Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13, 2018

It's cool, crisp and sunny—a quintessential autumn day! Those of us who weren't on vacation were having a great time creating paintings full of color and fun. Take Elaine T., for example. Her painting had a serious goal (painting transparently), a serious color palette (browns, greens and ochres) and even a serious subject (ecology!). Yet she couldn't stop the fun. Taken from a newspaper article about snapping turtles being released, these Turtle Twins are beautifully painted, fun, and just a little scary—but mostly cool!

From there, we move into joyful, happy color. Elaine T. bought some new paints for her upcoming series and is testing and mixing them here. It looks cool and retro and fun because the new series will revisit Kiddieland. If you grew up in Chicago, you know Kiddieland. So relax and wait for the fun memories to flood in.

Elaine T. uses sunny aureolin yellow to start painting the rocket ship ride. Ah, memories!

Just as happy, colorful and fun is Marva's abstraction. It too brings back great memories, but these are of Pepperland, not Kiddieland.

Ken's next cat in his series also uses fantastic colors. Yes, it's a cat's eye (hence the series name, Not That Damn Cat Again) and not a tree. But it's more colorful and magical than any cat we've seen.

Sara's painting of her mother uses unreal color and shape to set a warmly nostalgic mood.

With a few moments to spare, Sara experimented with her flat brush to paint this lovely floral still life. The expressive brushwork made us all take another look at the flat brushes in our kits!

Elaine O.'s portrait also ranks high on the fun factor. Even if you don't know her brother Bob (left), you can't help but laugh at these sharp-dressed lookalikes checking each other out.

Like Sara, Elaine O. moved from a family portrait to a floral. These purple petunias are growing outside her window, silhouetted against a softly colorful background.

More nature... more color. Gabby celebrates fall with these beautifully colorful leaves. She's made good use of her wet-in-wet exercise from last week. And she's cleverly added salt for texture.

In another extracurricular nature painting, Gabby uses dry brush to paint Brazilian pine trees. The needle pattern is different from our northern pines and these yield delicious pine nuts.

From the exuberant colors of the above paintings, Gabby's egg exercise is a study in subtlety. Yet even here, she still sees the color in the white and grey.

Today's exercise has Gabby painting two fruits/vegetables. The color and texture on the clementine are perfect and the apple glistens, even at this early stage.

Kevin is painting small but fast today, trying to complete half a term in a single class. Look closely at this postcard-sized page to see his exploration of complementary colors. Then, along the sides, he quickly color matched the infamous paper towel, his skin and eight other colors in the room...

...before moving on to the "three-way fruit." This is the "dry" version as you can see from the brushstrokes. The color is spot on, so we know Kevin mastered the color-matching exercises.

There's still time to see Ken's paintings at the Ten Cat. Stroll by and see them in the windows—or go inside for beer and good company. Don't delay! These are the last tomatoes of summer.

Mosaic Tomatoes.  Ken's exhibition at Ten Cat Tavern features his popular mosaic tomatoes series. Drop by to see the art.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     August 22–October 15, 2018

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 6, 2018

We awoke to torrential rains today—a dangerous day for transporting watercolors! Despite that, and to compensate for the gray skies and our gray moods, we all painted happy, colorful things. And Pat had a surprise for us today. She handed out "inspiration" pictures of famous art geared to each of us. We begin with Marva, whose colorful psychedelic abstract makes us feel like singing and smiling. And she now has a handful of abstracts and landscapes to inspire her going forward.

Elaine T. added a squirrel to finish off the tree stump she started last week. Even non-squirrel fans like this! And this "realistic" painting uses a lot of color. Zoom in and see for yourself.

From there, Elaine T. began this study of a colorful, happy Chicago icon. Yes, it's the Kiddieland sign! Breathe deeply and savor the fun childhood vibes. Oh, and Pat's inspiration art for Elaine included a shark, so we know those were good choices.

