Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2011

Maggie, A Lesson Painting, Part III

  Before running away to Saratoga over the weekend, I left Maggie on my easel with a cloak of rainbow colors. Today I got the chance to pick up my brushes and finish her portrait.   I began the painting session by laying down wide swathes of local color - however, you'll notice there remain small strips of the bold, hot hues around the edges of the forms. I'll leave these "peek-a-boo pockets" all over the painting - they will add some color zing to the end result.   After identifying the overall background value of the couch cushions, I defined the lighter stripes, focusing on the drape of the fabric and not so much on the proper values. These I would correct later with layers of glaze (translucent paint).   I also toyed with the patterned couch pillows, but determined they created too much pattern, and painted them out. I want the viewer's eyes to rest on Maggie, not to get distracted by a wealth of other details.   And here she is as she stands now - t

Where To Go?

  Despite wanting to stay in Saratoga, I got my butt home.   I'm playing catchup now, which is standard M.O. after vacation.   But once I'm caught up, you can bet you'll see a mess of new horse racing paintings.   Thanks, as always, for sharing my art with your friends and family, Kim         My new favorite place, Hidden Gardens Flowers and Antiques, on Maple Avenue in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York.   Next summer, I'll be bringing something home from here.  

Saratoga Springs

        Our drive from Toronto to Saratoga was rather adventurous, involving a nearly empty gas tank, an unplanned road closure, and Larabars.   And lots of good tunes and laughter.   We arrived too late to make it to the track, but spent the evening strolling the streets, soaking up the town, listening to the street performers, and continuing with the laughter.   Enjoy your weekend! Kim  

The Barn Manager

  I am officially en route to Saratoga for our girls' weekend/artist retreat.   Tonite I'm shacking up at  Linda Shantz's  farm, where I was welcomed by Betty Cat, who reminded me to seriously slow down and savor these next couple days.   Tomorrow we'll be at the track, and I hope to have a photo or two (thousand) of a racehorse to share with you.   Meanwhile savor your evening! Kim    

Maggie, A Lesson Painting, Part II

    Here's where we left off yesterday - I had begun to lay down a range of values and then identified some drawing problems that needed attention before any more paint layers went down. (You can see yesterday's progress - including the inspiration photo -  here .)   Yes, this is the same panel! I redrew Maggie, correcting her oversized bum, making her eyes a little brighter, and pulling her chin forward. I corrected the improbable angle of her shoulders and front legs, too.   And then I threw in underpaintings for the background that will be compliments to the ultimate final layers of color. This totally changed the painting, no?     Using those same hot colors as in the underpainting, I dropped in bits and flecks of color in Maggie's face. This is what will give her painting life and intensity.   I moved my attention to the back 1/2 of her body, and used neutralized versions of the same colors to begin pushing it back in space. Notice how I painted over the tip o

Maggie, A Lesson Painting, Part I of III

Yeah, I know - I might be going overboard with the lesson paintings as of late! For whatever reason, I'm tackling bigger paintings with more complex compositions, stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things. Which means the paintings are taking multiple days, which means you reap the benefit of following along! So, take a deep breath, and let's bring the newest muse on board. This is Maggie. I've painted Maggie and her four legged family members before, but her Mom requested something a little more substantial. Something that honored their years together and showed what a dignified and dear friend Maggie had been. I started with a big panel - this painting will be nearly life sized at 12" x 20". It got toned a light yellow, and then I started with my drawing. I placed Maggie close to the picture plane, and blocked her and the background in using a very large brush, bold color and loose brushwork. Remember, the majority of this will get covered up la

Visiting the Spa

This morning I installed a solo show at  Daniel's Spa  in Rochester, Michigan. Over 3 dozen paintings are on display in their lobby and treatment rooms. You are welcome to stop by and enjoy, even if you are not partaking of a mani.   No appointment necessary. Honest!    (Oh, and by the way, they had a small mountain of  OPI Shatter polish  at the front desk. All the colors. I wanted a bottle of each, but exercised some self control.)   The exhibition will be up until the end of August. After which I'd love to hang it in your neck of the woods, so  email me  and we can make arrangements!   (Theoretically, if I visited the show every 5 days, I could pick up another bottle of polish, and by the end of the month, I'd have them all......)   Thanks, as always, for sharing my artwork with your friends and family, Kim   Me at Saratoga, photo courtesy of  L Shantz   Visiting the Spa For Real   Balston Spa, that is.   Yes, it's that time


