Video of Painting Dad

This is a video of the beginning and middle of the painting of my dad. Even after editing out some nonsense, it's over 40 minutes long. I thought about breaking it up and posting it in bits, but I imagine you can start it and stop it on your own if you're interested at all. Right?
Thank you for the positive reinforcements on my first efforts. You may have created a monster! Just saying.
Oh... the paint color I couldn't remember in the video is olive green.

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Revised painting of my Dad... much better!

I worked on this painting for 4 hours today while teaching. I worked from two photos I took of Dad's sitting. I like this version of it much better than where I left off yesterday. I can see discrepancies, but my sister, Mom and Dad have proclaimed it 'right on', so I'm stopping right there. The folks are all packed and ready to go for an early morning flight back to Idaho. We're really going to miss them here.

Oil portrait of my dad from a sitting

I've mentioned before that my folks are visiting. My dad's been keeping me company at the gallery most days since their arrival. Today was his last day to do that because tomorrow they pack to go.
So today I asked if he'd sit for a portrait, kind of thinking he'd say no. He said yes! So I pulled a 16x20 canvas panel out, added some fresh paint to my palette, turned on the video camera and started painting. I painted fast and furiously for about 3 hours and this is what I got.
It's not the best. I did take photos of his pose and may make the corrections I see I could make- later. But I want to tell you, it was a pretty special 3 hours. I've been looking at his face for almost 53 years and watching it change as mine has. Dad turns 80 in a few days. Mom will be 80 in June. Our time is more and more precious, we realize. And it was so good to spend some of it painting Dad.
The video is spotty. Still the problem of my big ol' hair getting in the way of you seeing the canvas. Once I get a chance to edit it, I'll see what might be worthwhile showing.
What have you all been up to?

Finish, I think

Went into the gallery today on my day off to work on this painting. I like it a lot now. Had to move her left eye (viewer's right) in just a bit and take some shine off her forehead and knock down some brush strokes that were reflecting so much light in the background. I softened her lip line just a smidge and did a variety of other additions/revisions until I was satisfied. This photo still isn't the best, but you can get the gist.
Tonight is the last night of NIOSA, so they should be beginning the dismantling process tomorrow. It took a week to construct, so I imagine they'll be at it for days.

Some progress, not quite finished

I took this photo just as I left the studio yesterday and it caught a lot of reflections from the brush strokes in the wet paint, and was slightly out of focus, to boot. But I'll post it anyway and will follow with a better photo of a more finished painting later today, I hope.

Progress on small portrait from video

I went to the gallery today and worked on this painting a couple of hours and thought I'd post its progress. It's inching along well, I think. I hope to have it completed by tomorrow night so it'll have time to dry, be varnished, dry again, then be shipped to Louisiana for Mother's Day.

It's Mary Shepard's day at the gallery so we got to catch up a bit. She goes on a painting trip each spring with a great group of artists and has just returned. La Villita was already cleaned up from last night's revelry and looked ready for tonight's NIOSA. Amazing.

Video of Oil Portrait Beginning

Okay. I'm reeling from the new awareness that I have some serious jowlage. I never see myself from the angle portrayed in this video and I'm just this side of horrified. Okay, I'm smack in the middle of horrified. I turn my head and the skin over my jaw goes all corrugated! Who knew?! And what's up with my voice? I sound like Minnie Mouse on helium. Sigh.

Be aware that this is a 24 minute video. I did trim out 21 minutes of frustration where my big ol' hair was in the way most of the time. And be aware that it is unscripted. I just started the video and started talking and painting. Gawd. Just remember that some of you actually asked me to do this. Still, do NOT feel obligated to spend your next 24 minutes in this manner. If you do, I guess you've been warned.

This I now know: Creating a video is not best done solo. I need to not only mark the place where the camera is to sit, but also where the easel is to stay! Duh. I need to not talk over my shoulder. It isn't pretty. I also need to have an idea of what information I'll cover. Duh2.
But for the intrepid among you, I hope there's some useful/entertaining-enough nugget in there to be worth your while. Let me know? I promise to work on improving. And I promise to post the painting when it's finished. Excuse me now while I go schedule that face lift....

Video of the Gallery- Seeing if it works!

