Friday, August 19, 2016

Reinventing Ourselves from Another Point of View

Opening tonight, August 19, 2016! 7-10pm  
I'm so pleased to have my painting included in this First Annual Poets and Artists self-portrait show and publication. 
Self Portrait With Beard, 20x16, oil on canvas over panel

You may see all the work in the show by checking out

 33 Contemporary Gallery
Or find more information at 33 Contemporary Gallery.

Also, you may view my recent TEDx Birmingham talk,
it's now up on YouTube.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

TEDx Birmingham Talk, Art and Empathy

My talk is up on YouTube. What an honor it is to have been asked to do a talk at my local Birmingham TEDx event. It was a wonderful day, with so many amazing speakers!

I feel like this is THE opportunity one simply has to accept even if it's outside your comfort zone. What a great chance it is to talk about a concept that is important to you, something worth saying and worth sharing. After all, the point of TED talks is that they are Ideas Worth Spreading.

My nine minutes is about how viewing representational art can change our perspective and help us gain empathy for other humans. TEDx asked who might relate to my talk and after quizzing a few people that had heard the talk, the answer came back everyone. Art is merely the vehicle used to talk about human issues.

I could write more here, but why? Watch it and please share it on all your social media! If ever we could use a little more empathy it's right here and now.

You may read more about my TEDx journey and preparations HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Paint Alla Prima Flowers

I've had these Amaryllis bulbs for years. They were at the house in Florida that we moved to three weeks before my son was born. Then they made the move to Alabama with us. They are a part of our late winter / early spring experience every year.

They have multiplied like crazy over the years and most of my gardener friends have some of their babies. I've never painted them. I guess because flower paintings aren't really my thing. Maybe I'm just being contrary. It seems like women are expected to paint flowers, so meh...I've just not been interested. Don't get me wrong I love other artist's paintings of flowers. And admire people that do them really well. 

But I wanted to do a figure painting featuring Amaryllis and realized I needed to do a couple studies. It turned out to be super fun. And you know if I had to pick a favorite color, it'd be red, so it wasn't like it was torture. So here's how it went.

Of course, I like a little dramatic lighting so I moved the flowers into the studio. 

I started working with Burnt Umber, Rembrandt, thinned a bit with Gamsol, odorless mineral spirits. I was working on a 20x16 RayMar panel. I used a large fan brush and a #2 filbert for some drawing. I did a rub out with a T-Shirt rag. 

I immediately, while everything was still wet, began laying in the colors. I worked from the background to the foreground and from darks to lights. It's important to work while everything is wet so you can get those really soft edges. 

Scarlet in Winter, 20x16, oil
Reds can be tricky to paint. Many people add white and then they have a pink flower. It's best to avoid white but change the pigments you are using. I used mostly Rembrandts like Scarlet, adding Permanent Madder Deep and other transparent dark colors like Ultramarine Blue Deep, Viridian, or Thalo Greens to darken and adding various Cadmium Reds in the light areas. There might also be some Pyrolene Reds too.

I was mostly using a large fan brush. I used a Ruby Satin Filbert at times on the edges where I wanted it even smoother like the flower stalks.

I used thinner paint in the shadows and heavier paint in the light. This really gives a sculptural quality to the painting. Also,  I was very careful to keep the values close and in a dark range in the shadow. That way they just fall away the right amount.

The next day, I came back and added a few of the more orange-red heavy paint details.

This painting is all dressed up for a new forever home. Email me at if you're interested in inviting her into your home. She is available for $1900, framed and free shipping in the continental US. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

TEDx Birmingham Journey

Thank you for traveling along and allowing me to share this art path with you. It has taken an unexpected and fun little trek.

I'm honored and humbled to be a speaker at the TEDx Birmingham, March 12, 2016, event. (Edited, my talk is now up on YouTube!)

It has been quite a learning process to write this talk. One of the toughest parts was narrowing down all the things I could say about art and focusing in on the one point I really wanted to make. Tough to do when you are passionate about so many aspects of a subject.

The TEDx Birmingham organizers have been fantastic during the entire process giving information about how to craft a great talk, giving us deadlines to meet, and assigning speech coaches to each of us.

There will be 15 speakers and Pure Imagination is the theme. I will be sharing some of my work and speaking about how when we experience representational art, by making it and viewing it, we gain empathy for each other and gather insight into what it means to be human. 

I was asked to submit in July 2015, found out I was accepted in October and immediately started working on the talk. To help me prepare, I read a very interesting book, Resonate by Nancy Duarte that is specifically about presenting visual stories.

Yesterday, I had my first focus group presentation. In my group was Jonathan Owen, Donna Dukes and Rubin Pillay, MD, PhD. Their talks were fascinating. You can see more about them on the TEDx Birmingham's speaker page. It was great to get feedback from impartial strangers.

We all got tips and advice for the presentation delivery. Six weeks till the talk gives us time to memorize it better, try for a more conversational manner, put emphasis in the right spots, vary the cadence, and figure out what to do with our hands and body.

When & Where: Saturday, March 12, 2016, Alys Stephens Center, Birmingham, AL. The event will also be live-streamed, and on the TEDxBirmingham site after the event. All the info is on their website.

Tickets: Seats are limited so you must apply for a ticket.

*Applications will be open until Midnight Jan 31.* More information about the speakers, program and tickets may be found on the website.

A little more news, one of the TEDx Birmingham's organizers just happens to also be this year's 2016 TED Prize Winner, Sarah Parcak. The UAB space archeologist will get $1 million to invest in her idea which will be revealed at TED2016. Congratulations Sarah!


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