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Over the last decade this blog has become a resource for a lot of information and I’m happy to continue to make it available, even though the blog is not updated as often. Announcements and news are now posted on our Events Page, Facebook account, and Instagram account.

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Tuesday
Sep142010

"Message in a Bottle" Session 6: Beginning Color


8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress


Even though I have begun color at this stage, I am still thinking of it as under-painting. In fact, the more I develop as a painter, the more I find that most of my time spent on a painting is "underpainting" - preparing the bed of values and hues the final painting will lay over.

So here I am mixing my values with colored pigment instead of just grey. I'm also just starting to warm up the colors of the shell, message paper and tissue.

Finally, I am adding a new level of refinement and detail as I make my first pass of color.

Tuesday
Sep142010

"Black Jug" Session 6: Beginning Color


8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress


You might not be able to see much "color" in this stage of the painting versus the previous monochromatic underpainting stage. But now I am mixing my neutrals values with a palette of color, instead of just grays.

The main difference between painting with monochromatic values and painting is color is in the transitions between light and shadow. In monochrome, you can just mix a bit of the 'light" puddle with a bit of the "shadow" puddle to make the halftone between.

When painting in color, the "halftones" is where all the most saturated color is. So each step between the light and shadow must be analyzed and mixed to match a hue/color, in addition to the value. This is very subtle when painting a monochromatic subject in color, because all the hues are relatively desaturated. But it's what makes even a monochromatic subject look like it is "in color".

Also, even in sharp edges, like where the edges of the white seashell touch the black background of the pot, the paint will look chalky and clunky. The tiny seam where the white meets the black must be knit together with a deeply saturated, dark orange or red. Otherwise the white seashell will look like a cookie-cutter shape pasted over the background, instead of a believable object sharing the same reality as the jug.

To do this, I use a small brush to push rich, saturated mixtures into the edges of the shell, and then back-fill the seashell with white, leaving a tiny thread of color between the light edge and the black background.

Since this technique is subtle and microscopic, it's impossible to see the effect in this photo. But careful attention to the reality of the edges will make the painting look believable in person.

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Message in a Bottle" Session 5: Monochromatic Underpainting

8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Black Jug" Session 5: Monochromatic Underpainting

8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Message in a Bottle" Session 4: Umber Underpainting

8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Black Jug" Session 4: Umber Underpainting


8 x 10 inches
oil on panel
work in progress

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Message in a Bottle" Session 2 & 3: Drawing & Transfer

8x10 inches
graphite on gessoed panel
work in progress


After I transfer the drawing to the panel I spend more time-drawing every line from life and refining it to the highest degree possible. The more details I work out here, the less problems I will have to solve in paint. The traced image always deadens, so I never just go from traced transfer directly to paint.

Wednesday
Sep012010

"Black Jug" Session 2 & 3: Drawing & Transfer to Panel


8 x 10 inches
graphite on gessoed panel
work in progress


I completed my drawing on trace paper/mylar. I ended up drawing the spiney seashell on another piece of trace overlaying the drawing of the pot. Then I scribbled with a soft 4B pencil on the back of the paper, and transferred the drawing to panel by tracing over it with a hard pencil. I spent a lot of time lining up everything so the horizon line of the shelf is straight and the vertical access of the jug is truly plumb. Any error in this image is due to photo warping.

Friday
Aug272010

"Black Jug" Session 1: Drawing

Study for "Black Jug" - work in progress
8 x 10 inches, graphite on mylar

The drawing for this painting is not complete, there is a second object in this composition I have not even begun to draw. But I wanted to post this because it's a good example of how I construct a symmetrical object. You can see I have drawn a center line, and how I have measured each significant point on the contour so I can plot each side symmetrically.

As I am working I often stand back to judge the progress of the drawing by asking myself 2 questions to check my proportions:

  • Is my drawing wider or taller than my subject?
  • Does my drawing have the same feeling and character as my subject?
I try to be as scrupulously honest as possible with my answers. I try to remain willing to change anything and everything to capture my subject more accurately. I never let "good enough" be a satisfactory answer. This is how I try to approach all my drawing and painting.

I found this gorgeous black jug in an antique/collectibles shop recently, and of course it reminded me instantly of a very famous painter of still lifes. So I will make no attempt to hide the fact that this piece is an homage to an artists who has inspired me a lot. Even though our approach and methods for painting are just about as far apart as is possible, the sense of calm, light, solidity, familiarity, and reverence he shows in his work has been a big influence on me.

I am also attempting something I rarely do, and that is to start two paintings at the same time - this one and the previous post, "Message in a Bottle". When I have tried this before, one painting gets neglected and languishes while I finish the other. I'm going to try to keep these going at the same pace and complete them at the same time. And I'll be documenting the whole process, so stay tuned.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

FIGURE DRAWING CLASS
I still have two more spots in my upcoming figure drawing class starting September 12.