We just got a "Flip" video camcorder- about the size of last year's cell phone- and I'm trying it out by recording the outside and inside of the gallery this morning. It was a good day to play with this sort of thing because NO ONE is in La Villita while they finish up the construction for Night In Old San Antonio to start tomorrow. Tell me what you think of adding the video... did it take forever to load? I'm thinking of doing some demo videos to post, so let me know.

Artists- Start Your Blogs!

As an artist, it's essential to have a web presence, and a blog is a GREAT solution. If you already have a website, a blog can be the perfect compliment. Blogs are wonderfully interactive, easy to update and FREE! Connecting with other artists and with art lovers is so important, and you can do that easily via your own blog. Show your latest work. Share progress images as you create. Ask for feedback. Announce public showings of your work, network with others, give and receive encouragement, even sell your work online with PayPal- it's all possible with a blog. If you want to sell your work via eBay, a blog can send people to your auctions. You can build and maintain a mailing list via your blog and send your emails with news and images of your lastest work.

For lots of information and real assistance in launching your blog, and get it working for you, come to my Saturday workshop May 24th, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m at the Coppini Academy in San Antonio.

We'll cover the setting up your blog, how to post entries, how to upload images of your work and much, MUCH more.

The cost for the Artists- Start Your Blogs! workshop is $50.
Three ways to register:

1. Send a check for $50., your name, address, phone number and email address to:
Susan Carlin
12818 Independence Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78233

Or 2. Call 210-226-3992 Monday-Saturday 10-6 to register over the phone.

Or 3. Send your registration fee to at Click on "Send Money" and follow the instructions. Be sure to include your name, phone number and address.

Directions and more information will be emailed to you before the workshop. Although you may decide to come at the last minute, you must be pre-registered to receive "handouts" emailed to you prior to the workshop.

If you have a wireless notebook/laptop computer, bring it with you. And bring your lunch!

I'm looking forward to seeing you there!


Two finishes on two cat paintings

These two cats were commissioned by a very nice man and I got to finish them up today after I worked on the portrait of the sisters for a while. Not sure why the first one looks so purple. Trust me.... it's not purple. But it's way off the adorable scale, don't you think?

This is a blurry picture my dad took of Cathy working on her portrait of two pugs while I worked on the sisters.
It was a good day. Thank you to those of you who write me! I appreciate your good wishes more than I can tell you.

Progress on sisters and grandboys

I worked a bit more on the grandboys painting today and liked it well enough to frame. I'll take it out in a few days to varnish it.

The sisters are coming along, as well. I'm piecing together information from several sources and am only maybe halfway along on this one, but I think it's very sweet already. The client is the one with darker hair who says this of her sister: "(She's) a special gift to all of us. Her disability has never stopped her from accomplishing anything. She has a twinkle in her eye, a confidence that I envy, charm and sophistication, and a little bit of mischief all rolled into her 5’ stature!" The painting will be a Mother's Day gift to their mom. It's wonderful being the portrait artist who gets to paint these women.
I had the pleasure of the company of an artist whose work I admire today. Bonnie is a confident painter of still life and landscapes, but has been tentative about portraiture, so she came for a personal instruction day with me and started a portrait of her granddaughter. It's looking great already. I hope to show you her finished painting down the line. Some people just make you feel good to be around them. Bonnie's like that.
La Villita is in the process of transforming for Fiesta, particularly NIOSA- Night in Old San Antonio. Actually, five nights- Tuesday through Friday, the 22nd-25th next week. NIOSA Fiesta People tell me I'll want to close the gallery during all that and reopen when it's over. Can it be that bad? I'll let you know.

Small two person oil portrait begun, plus plein air!

This is an 11x14 oil on stretched canvas I've started from a very poor photograph, but of charming subjects- two sisters for their mother for Mother's Day. The client has sent me additional photos which will help to fill in the gaps of information left by the one I used to block this in.

This is an 8x10 oil on stretched canvas- my attempt to paint 'plein air' on Saturday with the Austin Plein Air group. Actually, I wasn't "with" anyone- I was by myself at the top of the stairs at the Arneson River Theater for about an hour and a half, accepting compliments by well-wishing tourists passing by and taking photos of some of them who wanted the real scene as the backdrop for their souvenir shots. I did take some photos of the theater, so I might be able to tweak it a bit later. It's not the best, but it's not flat out dreadful either, right?

