Monday, January 16, 2017

Q & A Monday

Hi Everyone,

First of all I did not announce the winner of the Mini + Calendar Giveaway on January 1st!!! 
So I apologize for that, but I was doing lots of paintings in my studio so I hope you will forgive me.

The winner for January's Miniature Painting and Calendar Giveaway is: Shelley Koopman! Congratulations Shelley and thank you so much for following my work and blog since 2015. I wish you much success this year and Happy Painting. Here is your prize:

2.5"x3.5" mini oil painting "Pomegranate and Grapes"

So much has happened in the last month in my studio that I could write about, but today is Q & A Monday.  I have been getting lots of questions via Instagram, Facebook and Email so I thought I would start answering them in this blog in case others have the same questions.  Feel free to email me your questions and one Monday a month I will post my answers here. 

Q: Karen from Kansas writes: Do you use regular oil paints? I'm wondering what kind of varnish you use to get your wonderful finish?

A: Yes I use regular oil paints!

A:The varnish I use is made by Gamblin called  GamVar.  I use a cheap throw away chip brush to varnish with. Usually it takes two coats. The varnish is typically shinier on a panel vs. linen.  I encourage you to watch Gamblin's demonstration on varnishing here:

Q: Eric from North Carolina writes:
When you are working on one of ur gallery paintings (not demo or study), do you work it over a few days? Or do you finish it all in one session?

A:  Every painting seems to have it's own timeline and can depend on many factors: size, difficulty of subject  or my lack of clarity in concept. In general, most of my gallery paintings take 2-3 sessions to complete. I usually have 2 paintings going at once so that I can alternate between the two. Once I run out of steam on one I can have a fresh start on another.  It happens every once in a while that I can just see how to paint that subject that day, clarity of concept - that "in the zone" feeling and I can finish a larger piece in 1 day whereas other days it might take me 2 days to solve the problems of a 9"x12".

A painting that I finished 1 day alla prima where I had clarity of concept, time to complete 8 hours:
                                          "Rhapsody in Pink", 24" x 12", oil on linen, Sold

A smaller painting that took 2 days to complete. I like to go with the flow, so if I can tell that something is just instinctively coming together I will finish it alla prima like above and others I can tell that I am searching in the painting trying to see what I can get from more layers and time observing and adjusting.
"Pewter and Peaches", 14"x11", oil on panel, $1500

Q: Cheri from California writes: What colors do you usually use and where do you find the shorter backdrops?

A:  There are all sorts of ways to make a "shadow box".  I use a simple trifold project board in black since I typically do darker backgrounds.  You can cut this to any height that you want with a box knife.  If I don't want a black background I can drape different colors of fabrics over the back. Other ideas might be wallpaper samples taped to the back, or buying colored matboards and scoring them to make them trifold. Sometimes I pin up a drape on the back wall and just use part of the light blocker to cast a shadow onto the still life. If you have a tall still life, you want a tall blocker uncut or if you have a wide still life you can put two or three together to make a wider one.  One side of the light blocker is to cast a shadow onto a portion of the composition while the other side is used to control too much reflected light from washing out your shadows.

Thanks everyone for your support and following my work. Hope this helps!
P.S.  I am so delighted that I will be teaching a Painting Workshop at the fabulous Genius Loci Country Inn in Umbria, Italy this August! Please let me know if you are interested and want more information.