Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Chat with a School Bus Driver


(Link to video on Facebook) Driving through Maryland we noticed the school buses parked behind this house. It still had an old TV antenna on top.


In the video, you can hear the voice of Cindy, who hung out with us for a while and told us what it was like to drive the buses.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Portrait Society This Weekend


I'm doing a few oil copies to get in practice for the Portrait Society Conference in Washington, DC this week. This is based on Velazquez's portrait of Miguel Angelo, the barber to the Pope.

Here's my Portrait Society schedule:
Thursday April 19: 4:30p–7:30pm Artist-to-Artist Face-Off
Friday, 9:00a–10:00a. Composition: The Eye, the Mind, and the Story.
Saturday, 10:30a–12:30p. Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

After that I'll be doing an event at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, Maryland. 
That event will take place on April 22nd from 5:00pm – 8:00pm, and will include two lectures and a demo. There may still be some spots available.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Painting a Red Mazda on Location

My car needs a tuneup, so I leave it off at the dealership. I make a cup of coffee and sit down at the edge of the showroom.


A red Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is parked in the middle, facing out toward the light. (Link to video on YouTube) Two or three hours? Time enough for a quick painting.


I choose a page in my sketchbook with an insistent yellow casein underpainting. It challenges me to cover every area of the picture with opaque gouache.

This scene has a brighter range of values than most scenes. The light outside is very bright compared to the dark areas on the car. To capture that I have to bleach the lights and make the darks darker than they appear.
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Get your Gear On
Gouache tutorial available at Sellfy and Gumroad.
How to Make a Sketch Easel
Pentalic 5" x 8" Aqua Journal
M. Graham gouache set
Pocket plein air brush set

Monday, April 16, 2018

Juana Romani, model turned painter

Juana Romani (1867 - 1923/24) was born with the name Carolina Carlesimo in Italy. Her mother brought her to Paris, where she began working as an artist model as a child.



She decided to pursue an art career herself, studying with Ferdinand Roybet and Jean-Jacques Henner.

Salomé by Juana Romani
She became known for her portraits of female subjects.


The influence of Henner and Roybet can be seen in the soft frontal lighting, which melts into profound shadows at the edges of the form. She painted directly on the canvas without much preliminary sketching.


Unfortunately her last years were not happy. She suffered from mental illness and lived in a psychiatric hospital, where she died forgotten.
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Book: Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900
Juana Romani on Wikipedia 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

How Hollyhocks trap color

Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1942) was an artist, garden designer, and writer. She wrote playfully about how flower petals can focus and intensify color in the center of the blossom.

Hollyhocks - Gustave Bienvêtu (1850-1916)
"The loosely-folded inner petals of the loveliest Hollyhocks invite a wonderful play and brilliancy of colour. Some of the colour is transmitted through the half-transparency of the petal's structure, some is reflected from the neighbouring folds; the light striking back and forth with infinitely beautiful trick and playful variation, so that some inner regions of the heart of a rosy flower, obeying the mysterious agencies of sunlight, texture and local colour, may tell upon the eye as pure scarlet ; while the wide outer petal, in itself generally rather lighter in colour, with its slightly waved surface and gently frilled edge, plays the game of give and take with light and tint in quite other, but always delightful, ways."


This color effect happens not only in hollyhocks, but also roses and peonies.
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Watch how to paint this effect in my video "Flower Painting in the Wild,"available as a DVD from Amazon and as an HD download from Gumroad and Sellfy.   

The quote is from "Some English Gardens" by Gertrude Jekyll

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Floor Tile Optical Illusion


A company in the UK created this pattern of floor tiles to create the illusion of an undulating surface. It could help discourage people from running in the hallway.

via Oddity Central