Sunday, May 25, 2014

Keeping in Touch

Painting in our Garden
I just got an email from a motivational group that I don't seem to be able to unsubscribe to - but they do have a nice daily quotation that is often enjoyable.  

Today it was for a program that would "change my life if I signed up for a set of CDs", and the question was "what are you lacking, what do you want more of, what is missing in your life"?

Once I thought about it, I was really surprised to realize that actually, the answer to all of those questions is NOTHING. Of course we could all use more money, more time, etc. etc. but really and truly, I have everything I need.    

And I want to tell you that you are a very big part of this for me. I never imagined myself as a teacher of any sort.  And it's become one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.. 

I'm flying away to Ireland in a couple of hours, and I will be thinking of you every step of the way, and wishing that you were there too.
Irish Recycling
There's a group of eleven artists coming from Maine, Sweden, Toronto, California, Michigan, Guam - all gathering at Anam Cara, a sweet retreat center overlooking Coulagh Bay. on the Beara Peninsula.
While I'm away, I hope that you will be finding time to enjoy your painting time. Most of all, I wish you a subject that really excites you; one that makes you lie in bed at night thinking of the colors you'll use, how you'll plan the composition and just how you'll go about it. Enjoy the anticipation! Love  the process, and allow yourself to take as much time as you need. That's what it's all about.
I'll be in touch.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An observation worth reading

A friend who is also a very good painter wrote to me about the story of the cupcake paintings that is posted below. She said that she loved the painting with the gray background. It reminded her that even in gray times, there are sprinkles, frosting and cherries.

I think this is a wonderful observation. It's all in the eye of the beholder!
Til next time, happy painting,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cupcakes. Pink or Gray?

HOW COLOR HELPS TELL YOUR STORY (or - betrays you!)  

Here's my set-up for a still life studio class. At our local grocery store I ordered cupcakes loaded with icing, sprinkles and a cherry on the top.  Then I arranged them on a cake stand and put birthday wrapping paper around the whole thing.

I thought it was a very happy image and the artists in the class created such great paintings that I was really pleased.

I think you can imagine what colors dominated that subject matter!

Fragments of a Woman's Life

I always emphasize to my students that having a "story" or a "concept" for a painting is very important. Sometimes I have a title before I even begin a painting and I love it when that happens! Then I can see clearly what colors will help to set the mood.

Here's an example: in a small village on the east coast of Newfoundland I walked by an abandoned house that had all of the windows boarded up except one. And in that window was a collection of fancy hats on a hat rack. I was so surprised; what woman had lived in this house and left all of her hats behind?

As I looked through the window, the sky and trees behind me were reflected in the glass. I immediately had a "story". This painting was done completely in opaque pigments. Their particular characteristics made it possible for me to create the textures of crushed velvet cloche, a fuzzy knitted bag and felt hat. When you see the painting in real life, you can almost feel the fabrics.

Do you see how the soft, muted colors contributed to the overall mood of the painting? I love this painting because of the story that I have in my mind about the woman and her life, even though it is a melancholy image.

Imagine that painting done in transparent, glowing pigments of bright, saturated color.
It would be an entirely different story.

And that brings me back to cupcakes.  

During our conversation at the end of the class, I was talking about how the colors we choose can help to support our "story."                                                          

                                    Happy Birthday by Andrea Galuza          
Here's an example of one the paintings done that evening. I am sure you agree that the chosen colors are a huge help in expressing the lively subject, and evoking a feeling of a celebration.


As we looked at each painting, I realized that one of them had been painted with a neutral gray background. I do not have a photo of the actual painting, so I've used Photoshop to put gray all around the cupcakes on the cake stand so you can see what the effect was.

It was striking. I could almost feel my heart sink when I looked at that gray color all around the brightly colored cupcakes.

Later, with the artist's permission, I asked the class
what message this painting sent to them.

Someone said: "I gave a party, and nobody came".
What do you think? Compare the two images and ask yourself how you can use color in your next painting to really make your story come alive.
Leave me a comment or a question. I'd love to hear from you. Happy Painting!