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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.

My Reds

from Blogger 7/2008

My Reds

How I love red! And I seem to be craving it!  Red pocket book, red paintings and now red yarn for a sweater.

These are the reds recommended by Helen Van Wyk.  They work for me.
    Cadmium Red light (a bright light orangy red)
    Grumbacher Red (a medium tone true red)
    Venetian Red (medium tone, medium intensity red)
    Indian Red (dark tone, dull intensity red)
These 4 reds mix really well with the other colors of my pallette

WARNING: Cadmium Red Medium and Cadmium Red Dark are big no-no's in the painting department. They tend to bruise other colors in my opinion.  I want a lovely natural feel to my paintings and Cad. Red Medium and Cad. Red Dark seem to kill the colors instead of enhancing them.  All this talk of red makes me want to knit!  Happy Painting

Practice More

From Blogger 2008

My bit of advice for new artists is - keep practicing!!!!  So many of my students get down on themselves because they don't "get" something right away.  My last teacher, Helen Van Wyk, told us we just needed to practice more.  If we want to paint roses, we have to paint lots of roses, lots of lemons, lots of trees, doggies, cardinals, etc.

When we think of the great masters that came before us - they painted the same things over and over and over again in order to perfect their craft.  Monet loved to do a series of the exact same view as the light changed during the day on his subject.  He got better at painting hay stacks by painting hay stacks!!

Here again is where art myths abound.  No one would expect to play Beethoven on the first try after having only 10 weeks of lessons, only practicing for 20 minutes during the week!  BUT people think that art is easy.  So therefore they must be "not talented" if they have to add three layers of paint instead of one to get the right effect.    Everything is new to beginning artists so they need to draw EVERYTHING!!!  And, after they learn the drawing basics, they need to paint everything!!

When working on a painting with a bit of perspective in it there's bound to be a struggle.  And that struggle exists as long as we have a fully functional right and left brain.  We struggle because we are learning.  We don't have all the answers yet - but we will figure things out eventually.  Our right brain has to be presented with a problem before it can solve it.  Playing the piano and mastering a piece of music requires practice.  Drawing and painting is the same.  We hit the wrong notes so we can figure out what the right ones are.  As artist Helen Van Wyk once said, "You have to do it wrong before you can do it right."

 I'm posting my third cardinal.  Can't even look at the first two I painted.  But I LOVE this one.  It went rather quickly!  

The first photo is my underpainting in black and white acrylic.
The 2nd photo shows a glaze (thin coat of paint) in raw sienna.
The 3rd photo shows more paint in Cadmium Red Light, Thalo Green in the bird's wings, Thalo Green and Alizarin Crimson mix for the bird's mask.  Added white to that mix to make a lovely gray.
Finally, branches, feet and snow.  Love his little eye.  Can't wait to practice on my next painting.  -  Kathy

Winter Cardinal by Kathleen Hebert, artist

The Silver Bracelet - Part 3

Here's my final installment of "The Silver Bracelet."  Making this blog is a nice project to occupy my time while a winter storm that is supposed to miss Worcester rages on.

The changes in the painting aren't that obvious at this stage.  I'm working with my smallest brushes and tweaking the baby's hand, mouth, shadows, dress and the bracelet.  The biggest changes are removing the roses.  Just not working for me.  And I spruced up the background.  Hope you enjoy!  -  Kathy

Light Source

Thought I would repost some of my old Blogger Blogs from 2008 to 2011.  That was three websites ago.  

One of the things, one of the many things, that Helen van Wyk taught me was that you have to know where your source of light is coming from. We live in a world of flash photography and it is the worst thing to use when you are trying to capture something that will later become a painting. 

Shut off the Flash!!!

A flash flattens out a subject matter, whether it be an bowl of fruit or a human being.  Most digital cameras today can adjust to natural light and don't require a flash.  They are quite efficient at adjusting to natural light.  Since we only have one light source for our planet - the sun - it makes sense.  In trying to create something natural or capture a subject with a camera make sure to only have one source of light.

A North window provides a good, consistent source of light because the light doesn't move during the day as it does in other window directions.

When painting a still life, focus a strong spot light on the subject matter.  A 75 or 100 watt bulb will create some strong light.  Play with the effects.

Keep the light used for painting the canvas away from the still life. Make sure there are no extra shadows.  Painting by a 40 watt bulb is more than sufficient. Since paintings are hung on walls without light - 40 watts is plenty to paint by. Anything more and the color will feel washed out when hung.

Make sure to take lots of photos.  I took over fifty photos before I finally captured the light and "feel" I wanted for this painting of "Red Chair."  Happy Painting.

The Silver Bracelet - Part 2

Here's part 2 of the progress of "The Silver Bracelet."  There is a lot of going back and forth with shapes at this stage.  The overskirt appears and disappears, the baby's face has many positions.  Many, many adjustments yet to come.

 #'s 1 - 5  The baby's hand, face, both dresses





#6  added the bracelet 
#'s 7-9  Worked on the Chiffon and the bracelet 



The Silver Bracelet - Part 1

The Silver Bracelet was begun on 23 November 2015 and finished yesterday on 7 January 2016.  I adored every moment, every challenge of working on this double portrait.  This is my mother, Christine Auer Hebert and her enchanting great-granddaughter, Yvette Chalifoux. 

The Silver Bracelet by Kathleen Hebert, artist

I've added some photos to show you my progress.  
In #'s 1, 2 and 3...


I've started with a black and white acrylic underpainting to establish my values and composition.  I started with a #12 bristle brush, then a #10 bristle brush and finished my acrylic with a #5 and #2 - both bristles.

In #'s 4 and 5 I begin adding thin layers (glazes) of oil color.  Sorry #4 is blurry - I was having trouble holding the camera and my brush at the same time.  Next time I'll use my tripod.  I added a glaze (thin coat) of Thalo Blue and switched to my synthetic brushes - #12 bright.  Finished my glazing with a coat of Raw Sienna.  Added a Burnt Umber/Burnt Sienna mix to the background.  Very focused on the big shapes.



In # 6 I'm working with shapes and color only - NO DETAILS!  The baby's dress is a mixture of Thalo Blue and Zinc White.

In #7 just the faintest hint of features is added.  Don't want to go in too soon.  Switched my my medium sized synthetic brushes.



#8 - Yes, it's upside down.  Since I am using my own photo, I turn the canvas and the photo upside down to help me disconnect from what I am painting.  I simply want to focus on the shapes, the flow, the values (light and dark).

In these final photos I now have a good solid framework to work from.  My composition is set. Now I can work on likenesses.  Not sure about those roses.
​To be continued.........

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Getting Back to Blogger

Blogger was my first blog that nicely complemented my first website I created from Dummies books. When the website program became outdated, I left the website and Blogger for WordPress which was not a good experience for me. And now Weebly. Weebly is a fantastic website creator and I love playing with all the bits and adding all my artwork but, sadly, it lacks any finesse in the blog department. Then I discovered

I could incorporate Blogger into Weebly. Oh my!!!!!! It's perfect. And now to meld my old Blogger info with my new Blogger info. I am so excited!!!!!! Thank-you, Vladimir for your excellent tutorial!!! After many worked!!!! And, instead of leaving Blogger - I'm back!! With new art info, lots of new paintings and a truly wonderful group of art students.