In The Wings

In The Wings detail

In The Wings
This is an 11" x 14" oil on stretched canvas. I'd taken the photo of this model months ago at the Coppini. I completely made up the background in this painting and suffered mightily over what to paint on the left of the figure. It seemed necessary to have some object to bounce the eye back into the painting. I asked visitors what should go there and one woman suggested stacked chairs. I liked the idea, but I'm afraid my mind blanked at how to paint them without a reference, so I asked another couple, who were visiting from Wales. They suggested a stepladder. I could imagine figuring that out, so I painted the little ladder. I like it! The photos are a bit off the correct color, but close enough to get the idea, I think.

Touching base

My artist friend Dianne Mize and her paintings are featured on Empty Easel right now. Congratulations, Dianne!

I'm hoping to paint again on UStream soon, but you can bet I'll be using a brush vs. a palette knife! Karen Hargett suggested painting a kitty face- sounds good to me! I'll let you know when I can carve out a couple of hours... maybe Sunday again.

Monday and Tuesday was spent teaching and today I ran errands and went to the movies with my daughter, so there aren't new paintings to show right now. I hope to paint tomorrow and to post something later in the day.

I've been thinking a lot about goals and being more deliberate about the direction of my painting efforts. I set some goals at the beginning of the year and I see that some of them have lost a little steam now by July. When I get things a bit more solidified in my brain, I'd like to share them as I see that other artists regularly do- because I think that might help me keep them in focus. How do you keep your artistic and professional goals at the top of your everyday to-do list? I'd like to hear your thoughts about this, if you'd like to comment.

Fun Sunday, painting online with friends!

I painted this one yesterday, starting around 11:00, as a "warm up" to make sure everything was working before the 12:00 noon starting time. It's rather slap-dash, but every bit of practice helps, right? Barbara Pask tuned in early and stayed with me the whole time! Thank you, Barbara!

At noon, I took a vote among those logged in about which painting to do, thinking there'd be just one. The man with the beard won by a vote. I actually kind of like the way his whiskers worked out. I see lots of things on the painting that could be improved, of course, but I like a lot about this one.
Since we were on a roll, so I went ahead and started this one of Kim....

It could use a LOT of work still, but I enjoyed the beginning of it pretty well. Thank you to everyone who tuned in and kept me company yesterday!
Barbara Pask, Sharon Cullen, Karen Hargett, Regina Calton Burchette, Stacey Peterson, Chris Armes, Bonnie Mann, Carol Mitchell, Dar Presto, Jo and Gene and Joanna Castillo, Sarah Sedwick, Amy Sullivan, Ann Reyes, Dianne Mize (and her students!), Sherrie Allyn... I'm certain I'm forgetting someone... remind me?... Thank you all!

Reference photo options for UStream broadcast

These are the possible reference photos I could use for today's painting at noon on
The top one is a photo of an artist friend, Kim, that Karen took last November. The lower two are from the copyright-free image library on
I'll leave it up to those who keep me company as to which one I paint. Got a preference?

Kitty Face 6" x 6" oil on Gessobord

I just played today. Made a mess of a cowboy painting (which I'm not showing) and enjoyed painting another kitty face. I managed somehow to break the tip off my palette knife, so I need to go shopping tonight to be ready for Sunday.
Thank you all for the birthday wishes!

Calico commission, 5"x7" oil on canvas panel

Back to my brushes... actually one brush, a very cheap bristle flat. I really do need better brushes. I used the palette knife to scrape out the whiskers. I like this little painting. Every time I paint a cat, I wish I had 10 more in a row to do.
Tomorrow is my 53rd birthday and a new artist, Ilze, will be at my gallery so I can go visit other art galleries and museums all day. Karen and I are going to the McNay and the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Greenhouse Gallery. Heaven, right? We'll have dinner with family at Texas Roadhouse (a peanut-shells-on-the-floor, noisy, steaks-and-baked-potatoes sort of place) and then head home for a piece of the chocolate Kahlua cake Karen's making today.
Sunday I'm having a party online with you! And we don't even have to wear silly hats. Well, you can if you want to... who's to know?

I'll be painting online Sunday. Want to watch?

I've been inspired by artist David Darrow to paint online so a few of my friends can keep me company from their homes. Sounds like fun to me!
Sunday, July 27th, at 12 noon Central Time,
I'll be at . You can just watch and listen online, or you can register with a username and then participate in the online chat. I'll be able to read your comments and questions and answer them on-air.
I'm going to be brave and do another portrait with a palette knife and also use a hand-held palette so I can do my mixing in front of the camera this time. Nothing like putting myself on the spot, right?
I'll find a way to post my reference photo, so you can see what I'm painting. Please come!

