I had the best time today. This fun couple from Houston spent four hours with me at the gallery while I roughed in the beginning of their 16x20 oil portrait. I took several photos as references for later when I do the work of finishing it. I had them sit separately, taking turns as I painted. Both of them have excellent interviewing skills, so I'm afraid I talked a blue streak all the while. I managed to get the conversation focused on them in return toward the end and wished I'd done that sooner- they're fascinating.
It's unusual that I have so many portraits in the works at one time. I prefer to focus on one until it's finished and then start the next. But right now I have the two children in oil on 8x10 canvases, John Pototschnik on 18 x 24 canvas, the woman from the newspaper clipping on 16x20 and now this new one- all in progress. Next week I take photos for a very large portrait of a 14/15 year old girl, and there's another waiting to begin- a fairly large one of two children. But somewhere in there I need to do my taxes. So, I plan to do my broadcast Tuesday evening -oh! that's tonight!- and then buckle down and figure out the figures for a few days.
Am I the only one who's waited until the last minute to do her taxes?? Send encouragement, send caffeine, send chocolate!
I've worked on these two portraits during my online broadcasts last night and the night before. I'm pretty close to done with the little boy, perhaps. I'll take some fresh looks later. The little girl is just blocked in for now, and I haven't decided what to do about her dress yet. I thought I'd post the progress images especially for those who kept me company as I painted. Bless you!!
I finished the portrait of Samy today at the gallery. It was so good to paint again there. Before yesterday, it seems like it had been weeks.
Today there was a Festival of India in La Villita, in Maverick Plaza next to me. So I got to have a wonderful lunch of sag paneer and rice and was enjoying all the bright saris and the music... when suddenly a very loud rock band started up on the other side of the gallery in the garden of a restaurant there. On top of that, another South American band, complete with those great Pan flutes and xylophone-ish instruments started playing just on the other side of the church on my courtyard. Yikes! It was a great cacophony and I just had to breathe through it and focus on conversation with my visitors.
I know I've mentioned before how much I enjoy talking with the visitors to the gallery, but let me tell you again. This world is just chock full of the nicest people! I learned about Bernese Mountain dogs from a fun woman who is a dog show judge, met a wonderful woman who's a sculptor and lives in a nearby town, talked with several lapsed artists who left the gallery encouraged to practice their arts again in some way, talked with many, many parents who were on a Spring Break vacation with their children and talked with many children about their drawings. On top of that, I got to paint the last three hours of the day! Life is good.
Oil, 10 x 8
While at the gallery yesterday, I was setting up to work on the portrait of Samy and a fun couple from Colorado Springs walked in. The fellow immediately got the idea I should paint his wife, Susan. Right now. Susan protested. Her hair, her shirt, no, no, no. But her husband urged, reasoned, sweetly bullied. Somehow, he persuaded us both to cooperate. As I was organizing the easels and chairs for this new plan, he tells me that she's celebrating a milestone birthday and I guessed 50, but it turns out she's turning 60! I then learn that she's recently retired from 35 years of teaching music, and that she's a painter, herself. So we started in on the portrait and had a very nice conversation, with her husband cheering us on with "You've nailed it!" and "You're going to love this!" all the way through. I had to get up a couple of times to handle some card and print sales, but we finished up 90 minutes after we started. Susan declared the painting wonderful. You know, I need a bit more of this in my life. I LOVED having a live model. I'll keep the portrait until it dries, then varnish it and when that's dry, I'll ship it off to Colorado Springs as a reminder of Susan's 60th birthday in beautiful San Antonio. Ah.
I'm not a "techie" by any means, but I can show you what I know about starting and keeping a blog. It's the single most effective means of marketing/communication/networking/showing of my work that I've experienced. Blogs are free and worth many thousands!A one-day workshop to give you what you need to-
- Start your blog.
- Understand the basics, and many of the bells and whistles.
- Create a slideshow of your art for your blog.
- Start a mailing list with a subscription form on your blog- send to each post or periodic newsletters.
- Add PayPal buttons to your work on your blog and be paid directly.
- Add a visitor counter to your blog to see details about visitors and who refers them.
- Know basic blog ettiquette.
- Network and make new friends all over the world!
$50.00, May 3, 2009 at Tres Amigos restaurant- 1801 S. Capitol of Texas Hwy, Austin, Texas
9:30 a.m. -1 p.m., mid-day break (to allow pickup of paintings for end of show), 3:30- 5:30 p.m.
Contact me at email@example.com for more information and to reserve your spot.
You may bring a wireless laptop if you like, but it's not necessary. Breakfast, lunch and dinner available with notice.
Thank you to my smart and talented sister, Patty Cooper, for turning my ugly duckling website into a thing of pride. Check out www.SusanCarlin.com and see if you agree. I still need to cull out paintings and put up a few newer ones, and there are some other ideas I hope to add in the future, but I do like it SO much now.
If you could use some expertise with your website, you can talk it over with Patty: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm trying to put some new "sample" portraits up in the gallery and thought I'd try to improve this one that I'd started last year, but set aside due to some drawing and temperature issues I had with it. I like it much better now. The image below is the "before":
Cute enough, I suppose, but the hat didn't sit on her head correctly, and her face was warm and warmer, with no ochres or blues.
Below is the reference photo- perhaps an oft-used image from the reference library at wetcanvas.com:
16x12 oil on stretched canvas. Just two and a half hours in, but managed to get it sort of blocked out. I debated whether to delete this image, as I see many many corrections that must be made, now that I've moved back and taken a good look. The high key values and the little contrast of the photo are making me want to put in contrast that isn't there, so I'll have to watch that. Thank you for the good company as I painted!
Desmond O'Hagan is a terrific painter and is giving us (the Austin Pastel Society) a three day workshop at the Windberg Art Center.
Jo Castillo took this photo of me working on my first painting of the day.