Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back to my life

I drove home yesterday afternoon after another full day of painting and listening to Koo's amazing lectures on Renaissance painters. Her concise lectures made me feel like I had completed one semester of art history in only a few days. It reminded me how much I don't know, or have forgotten. Not to mention the tips and techniques that she uses to create her stunning paintings, as well as a demonstration of how she photographs still life subjects and portraits to achieve that one source light that is key to Renaissance painting. We all crammed into the small office to watch her demonstration, using an ordinary point and shoot camera, and a spiral bulb, giving those rich darks and patterned lights. Some students used her still life photographs for their paintings and they really looked like an old master painting!

I have decided not to work on my painting. The energy and focus is gone. My life is now back to its humdrum routine. I like what I have done here. Sure, it could use many more layers, but it seems pointless to keep reworking it.

Celebration of the Egg          8 x 10           Egg Tempera

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Koo Schadler

I am taking a 5 day workshop with the Egg Tempera artist extraordinaire, Koo Schadler. It is organized by The Amelia Island Artist Workshop, run by two ladies who bring renowned artists to this part of the state of Florida, and what a tight ship they run! Koo defies description, as she is a fountain of knowledge about art, Egg Tempera techniques, Renaissance artists, and she shares her vast knowledge in a totally unpretentious, humorous and loving way, and her lectures on various aspects of the craft of creating a painting are amazingly organized and presented so all levels of ability and knowledge can be informed.

Koo's process of creating Egg Tempera paintings cuts through hours of tedious layering, and it is a thrill to me to learn how to hasten my work through using masks, stencils, tracings, sponging and applying scumbles and glazes.

Prior to the workshop we each received extensive lists of materials, directions, directives and choices to make about gesso panel sizes and were advised to plan to work on a still life that we photographed at home, brought to work from life, or used one of Koo's photos. This sent me into a couple of weeks of angst about what I was going to paint, eventually deciding on the "Celebration of Egg Tempera" theme, rather than the Easter Bunny droppings that was a possible substitute still life consisting of candy in various forms, wrappers and containers, which I would have probably titled "Candyfest" (which may still make it into a painting at a later time.)
Here is Day 2 with my photograph on the right and the beginning of my Egg Tempera painting on the left
The masks and cutouts are made from photo copies of my scaled to size photo and here they are shown on the right after being applied to the panel by the use of cosmetic one day I have achieved about a week's work using my old way!
At the end of Day three I have layered over my base more precise work using various masks as well as applying "fussy brush work" (as Koo calls it), and the form is built up by sponging veils of color glazes, alternating with a scumble of thin white paint. To look at one of Koo's paintings, one could not imagine that it was created with a cosmetic sponge, but here is the proof! 

Thanks Koo, for a wonderful workshop. I have been to a few of them...even given them myself, but none come close to this super organized, well presented, and beautifully taught 5 glorious days of no TV, no cellphone, no hassles, and hours of blessed painting time in a beautiful setting with nine enthusiastic and happy people painting and learning together. What a way to celebrate Easter!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My New Job

Last week I was named Art Curator of the Gallery at Carrollwood Cultural Center. It will be very difficult to follow in the footsteps of my friend, Mary Ellen Bitner, but I will muddle through, I'm sure. Mary Ellen was the driving force behind the whole visual arts program at the Center and her ideas and energy will be missed. I have a few ideas that I will be trying to implement as soon as possible. I'll be working on trying to make a connection between the art viewer and their pocketbooks.

I am so excited to have this opportunity to work in the art world for a change. It could not have come at a better time! It compliments my other work at the Center, teaching classes in painting, digital photography and computers, so I expect to be in Tampa nearly every day.

to view the Center's website: