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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sneaking up on your Left Brain

Watching my students fuss and fidget, moan and groan over a little bit of canvas reminds me of my own process that I will share with you.

When there is a struggle, it is a sign that the left brain is trying to help. It can't - because it can't draw, do relationships or pay attention to any kind of detail. It doesn't like to spend time studying any aspect of a subject matter. And yet it is our dominant hemisphere. Major design flaw in our human species. Right! Put the problem solving side of our brain on the side that can't talk - our right brain, the relationship side, which notices how things fit together.

Instead of helping, our left brain is telling us we are not doing it right (but it doesn't tell us how to fix what we are doing because it can't!).  It tells us we are not getting this painting done fast enough. It's not good enough. No one is going to like it. Maybe we should give up painting (because then the left brain wouldn't have sit still and look - which it hates). And on and on it goes judging, criticizing and generally making us feel like crap!!! Sounds a bit like school.

So, this is my strategy when I paint. Happily I'll be painting along when all of a sudden I will hit a snag. And a little war begins. It's not working, it's not working, how could I possibly be a teacher, I'll never get it right and next thing I know I am tying myself up in knots. The trick is to recognize this is the left brain sitting on a shoulder just like the devil himself might.

Over the years, this recognition is now automatic for me. If my brush is not doing what I want it to, I simply switch to another part of my painting, preferably something with negative space, something the left brain can't recognize. I paint there for a few minutes. My left brain stops its yammering and then, like a flash, I rush back to the problem area and paint again - before my left brain figures out it has been duped. I continue this process and, after a while, I am able to paint in peace because my left brain is all worn out trying to follow me around my painting. I might use my mirror to look backwards to find any parts needing my attention. Getting away from the canvas also gives me a new perspective on what I am doing and where I am going. My left brain does not like these and it is because of this I use my mirror and get away.

If you are getting frustrated - what is it you are trying to do? Are you trying to impress someone? Are you afraid you'll run out of paint? There are no more canvases in the whole world available should you have to start over? Are you hoping to hit the lottery with this painting and make $600,000? Really? Where is the pressure coming from? What is the worst that can happen? You have to start over? the scheme of things that really doesn't sound like much of a big deal.

My favorite quote:  "Frustration is the direct result of expectation." That may have come from Helen Van Wyk. Some of us had the chance to talk to her after we watched her paint and were remarking about how beautiful her paintings were. Someone asked how she could do it and her answer was "I don't expect too much." Thank-you Helen. Always there with brilliant words of wisdom.

Paint just because it feels good to paint. Watch the colors move and change. Watch the painting come to life. If you spend a few minutes on your painting and now you perceive it a dismal failure it is so awful you are going to hell in a hand basket - you might want to rethink your approach to painting and LIGHTEN UP!!

Painting forgives me. It doesn't judge me because I put something in the wrong place. I always put things in the wrong place. It doesn't matter because it is paint and I can fix it! I may not figure it out now but, trusting my right brain is diligently working on solving my painting problems, I know I will figure it out eventually.

Be gentle with yourselves. We always make progress no matter how small. That's enough to be pleased. Is it better than the blank canvas you started with? Then you are making great progress.

BTW - some of my students think I have written this specifically for them. This is to let you know - if the shoe fits......... (insert evil grin here).

Happy (yes!! Happy) painting! - Kathy

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ode to a Lawnmower

Nope, not an art blog. Just a blog from an artist's head. Mine works in strange ways.

My lawnmower.  22 years old. One repair her first year of life by my neighbor's, now moved and dearly missed. Just one. My neighbor was magic.

My terrain is not smooth. Chunks and bumps and hidden sticks, rocks ever changing. She (yes, my machines are "she"), has been a trouper, chugging along suffering through all my abuses and ignorance. When black smoke was coming out of her I called Dad. Conversation with Dad, "Have you checked the oil? Have you ever changed the oil?" A couple of thoughts that never occurred to me. Don't remember having done either of those things in a while. Checking the oil was a great idea!! Down to about to 1/16 of an inch. Did change it then. A much happier mower.

