All the Christmas commissions have arrived at their destinations and I'm taking a bit of time to work on something for myself. Above is an about-midway-through progress image of what's on the easel now. I'm calling it Corner Chair as a working title, but a friend has suggested Not Schmid in case anyone were to confuse the model for the famous and amazing artist Richard Schmid, who also wears a Greek fisherman's cap. It has many days of painting to go, but perhaps you can get the idea of it from this shot. If it turns out well enough, I hope to enter it into a competition. I've been doing most of the work online, so there are hours and hours of recordings of it getting to this point at www.ustream.tv/channel/susancarlin .
Tonight at 5 p.m. Texas/Central time, I'm breaking from working on Corner Chair to begin a commissioned pastel portrait of a beautiful little girl. Perhaps you'd like to drop in at the above link and watch or log in and chat? It's not polite to brag, but the nicest people come hang out with me. It's a party every time I paint! Hope you'll join me.
I hope you're enjoying the holiday. As you might guess, mine is being full of painting, as well as family and friends and feasting. Heaven!
This is the portrait I did for the portrait exchange on the Different Strokes From Different Strokes blog. The lovely woman is Marilyn King, who also painted my portrait. My colors in this photo seem wonky compared to the original, but close enough, I think. If you'd like to see the broadcast recordings of me painting this portrait, you can go here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.
I raise my portrait prices at the beginning of each year, but always honor the current price if a deposit is placed before the end of the year. If you were thinking you might want a portrait this year, let me know and we'll arrange a deposit to hold this year's prices. email@example.com
As the new year approaches and you start to think of your New Year's resolutions, or ways you'd like to tune your life a bit closer to your heart's desires, I send my encouragement to live your dreams. The world will be a better place for you and for all of us if you do, I'm certain!
I finally completed this 10"x8" oil of Kyra above. The reference photo had been taken by a cell phone of her still in the hospital after being born prematurely.
The portraits below were 10"x8" oil commissions I didn't think I'd have time to do before Christmas, but worked many, many hours online and off this week to complete. If all goes well with the drying and the varnish and the post office, the family will have them in time for the big day.
Each of these young people are so beautiful, I know their parents must be proud.
Now I'll be turning my attention to a couple of paintings I hope to enter into competition. I'll let you know how that's going in my next post.
I wish you the happiest of holidays, full of comfort and joy and love.
I've been busy and loving every minute...
I really enjoyed painting this 12"x12" oil portrait of Ike and Kirby, adorable Jack Russells.
George Davis, 20" x 16" oil. This is the portrait I only had a black and white reference photo to work from. I'm pleased with the outcome.
Next up on my easel are four 8" x 10" oils, portraits of four children, the youngest 17 years old. I'm not sure I'll be able to get them done before Christmas, but I'll give it a good try.
After that, on my portrait schedule, is a 20" x 16" pastel of a beautiful little girl, then a 20" x 24" oil- an epic painting of two boys on the shore of a lake in autumn, Notre Dame is across the lake reflecting in the water, ducks swimming on the surface... quite a project.
Somewhere in there I want to work on a painting or two for myself- to enter into a couple of competitions this next year.
I hope you're enjoying your woolly sweaters and earmuffs and the scent of wood fires in the air. Even here in San Antonio we've begun bundling up. Saturday evening we played tourist and took a boat ride on the Riverwalk. The lights were wonderful and we loved the wry and witty commentary by our guide. The other riders appreciated the big blanket we shared with them. Cuddle up! Share a little spiced cider or eggnog with your favorite people. We're on the eve of new beginnings. Have a warm holiday!
I promised to send the finished (tiny) portrait of Nanny, since I'd included an image of it in progress. This is a 5" x 7" oil that is shipping out today in time for Christmas. Doesn't she have a kind, sweet face?
Below is a series of progress images of a 16" x 20" oil that I'm painting from a black and white reference photo. I'm only a couple of hours in on this one, but thought I'd show you what I see as I go along...
Along with an image of this painting finished, I'll send you an image of the two cute Jack Russells I'm finishing up right now. Both are giving me a steady, expectant gaze from the canvas...
I can hardly believe it, but my house is decked out for Christmas already and it's helped to put me in the holiday spirit in a big, big way. It's working to alleviate some of my shock at finding myself the mother of someone having her 28th birthday next Monday. I was 26 when she was born. The years are flying by and I'm SO grateful to be spending these current ones painting and learning to paint ever better.
Whatever it is that makes you feel alive and engaged and excited to get started... that's what I wish for you this Season.
Since I decided to return to being a professional artist, my gratitude list has grown longer and more enthusiastic. I'm living my dream of painting for my living, which is bounty enough, but I enjoy such a wonderful network of people interested in what I paint -some are other artists, some are friends, many are people who've visited my gallery- I'm thankful beyond explanation for the feeling of connection I have now. As a doctor, I often felt isolated, so I appreciate each reply to my newsletters and I dearly love those wonderful people who come chat with me while I'm painting online. Thank you for letting me share what I paint with you.
Angela and Aurora, oil, 24" x 18"
I'm one of 144 artists who donated a 12" x 12" painting (mine is a cowboy's profile) to the silent auction.
San Antonio Downtown Market Square Hotel
(formerly The Radisson next to UT Downtown)
Angela and Kristy, oil, 11x14 Smiling cousins. It's still on my easel and still wet, but it's close to finished so I thought I'd show you. I painted much of it online yesterday... hours and hours online. Thank you to the sweet folks who kept me company.
