Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 23, 2017

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's a cat, of course. Yes, Ken is working hard on his series of bejeweled mosaic cats. We really like the way this is turning out and urge you to keep reading to the end.... where you'll find an invitation to the opening of Ken's exhibit at Ten Cat. It'll be a fun time in a fun venue. See for yourself; here's a link to an article about Ten Cat in the Chicago Tribune.

As for the rest of us, we continued to paint people and places. Greeta's charming portrait features an adorable toddler decked out to celebrate the Fourth of July. We love the point of view here, with the tiny subject looking up at us.

And from there, Greeta's moved on to a painting of her grandson, the track star. We're anxious to see how this turns out; we can already sense the motion.

Elaine is close to finishing her painting. She thinks this really needs a background, so tune in next week to see what she decides.

Steve painted two more small life studies... all in one class!  We show them as a diptych as that's how he intends to display them. Two colors and one class period resulted in a whole lot of 3D modeling.

Susan finished her painting. You'll have to zoom in to see this painted memory. We see the train looming large, along with an overhead view of the train winding through the countryside. The entire painting is framed by portraits of the eight couples who shared this two-day adventure.

Isa is painting places. Today, she painted the background for a previously painted rose. After a lot of testing, she went with this seemingly neutral background. But look closely—it's full of color and movement. Just beautiful!

Alan is also using color beautifully. Here, he paints an old (imaginary) barn, nestled in foliage.

Alan's added the finishing touches to this painting of a real dock (now replaced with a newer one).

Here's an experiment that worked well. Alan built a stretcher frame and wrapped it with a painting he wasn't completely enamored of. It's been transformed into a piece of sculpture and improved the focus. Success!

Another experiment. Alan painted a golf course, using the mat he plans to frame it. While painting, he used the mat as a "sacrifice sheet" to test colors and brush strokes. It works!

Speaking of experiments, Emily got a new assignment and we love the result. The homework was to take a small clipping from a magazine and continue the picture with paints. Emily's done such an amazing job, we were hard pressed to tell where the magazine ended and the painting began in person.  Here, the glossy finish makes it apparent, but in real life, no such distinction existed.

In class, Emily went out to find a leaf for the next exercise—the three-way fruit/vegetable/leaf. She was gone nearly 45 minutes, looking for the perfect leaf.  Despite the shortened time, she managed these three lovely takes on the leaf. Here's wet-in-wet.....


...and a mixture of the two. All three are beautiful!

Andrea is our other new student, working on her color wheel. She's off to a great start with this initial color wheel.  She's mixed the colors from just three... and we love the way she's created this Aztec looking abstract.

Moving on to the "big" color wheel with tints, tones, hues and shades, Andrea has only gotten three colors in, but already this has the feel of a faceted jewel.

For those of you interested in Pat's "song title challenge," we're showing Alan and Isa's sketches. We're not adding comments and we may have missed some people who also did the assignment, but we knew you'd want to see these. First, Alan....

...And then, Isa....

Finally, as promised, here's an announcement of Ken's Ten Cat exhibit and an invitation to his opening reception:

Upcoming events

Corn and Cats.  Ken will be having a show at Ten Cat Tavern (how appropriate!). Come to the opening reception or just drop by to see the paintings.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     Exhibition: September 30–November 15
     Reception: September 30, 3:30-7:00pm

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16, 2017

A few of us were catching up on end-of-summer vacations, but the rest of us had a wonderful time. We had a few appearances of Sara's garden, but mostly, we painted people, places.... and cats. We start with Sara's triple portrait (and no, they aren't in Sara's garden). The guys are slowly taking shape and looking very true to themselves. We also love the poses, the color choices and what an all-round "guy" painting this is.

Steve is also painting people. These life studies use only two colors (so far), yet yield a range of realistic skin colors. These are designed to fit in a pair of small matching frames.

Susan is back to vacation landscape paintings. Here, she commemorates a two-day trip on the Rocky Mountaineer train and surrounds it with portraits of some traveling companions. These are college sorority sisters and they travel together every other year. What fun!

Elaine is back to portraiture. She strongly suspects this is Clifton Chenier but hasn't checked to be sure yet. Even so, he fits in her People I Don't Know series—and she's particularly enamored of the accordion, having taken lessons herself for a very short time. She still regrets missing out on a future in zydeco.

Greeta has entitled her painting Alan Looking at Rocks. Actually, he's looking at a koi pond, but we love the title and we love the way she's painted a recognizable portrait in a landscape. 

Greeta finished her third house portrait for her book of houses in her neighborhood. Notice the small touches of ink she's used to add fine details. Just enough to describe the skilled workmanship without overworking the painting.

As you may recall, we mentioned Sara's garden. Here's a small jewel by Greeta, featuring a bit of that garden. The gazing ball sparkles in the cool shade as a shaft of light creates lovely shadows.

Alan has painted a different corner of Sara's garden. The use of line and wash really suits the whimsical nature of the scene.

