Oct 20, 2011

Zombie Pin-Up Session

Zombie Pin-Up model, 7½ x 4½" watercolor sketch
Artists squeamish about the risqué need not attend a Dr. Sketchy session. Many who have been to art school are comfortable with nude figure studies. Dr. Sketchy models are not nude, but do often wear exotic garb. I find this more interesting than plain ole nude anyway, certainly more provocative.

On their web site, Dr. Sketchy includes the following:

Since 2005, Dr. Sketchy's has been the name in alternative drawing. From illegal flashmobs to the Museum of Modern Art, Dr. Sketchy's has brought artists a rule-breaking cocktail of dames, drinking and drawing. Dr. Sketchy's branches draw in over a hundred cities around the globe, from Akron to Zagreb. Whether you're an artstar or a scribbling newbie, Dr. Sketchy's is the perfect place to get your fill of life-drawing

Dr. Sketchy's is the brainchild of artist Molly Crabapple

Artist at Dr. Sketchy
At the October 13 ZOMBIE PIN-UPS Dr. Sketchy session in Raleigh stage names of the models were Sinister Red and Lady I'llphelia. I did many small watercolors of these macabre vixens. I’ve found that changing colors takes time away from sketching. As I recall, the one I’m showing above was a five-minute pose. Using multiple colors takes time away from painting. Although the color is fun, next time I think I’ll resort to only black paint with maybe a spot of color.

Oct 18, 2011


Thursdays are often a double-dose of figure drawing for me. I go to these sessions to hone my skills. The last thing I need is a finished oil painting that has skeletal issues with its drawing. At Chambers Arts! in Cary, NC. Lynda Chambers offers live model sessions to those interested. I’ve signed up for a package of six. On Thursday evenings, once a month, I often continue figure studies at a Dr. Sketchy session in Raleigh. More on the last Dr. Sketchy session will follow.

At Chambers last Thursday we had a fantastic model, Kathryn Cook. She is not only beautiful and limber, she’s a talented artist represented by the gallery. Because she’s an artist, she has a good handle on the types of poses that benefit us. She first gave us some one-minute poses, then five; then 15-20 minute poses for which she did some play-acting. I’m including here my first three of the one-minute poses. I moved to a larger sketchpad after these.

One thing became perfectly clear. I need to go to the gym more than I need to go to drawing sessions. Can you imagine holding any of these poses for a full minute? She also does yoga.

Oct 17, 2011

Good news; bad news

Dr. Josephus Hall House, 9x12" oil on panel
First the good news: The painting, A road less traveled shown in my last post took second place in the Cary Gallery of Artists Third Annual Paint-Out. Thanks to some of the Cary civic supporters of the gallery, four of us actually received a cash prize.

The bad news: Dr. Josephus Hall House did not sell in Salisbury. Neither did A road less traveled for that matter, but the latter will be much easier to sell down the road, as many landscapes have appeal anywhere. One thing about painting landmarks, they’re generally fairly easy to sell near their geographic location where people are familiar with them, but not so as one attempts to market them further away.

It was a great paint out on a fabulous autumn day. Nineteen plein air painters showed up for this Oil Painters of America paint-out at Salisbury’s 36th Annual October Tour. Artists were there from cities that included Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro. In that Goldsboro is even a further distance may be why a photo of my easel and me wound up on the front page of last Sunday’s local paper. A view of the photo may be found by clicking Hall House. (You’ll want to scroll down.)

Thanks and appreciation goes to artist Phyllis Steimel, a founding member of Plein Air Carolina, for her success recruiting so many artists eager to participate.

Oct 11, 2011

Oct 14 plein air show announcement

A road less traveled, 12x9" oil on panel
It’s been too difficult to restrict these postings to my plein air watercolors, which was my original intention for this blog. I so enjoy capturing the light of the great outdoors, and this I find easiest to do in oils.

All are invited to the Third Cary Gallery of Artists Plein Air Paint Out exhibition that opens this Friday night, Oct. 14 in Cary, NC. All artists who participated in the paint out will be exhibiting their work. Wine and cheese reception plus award presentation 6-8pm. Work will remain hanging in the gallery through October 25. The gallery is located in historic Cary at 200 S. Academy Street, Suite 120. 

Hope to see you there!

Oct 10, 2011

Focal points

The Steimel Forest, 6.75x9.25" watercolor

Through Facebook I was invited to the Oil Painters of America paint out in the historic town of Salisbury, NC that took place this past weekend during the town’s annual October Tour. I was graciously given a place to stay with Herb and Phyllis Steimel. Phyllis Steimel is an accomplished artist and founding member of Plein Air Carolina.

In the 90’s I taught graphic design at the University of Minnesota. Directing the viewer’s eye is as important in graphics as it is in painting. There are several ways to add emphasis to whatever it is you want to be your focal point — size, isolation, color, contrast, and/or inherent interest. As wonderful as Phyllis’ paintings are, the deer trophies in the Steimels’ den were for me the focal point of the lower level of the house.

Oct 4, 2011

Bed hopping

Ann’s kitchen, 6¾ x 9¼" watercolor
Friday night I drove up to north Raleigh where I stayed with plein air watercolor artist friend Ann. The wooden pig in her kitchen caught my eye. Looks like an artist’s kitchen, just my opinion.
I’ve begun posting some of the plein air oils I did in Susan Sarback’s workshop last week. All were painted with a knife, something I haven’t done since high school. I invite you to visit some of my new impressionist oils by clicking Early autumn day on the lake — quite a switch from these calligraphic watercolors.

Oct 3, 2011

Home alone

Debbie’s birthday roses, 9 ¾ x 6 ¼˝

Here we have a glimpse of Kent and Debbie’s informal dining room. Informal is a subjective adjective. In my house, this would be the formal dining room. Rather, this room would not even exist in my house-turned-studio. I feel fortunate, however, for rooms like this. They give people places to hang my art. And wouldn’t you know — that’s a Brenda Behr watercolor on the wall. Note the BB initials in the bottom right corner of the painting. Sorry, maybe too small here to see.

And the roses are birthday roses I assume. The card marked “Mom” on its cover was from Meredith, Debbie’s youngest daughter. I did this painting at night. The dark patchwork pattern of the windows was created by the darkness outside. Debbie and Kent were off to New York and left their houseguest mouse home to play.

These calligraphic paintings are about the stroke, not about the light. In order for the strokes to show, I have to keep the colors in the mid-tones, lest they disappear. This painting has deep mid-tones, about as deep as they should go with this style of painting.

Oct 2, 2011

Brenda Behr slept here

The room with the red quilt, 6¾ x 9¼" watercolor

I got in from six days in the Raleigh area last night and made the mistake of pushing myself to stop by the local Food Lion to pick up a few staples. And I’ll be dang if on my way out of the store, I didn’t lose my purse with my iPhone in it. I’ve stopped service on it so if you’re one of those connected to me by cell, please know that my old number will no longer work.

Wanted to post last night, but the bed in this painting was way too inviting, reminding me at midnight that I wasn’t too far from my own sack.

I don’t know how many rooms I’ve painted in my travels, but these little boudoir watercolors have become a journal of where on the road I’ve laid my head over the last couple of years. The first five nights last week I was a guest of Kent and Debbie Lockey, childhood sweethearts with whom I graduated from high school. Kent’s great grandmother from near Newport, NC was the person who sewed the lovely heirloom quilt in this painting.

One more thing, the book on the bed is Capturing Radiant Light & Color by Susan Sarback. More to come on her impressionist approach to painting.