Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a great holiday. I have much to be thankful for this year, and I hope you will get to spend time with friends and family today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Still Life

Here is a still life that I painted under a black light. The floral table cloth is funky and fun to compose objects on. Several people who saw this painting on the fall art tour commented that it appears to be a nocturne painted under moonlight. I like that idea, and am hoping to do more like these now that the snow is here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fall Art Tour 2014

We had a great 2014 Fall Art Tour at the Chicken Coop Studio. The weather plays a part in the success of the tour, and this year there was sun and decent temperatures. The autumn colors were at their height the weekend of the show, and I had 800 visitors come through the Chicken Coop.

Along with getting all the paintings ready for the show, we made some upgrades to the studio. Cortney found a great lighting solution, for the first time my paintings had light in the Coop. We also bought some new funky furniture for the space, repainted the floor, and cleaned up the brush at the farm.

The studio is literally a Chicken Coop that was built in the 1930's by my Great - Great Uncle. The plans for the Coop came from the University of Wisconsin, and they were state of the art at the time. The farm has been in the family since 1911, and my Grandma Schneider had 200 chickens in the building, which helped them pay for the farm. Eggs sold for a better price than milk at the time. I grew up around the farm, and am happy to say that we are moving into the farm house very soon! We will have a new heated studio in the house, but we will always keep the Coop as a showplace.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Its Figurative

I was fortunate enough to land a seat in Chris Gargan's summer figure drawing class. The class was three weeks long, with 8 hours of classtime per day. Some people freaked a little when I told them about the commitment, but for me it was great, even waking up at 5:30 am to get there on-time was worth it. This is the 37th year that Chris has taught the class, and he has developed a curriculum and style of delivery that is unique to him. Like me, Chris has a background in education, he got his Art Education degree and also his MFA from UW Madison. He worked as a teacher in the public schools before taking his post at MATC (I believe that they renamed the school Madison College, but it will always be MATC to me)

The class was very interesting to me because I got to see how he teaches, knowing what I know after graduating with a degree in art ed. Chris doesn't merely lecture, or demonstrate, or set the time for the pose, he actively participates in the education of his students. He does this in several different ways. For instance, the study of anatomy might not be of interest for some students, and some demonstrations might get a little long (not for me, but remember, I'm super interested). Instead of merely allowing students to die on the vine (technical educational term) and pass off responsibility onto the students, Chris takes the responsibility onto himself. He will follow some technical information with a funny story that relates to what he is teaching, which acts as a tie down in his students minds, and keeps them awake.

We covered a lot of ground in the class. We never stuck with a media for more than one day. We drew in several traditional medias including: Charcoal, Conte, Ballpoint Pen (is this traditional? It's sweet), Pen and Ink, Heightened Charcoal, Ink Wash, Pen and Ink Heightened with White Gesso, Acrylic, and Watercolor.

My favorite day of class, was when Chris gave his lecture on aesthetics. He contrasted the illustrative work of Stanislav Prokopenko with the visual economy Sherrie McGraw. Chris, of course has a deep respect for anyone who can draw at Proko's level, but asked his students to anaylize the content and feeling that they got from each of their work. This led many to convert to the McGraw edge of the spectrum. It was moments such as these that set the class above others figure room experiences that I have had. To be able to discuss the subjective nature of aesthetics with a class of 20 somethings, and to have them walk away with new, substantial ideas, was impressive.

Anybody around me knows that I am hungry to take my drawing skills to the next level, it can only lead to better paintings. I am not a naturally skilled drawer. Let me rephrase that, my temperment is not one that naturally facilitates skillful drawing. Some drawing media, like pencils, or ballpoint pen are just so small, that it's not easy to cover a large surface. I paint with big brushes, because I like to be able to do things quickly and broadly, and then move in for the specifics.So, some people are good at drawing, with those tiny pencils and pens, and because Chris has taught the class so often, he recognized that I am not, and showed me ways to combine my painterly ways with the techniques that he taught .

I know that I got my money's worth out of the class. I would pay just to hang out with Chris. I feel fortunate that he is my friend, and that he let's me tag along with him to go out painting. If you are a painter, or drawer, or sculpter, or whatever you are, who wants to take your work to the next level, do it. Figure out one component skill of the media that you are working with that you would like to improve upon, put it into words, and then attack it with passion.

We made sketchbooks in the screenprinting and binding department

My friend, Nick Loveland, and Chris showing the class how to bind the sketchbooks.

Chris giving a pen and ink demo

Pen and ink, with wash heightened with gesso.

Chris setting up for a two color acrylic demo.

I used baltic blue and yellow ochre in this piece.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Summer Farm

It has been a long winter. Spring is nearly here, and these cool days are great for all outdoor activities. Just smelling the air is worth going outside. There is rain in the forecast for five of the next seven days, and then it will be time for the big bloom.
I stocked up on a few of my favorite spring colors this week. I enjoy mixtures based on naples yellow light and prussian blue for some fresh spring greens this time of year. The painting shown above does not reflect that, it was painted in the summer, with plenty of lemon yellows thrown into the lit up corn stalks.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peninsula Still Life

This still life is headed to a show at the Guenzel Gallery, at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek. 22 painters received the same five objects to set up and paint, and the show is named Five Objects of Inspiration. I originally wanted to paint under natural light, but after several cloudy days in a row, I decided to do exactly the opposite. The still life was lit by a blue party light.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Wind

Snow covered the fresh green grass two nights ago. The car door made a convenient wind break this morning, and my easel stood solid on top of this ridge.

Here is a overview of my spring workshop series. Last weekend, I gave my first workshop in what seemed like a long time. The workshop focused on painting the interior. We talked about values, and how to create the illusion of sunlight happening outside of a window, and pouring into the space. On the final day of the workshop, a storm rolled in while I was halfway through my demo painting. The sky was so dark, that the streetlights, which were a part of my composition, turned on. This dramatic change allowed for a teachable moment. Changing light is something that we deal with daily when painting from life and I was happy to work through the changes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Broadway Street, Baraboo, Wisconsin

This is Baraboo Wisconsin, again. This was painted in early February, when there was still plenty of snow on the rooftops and streets.
I was invited to paint on a private home's deck, and took them up on the opportunity. I was pretty secluded, and on the second day the owner was not home, but knowing that I had an open opportunity, I set up and went to work. A car pulled into the driveway, and not knowing who it was made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as the time the kids were shooting a gun over my head in the country, but even so. Everything turned out alright this time, as the visitor was the owners son, who was just checking the bird feeder.
These little midwestern towns are the places that I call home, and I love painting around here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Late Winter Sun

I've been painting smaller pieces, such as this 11 x 14" canvas, with the goal of clearing my voice. I will work my way back up to painting some larger pieces, but for now it seems like making several paintings in a day is the way to progress.
In painting, it is easy to second guess every move, but I just allowed myself to paint this one quickly, and let the accuracy happen. When I look at my favorite painters work, I can feel some of this as well, so I am glad when it happens to me.
The sun shines once in a while during Mud Season, and I was glad it did on this day.