Doesn't this just feel like summer? Alan commemorates the old pier at his cottage. Contributing to the lazy, relaxed feel is the beautiful blending achieved by wet-in-wet washes.

We can't even think about painting gardens without thinking of Marva. Here, she's painting an elegant, lush garden with stonework, iron lattices and richly colored flowers.

Isa has finished up her garden painting, too. The shadows on the fence from the foliage are the perfect touch.  And zoom in to see Isa's masterful handling of color in the fence gaps and the shadows. 

Isa is beginning another painting of a garden. She's started with a sketch and we already like the stylized foliage.

Ken's cat.When last we saw this, there was a small white unpainted bit. It's finished now and not a bit of white remains in this beautiful masterpiece.  Keep reading for a chance to see this in person. It will be featured in Ken's Cats and Corn show. It will be at the Ten Cat at the end of September and you're invited!

Where do you go from the painting above? Why, another glitter cat, of course! Look closely and you'll see the beginnings of whiskers on this one. 

Emily is off to a great start with her plaid. Her colors are rich and intense and she seems to have a handle on dry-brush as well.


Not to mention that Emily is fast! She's painted the next two exercises in the course of a single class. Here are the color wheels.  To the left, she uses just three colors to populate the entire color wheel. We especially like the way she's added tadpole tails, showing the color at full strength and washed out. On the right, she does the tint/tone/shade color wheel. In both of these, the small dots of color look like candy and make us very happy.


Upcoming events

Corn and Cats.  Ken will be having a show at Ten Cat Tavern (how appropriate!). Come to the opening reception or just drop by to see the paintings.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     Exhibition: September 30–November 15
     Reception: September 30, 3pm-ish

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 9, 2017

After a month away, we are back and rarin' to go. Did you miss us? We've got a lot to share today—from paintings we've done while we were away, to upcoming events and a new challenge from Pat—so let's get started! While most of us were painting buildings or portraits (or both), there's always the rebel. Although, for Ken, this isn't rebelling at all. Cats are a return to his roots. Scroll back through the years and you'll see. Here, he's painting cat eyes in a mosaic technique...

 ... before moving on to this masterpiece. It's taken him over a month, but it's worth it. We couldn't decide how to describe this sparkling painting—glittery, Byzantine, Mardi Gras, jewel-like. No matter how we describe it, we love it!

We are excited to welcome Isa back to "fun" school, now that she's finished "serious" school. She's patiently painting leaves over a fence. We love the variety of colors and the layers. It has a sparkly mosaic feel and looks positively Klimt-ian (if that's a word).

Greeta painted during the break and did both people and architecture. Her grandson is concentrating in the back seat of the car. We're glad to see the seat belt in place; safety first and all!

Then, Greeta moves on to buildings—three of them, in fact. She's starting a book dedicated solely to the buildings of her neighborhood, similar to her previous booklet of faces. What a great idea! And what a lovely neighborhood!

Madeleine, too is painting grandsons and buildings.  She's captured her grandsons in a great pose, standing in a large verdant park... which just happens to be their back yard.

 Her buildings are part of a line and wash cityscape in Ireland.

Below, Madeleine uses acrylics to paint a super moon on a dark Chicago night as it lights up a nearby skyscraper. Go back to February to see that Bill painted the same moon in watercolor and the difference in the feel of the media.

Bill painted two cityscapes to test his new Mission paints. We agree that they are very rich and pigmented. This is the Vanilla cafe in Turkey.

Below, Bill uses the Mission paints to paint buildings, adding backlit people in the foreground. The new paints work well here.

Moving to Bruges, Bill does a sketch using muted primaries...

...before beginning the intricate painting, which is more precisely drawn.

We love this atmospheric landscape by Bill, especially the boats and the reflections.

People! Titled When the Saints Go Marching In, Bill's painting prefigures our new painting challenge. Read on to find out more.

Susan has finished her food series and is painting a vacation to the Canadian Rockies. Notice how she's added people to all her landscapes? They add scale and tell a story. And notice that she's labelled the Banff gondolas, Peyto Lake and Spirit Island.

Steve is doing people and he's at the drawing stage. Notice how he's doing four different drawings on the same page and that he's using grids of different sizes as a drawing aid.

Elaine finished her architectural study of the chapel at Rosehill cemetery. She hasn't added people to this.... and doesn't plan to!

Pat's Challenge. What's this about, you ask? Pat has challenged us to do something artistic every day and she's added some structure to the challenge. Each day, we think of a song and, inspired by the song, do a sketch, painting or some other artwork. It can be as little as a five minute sketch or a full-blown painting, but if we follow through, we'll have 49 small works of art by the time the class is over.

Save the date! Ken will definitely be having a show opening at Ten Cat, probably at the end of September. The exhibit will feature (what else?) corn and cats.  There will be an opening reception and you'll all be invited.Watch this space for details!