I cut my grass "long" so maybe once every 2 weeks. Especially because I'm less likely to hit one of the billion rocks in my yard. I can pick up fallen twigs and branches forever but there's always one I miss. And she kept going. The wing nuts holding her handle on, twisted off. Guess I was supposed to check them? Mickey moused the missing nuts until I found the old ones in the grass weeks later - no small feat in my 1/2 acre of wilderness. Half the back rubber flap thingy fell off last year. The duct tape wasn't holding it together anymore. Well, half a rubber thingy is better than none, right? And besides, it doesn't bend under the mower when I pull it backwards. Does anyone not pull their mower backwards? So what is the point of having a long rubber flap thingy?

I did clean out the gunked up grass underneath after every mow. Yes, I unplugged the spark plug before, no I didn't tip it so everything would run into the carburetor.  No, I tipped it on the side where the gas would spill out! Hello! Does this make any sense designing a machine like that? Clean underneath, dump your gas! Well, I guess 22 years ago gas was still readily available and cheap. Still.

No rain this summer. Great! Decided not to mow until it rained. That was a couple months ago.  Poor mower. There's a hole in one of her fenders. Little pieces of grass plug the hole. I mowed. Hit something really big. Scared the crap out of me. I find the thing. A rock now split in half. Nice clean cut. Not a stone! A ROCK! Couldn't restart because the underneath rim was bent and the blade couldn't turn. Got out my trusty hammer and banged it back into shape. Well, close enough for the blade to still turn. Finished my mowing. The mower was making this really awful rattling sound. Put her back in the shed. Out of sight, out of mind.

We finally had rain! Grass is still burnt up but there are a few shaggy parts. Out I go to the shed. Pull out my trusty old battered lawnmower. I fill her with gas and prime her. There was one summer where I had to press the little black bulb 20 times before the oil would go through - something wouldn't connect inside. But then she got better all by itself. Who knows!! Yesterday she primed great. Pulled her rope. She started beautifully as she's always done. I begin mowing. Hmm....what is that puddle of oil pooling around the top well? That can't be good. Stop, clean up the oil. Check the oil. Yup - 1/4" left. Wonder if that is enough!! Start her again. No smoke coming out but the rattle. OMG! Maybe that will go away if I shut her down and start again. Yup! That worked! So off I go. But I don't have a secure feeling. The rattle (shudder would probably be a better word) comes and goes. And it finally "rattles" my memory. Ah. The rock. Sliced in half. Bent frame. Can't be good. Maybe more damage then I realized.

I keep mowing but my mind is telling me "buy a new one!!!" But this an enduring relationship. Something I could count on for 22 years. With every excuse I can come up with the same thing comes up in my head - I have to buy a new one.

Got her through the yard one more time, a little tense, jumping every time she hit a twig. Will something fly out from beneath the mower and cut my legs off?  After all - that rock didn't do so well! A sad moment putting her away. Probably not sad for her. Now my new mantra is "go to Amazon." Sigh. I find a new machine on Amazon. Not too expensive. Coming Friday. Guess I'll have to begin a new relationship. I'm an artist. I get to be weird. It's OK! I have relationships with my machines - most of them good. I thank them when they work well in spite of me. I have relationships with my trees, the flowers in my yard, my car, my cats and sometimes with people.

So now Miss Mower #1 is immortalized in print. Tribute to a truly great machine. 22 years. Can't wait to cut the grass with the new mower. What adventures await.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dad's White Petunias - a painting

The color white has always eluded me in paint. It's just white, right? NOT! Ever since I watched my last teacher, Helen Van Wyk, paint a still life in white, I've been struggling with every attempt ever since.

First off, white is not a color and neither is black, by the way. And neither is black and white mixed together. The blacks and whites we find in tubes are essentially flat and dead until they are mixed with other colors. To me, white is the essence of light and light is created by our sun.

Therefore it is warm and we must use a warm color to add life to our white. Warm colors would be yellow, orange or red. I chose yellow to warm my white.

I worked this painting starting with a black and white (no color) underpainting in acrylic to make my application of color easier. Also, it's a great way to set up the composition. Unfortunately, Dad's flowers are in Vermont and I live in Massachusetts so a photo is necessary. Besides, I'm not fond of working out in the hot sun with the bugs. This was something I wanted to study and take my time with.