Learn 19th century atelier methods for depicting accurate proportions, convincing light, and organic form through the careful study of a long pose.

6 Sundays, $480

Click here for more information and to register.

Friday
Aug272010

"Message in a Bottle" Session 1: Drawing


"Message in a Bottle" - work in progress
8 x 10 inches, graphite on mylar

It's always hard to start a new painting, and my FaceBook friends saw a few status updates from me this week about how hard it is to set up a still life. But I'm always relieved and excited when a still life finally comes together, even though it is rarely the vision I had when I started moving objects around on the shelf.

I still have a lot of antique scraps of paper from an era when I did a lot of collage, and a little piece of envelope, slightly yellowed, with a foreign stamp and a "por avion" printed on it seemed a perfect fit with the uniquely proportioned glass bottle. Another glass bottle wrapped in cream-colored tissue paper (not wax paper this time!) and a buttery-transparent little shell made friends, creating a harmony of creams.

In my last still life "The Wave" I really liked how the blue-white of the wax paper highlights made the shelf edge look slightly yellow in contrast. In this arrangement the cream colored papers and seashell make the shelf seem more white.

I think all my paintings are simply studies of all the different subtle hue variations within whites and grays.

Thursday
Aug262010

Open Studio: October 9/10


I'll be participating in this year's Artspan Open Studios for the weekend of October 9/10, so please come check out the studio, see some artwork, and learn more about my classes!

I'll actually be teaching classes that weekend, so my studio will only be open to the public for these limited hours:

Saturday October 9: 3pm-6pm
Sunday October 10: 4pm-6pm

Mission and 17th Streets

For a map to the studio building, see my profile on ArtSpan here

Sunday
Aug222010

Webcast Recap

 


Yesterday I did my first Webcast studio tour and demo, this is me standing in front of the camera, ready for my close-up!
UPDATE: Watch the Webcast again!
The webcast was recorded, so you can still click here to register and watch the whole thing, including a drawing demo, a color-mixing demo, and lots of great questions and answers.

The webcast went great and I really enjoyed myself. We had visitors from around the world, including as far away as Finland and Australia. The audience asked really good questions and kept me talking. I felt like I just skimmed over so many great topics, so I'm hoping to do a whole day-long workshop webcast in the future.
 
 
Here is my handsome camera guy, my husband Nowell, who turned a corner of my studio into a professional broadcasting suite for the day, complete with mixing board and a backup boom mic mounted on the camera, just in case my fancy rented wireless lapel mic didn't work (it worked great, though!).
A closer look at the sound and video setup. We had a brief moment of freeze-screen, but other than that we sailed through without any major technical hiccups. Phew!
My studio looked so spiffy I had to take some photos.
Above is my little still life painting corner where I spend most my time.

 

 


Webcast viewers got a look at my most recent painting which will be shipped to Arcadia Gallery in New York for the Sept 23 Small Works show.

 

We talked about what paints, panels, and brushes I use, and I did a little demo showing how I mix up cool and warm strings of neutral colors on my palette.

For more info you can click here to see all my blog posts about Materials

My still life shelf is at the left, my model stand is in the middle. To the right I have screens arranged as a changing room for my models.
Lady Victoire is looking happy.
The studio doors and a couple recent paintings on easels.
Thanks everyone who was able to register and attend, it was a huge success and I look forward to doing it again!

 
UPDATE: Watch the Webcast again!
The webcast was recorded, so you can still click here to register and watch the whole thing, including a drawing demo, a color-mixing demo, and lots of great questions and answers.


 

Sunday
Aug222010

Long Pose, Day 5 - "Danae"


"Danae"
oil on panel
12 x 16 inches


I was not able to blog about the 4th day (and I neglected to take a photo), but here is my study of Danae after the 5th and final day of our long pose. We all had a great time drawing and painting as a small focused group, and our lovely model did a fantastic job with her first ultra-long pose.

I'm hoping to plan another week-long pose in the future, so, if you are interested in joining us let me know with an email, and also click here to join my mailing list to be notified when it is scheduled.

There is still room for a couple more people in my Figure Drawing class beginning September 12, click here for more info and to register.

Thursday
Aug192010

Long Pose, Day 3 - "Danae"


"Danae"



oil on panel, 16 x 20
color underpainting, work in progress
12 x 16 inches

See previous post here


I wrote a long blog post about my week-long model session, but the post somehow just got erased! I am about to keel over from exhaustion so I won't re-type it, but suffice to say the 5 of us are having a great time, all very very focused and enjoying the luxury of 5 straight days of figure drawing and painting with our wonderful model Danae.