I'm offering another "Artist- Start Your Blog!" workshop on Saturday, August 23rd, at the Coppini Academy, from 9:30-3:00. Registration is $50. for new folks and free to those who attended in May if they refer a paying artist. Let me know you're interested ( and I'll send you a PayPal invoice,
or you can send a check to:

Susan Carlin
12818 Independence Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78233

I'm so proud of the artists who got their own blogs going after the last workshop.

Hope to see you online Sunday!

Second Palette Knife Portrait

I painted this 20" x 16" oil on stretched canvas today from 1-5:15 p.m. I'm pretty sure it's not done, but I had to quick take photos and then clean up fast so I could run and catch my bus.

The subject is Beverly, who is in charge of La Villita operations. She dropped off my rent check one morning wearing this great hat and electric blue outfit. By now you know my M.O., right? I begged. She struck this pose in my doorway and I snapped three shots. I've eliminated the paintings in the background and suggested a minimalist landscape. I guess I have a thing for people in hats, huh?

I planned to take progress photos throughout but got absorbed after the third photo and didn't remember until it was time to go. I worked with the reference image on my monitor, which I set up on top of the counter facing my easel.

I'm really enjoying the palette knife as a way to apply paint. Don't worry- I haven't abandoned my brushes, but I'm enjoying the texture and energy this method adds to a painting!

My first Palette Knife Portrait!

Well, this has been an exciting day for me. It's 4:30 now and at 11 or so I started this 16 x 20 oil on canvas panel. I've had so much fun painting it! Of course, it's been frustrating and I've had to repaint several areas because the knife did something I didn't expect and because the surface is so thick with paint, it's tricky to add a nuance without destroying what's underneath. But I do like the results and can't wait to dive in on the next subject !

I used a photo of a woman who visited the gallery maybe two months ago. When she walked in I started begging for photographs of her. She took mercy on me and let me snap a few. I loved this one of her arms crossed and with the viewpoint from below. She was wearing pink in the photo but I thought it undermined her power somewhat so I painted her in red. I also removed her purse and extended her hair down in front, as if perhaps a braid.

This experience rates a very loud WAH HOOOO!

San Antonio Riverwalk painting, oil with palette knife

After finishing Grace today, I wanted to do something different... something other than a portrait, I mean. I've been inspired by Ann Reyes and Kathryn Law working more impressionistically with a palette knife and thought I'd have time to try a small painting in the time I had left in the day. This is from a photo I took when my Dad was visiting in April. I had fun painting this! It'll take longer to dry since the paint stands up thickly off the surface, but what the heck. I'm often so stingy with paint that it's therapeutic for me to ladle it on. I bought some new very large tubes of paint from Utrecht to see what all the fuss is about, so I think I'll try to use the palette knife and lay it ON. I've never tried a palette knife portrait, but I can feel one coming on..... Has anyone tried it? What do you think? Show me pictures?

Finish of Baby Grace Smiling

This painting was so sweet to do. Getting to look into a smiling baby's eyes for hours... not a bad way to spend one's time.

Grace in Progress

The grandfather of the subject of the Baby Grace painting last week has purchased that painting and now the mother of Grace has commissioned one for herself. Nice, huh? I worked on this start for about three hours today. It's an 8"x 10" oil on canvas panel. Still much to do, but I thought I'd post my "so far." She still needs the white bow for the top of her head and some subtle changes here and there, but doesn't that sidelong look and the dimpled smile just GET you? I'm gotten.

Portrait from life- James

I had a fun time today painting this fellow, James. A young woman named Alexis who was being trained by the Travel Channel to record video and interview people had been sent out to gather 15 minutes of someone doing something. I got to be the someone and I got to paint the something. I went next door to see if I could round up a model and James volunteered. (Reluctantly, I think.) The first version is below and took about 45 minutes. I took his photo and worked another 45 minutes to an hour on it since. I still see discrepancies- the nose, especially, isn't right, but Hey! it's not a commission and he's not going to buy it, and I've deemed it done. So there.

And I thought I was going to do office work all day... this was MUCH more fun. The office work can wait.

Video of Demo Portrait of Henry

This is the recording I made Tuesday night at the Trinity Art League when I painted a demonstration of an oil portrait. Henry Cardenas was the model.
This was an over 400 MB file, compressed to 87 MB in order to be able to post the whole hour, so the video quality isn't the best (maybe that's a blessing?), but Barbara Pask said she could take a whole hour, so ok... here it is! Be careful what you ask for, Barb.
I really like what David Darrow is doing at UStream with The video quality is GREAT. I'll try to figure out what it would take. Problem with that way is ... no editing. Yikes!