Over the course of two months I slowly worked with the shapes and the values, establishing those wonderful shadows. Eventually I plopped in the greenery and continued to edit the shapes. This was done by turning the canvas upside down
and sideways at times. Really helps to see what's off.

Eventually, the bitty white flowers were added, more tweaking. At the end I was simply using a #1 round and #1 filbert brush.

I'm thinking - maybe a really large canvas of white petunias? I am very happy with this painting and feel I have finally accomplished the feeling of "white." Thank-you, Helen, wherever you are, for your on-going inspiration. And, thank-you, Dad for having such a beautiful garden.

And the title is "Dad's White Petunias." You can see this painting on my website......

Happy painting!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Woodpecker on My House

For two years now my house has been chosen as a favorite tapping place for woodpeckers. I've hung out shiny things, a plastic owl, things that twirl - but nothing seems to deter them. Last year my house was under constant assault. This year there is only one bird.

He sits at the corner of the house tapping at my fascia board, watching out for me and my trusty hose which hangs ever ready on the deck. A few gentle taps. I try to shush him off and wave my arms as if I am making some spastic attempt to fly. But he laughs (I know he does) and taps some more. Does he understand I cannot fly? Does he get some kind of evil woodpecker joy from annoying me. Is there some special sound my house, and my house alone, makes to attract mates for him? Should I feel honored that my house is the chosen one?

I go to terrorize him with my hose but I have unhooked it from the faucet to redirect water to my veggie garden. A few drips come out. Pretty sure I look like a damned fool to him. His eye twinkles. He laughs. He does his woodpecker shriek and off he flies. Gotcha' again!

Friday, July 15, 2016


Write? But I'm a painter. Exactly.

With lots going on in my head and my life. There's the yard work, the taxes, buying groceries, aging parents, two cats that have issues with each other. And the car, the computers, the iPad, the internet. Students, classes, dentist and other doctors. Get's really busy in my head. Add a new woodchuck to my long list of critters finding my garden Eden itself. Oops! I have to clean the pond filter. Where are all these flies coming from?! Don't forget getting gas, getting groceries (yes, I know I've already said this) all over the state of Massachusetts because the ones I need are never in the same stores. Why is this not working (add any number of things here - lawnmower, snowblower, iPhone....)! What does it mean, Google, that I have blocked URLs?!!!! Can I inject my computer with an unblocker? WHAT?!!!!!

And I don't have kids like most of you do! Can't imagine having to deal with one more thing. And I know there will always be one more thing.

So I write. Every morning with my cup of coffee. A half hour to 45 minutes every single day for the last 10 years. Can't start a day without writing. What do I write about? Absolute, completely mindless dribble. No, really! In my "morning pages" I can threaten to annihilate my neighbors who allow their dog to bark for an hour at 5 in the morning (of course I would never annihilate them but I do get an evil sense of pleasure writing about it). I can report on the list of groceries I bought at Trader Joe's. How many rabbits were in the garden; what marvelous or hilariously stupid thing I did yesterday (oh boy do these take up a lot of my writing space); rant about insurance, the internet......everything! What I write is of no importance or consequence. I can write "I" as many times as I want without being self-conscious of being narcissistic. I can write blah blah blah blah blah a million times across 3 pages of my college ruled notebook. Completely, totally, mindless dribble (or is that drivel? or drizzle?)! Hell! I can even make words up! What is important is simply the act of writing. It never has to be read - by anyone including me.

It all started with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Julia sets up assignments that contribute to opening, discovering our artistic selves. Those selves that always seem to end up on the back burner while we take care of our jobs, our spouses, our children, our pets, our cars, our homes, our parents, etc., etc., etc. Have to, Have to, Have to takes the place of creating, resting, reading, slowing down long enough to replenish our psyches. Once our day starts it's like being sucked up into a tornado. 'Round and 'round we go until we crash down at the end of the day empty and depleted.

