Tile Workshop #1

wpid-20161019_194111.jpgWe had our first tile workshop tonight, and everyone had a great time! We explored texture tonight and used all sorts of interesting things to impress into our clay. We started with a large slab and built up texture all over it. Then we searched out little squares of beauty in those slabs and cut them out. We slipped them, let them set, then scraped some back. Everyone had such different surfaces, but all of them, so interesting. Then, we did it backwards. Squares, slip, then texture. So much fun. Thank you to everyone who came out to learn about tile making with Susan and myself. Some of you are already signed up for the next one, so see you then!

It’s beginning to look a lot like HallowGivingMas.

wpid-20161018_124004.jpgWe decided today (ok, I decided) to do the holiday ornament painting that we did in Shiloh last week. It’s a great painting because it looks SO simple, but it really makes you work. When you have to invent a background and fit your subject into it, you are presented with extra problems. Also, the simplicity of the forms means that you have to be very good with your value and color choices to create the illusion of spheres. It was a workout, but everyone did a great job!


wpid-20161017_202858.jpgTonight we set up our own individual still life arrangements. Part of the challenge being setting up something simple but interesting, and the other part being, of course, painting it. Loraine and Brenda did a great job choosing, arranging, and rearranging their still life. We kept them small and simple, and we made sure to get photos for reference. We worked slowly and general to specific. It’s hard, but it’s important! There was a lot of conversation about color choices, value, and form. In the end, they shaped up nicely. Except for mine. Too much talking, not much painting.

If You Can’t Beat ’em…

wpid-20161014_200809.jpgThere are holiday decorations all over the store, so why not paint them, too! It was a nice practice for potentially creating our own holiday cards this year. This was a photo I took last year of a still life I set up in the classroom. Just a few ornaments sitting on the classroom table. We had to make up our backgrounds. So easy to do. You could set up your own still life at home and paint your cards! How about watercolor?! Fun!

B/W Bodie

wpid-20161011_123612.jpgRemember Back Alley Bodie? Well, this is the church at the end of the street. I think. It is a building from Bodie, CA. I have some very skilled draftspersons in my class. Look at the amazing job they did with this one! We did a little exercise as they were finishing this drawing. I asked them to do the same drawing with their non-dominant hand. It was so much fun to watch. Mary and Jim both giggled out loud. It was lovely. I’m glad they enjoyed the struggle and the awkwardness of using their other hands. As for the lesson involved, it shows what can happen with line when we don’t exert ultimate control on the pencil. Some lovely marks were created with that challenge. Hopefully everyone can keep a bit of that looseness when the switch back to their dominant hand. Line quality is a lovely thing!

Foggy Fences


Welcome back to Marilyn. She joined us again for this really yummy foggy lane painting. Everyone explored different undertones to play with, and it was fun to see how that affected the end paintings. This painting was a lesson in perspective, for sure! We have one point perspective and atmospheric perspective in the fenceposts and the lane. It was a challenge to get those fields to fall away into the foggy distance. Patience pays off, though. These are some really nice paintings!

Sheer Charcoal



Look familiar? We painted it last week, so we drew it this week. Both were good, but the drawings are a bit better than the paintings! Why? Practice. What we learned about the image while doing the paintings, we put to practice in the drawings. It’s always beneficial to work in a series. You learn so much with each piece that you then take to the next piece so you can concentrate on other issues in the new one. This drawing definitely depends on good value range to work. Connie really got a great amount of glow in her window because everything else is so dark. Sometimes, you have to push the value of things in your composition to make others stand out. It doesn’t have to match the photo, it has to be better!

Sheer Blue



We painted interiors today in a monochromatic color scheme. We had to deal with warm and cool, dark and light, dull and bright, and on top of it all, transparency. The sheer quality of the curtains was difficult until you realize that the background color defines those sheers. The girls did a great job with this very difficult project.

Foggy seascapes

wpid-20160826_201543.jpgTonight was supposed to be either a seascape or a landscape, so we combined the two and did a marshscape. That’s a thing, right? Anyway, we had fog and we had underpaintings and we had grasses and we had skies. It was awesome. I love the effect the different colors of underpaintings had on the finished paintings. Welcome to our newest painter, Marilyn, and congratulations on doing a great job on a tough first painting!