Tweaking Henry

I couldn't resist. I saw a couple of things on Henry's portrait to fiddle with this morning. I think it improved matters a bit. For an hour's effort, plus another 25 minutes here at the gallery, I'm happy with it. The video is mostly decent, but long. An hour of me might be a bit much for any but my closest friends. I'll see about what I might cut out.

Oil Portrait Demo -Henry Cardenas

Henry was a good sport and sat for my demonstration for the Trinity Art League tonight. It's challenging to instruct and chat while painting, but I talked a blue streak nonetheless. I even set up my little Flip Video and recorded the whole shebang. I haven't seen it yet, so it may be something that will need a music soundtrack vs. my voice... we'll see.

The members were very welcoming and complimentary. Thanks, Everyone!

Baby Grace

A proud grandpa and grandma came in the gallery today and had a photograph of Baby Grace in grandpa's wallet. I begged. I scanned. I painted. I painted this oil on an 8"x10" acrylic-tinted panel. It's one of those super-slick surfaces that I sanded and primed with an acrylic medium tone. It was kind of hard to get a photo of it without glare, so I hope you can see through all the shine.

Brand new blogger- J.P. Peters

Jerome P. Peters wandered into my little studio/gallery not long ago and before long we were talking artist-to-artist and of course I wanted to see his work online. Nothing! So I gave him my Blog Pep Talk (several of you have been subject to it, so you know what I mean...) and he went on his merry way. I just got an email with a link to his brand new blog!

I've added him to my blog link list and hope you will go by and give him a warm welcome to the blogosphere. Way to go, J.P.!

Better photos

I got some better photos of these three paintings, so thought I'd post them. "A Day To Remember In La Villita" 24" x 36" oil on stretched canvas.

Paola at Eleven 8"x10" oil on canvas panel

Riverwalk Bridge 11"x14" oil on stretched canvas.

Jay and Winston, two one-hour oil portraits

These fellows, vacationing from Oklahoma, sat for their portraits today. 8"x10" on canvas panel.

We've had torrential rain off and on yesterday and today- what a relief! It cooled the city down and has given some life to the crispy greenery... which had become mostly brownery over the last few weeks.

Dottie finish, Riverwalk progress and 11 year old's portrait from sitting.

8"x10" oil on canvas panel
I forgot my camera at home today so had to make do with my phone's camera. At the end of the day I got to paint this girl, Paola, whose 11th birthday is today. I'll try to get a better photo tomorrow.

I finished Dottie today. I'm not sure this was the final version, but probably close enough.

In between Dottie and Paola, I worked a bit on this painting of the San Antonio Riverwalk. It had the effect of sherbet between dinner courses.

Now I'll go visiting blogs to see what my friends painted today! I love this time of day.

Thought I was finished... Dottie.

Well, I worked on this painting all day and was convinced I was done until I just resized the photo to post. Now I see that the bridge of her nose is the teensiest bit too wide. Sigh. I'll correct that in the morning, but in the meantime... here's Dottie so far.

Finish of Pee Wee, Beginning of Dottie, and Award.

This is the finish of Pee Wee. I like it quite a lot.

This is the beginning of an 11" x 14" oil on stretched canvas using a black and white photo from the '40s as the reference. Dottie was the wife of Pee Wee and is now about 83 years old.

This is the painting my student Wanda finished today. She hasn't painted in over 20 years and is now re-initiated into the Order of the Artist. She was covered in paint by the end of the day, but she did a great job on this, her re-entry painting. Wonderful, Wanda!

Dianne Mize has graciously bestowed a lovely award upon me- Arte y Pico
It appears this award originated with a blogger named Eseya from Paraguay whose desire it was to award bloggers who inspire her and whose work she admires. The domino effect set in and now it's said to be one of highest honors among bloggers. Thank you, Dianne! And so I give the Arte y Pico Award to the following five bloggers:
Carol Marine Carol is a talented daily painter who is generous with her process and encouragement of other painters. She inspires me every day.
Karin Jurick Karin is a shining star in the artist's sky who shows what's possible with incredibly hard work and persistence . I'm over the moon with admiration for her.
Frank Gardner Frank is a wonderful painter who is also very generous in sharing his process and experience with the rest of us.
Colin Page Colin's paintings light me up on the inside. I have instant happiness and joy each time I see his work.
Kathryn Law Kathy is undergoing a perception transformation and is terrifically generous in sharing her thoughts and paintings as she goes. I look forward to each new painting.
Some of these painters may not have the time or inclination to keep this award circulating, but they are the ones I watch most carefully as I find my own way along this artist's path. I'm very grateful they share their work via their blogs.