Susan opted to paint a happy place, too. This Klimtian painting highlights the color and energy of Rio de Janeiro. Susan's inspiration paintings included temple paintings, story paintings and aboriginal art to get her in the mood for an upcoming vacation.

Ken has toned down the blue in his latest cat painting, leaving some color reverberations in the stripes at the top. We see a tree-like structure in this one (and some of us feel the eye looks a bit malevolent, like a snake), but we'll wait to see how it winds up. What could inspire Ken? Pat handed him some mosaic portraits, along with paintings of women with cats—what else?

Sara has been doing countless value and color studies and has gotten to this colorful version. The colors are more vibrant than they appear here and she's moving ever closer to her vision. We can't wait to see this finished. And if you've followed us for any length of time, you'll know that the inspiration paintings for Sara included lots of trees—also, interesting shapes and colors, women with books, and women with babies.

Elaine O. has added to the subjects on this painting. Can you see why she finds it so funny now? In keeping with today's theme, color is a major part of this painting. These two "sharp dressed men" are definitely having a moment here. And Elaine O's inspiration paintings leaned heavily toward portraits and value sketches.

Steve finishes up his color testing. Here, he uses secondaries and primaries to create a range of mixtures, especially noting how the cooler and warmer pigments interact.

And from there, Steve explores cool and warm colors in an attempt to create deep rich blacks and neutral grays. The greys on the left side are bluer on screen than they appear in real life, just so you know. What did Pat pick for Steve's inspiration paintings? Seascapes and figures studies, of course.

Finally, Gabby's exercise was the giant fruit. This is the very essence of pear! Enlarge this to see the layers of color she used to create form and texture. And all the little "pear dots"? They are individually painted one by one. This is truly a portrait of her pear. Is it any wonder that Pat chose some fruit and vegetable still life paintings as inspiration for Gabby?

There's still time to see Ken's paintings at the Ten Cat. Stroll by and see them in the windows—or go inside for beer and pool in a convivial atmosphere.

Mosaic Tomatoes.  Ken's exhibition at Ten Cat Tavern features his popular mosaic tomatoes series. Drop by to see the art.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     August 22–October 15, 2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 29, 2018

The weather was crisp and cool today—it's definitely autumn! We're newly invigorated and eager to try new things. Elaine T., for instance, is a prime example. She opted for a background on this painting of a tree stump she saw while camping. We think it's a brilliant choice. It adds a distinct mood while not taking anything away from the focus.

Then, she revisits the subject (we do love our series paintings) with different media. Elaine T. used ink and watercolor for this monochromatic study...

...before beginning this watercolor version.

Looking forward to her next painting, Elaine T. is testing watercolor pencils. These are Derwent Inktense pencils, and the test results are very promising. We love to experiment, don't we?

Steve is still experimenting with his new color palette. Here, he continues spectrum lines between each of his six colors. Each swatch changes the proportions of the colors in the mix from the pure color at left to the one at right. The variety of colors is amazing, isn't it?

And here, Steve moves on to test the reds and blues. He's having so much fun (and gaining so much valuable information) that we're all inspired and tempted to do the same. Come back and see if any of us yield to the temptation.

Ken's calling this finished and we agree. While he's not planning to test any color swatches, this already looks like a swatch book on a page, don't you think?

Ken begins the latest in his series. We love the use of the turquoise—it's so cool and refreshing. But, knowing Ken, there's much more to come. Come back and see what we mean.

Speaking of  side eyes, Elaine O. has started this painting of an interaction that makes her smile. Admittedly, all you can see is the background, but come back and let us know if you find this as funny as Elaine O. does.

Susan's also working as colorfully as usual, but this time, she's also working big. She's re-doing the 9x12 painting of the Hanging Coffins of Sagada onto 18 x 24 paper. It's intended for a Philippine celebration in the Thompson Center, so it's large enough to be seen, and of a known tourist site.

