Sunday, December 23, 2012

7 Steps to Plaster Cast Painting For Artists

Step 1- Beg, borrow or steal some cool casts. One of my students happened to have them so she has generously loaned them to my class for a few weeks. If you're not so lucky, you may have to buy them like she did here.

Step 2- Set each of them up and add some funky lighting.
Hint: To arrange them up I set up a table easel, used S hooks to attach them to a sheet of masonite that had been covered in a black drape, and lit it with a clamp-on light. The bulbs are Phillips, Director, 60W, 120V.

Step 3- Do a pencil drawing on a canvas or panel.

Hint #1: Get in a comfortable position and plant your feet. Choose to stand or sit but remain at the same eye level. Try to move only your eyes to keep your view of the still life the same.
Hint #2: Check proportions, how wide is it compared to how tall? Start in general, straight lines, loose shapes and move to more specific. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome Home, a New Commissioned Painting

Welcome Home, 37x42, oil on canvas over panel
This is a painting commissioned to commemorate a marriage of 43 years, and a home built by the couple. It was such a pleasure to get to know them better.

I'd love to say more, share insights and technical stuff but Christmas is nigh, and deadlines are looming so for now just...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some Like it Hot

Here is a recently finished commissioned painting. My model channels Marilyn Monroe. She is a huge fan so that's where we looked for inspiration when choosing poses.
Some Like it Hot, 30x30, oil on panel
This was a fun piece to design, with all the triangles, diagonals and interesting negative space.
Nataliya was an inspiring model. She is originally from Ukraine. When asked about why she related to Marilyn Monroe. She told me: "She was a surviver, I'm too. She has to fight for her life, me too. She was betrayed in love, me too. Always on the public, always play role, always feel lonely. She has some magic."
Painting a model wearing red lipstick is difficult since you want lips to look natural. Luckily, with The Incognito Project I've had plenty of practice painting people wearing make-up.
I like the way this arm pit came out, ya don't get to say that very often, huh?
I had fun with the hair, painting the brush strokes in the direction of the hair, along the length of the strands and painting it loosely to give the painting movement.
I painted brush strokes across the form to create the illusion of volume and mass in the figure. Those french manicured nails were tricky since I had to make them read right without having them just jump off the canvas. I was expecting the fur to be difficult but it turns out- just use the nastiest, most worn-out brush and it does half the work for you. 

The main focus of this part of the painting was to have the legs recede in space. To help create the illusion, I made the edges SUPER soft and cooled the color down and made it slightly darker to push it back and away from us.
The polka dots were a challenge to say the least, since I wanted to have soft edges.  I painted the slip first with a burnt umber rub out, pulling out the dots. Let it dry. Then glazed a transparent black mixture on top, painting in each white dot as I went in varying shades of white and gray so I could soften the edges of each dot. Let it dry.  Then I added another layer of black glaze where the form turns around the body to create the feeling that the slip was slightly transparent.

This is an awesome kind of commission to do. One where you get to know someone really cool, and they are willing to do something out of the ordinary portrait box.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Incognito Project Books Have Arrived!

They are finally in our hands and they are beautiful. Thank you Global, PSD for the wonderful work!
That's why we had to pay for a truck with lift gate and pallet jack. It's all becoming clear to me now. 
Ok, so it took Dan and Carly and the burly delivery guy to get the pallet up our driveway.
So pretty!
So exciting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Converge, Where Classical and Contemporary Collide

There is a very exciting fine-art exhibition and sale happening this month in NYC at 25CPW Gallery, November 15-27, 2012. Our family business, Matter Deep Publishing had the privilege of publishing the catalog for the show, which is available at the gallery or online.

There is an Opening Reception on Thursday, November 15 from 6 pm to 9 pm that is open to the public, and many of the exhibiting artists will be in attendance. More info is available on the website for the show.

Through their unique skill and vision, these 30 exhibiting artists—and others like them—are breaking barriers between classical and contemporary art, redefining the rules of those respective worlds, and pointing the way toward the art of tomorrow.

