The Joker

Recently I was teaching a workshop and talking about the bone structure around the eyes.  For some reason, this lead to a discussion in the class on everyone’s need for botox….hmmmmm…. I have a hard time watching the news anymore. No, not from all that political noise...

read more

The 1700

Over the past few weeks I have had the honor to serve as one of the "Jurors of Selection" for the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) International Web Show. This means that I was asked along with two other artists - Jacob Aguair and Brenda Boylan...

read more

China

When I grew up my mom only used her china dishes for “good occasions.” Christmas and Thanksgiving usually. I thought they were so beautiful and even as a young child I could appreciate the care she took with them. But recently I have decided that every day is a good...

read more

Tangled

Since I consider this blog to serve as a diary, not only of my artistic journey and discovery, but also how my personal journey affects my art, I need to speak of the sabbatical that I have taken from my work and blog over the past 2 months. Above is a photo of some...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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....

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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.”...

read more

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...

read more

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....

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

“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...

read more

“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...

read more

“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...

read more

“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...

read more

Follow Christine on social media!

Share this!