So, the very first assignment in Julia Cameron's book is to write 3 pages every single morning. Not to be read by anyone, nor criticized, nor thought about. Just write. Well! 3 pages was a hell of a lot of writing at first! And there were mornings I did write blah blah blah blah......for most of my pages. But after awhile I started to look forward to the writing. Sometimes ideas would present themselves, sometimes the past would poke its creepy head into my pages. But it didn't matter because no one was ever going to see these thoughts. No one would be pulling my writing apart because I miss-spelled a word or didn't organize my thoughts so someone else could understand them.

And that's the point. I can be as crazy insane, dopey, duh, pissed off, or a rage maniac. It's not all bouncing around in my head like the balls in a Bingo machine. OO! there's a thought! OO! there's a though!! OO! there's another thought! Or - holy crap! where did that come from!!!!!! My head is calmed down, opened up and emptied leaving room to paint a painting! or write a book! or solve an simple day to day problem.

It's a weight off. I can bitch, moan, scream, swear, drop f bombs all over my pages and it's all OK. I shut off my inner critic and say "screw it!! (insert f bomb here)."

Sometimes, when I hear how overburdened some of you are, feeling trapped and alone, I think how maybe writing your thoughts, horrors, anxieties, humor, darkness and light might help ease your paths somewhat. Get yourselves a fat, college ruled notebook (the 10 subject kind) and a box of your favorite pens. Give yourselves, your creative spirits permission to be creative. You might find that masterpiece or that book you've always dreamed of.

And so, thank-you Julia Cameron for giving me permission to write, no talent required.  Happy painting!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It's like making a cake

Painting. It's like making a cake. Patience in our ADD world is something sorely needed but difficult to achieve in the process of painting.
Think of painting as making a cake. The frosting is really what we are looking forward to. It's the first thing we see. But we have to buy the ingredients. We have to take out all our gadgets to put the cake together. And then we have to bake it, let it cool and all that tedious stuff that is no fun. Once we have applied all those hours, we can now play with the color and designs of our cake's frosting. But it's all worth it because the cake looks (and tastes) awesome.
And so goes painting. Big Big Big shapes first. Then Big Big Shapes. Then Big Shapes. Then Big Medium Shapes, etc. Yup. All very tedious. But - miss a step and your painting falls flat just like our cake. It's all part of the process.
Any project will require some kind of price on our part. There's always prep. Stuff we hate to do. With more experience we learn that cutting corners just doesn't work. I know! I've tried. Enjoy the ride, solve the problems then put on the frosting - which is about the last few minutes of a painting. Happy painting!!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Jester

This doll was given to me so many years I go I can't begin to remember. But lately I've been into sparkles so why not give this a try! Started with the bigger shapes and colors. Deathly afraid of the sparkles and folds in the collar. Saved that for later.

Played with the background, shadows, changed some of the colors. Face placement.

Time for the sequins.  An overwhelming ADD problem - meaning I can't see them. Too many dots! So I put in a few here and there to help me figure out what to do. Left the figuring out to my right brain.  Always a good plan.

Played with the gold color. Seems I've used this term "played" before. I think "play" is a substitute word for "I don't know what I'm doing so I'll try this and see if it works." All the things that don't work make a nice base for all the things that work eventually. Little brushes forever tweaking.

And then......the "TA DA." Of course you don't get to see all the bitty changes that got to here. I did love working on this. Happy with the result. On to the next exciting adventure. Happy painting!
"The Jester"
11 x 14 
oil on canvas
on my website

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Peonies 2016

There is no way I can escape painting peonies each year. If I keep practicing, maybe I'll get better. After all these years I feel in my bones I need to practice more. So, this is what I started with intrigued by the giant white flowers. My yard must have 50 peony plants in full bloom. Started this Wednesday evening with my class.
Wanted a dark background to emphasize the light of the peonies. Very heady perfume as I'm working. A few sneezes, lots of kleenex. Big shapes first!
Thought it was time to work with the vase. Anything symmetrical - and it's loony bin time for me. The pressure to finish these before they die keeps me working without thinking. Have to react more. Just paint.

