Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 21, 2017

How's this for an appropriate starting image? Nothing says autumn like pumpkins swaddled in cozy fabric. Emily did this lovely still life entirely during class. We love the texture, the color choices and the composition—and did we mention that this is her graduation painting? Is she good, or what?


This is Emily's "fabric" homework. Talk about challenging. She's chosen a fabric with sheen and composed it with deep, tight folds. You can get lost in this fabric! On a sad note, we are sorry that she won't be joining us (at least in person) next term as she'll be returning home to Poland.  We have thoroughly enjoyed knowing and painting with her. 


We're all in the autumn spirit. Bill uses his new Mission paints for the still life below. Believe us that the orange of the bowl is deeper and richer than the photo would indicate. In fact, all the colors are. No wonder Bill is a fan of these colors, especially the warm ones! 


Bill also finished this piece visualizing a concept of the origin of the world. A vessel shatters, releasing the Word in ancient Hebrew.



Elaine finished her latest portrait. We think the subject looks like she'd be great fun to know. We had a lot of fun making haircolor suggestions for each other.



Moving along to another stranger, Elaine is trying something new. She's using shades of grey to build up the values on this portrait. Then, she'll add a wash of color. While this is almost the opposite of how Elaine normally works, she figures it works well for Steve and many Renaissance artists, so it's worth a try.


Greeta finished two more sweet colored portraits of her aunts from an old sepia toned photo. We love the bows and necklaces...


...and maybe it's just the season or maybe it's looking at two small portraits together, but our thoughts turned to ghosts and scary movies. We probably were a little over-imaginative today.


We quickly recovered ourselves in time to admire this next house in Greeta's Houses of Graceland West book. Individually, they are each beautiful, but it's a wonderful experience to flip through a whole booklet of these houses. Here's a thought.... maybe she'll publish these when she's finished.


And then, Greeta did this delicate floral painting using pen, ink and wash.  She says it was a relief after all the intricacies of architectural painting and portraiture. We agree! It's like a beautiful breath of fresh air. Just look at the shadow!


Isa is using the same device here, contrasting airy, delicate blossoms against strong graphic elements. Zoom in to see today's addition. She's added a layer of fine spatter. This keeps getting better and better!


And then, like Greeta, Isa took a break and painted some flowers. This almost looks like a tutorial or time lapse with each flower becoming ever more intricate and layered—an especially difficult task since yellow has a notoriously shallow value range.


Ken's been hard at work seguing his corn painting into mosaic mode. We're interested to see how this comes out, but so far, we are really liking the contrast between the deeply modeled kernels and the flatter, mosaic elements.


We're really into the yellows and greens of summer, aren't we? Alan finished his watercolor version of this painting and there's so much to love. From the composition with Greeta calmly framing the left side, through the flowers, the water and the the people. Not to mention the transparent shadows on the umbrellas, the highly polished table, and even the long format.


Madeleine is painting landscapes, too. Here, she's finished her Ann Arbor sunset, adding and blending colors to draw focus to the magnificent sky...


... before moving on to an Amsterdam landscape. Notice the complexity. There are countless elements from the tulip beds to the paths and water.


Susan's vacation landscape is very different. This is a glacier in the Canadian Rockies. The guide is dipping a cup into the glacier melt for the people to drink. How often do you get to see a glacier, much less drink from one?


Still in the Canadian Rockies, Susan adds some final touches to her waterfall. It's Takakkaw Falls and the name means magnificent in Cree.  We concur.


Another national park! Sara painted this impression of Yellowstone National Park, inspired by a Park Service poster.... and her recent trip, of course.


Another landscape, another national park. Feast your eyes as Sara guides you through tree branches, across shadows, fields and more, until you see the Grand Tetons rising majestically in the distance. This may be our record for national parks visited in a single post.


And we sketched! Sara did this sketch in preparation for a larger painting of her boys. We love it, but she's thinking of going even bigger or changing media. Keep watching to see what she decides.


Steve's also been sketching in preparation for the next in his Hawaiian and merman series (what's the plural of series?).  Here is a merman rising from the water, pushing himself up on a rock. You can barely see a splash of water and a flash of tail at lower left.