I have been racing every day this week to paint as fast as possible, today I did the whole color underpainting from start to finsih, tomorrow I start on opaque painting and the real fun begins.

Friday evening I'll be quickly tidying up the studio and setting up for my live video web debut the next morning! If you have not yet, sign up here:

Live Webcast Studio Tour and Demo
Saturday August 21
9am -11am Pacific Standard Time
12noon- 2pm Eastern Standard Time
$10 - Click here to sign up

Thursday
Aug192010

Long Pose, Day 2 - "Danae"


"Danae"

Underpainting value wash
oil on panel, 
12 x 16 inches

See Day 1 here

Tuesday
Aug172010

Long Pose, Day 1 - "Danae"

"Danae"
pencil on panel
12 x 16 inches
Today was the first of a 5-day pose I have arranged in my studio this week. We have 5 artists participating (including me) and we work each day from 10am-5pm. For artists this is the ultimate working-stay-cation! Today we spent the first hour or so setting up a pose we all liked from many angles (no small feat!), and then chose our spots by lottery (I drew a #5, dead last, but I like my spot). The we all mounted our paper and got to work.

I'm attempting to do a very fast (fast for me!) painting of the our model Danae this week, so today I blocked in this line drawing on mylar paper and then during a model break I transferred the drawing to my 16x20 hand-primed panel. I spent the last part of the day refining the pencil drawing directly on the panel. Then I erased the extra graphite, brushed down the surface with a wide, flat brush to get rid of eraser crumbs, and coated it with thinned Damar varnish (thinned with about 1/5th mineral spirits) to preserve the drawing and seal the porous surface.

Tomorrow I start painting - record speed for me!

ALSO:



Live Webcast Studio Tour and Demo
Saturday August 21
9am -11am Pacific Standard Time
12noon- 2pm Eastern Standard Time
$10 - Click here to sign up

I'll be giving a video tour of my studio, a behind-the-scenes look at my latest Wax Paper painting "The Wave", and also doing a drawing demo. You can even submit your own questions, in advance or in real time.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday
Aug152010

"The Wave"

"The Wave"
9 x 12 inches, oil on panel

The objects I arrange in a still life often seem to imply relationships, and the "wave" shape of the overarching waxed paper in this piece suggests to me a peaceful embrace of the two companions below.

The handle of the silver creamer is sculpted like a stylized curl of wave as well, so its obvious partner was one of my favorite seashells. I also always look for a new challenge when I set up a still life, and in this one I was excited to try to capture the various whites in the composition: the creamy white of the shell, the sharper blue white of the waxed paper, and the slightly yellowed chipped white paint of the shelf below.

It is these differences, and the small instances of color in the reflections, which make a monochromatic painting feel "in color" instead of just flat grays. I mix all of my neutral tones from a full-spectrum palette, and I never use any black paint, which dulls the colors. So what at first glance may look like grey, always has a subtle tilt towards a color.

In this way, these two companions beneath their arch of paper, capture a small moment in time.

Thursday
Aug122010

Figure Drawing, Back Study



Back Study
14 x 16 inches
Graphite pencil, charcoal and chalk on toned paper

I did this drawing over two sessions at the Tuesday evening figure model sessions I host at my San Francisco Mission District studio. My recent Anatomy/Ecorche studies came into play as I tried to identify all the anatomical landmarks revealed by the raking light across her back.

I still have a few spaces left in my upcoming Figure Drawing Class, 6 Sundays starting September 12. For more details and to register visit my Teaching Page.

http://www.sadievaleri.com/teaching.html

Friday
Aug062010

Live Webcast with Art Studio Secrets

 

I'll be giving a tour of my studio and doing a drawing demonstration LIVE via webcast hosted by the inspiring blog Art Studio Secrets!

 

Saturday August 21, 2010
12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, 9am PST

I'll be answering questions about my background and my technique, showing current studio work, and demonstrating the process I use for drawing crumpled wax paper.

In their amazing new Webcast Series, Art Studio Secrets have already hosted David Kassan, Gordon Wetmore, Mia Bergeron, and Dorian Vallejo, so I am thrilled to be joining their prestigious roster!

Registration is $10 for the 2-hour live webcast, you can sign up at Art Studio Secrets.

Wednesday
Jul282010

Show: Susan Powell Fine Art


My painting "Seashell's Dream" is showing at Susan Powell Fine Art's "Summer in Connecticut" show, July 29 - August 22, 2010

Susan Powell Fine Art
203.318.0616 | Cell: 203.434.2925
679 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT
susanpowellfineart@gmail.com

I'll also have paintings included in these two upcoming shows:

Arcadia Fine Art, "Small Works"
September 23 - October 13, 2010
51 Greene Street, New York, NY

Robert Lang Gallery, "Women Painting Women"
November 2010
2 Queen Street, Charleston, SC

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