Oh boy. The details scare me. The Thursday morning class is here and I'm supposed to be finishing. Signed it. Hung it in my bedroom. Hated it. Hated it all day Friday. Too square.  Poopy darks. Bummer.
By now the original bouquet is pretty dead but there are a million more peonies out in my garden. It's my first task of the day. Picked some new flowers, put them in a different vase and added them (sort of) to my painting. Took about a half hour. I now LOVE this.

So, don't give up. You might just need more sleep and more time for your right brain to figure things out. Works for me. Happy Painting!

Friday, May 27, 2016

7 new paintings

Time keeps on slipping away!!!!!  A humungous show, spring erupting everywhere meaning lots of yard work, baby seeds to tend, a mammoth yard sale (which required a massive clear out of my house) and the other things life requires time for like paying bills, cleaning the house, buying groceries, eating and sleeping.

And now, time to post my 7 new paintings!!!!  Fortunately I have painting to save me from all the craziness of the last few months.

Blue Bottle and Rose
Intrigued by the perspective, the glass table, the evening colors.  I never quite understand why I choose something to paint.  There certainly is more feeling involved than head.  Just had to paint this.

Forget Me Nots
These sweet little flowers are growing everywhere in my yard.  Feeling the need to do some one or two sitting paintings.  While I do love to analyze and puzzle over my subject matter, still life is a great way to hone painting skills.

White Pitcher on Blue
Still doing the quick still life. White - it's on my bucket list to finally be happy with painting white. Love this little pitcher.

Lilacs 2016
Wasn't sure I'd get to lilacs this year - but, my quick still life project is getting more fun.

And then there are the abstracts!! Why not.  Fun to play with and figure out.

This has been worked on over time.  Who knows where this came from but I'm finally liking it.
Pink and Blue Abstract
Another painting that has been reworked a few times.  Never sure where I'm going with these.  Maybe it's a kind of crap shoot?
Red and Gold Abstract
Was definitely in a red mood.  Something about this winter here in New England.  I had a craving for RED!!!!

So nice to get caught up.  Think I'll keep working on the quick still life project.  Now that my house is cleared out of accumulated junk, I can concentrate on painting some of my favorite things.  Happy Painting!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brown is Not a Color

Brown. There is no such color in the color spectrum. A color can be one of six: warm - red, yellow, orange or cool - violet, blue, green. No brown. Below are three versions of "brown." They are the dark, dull tones of yellow, orange and red (all warm). We tend to think of colors being bright and flashy but, if you are painting an apple, you will see variations in the red - some bright, some medium and some dark.
An orange requires the same attention. It is not all bright. We must use variations in the values (light, medium, dark) to create dimension otherwise the orange remains a flat circle on our canvas with no depth. All colors have to fit into the color spectrum of which there is no brown. These darks have to be assigned a color.  Therefore, Burnt Umber is our dark yellow. Burnt Sienna is our dark orange. And, Indian Red is our dark red.

This helps when working with darkening shadows.  Combining opposite colors (the dark ones) makes excellent shadows.  Violet is opposite yellow therefore violet (or purple) will darken Burnt Umber.  Blue is opposite orange so adding blue to Burnt Sienna will darken it.  Green will darken the Indian Red.

Something to think about.  Happy painting! - Kathy

Friday, April 8, 2016

Reading Maps

This painting took me a bit longer than usual.  It's of my Mom & Dad at the Auer Family Boathouse in Burlington, Vermont on Lake Champlain.  Here they are reading maps from the bicycle ferry.  Can't remember what they were looking for.  The  nice thing about painting from my own photographs is that I can leave out parts I don't find interesting and it also gives me the time to study my subject matter.  The light was so beautiful that day and they were both trying to pretend I wasn't there with my camera.  The perspective was very intriguing as well as capturing two portraits of people I know.  I am quite pleased with the result.  

Reading Maps
Of course I adore red and, for some reason, I have needed to practically inhale it all winter.  Painting a red painting, knitting a red sweater and, at the moment of this writing, I'm wearing a red dress.

It's important to feel a connection with the subject matter whether it be the color or the composition or the spirit of it.

Maybe the next painting will be a little faster with some nice globs of paint.

