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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plein Air Intensive Workshop with Albert Handell in Grand Marais, MN

Preparing for a class is more than packing the paper and pastels, especially one like this one. We will be painting outside ("plein air") every day, one site in the morning, one in the afternoon, for 5 days. Beautiful Grand Marais has plenty of subject matter for us. We must be prepared for weather ranging from sunny and 80 degrees, to raining and 45 degrees. We carry our painting supplies over rocks, streams, through campgrounds, into ravines. There are sometimes nearby bathrooms. Our instructor paints along with us, but does not directly teach while he and we paint.

In the evenings, we meet with our mentor, Albert ( This is when the teaching happens. There is a critique of the day's painting, and then instruction. Painting all day outside can be tiring, but there is always plenty of energy in the room for the evening mentoring. It's why we are there, and where the real work happens. I have goals for painting (better rocks), for my technique (finish a painting on site, not in the studio later), for my vision (does my viewer feel it?).

But how do I get ready for that?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Crop or not to Crop...the right size for a painting

While struggling with a painting that wasn't working the other day, a painting friend reminded me about the benefits of cropping. Today in my studio I dug through my stash of unresolved paintings and applied the crop theory. One was immediately improved, and is now ready to frame
("Lupine Field" ). Another I am still struggling with. Then I remembered that instead of playing around with pieces of cardboard to crop, I could use the computer. So here is the painting and some options. I even came up with a diptych option which I hadn't thought of earlier.

What do you think?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Painting a dog portrait in Conté.

"Cloe" has been a big hit. She has such big brown eyes, and that look. Many pet owners have asked about having their pet painted, but are not ready to pay for a full portrait. Enter "Cloe", painted in Conté. Conté is pigment compressed into sticks, and is much harder in texture than pastels, which are also pigment compressed into sticks, but very soft in texture. Conté uses earth pigments and comes in a range of tones from black to white. Pastels use a full color spectrum of pigments and are much more expensive to make and take more skill to paint with them. I am also able to use Conté on less expensive paper. These factors help make a Conté sketch a lower priced option for portraits.

Contact me for details on how you can have that portrait you would enjoy so much. I am happy to be able to offer different options.