~Allison Malafronte, curator

Allison is the former senior editor of American Artist magazine—is an arts writer, editor, columnist, and curator based in New York City and creator of the show.

You may see all the images on the Converge website but I wanted to share a few of my favorites here.
 I'm loving the fantastical quality of this Daniel Bilmes painting.
What's not to love about this Rachel Constantine self portrait. I've seen this painting in person and it is captivating.
 One of my favorite Alia El-Bermani paintings. I'm captured by the symbolic gesture of standing bare in a threshold
Beautiful and mysterious Diane Feissel. There is a soft and delicate quality to Diane's brushwork that makes me sigh.
Wonderful color and composition in this painting by Sandra Flood.
Super graphic quality to this Geoffrey Johnson piece.
Karen Kaapcke using a zinger spot of red in all these neutrals makes for a sparkling composition.
Michael Klein, wow.
Maria Kreyn's painting has it all, dynamic composition, juicy color, captured emotion.
When I found out Jeremy Mann used palette knives and brayers in his work, that explained much about the delectable paint surface. It looks good enough to eat
Adam Miller does the swirling drapery thing so well.
Oh so subtle palette from Gregory Mortensen.
Cool and warm color and pushed values make this piece from Tibor Nagy vibrant.
These shelves and Jordan Sokol are telling a story and I want to listen.

 You may find more about the show at Artists on Art.

Or in the November issue of American Artist Magazine.
Oh, how I wish I could be there in person, but alas, I will simply peruse my catalog, sip a glass of Pinot Grigio and imagine!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Incognito Project Exhibit

Whew! That was fun. I haven't gotten pictures from the photographer I hired to shoot the opening yet but I took a few pictures of the show before the opening so I'm sharing those.

I am definitely feeling the love. I shook hands, hugged necks, and heard very nice things from people excited about the project for four hours. It was awesome and honestly kind of a blur.  Thank you Birmingham, Alabama for making me feel welcome in my own hometown!
Art Folk Gallery is a gorgeous space and I was thrilled to exhibit this project there.
Wall quote:
“This form of play is her invitation to her friends, and her skill as a painter is devoted to communicating to them, and to us, her affection, both for the person as they are, and as they understand themselves.”
~Daniel Maidman, The Huffington Post (from The Very Serious Dress-Up Playtime of the Soul, Oct 12, 2012)
Wall quote:
“...these individuals are not merely playacting, nor are the identities they assume false. Rather, they are making a confession of sorts. They use costumes and props not to become someone they are not, but rather to enable the artist, and thereby the viewer, to see something that they are or want to be.  By going incognito, they give outward expression to their inner lives, revealing fantasies, fetishes, dreams and desires.”
~ Graham C. Boettcher, Curator of American Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, ( from The Incognito Project book foreword)

The front sides of the free standing walls were hung with the paintings.

The back sides of the free standing walls were hung with large photos from the original event and enlarged sketch book pages where I had journaled ideas for The Incognito Project. The first entry was in 2008. 
I displayed a shelf holding various props that were used in the paintings. 

The space was so large that I had room to show a few extra recent paintings.
We had a Matter Deep Publishing table so people could see what the family has been up to for the past year and to sell advance copies of The Incognito Project books, which came in just in the nick of time. 
We did the drawing for the my painting, Daydreams, Some Other Self, at the end of the  evening and it was won by Fred Leggett, of Tampa, FL. Fred is a collector of limited edition art books and was a big supporter of The Incognito Project book Kickstarter. Congratulations Fred!

I want to thank my family, my patrons and friends for making this project happen. Thank you for supporting the kickstarter to fund the book, for coming to my show and for being all around awesome!

The last shipment of books will be here on Nov 26, then we'll mail out the rest in plenty of time for Christmas. If you'd like to purchase a book, $65, you may email me at

I'll do another post when I have pictures of the space filled with happy people. 


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