Happy painting!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Hello everyone:  Haven't revisited "kisses" in a while so I thought I'd dig up my very first "kiss" awareness painting and let you all benefit from my mistakes (most have been fixed!! - and the painting sold).

The photo of the painting is quite old but will do the trick.  It was 1993 and I was studying with Helen Van Wyk in Rockport Fridays throughout the summer.  She did this lesson on "kisses."  I was so excited I decided to teach this new found skill to my Wednesday evening students in Framingham.  I brought in my current work (above) and, after I explained what kisses were, they began to find kisses everywhere in my painting!!!  There were 16 or 17!  Hadn't really meant for that to happen but it ended up being a valuable lesson for all of us.

What is a kiss?  This is the painting kind.  A kiss is where two edges meet and destroy the dimension, the feeling of 3D.  Edges must overlap for us to affect a feeling of space.  We are creating a 3 dimensional world on a 2 dimensional surface (the canvas).

Let's see if I can remember where the kisses were.  Oh yes!  The three books were neatly lined up so they looked like a giant block.  And, lined up so their collective edges collided with that skinny dark stripe!  Solution:  arrange the books at different angles and move the top one just a wee bit to the right of the stripe.  It pushes the books forward and makes for a more interesting shape.  Striped wallpaper - what was I thinking?

The left top edge of the opened book was kissing the lower edge of the blue book.  Solution:  move the pages up in front of the blue book.  That moved the opened book forward.

The round candle holder was exactly kissing the edge of the round table.  The little circle with which to hold the candle holder was kissing the edge of the table.  And, the candle was kissing the edge of the dark stripe.  Solution:  push the table edge up away from the candle holder edge.  Push the little circle on the candle holder to be above the table edge.  Move the dark stripe to the candle's left.  The trick was to move edges without having to move entire objects on the painting.

The base of the edge of the wine glass was kissing the edge of the round doily and aligned with the right edge of the dark stripe.  Solution:  move the glass base onto the table and move the dark stripe a little to the left.

The opened book was kissing the front edge of the candle holder.  Solution:  make some space between the candle holder and the book.  Of course the opened book was kissing the edge of the wine glass so I moved the corner of the book so it now rests on top of the glass base.

I could not have picked a better painting for my kissing demonstration!  During the class I fixed all the kisses.  Not big moves, just a sixteenth of an inch here, a little tweak there.  But the result was a much better still life.  And the frosting on the cake was one of my students bought the painting.  Be aware of kisses.  Happy painting!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The layers of paint - Mom & Dad at the Boathouse, cont......

It's Spring!  But classes are cancelled because of snow.  Just finished shoveling my forever driveway.  Gets longer as I get older.  No going out to work in the yard - and it really needs work!  I've cleaned the house and got most of it organized - a never ending task.  So, it's down to sitting at the computer.  Always a challenge.  I have computer  gremlins.  Apparently they don't discriminate.  Doesn't matter what computer I am using.  Sometimes it's just easier to go out to the yard and move rocks.

My painting of Mom & Dad at the Boathouse - reading maps is in it's 22nd painting session. Finishing paintings overnight has never been my specialty.  Spending time, attending to the details and adding more layers of paint suits my process and that of my students.  This painting is particularly challenging.  Good thing that's not a qualification for selecting the subject matter.  It's the feeling, something the subject matter says that is the attraction to paint.

Is there such a thing as an "easy" painting?  Hmmm....haven't found one yet.  There needs to be the possibility of learning something.  Perhaps a new brush stroke, or a new mixture of color.  Don't forget the added plus of gaining more experience.  The challenges are many:  composition, brushwork, color, values, perspective.

This painting has all of that for me!  I do love a challenge.  Plus knowing who these people are add the challenge of overriding what I know in order to paint what I see.