These hibiscus blooms are from memory and we think they'd look great painted in the Hawaiian mud pigments.


The same here. Steve's pineapple would use the different muds to great advantage. And we're intrigued by the way this looks like a fine botanical painting.


And don't forget these ongoing events:

    

Corn and Cats.  Ken's show at Ten Cat Tavern (how appropriate!) is up. While you missed the opening reception—and it was fun—you can still drop by to see the paintings.


      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     When:
     September 30–November 15 
 

Food.  Alan and Greeta are featured artists in a group show about Food. The show runs through January, so there's still time to catch it. If you attend, you are asked to please bring a donation of non-perishable food for neighborhood food pantries.


      4243 N  Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL

     When:
     Exhibition: September 16–January 13
    



 
Kilbourn Park Mural. As part of  the Year of Public Art in Chicago, Erika Doyle and three other other artists have painted murals in the Avondale area. There is an opening reception on Sunday, October 22 but if you miss that you can drop by any time to see the murals.

Where:
      Kilbourn Park

      3501 N. Kilbourn Avenue

     When:
     Reception: October 22, 2017, 2–5pm

     Exhibition: ongoing

 
    



Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 14, 2017

Wow! What a wet and wild weekend! The perfect weekend for watercolor.... unless you accidentally expose your masterpiece to the elements. Luckily, no one did that. Let's take a look at some of those masterpieces. Special thanks to Bill, our guest photographer!  We begin with Alan, who finished his Yupo portrait of Greeta...


... before attempting the same scene on standard watercolor paper.


Then, Alan painted a landscape of a golf course. Notice the mat? That's his "sacrifice" sheet.


Bill paints the same lily pads from last week, but from a different viewpoint. This time, we're looking from the other side of the pool and see them against a background of steps.


Ken has finished his mosaic cat ...


...before starting a corn painting in the mosaic style.


Madeleine finishes her sunrise in Ann Arbor.


And here, Madeleine paints herself and Bill in an old Irish churchyard.


Marva begins a new and different landscape. This is a desert landscape with a lone car. Already we love the sky.


Sara has finished her family portrait below. We like it so well she's thinking of using this as a study for a larger one.


Switching gears, Sara begins a landscape based on her recent visit to several National Parks.


Steve added a background to his four figures.





The background is designed to act as a sort of mat as all four will go in frames like the one below. Great color choice!


Like Sara, Susan is painting her vacation. Here, she revisited a scene of a cable car in the Canadian Rockies. She changed the color of the cable car and added more detail to the trees below.


Also by Susan, this waterfall empties into a river in the Canadian Rockies.


Remember to see Ken, Greeta and Alan's exhibitions and to drop by St. Gregory for an open sketch next weekend.


Food.  Alan and Greeta are featured artists in a group show about Food. The show runs through January, so there's still time to catch it. If you attend, you are asked to please bring a donation of non-perishable food for neighborhood food pantries.


      4243 N  Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL

     When:
     Exhibition: September 16–January 13
    


    

Corn and Cats.  Ken's show at Ten Cat Tavern (how appropriate!) is up. While you missed the opening reception—and it was fun—you can still drop by to see the paintings.


      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     When:
     September 30–November 15 

Open Sketch date. You're invited to an open sketch on Saturday, October 21 from –12:00–3:00pm at St. Gregory the Great Church. Bring your cameras, sketch pads, pens and pencils. A docent will also be on hand to answer questions. It's art and architecture month in Chicago, so this is the perfect time.  

     Where:
     St. Gregory the Great Church
     5545 N. Paulina
     Church entrance is on the corner of Gregory and Paulina;
     one block west of Ashland and one block south of Bryn Mawr

     When:
     Saturday, October 21
     12:00–3:00pm

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 7, 2017

It's more people and places for us today—served up with brilliant color and a side discussion on composition. Let's begin with Bill's painting of water lilies. These are different than the type we (and Monet) are used to. They have cupped sides and thorns. But we are especially interested in the expressive brushwork, exuberant colors and composition. Yes, this was one of the paintings that sparked our discussion about composition. Look at all our paintings and then weigh in our discussion at the end.


Alan's color choices coordinate well with Bill's. But that's where the similarity ends. Alan is using Yupo for the riverside cafe scene. Notice how he can remove the paint to add new features. Now, we're waiting for him to finish Greeta on the left side.


Ken, too, is a fan of yellow, green and purple. He's making great progress on his latest mosaic cat. We love the way the whiskers blend, yet stand out on the left. And we're looking forward to seeing how he handles the whiskers on the right, against a shadowed background.


Elaine's made some progress on her latest portrait. No, she's not using the green/gold/purple palette, but there's plenty of color to be seen. And yes, she's planning to use a small touch of Opera in the hair.


Steve is also getting ready to break out the Opera. He'll be using it as part of a mixture with yellow, and he'll glaze it over the figures below to add warmth and color.


Here, Steve has lifted some of the color in the highlights to model the muscles. 


He's still working on the values on this last painting. Then, when he finishes the glazing, he'll be looking for a background color to separate the paintings from the frames. Stay tuned!


Sara's back and finishing her three guys painting. They are soft and subtle, but very real and full of character. Sara had a bit of a scare when she experienced a coffee (with cream) spill. But look closely and you'll be relieved to see that no harm has been done. Whew! And look closely at the composition. This is another painting that sparked discussion.


Greeta is painting family too. But her subjects are ancestors she only knows from sepia photos. We love how she's brought this little cutie to life and imbued her with a distinct personality.


Here's another girl. She's the sister of the girl above, but she's also got a definite personality. We're waiting to see what color dress she gets. 


Greeta's been busy! Below is another entry in her Houses of Graceland West book. This is her front door. Beautiful, isn't it? It's like she lives in a museum or a state building.



Isa is painting her personal landscape too. This is a vine on a fence. We are in love—the subtle foliage, the delicate colors and the soft shadows contrasted with the graphic boards. And there is more to come!


The foliage is part of a trumpet vine and Isa's experimenting with the flowers before adding them.


Speaking of experimentation, Isa is using the song title challenge to play with wet-in-wet. She's also inspired by Halloween, as you can see.


Madeleine is experimenting with wet-in-wet as well. This beautiful sunset spent most of the class drying. Which probably explains how the colors of the sunset managed to blend so realistically. Come back next week for some additional touches.


Susan is painting her vacation memories from the Canadian Rockies. She's revisited her Klimt era as she details the foliage around the tour bus and the two bears eating berries.


 In contrast, this view of Lake Louise is smooth and serene and evokes the clear, cold air of Canada.


We continue to be amazed by Emily. Here is her egg. Flip back and see how other newbies have handled this assignment and you'll understand why we're speechless. 


Another traditional class assignment—another stunning success by Emily. The fruit colors are great, the shadows are colorful and rich. And it's all balanced by the intensely lush background.


Talk turned to composition today. We tried to determine what makes a good composition. Various people suggested various elements that make for a good composition. For instance:
  • Related masses/how shapes connect or relate to each other
  • Movement within the painting
  • Contrast/values
  • Unifying factors, harmony and overall interest
We are not satisfied we've entirely nailed this. Most of us know it when we see it, but we're hard pressed to define it. Please feel free to comment with your definition of good composition.

Exhibitions and events

Food.  Alan and Greeta are featured artists in a group show about Food. The show runs through January, so there's still time to catch it. If you attend, you are asked to please bring a donation of non-perishable food for neighborhood food pantries.


      4243 N  Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL

     When:
     Exhibition: September 16–January 13
    


Corn and Cats.  Ken's show at Ten Cat Tavern (how appropriate!) is up. While you missed the opening reception—and it was fun—you can still drop by to see the paintings.


      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     When:
     September 30–November 15

El Alma de Buenos Aires / The Souls of Buenos Aires.  It's Hispanic Heritage Month and Erika Estefania Doyle's work will be on display for another week at the Harold Washington Library Center in the library's 3rd floor exhibit cases. Learn more here.