Maxxy, oil, 14 x 11
This was a fun commission. The client who commissioned it tuned in to watch the finishing touches during my broadcast yesterday and sent this email today:
Morning, Susan thank you so much for yesterday…. I smiled the whole time that I was watching you paint Max…. He’s is perfect, I could be happier ….. I am so glad that I found you!!
Words like those mean the world to me. I love my work.
I worked another few hours on this commission yesterday, also. So much yet to do, so much to change... Portraits are like intricate puzzles where you have to craft each piece yourself. It's challenging and exasperating... and thrilling when you finally get all the pieces to fit. (The background is undetermined yet, so I've covered the white of the canvas with blue and green just as a placeholder.)
I'm completely spoiled now.
Last week was chock full: One four-week Painting Workshop had its last session on Monday, the Langley dedication was on Wednesday, and I had a two-day Portrait Workshop on Friday and Saturday. I'm glad not all weeks are so busy, but I did love every minute!
I completely forgot to get a photo of the ten wonderful artists who impressed me greatly with their brave work in the four-week workshop, but let me tell you- Peggy M, Marilyn, Glenda, Dolly, Lorelei and Rhoni drove down from Marble Falls, worked their tushies off and drove that long drive back each Monday. Peggy M, Ruby, Pam, Mary and Gaye didn't have so far to drive, but worked just as hard. I was honored to have each of them in the workshop.
His daughter, Janis, was the spokesperson for her family at the luncheon and at the dedication, and is responsible for commissioning me to do the painting. I wrote her a thank you this morning and this was part of her reply:
Now it's time to continue work on my lengthening schedule of commissioned portraits and also try to tuck in a competition painting or two along the way. Thank you to everyone who wished me well and kept me company as I painted the Ralph Langley mural painting!
You can watch the recording here. (I forgot to put my mic back on at first, so hang in there, the sound gets better once I'm reminded to put it back on.
Marilyn Moore is a wonderful artist who works mainly in watercolor, but paints beautifully in oil, too. She's also a generous friend who modeled for me at the demo that I did at the Coppini Academy yesterday. I worked on it about an hour, but spent so much time talking, I didn't get very far. It's a start, but it's going to require some serious reworking. I took some photos of her so I can finish later. I'll post an image of the completed painting when I get back to it. Thanks, Marilyn!
Grampy and Kaiden, oil 11x14, commissioned 2008
Yesterday, an article about La Villita, including a nice mention of my gallery was in our local paper, the San Antonio Express News. The writer mentioned the other artists in the gallery- Bonnie Mann, Marilyn Moore and Patty Cooper, and me, and included a photo of one of my paintings (above) and my website and email address in the sidebar. Cool, yes? Check it out!
I projected the image of a cowboy in black and white from my computer and showed how to find and compare reference points on the subject in order to be sure of the accuracy of a drawing, and how to use guide lines and grid overlays to check one's work.
The mural painting got underway during an online broadcast Monday evening. I'm going to continue working on it this evening during another broadcast, in case you want to join the fun gang of artists and well-wishers who keep me and each other company. Tonight at 6 p.m.
Um, I'm experimenting with speeding the drying time of an oil painting by putting it in the oven. I had it at about 150 degrees. The house got a little fumey so I've turned it off and have left it in there. Am I nuts? Has anyone else done this? I know Kathryn Stats has said she has put her paintings in a hot car to speed the drying. Last night I mixed some fancy painting medium I bought from the Windbergs into my white paint before the demo- it's supposed to speed drying. I've been so impatient lately with how long white takes to dry. Anybody have advice for me?
Riverwalk Casa Rio, 14 x 11, oil on panel
I may have just noodled this painting to a faretheewell since I can't see a single other thing I could do to it. It's growing on me, though. I ride the express bus to and from downtown where the gallery is, I may have mentioned. One of my 'bus friends' is Juana, who has worked at Casa Rio for many years. I always show her what I've painted recently by showing the images on my camera. When she saw the original version, she asked where she was in the painting. So I took a photo of her from the back and tucked her in the scene. Good idea, Juana!
I'm going to try to paint tonight online... come by www.ustream.tv/channel/susancarlin at 6 Central time if you can.
Riverwalk Vision, 14x11 oil
I wasn't having a very good day. To recount it might be to give additional weight to it, so I'll just say I was in the need of happiness. I usually tell people to only paint when they are happy so they won't anchor anything but joy to the experience of painting. Even so, I risked it today and painted to GET happy. It worked for the very most part. 'Playing in the colors' as my sister calls it, really helped me focus on line and shape and color and removed my focus from the other experiences. I didn't have time to fuss much, so I might go back and rework some things later, but for now, I'm grateful for my therapeutic painting time this afternoon.
My friend Janet emailed on Tuesday asking if she could ever come watch me paint. Could she ever! I emailed right back, asking if that night would be too soon. So I had a special treat during my broadcast - my voice wasn't the only one in the room! I soon realized that I could use an assistant. I kept handing her things and asking for help with this or that... She was very accommodating. Thanks, Janet.
I figured I'd let her help me figure out what to paint that night, too, so when she arrived I had several photographs ready for her to choose among. This scene with the beached red boat was her choice. It's 16" x 12", oil on stretched canvas. Not sure when I'll be able to get back to it, since I'm starting in on the large painting-t0-be-mural project now, but I like that it's blocked in pretty well as a start. I'll enjoy working on it again down the line. Thanks to all who came to chat during the broadcast!