In this addition from a week ago the focus is still on values, placement and light.  Capturing light is what makes painting exciting.  Finding the right value is a constant struggle.  Is it too light?  Is it dark enough?  Why isn't this showing up?  Sometimes the artist has to play God and alter things so the painting works.  Can't do that with my parents.  It is important for me to recognize them so the bodies, the poses, the features have to be theirs.  It is that minute attention to detail that makes them look like Mom & Dad even without their faces.  My father's body has been a challenge!  Often in a double portrait one of the subjects refuses to be captured without a struggle.  My mother has remained steady throughout the entire process!  Yay Mom!!  But Dad is giving me a run for my money.  :)

This is the current entry.  Working with my smaller brushes, a #1 round with a lovely firm tip and a couple of small filberts and brights (#'s 1 & 2),  Dad's jeans, the shoes, the grass, Mom's jeans, hands, the building shadows and even faces are starting to appear.  Feeling better about how they look.  Eventually this may be titled "Reading Maps."

When will I be finished?  Not quite yet.  Right now something is bugging me.  I'll know it when I find it!  The painting will tell me when it wants to be signed and then the hunt for the next subject matter begins.  There are some ideas in the planning.  Hmmm....possibly the paintings that didn't make it into the show will be looked at.  Totally paint over (I so love doing this) or enhance?  Now that decision is very intriguing.  Happy painting!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Show at Briarwood

Hello everyone:
Setting up a show of 75 paintings is quite a formidable task.  Where did all those paintings come from and how did I store them in my little house!!!  And how did I get them to Briarwood in Worcester, Ma in only 2 trips in my little car?  Since this is truly the largest show I have ever done, I thought I would share.  Quite an amazing thing to see all that work and know it is mine.

I'm hoping I will now be able to sleep and concentrate on other things.  I am starting to form full sentences again which is very reassuring.  This was a wonderful honor to be selected by Briarwood - over a year and a half ago.  Now my paintings are settled there until the 5th of May.  Off to class!!  Happy painting!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

The painting 2/2016

My students often have a hard time starting.  At the beginning it is best to keep things as simple as possible.  I started this delightful painting of my Mom & Dad by massing in some vague shapes and values.  Just getting a feel of where everything will go.  Things will be moved a lot over the next few weeks.

Next I get a little more committed.  Some stronger shapes, some color.  I start thinking about what I want to leave out and what might be included.  Oh damn!  Dad is wearing a plaid shirt!!

Now I'm paying more attention to the negative spaces around my characters.  Still a lot of adjusting to do.  More to come......

Venetian Red and Indian Red

My students are well aware of the reds I require them to use on their palettes:  Cadmium Red Light, Grumbacher Red, Venetian Red (also called Light Red and Terra Rosa) and Indian Red.  They look very similar when laid out on a palette.  Here's a photo of my current painting demonstrating the difference between the two.  That dark splotch at the top of the photo is Indian Red.  Rather lovely!!  The lighter stripe on the right is Venetian Red!  Indian Red is our darker, duller red.  

The Aunt

Just put my signature to another portrait.  Hmm...must be in a portrait mood which is probably a good thing because I haven't done many portraits lately.  Got a lovely photo of my Aunt Charlotte at my niece's wedding.  She is my father's baby sister - 86 years young?  I've always thought she was very beautiful so it was fun trying to capture her.
​This first photo is of the painting's very first attempt to capture a likeness.  You have to start somewhere with the understanding there will be a million changes on the road ahead.

This second photo shows some progress on the portrait (there were many painting sessions to get to this point).  Do I add the background people?  Oh dear!  There's that sweater to tend to.  Decisions!  The flowers on the dress?  

I played a bit more with the light, developed the non-people a bit more, simplified the background and voila!!!  "The Aunt."  I do love her.  :) Off to start the next portrait!

The Aunt by Kathleen Hebert, artist

Show Opening

It's now official!  My show of over 60 oil paintings will be on display at:

The Gallery at Briarwood
The Birches
65 Briarwood Circle
Worcester, MA  01606

Opening:  Sunday, March 6, 2015
from 2 to 4 p.m.
Punch and cookies will be served.

The show will be up at the Briarwood from March 6 to May 6, 2015.  Please stop by on the 6th to say "hi"!  Bring a friend or two.

Bolton Fair by Kathleen Hebert, artist

Over 60 oil paintings including still life, portraits, animals and birds, floral and landscape will be displayed in this solo show.