Travels and Progress and Figure Workshop

Wilson's Arch, oil 11" x 14" $250. unframed, $310. framed.
Two weeks ago my daughter and a friend and I drove to Idaho to visit my parents and my brother- a three day drive each way through spectacular country. I took a lot of photos, mostly through the windows of my car. I painted this from one of those references. A viewer of my broadcast as I began this painting did some quick research and suggested I was painting Wilson’s Arch in Utah. Very possibly. I just know I saw it coming up the road and scrambled pretty quickly to get some fly-by photos. I really like this painting.

Ranchero, oil 10"x8" $150. unframed, $175 framed.
I painted this in the Best Western bathroom (it had the best light!) in Monticello, Utah, on our way back to Texas. The fellow had been sitting at the counter having breakfast in Roswell, NM, near our booth - prompting some stealthy photos over our hash browns and biscuits and gravy. I realized as I set up to paint that I hadn't packed any WHITE! I'd never painted anything without white on my palette. It was an interesting exercise and resulted in a painting I like very much.

This is a small commissioned painting for a man of his mother, using a photo from the early '60s- a photocopy of a damaged, hand-tinted black and white photo. I simplified her complicated jacket and the very complicated background in order to shift the focus to her beautiful, elegant face.

I'm only a short way into this 18" x 24" oil of three sisters, but I thought I'd post a progress image of it so far. It seems like everyone who has kept me company during my broadcast while I painted it has mentioned how many teeth there are to paint in this portrait. I do love their smiles and will follow my own best advice in how to paint those smiles. I will so!

Coming up: I'm offering a two-day "Figure Indoors" Workshop August 21-22 at the Coppini Academy here in San Antonio. $195. includes model and studio fees. Artists may work in either oil or pastel and will work from my photographs the first day and from the model on the second day. If you love painting people and also love the idea of a narrative painting- telling a story- I hope you'll join me. Sometimes it's a pleasure to paint people when the likeness is not imperative! Email me at and I'll connect you to the folks who handle registration.

I leave in less than three weeks for Ireland where I'm teaching a three-day portrait workshop in Dublin (!!!), then visiting Galway and Connemara with my artist friends there. Then I'm flying to Paris (my first time!!!) for a few days, then taking the train to the International Pastel Festival in St. Florent Le Vieil where I have four paintings exhibited. Pinch me. I promise paintings will follow...

I hope your summer plans include a little adventure, a lot of fun and the chance to create something. Oh, and some time in a hammock. Ahhh.....

Figure Workshop, August 21-22

Susan Carlin- Figure Workshop
Painting the clothed figure in an interior setting
Open to all skill levels

Saturday, August 21- Sunday, August 22, 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., $195 includes venue and model fees.

It's liberating to paint people when a likeness is not necessarily the goal. Painting someone doing something, a person in context with the surroundings- the narrative becomes the intent. In this workshop, artists will become storytellers.

In the real world, artists work from life or from photos, and often a combination of both. In this workshop, artists will paint the first day from photographs provided by the instructor- a simple scene involving a single figure indoors. Artists will work from the model on the second day- an arrangement involving a woman reading.

Carlin will address issues involving proportion, composition, increasing accuracy of drawing, representing values more accurately, ways to direct the viewer's eye, as well as addressing individual artists' questions and concerns. Artists may work in oil or in pastel, or in any drawing medium. (Artists who work in other media are welcome if they are in command of their medium and are seeking assistance with the subject matter and above issues.)

Join us for a weekend of painting and storytelling!