Fairy Doors are popping up everywhere around Lake Orion!   This is the latest magical site, a crabapple tree nestled amidst a swath of green, festooned with ribbons and beads, sprinkled with fairy dust and other magic.   It just appeared, out of thin air, when the family was away. Rumor has it that the children have been performing fairy welcoming rituals in their garden at dusk for the last month or so.   And this fairy family definitely has a sense of humor - there is a Lego Storm Trooper and Chewbacca figure set into the walkway "Hotel Hell" style.   Do you believe? Kim     PS What kind of dogs do you think fairies have?     Furiously Happy   Last night I listened to  The Bloggess 's**  IGNITE Talk **. The topic? Pursuing your passion. Her passion is being "furiously happy."   And it got me to thinking. I have some obvious passions, yes. But one not consciously acknowledged and have definitely kept underwraps la

Momma and Me

  ORDER NOTECARDS/REPRODUCTIONS     "Momma and Me," 6" x 12", portrait of two dark cows (my bovine knowledge is clearly limited!), done in Golden Open and Heavy Body Acrylics on an Ampersand Gessobord. Available for purchase for $369 - inquiries may come  to me.   I totally flaked on photographing today's progress, but I assure you it was a good time. If you want to see the earlier stages of the painting, check out  yesterday's blog .   There is SO MUCH color, it's like a rainbow leaked onto their sunwarmed backs.       Thanks so much for sharing my art with your friends and family, Kim    


Every artist has them. The days when what we intend to happen at the easel just doesn't. Not because of the phone ringing or children who can't be hypnotized by the television. But because our muse isn't present. (Which reminds me, one of my all time favorite  TED Talks by Elizabeth Gilbert  is a must-hear for all you creatives).   I tell my students for every painting they see on gallery walls, to visualize at least 10 others in the trash. Because that is my reality. And it was especially apparent today.   My idea: a tender little painting of a calf and her mother, off in the distance of a vast field.  Doesn't sound like rocket science, does it?   So the underpainting got carefully painted, with warm, bold colors in the foreground, a fantastic yellow chosen to perfectly compliment the dark blue in the cows' bodies and a lovely pale blue bit for the furthest distance. I envisioned the cows as tiny little forms, perhaps a 1/3 of the width of this panel, in the

You Are My Sunshine, A Lesson Painting, Part II of II

Shall we recap? Yesterday, in celebration of little Mona Lisa's 1st birthday, I began a kitten lesson painting. You can see what was accomplished in  my blog entry from Monday . Picking up where I left off, I began laying glazes* down on the background/floor. (*A glaze is a transparent layer of paint which allows the layers underneath to peek through, while also creating an illusion of "floating" brushwork.) Multiple layers of glaze have reduced the color saturation of the yellow and orange without reducing any of the "shimmering" effect they created. I also started putting more color into the kitten, molding and sculpting her form with my brushwork. Working from a 1" flat to a smaller 1/4", I finished Mona out with a handful of carefully placed whiskers and fur. There's no need to paint all of them - the viewers eye will fill in the necessary details. And here she is, all finished:  "You Are

You Are My Sunshine, A Lesson Painting

To properly celebrate the kitten's 1st birthday, I thought I'd take one of my demonstrations from the recent workshop and finish it off as a lesson painting. Enjoy!   One of the first things I talk about with my students is taking artistic license, modifying reference photos to improve on the composition AND make the image more lifelike (because photos will chromatically flatten the scene and make highlights and shadows exaggerated and dull). Here are some of the changes I consciously chose before laying brush to canvas: I plan on contrasting the blue and lavender tabby with the honeyed orange floor. I am tilting her head just a bit towards the viewer to create an oval/round shape out of her tail and body. I've also shifted the grain of the wood to run at a diagonal, thus creating a balance to the angle of her body. I will remove the distracting elements in the background. I will further separate the far ground shadows from her own, creating a sliver of lighter space

Great Expectations, A Lesson Painting, Part II of II

In an effort to complete this piece in one sitting ("alla prima"), I burned some midnight oil, but ran out of steam. I powernapped and came back into the studio for another go this morning, and have it pretty darned close to completion.   Here's  Part I  for those of you who missed yesterday.   And without further ado, here's Part II:       I started with a wider flat (about 1/2") and got some elementary shapes down that properly molded the pups bodies. I then went down a step to a smaller flat, building more "general" detail, before grabbing a round and popping in some key highlights and a few lines.   The detail above shows the two dogs on the left after they've been gone over once with the smaller flat brush. The pup on the right has only been hit with the 1/2" brush, and is patiently awaiting a fresh layer of color and more detailed marks.   Because I am impatient, I work from left to right, in order to avoid smearing wet paint. When