Contemporary ‘selfie’ Portrait

Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 16 ins

This is from a selfie photo, but not of me! As I was looking through the photos on my ‘phone I discovered several ‘unauthorized’ selfies of my teenage daughter. I told her that her ‘punishment’ was that I’d paint from them! She was horrified at first, but now actually likes the painting!

I painted this after watching a video lesson series (Contemporary Oil Portraiture, by Torsten Wolber) on the European site Domestika. His instruction is in German, but there are subtitles available in many languages. He’s a really fun teacher and opened my eyes to some new methods which I am loving trying out.

Small Art Show, Arts Illiana

Small Art Show, Arts Illiana, Terre Haute, IN

This year I submitted 5 entries to the Small Art Show at Arts Illiana and was delighted to have all 5 selected for the Show. All pieces in this Show must be no more than 12 inches in any dimension, including the frame.

We had a very pleasant opening reception on Oct. 7, 2022.

The Show will be up until Dec. 17, 2022. All the works are for sale.

Composition 5

Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 ins
Sketch book Notans from a photo I took in a NY cemetery last spring.

I liked the lower left design best, so I chose that for my painting.

I applied the paint with a palette knife throughout. I like the sunlight effect in the lower half of the painting.

Composition 3

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas board

This painting was developed from the notan on the top half of the sketch book page, 3c. I used the value pattern on the top right, although the tree/bush at the left side of the road really ended up being a dark shape. I thought it looked a better balance as I was painting.

This time I painted entirely with a palette knife. I enjoy the thick and expressive paint!

Composition 2

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas board

The painting above was developed from the thumbnails on the bottom half of the sketchbook page, 2c. I have the 3-value sketch on the left and then four Notan possibilities to the right. I chose the lower left one from which to paint.

I think that this time I kept to the value pattern more accurately, but I lost it a bit at the left end of the tree line—the values of sky/trees/field become too similar there. I like these colors better than my Composition I painting.

Composition I

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas panel

Mary Gilkerson was an artist and teacher from South Carolina, whose art and videos I have liked for a while. She painted colorful landscapes using a palette knife. Sadly she passed away in April 2022.

The people in charge of her estate decided to offer her video classes to the public on YouTube at no charge. Thank you!

I have been following her ‘Composition, Color and Light’ course and it has been extremely helpful in learning how to compose a landscape, and in fact a painting of any subject.

She makes the process of developing a Notan (black and white value pattern) from a photograph understandable in a way I’d never seen before:

1. Develop a 3-value study of the scene in question.

2. Make several thumbnail variations pushing the mid-value to either black or white.

3. Choose the one that is most pleasing to you as the value pattern for your painting.

Below is my sketchbook showing this process, and indicating the value pattern I chose. But then I didn’t keep exactly to it, and I used strange colors, so I was not entirely happy with the painting above. I have since practiced quite a bit more and have some better results—in future posts!

Big Summer Project

Helping Others Soar, Oil on Linen panel, 24 x 36 ins

This project has been occupying a lot of my summer painting time, and has now come to a happy completion!

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and wanted to celebrate by obtaining artwork from local artists, illustrating in some way their work and impact on the community over the past 30 years. In April they put out a call for submissions of ideas and current work. I made a proposal and was one of 15 people selected to complete a piece of art. The plan was to select and purchase six of those completed.

I visited their offices and studied their history and work. I was drawn to those people who had used their wealth to set up educational scholarships. I chose to focus on this couple, both now deceased, who were successful local, family business owners. (The business continues in the hands of their son, who was very helpful in giving me access to photos of his parents).

They were both keen pilots, owning several of their own airplanes (one is pictured in the back right of the painting) and they established a scholarship for students in the aviation program at Indiana State University, administered by the Community Foundation.

I learned last week that my painting was one of those selected to be purchased and will hang in the offices of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation in Terre Haute.

Rare Encounter

‘Rare Encounter’, Oil on Linen Panel, 18 x 24 in

I had a painting like this in mind for several months, ever since I took the photo last fall of my granddaughter staring at parachute jumpers exiting an airplane. I liked the lighting on her, her position, and her look of interested wonder.

It seemed a fitting start for a painting for a group Show connected with our local library’s Fall Big Read–World Of Wonders, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. The book is intended to increase people’s interest and wonder in the natural world. I read the book over the summer and appreciated many of the author’s thoughts and insights.

In my painting I made the object of her vision and wonder a Monarch butterfly, the subject of a chapter in the book. I enjoyed researching the butterfly and adding it to my painting.

The art display is up in the Terre Haute library for the month of August 2022.

Portrait Society Conference, 2022

In April I attended the Annual Conference of the Portrait Society of America, in Atlanta, Georgia. I had a wonderful time!

Before Christmas I did not even know about the Society, but when my husband gave me (for Christmas) the book by Michael Shane Neal, ‘Portrait Painting–My Point of View’, I read about the Society and then looked it up online. I found that there was an annual Conference and I surprised myself by thinking, ‘I could go!’

I met so many great people, attendees and faculty. The demonstrations were fascinating, instructive and inspiring. I went to the free critique sessions on both lunchtimes and obtained advice from four different artists. The evening free drawing session was thoroughly enjoyable; having faculty there to ask for help was a wonderful benefit.

There were so many different styles of painting represented and so many approaches, which was very reassuring! I came home with new ideas, fresh inspiration, and increased incentive to practice and branch out.

I hope to go next year.