Two New Starts

This is a 12x12 oil on stretched canvas I worked on yesterday and today and may be 80% done. I actually thought I was done at one point and signed it. Prematurely, I see. There are a couple of things I want to straighten out. It's funny how much I can see after I shrink it to a small file size and see it on the monitor. The reference photo is one I begged for... from the loving grandmother of these boys. She said they asked the boy in the foreground to hold his head still, so he reached up and held it still. So literal, that boy.

This is a 5x7 oil on canvas panel. It's one of two commissioned by someone who bought another cat I painted a year ago and wanted two others to keep it company on his wall. He went through my cat references with me and chose this serious Siamese mix and a great profile of a tabby. They each have a strong background color. The one he owns has a great yellow/orange and the tabby has a bright green. The fun finishing element in painting cats is putting in the whiskers. I just scratch a sharp point quickly in the trajectory of the whisker and it removes the paint back down to the white canvas.

Say, if you would prefer getting these posts less often, or even not at all, just let me know and I'll make the changes for you.
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Completed small oil commission and Blogs!

I took this photo inside the gallery (fluorescent lights) before I left last night but should have taken the painting out into natural light to take the photo. You're not seeing the range of colors in the face with these photos, but wanted to post them anyway to show the completed painting.

Three artist friends wrote to urge me to leave the painting alone after the last post. They worried I'd lose the loose, fresh look of the more painterly beginning. I honestly did have more to do, but hope I was able to retain those qualities. The client loves it, so I'm happy. I appreciate the feedback so much! Thank you to those who wrote.
Big excitement- I'm putting together a one-day workshop on the "Art of the Blog," or "Artists, Start Your Blogs." Clearly, I need to find a good title, but the idea is to show people the reasons and uses for a blog and how to start and keep one of their own. Artists especially need blogs, in my opinion, but anyone could have a blast with one. Workshop dates coming soon.
Oh, and I now have the means to project the computer screen so all can see what I'm doing in the workshop, and a way to project live feed from the webcam, so I can do demonstrations and folks won't have to sit on one side of the room to see what I'm doing. If your group would like me to come do a program for one of your meetings, I'd be happy to paint for you and talk about what goes on in the head of an artist as she creates.
Edited later: creating a backlink to another blog: here.

Small oil commission begun

This is a 12x16 oil on stretched canvas- the beginning of getting it blocked in. So much more to go.
Kind of roughed in a background just to leave the studio with the canvas covered and to see if I liked a woodsy background on it. It does give the scarf some context, I think, plus it's very similar to the photo reference. I'll look at it again tomorrow and see what I think then. I was shown a different photo of this woman at a much younger age and she was beautiful, as she remained at this age. Her hair was all black then, with just a touch of white at the edges of her hair. There's a lot I want to do to warm her expression later on. I'll post progress photos as I go.
I got to have such great conversations with people today. The nicest people wander in. My dad is staying with me at the gallery during his visit, and we put together two new easels I bought on Sunday at Jerry's Artarama in Austin. They have a much smaller "footprint" than my French easel and the metal easel I've been using there. With space so precious, I needed easels that commanded less real estate.

Likely finish on latest portrait

I'm feeling pretty good about this one now. Will look at it again tomorrow with fresh eyes. I straightened his nose out a bit this morning and then worked on the rose and his tie and suit and some edges the rest of the day. It's been fun to involve some of the tourists as they come in on whether they see any discrepancies. Some have offered really great suggestions. Now on to the next project. Let me know if I can paint someone for you!

Susan Carlin Art Studio And Gallery
phone: 210-226-3992

Commission coming along

I spent some of Monday and much of Tuesday working on this painting and think it's coming along pretty well.... Now. Just when I thought I was on the home stretch, I realized I'd cheated him of some face on the viewer's right side. I had to move his ear out about a quarter of an inch and give him more of a temple there. Tomorrow I'll be working on his tie and the lapel rose and sorting out some edges here and there.

It's good having my parents here visiting. Dad's been going in with me to the gallery and exploring along the Riverwalk, taking photos. He's also been cooking like crazy and we're all eating way too well. Tonight: barbeque with his famous home made sauce, and carmel corn. It's decadent and wonderful, trust me. Mom sets aside her current novel or movie to join in whatever's proposed. We're getting a few games in, but I feel a domino tournament coming on.