We neglected to photograph Gabby's Grand Color Wheel last week, so we're adding it here. Like Steve's swatches, this is an invaluable resource. It features hues, tints, tones and shades of all her basic colors. Especially fun is the color testing confetti along the side and bottom.

Here's Gabby's homework. She grabbed colors from magazines and attempted to match them. These are not easy colors, yet she's managed to recreate the colors.

Here's one of our favorite exercises—the three-way fruit. Gabby chose this colorful apple (how appropriate for the season) and painted it in three different styles. We show them together so you can see the differences at a glance. Clockwise from top left are the combo style (wet or dry as necessary), dry (trying to use as little water as possible) and wet (painting with wet paint on soaking wet paper). Also, notice the shadows and the color test strip.

There's still time to see Ken's paintings at the Ten Cat and savor the last tomatoes of summer. Stroll by and see them in the windows—or you can go inside for beer and pool and a wonderful environment.

Mosaic Tomatoes.  Ken's exhibition at Ten Cat Tavern features his popular mosaic tomatoes series. Drop by to see the art...and maybe play some pool.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     August 22–October 15, 2018

Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 22, 2018

It's cool and crisp today—the perfect day for breaking out some new school supplies and trying something new. This also works in the world of art, as you can see below. Steve made a shopping trip and has exciting new colors on his exciting new palette. Seriously, this kind of thing quickens the pulse of artists everywhere.

And then, Steve began to get to know his new colors. He made this color chart where he mixed each of his six colors (that's really all it takes!) with every other one...

...before doing a chart where he combines two of his colors in varying amounts to get a mixing spectrum chart. These swatch charts are incredibly valuable, especially for someone like Steve who has been painting for a while and knows what these charts mean.

Marva is all about color, too. She's going back to her psychedelic roots and using flat, vibrant colors to set a mood. And it works—we're all feeling happy and smiling.

Sara went shopping for art supplies too. She also visited the library to do some research on color palettes. All in preparation for her next painting. She begins with this tiny, old, B/W photo of her mother....

... and moves on to a small value sketch.

Then, she fine tunes and redraws her value sketch to the size she intends to paint it.

Finally, Sara does a color study. There only are three colors here, but already we see interesting shapes everywhere, and a spotlight focus on her subject.

Susan is also revisiting an old painting with an eye to using composition to better tell her story. Notice how the mountains cradle the hanging coffins of Sagada?

Elaine T. is also working with a black and white photo to paint this tree stump. Notice the exuberant use of color and texture. She's debating leaving the background white (as for a botanical painting). Come back and see what she chooses to do.

Elaine O. is still delighted with her new art supplies from three weeks ago. She's used that brush to finish the painting below. Her main area of interest was the sunlight playing across the game players below (especially the little boy). She's debating if the figures need to be more backlit, but is pretty happy with the effect as it stands.

Ken is finishing the latest in his new series. Here, he's experimenting with using color to bring the main areas of the painting together. Ken thinks he's finished, but may go back to add a final touch or two. We love the effect of the wavy stripes and can't wait to see the next technique in the series.

After all the examples above, we're more excited than ever to see the color exercises. Kevin did his first color wheel (using only three colors). He's made it rather small—perfect for carrying around for reference.

Then, Kevin did the Grand Color Wheel, with hues, tints, tones and shades. This is also pocket sized, but there's a wealth of information packed into this small space.

Gabby has moved on to explore complimentary colors here. Notice the way complements enhance each other when they stand side-by-side (top pairings). And when they are mixed, they result in some lovely neutrals (see the bottom swatches). She's also done the "match your skin color" and the infamous "paper towel" exercises to the right. Nothing like experimenting with color!

There's still time to see Ken's paintings at the Ten Cat (and buy one, if you are so inclined). You can stroll by and see them in the windows—or you can go inside for beer and pool and a wonderful environment.

Mosaic Tomatoes.  Ken's exhibition at Ten Cat Tavern features his popular mosaic tomatoes series. Drop by to see the art...and maybe play some pool.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     August 22–October 15, 2018