Portrait / Figure Workshop, April 4,5,6 in San Antonio

Portrait/Figure  Project Workshop with Susan Carlin
For Pastel and Oil Painters who already have a basic grasp of the use of their medium.
(Brand new beginners in either medium may find a different workshop with us to be more useful.)
April 4,5,6, 2016
Whistle Stop Corner
Do you have a portrait or figure project in mind? Or perhaps you're in the middle of one, and could use some fresh eyes and guidance?
Even if you don't have a project in mind, but would like to further your skills, this could be the workshop for you.
In this one evening plus two-day workshop, we'll let your projects have the stage, and discuss options for improving them. Sometimes just tightening up the drawing is all that's needed, or it could be that improving the values will help the painting turn the corner.  Maybe a quieter color scheme, or an attention to variety in the edges...  Maybe just knowing a benevolent painterly soul is looking over your shoulder as you paint would be helpful. I invite you to bring the paintings that are just beginning, stalled, or are seemingly beyond help. It may be they just need a fresh look and new ideas!
Workshop Fee- Two and a half days, includes the Welcome Party and two lunches - $220.
  • April 4th, 5:30 -9 Monday evening: Welcome Party (hearty refreshments/dinner, tea, wine) and a look at your projects. Set up your painting areas and be ready to dig in the next morning.  
  • April 5th,  9 a.m. to noon Tuesday,  break for included lunch, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • April 6th,  9 a.m. to noon Tuesday,  break for included lunch, 1 to 4 p.m.
We'll further your projects and tackle topics as they arise. 
  1. New ways to be sure of your values
  2. Good ways to check for accuracy in drawing
  3. Wa!ys to make JUST the color you're looking for
  4. Ways to emphasize the focal areas,
  5. Ways to paint looser or tighter, as the painting needs.

Of course, you don't need to lodge with us to attend the workshop, but we'd love to host you at Whistle Stop Corner!
Lodging Fees- Two nights, April 4th-5th, includes two breakfasts and dinner Tuesday evening, check-in 3 p.m.
  • Twin bed in shared bedroom in Guesthouse - $135. (Five available, two in one room, three in another)
  • Double bed in private room in Guesthouse - $175.
  • Cottage- Double bed in private Cottage - $195.  (May include a second person or non-artist companion for just the cost of breakfasts and dinner -$35.)
  • Hideout- Queen bed in private two-story apartment -$205. (May include a second person or non-artist companion for just the cost of breakfasts and dinner -$35.) 

Call 210-602-8562 to reserve your place in the workshop (and lodging, if desired).  We will send a PayPal link to follow and take care of the fee. 

Susan Carlin
Cell phone: 210-602-8562


All 30!

A Month Of Paintings
This experience was good medicine. I'm better for it.  I'm humbled by it. Challenged to go on.

After a wee bit of rest.

Day Thirty! Lean On Me

Lean On Me
I'm Done!! If I were more awake, I'd tell you more about this painting. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Day Twenty-Nine - Trio of Pears

Trio Of Pears
10x10 oil on stretched canvas
Virginia thinks these pears have had a big night on the town and are now leaning on each other for support.  I like that! 
What is it about seeing your painting tiny on a screen that lets you finally see all that's wrong with it???   I see, of course, that I'll need to fiddle with the ellipse of the tray rim before I let it loose.  Otherwise, I think it can go out into the world and be a painting. Not an underpainting, not a good start, not a junior painting, but a grown up, graduate painting, with a mortarboard and tassel and everything. Ok, maybe, but only when I fix the ellipse. Maybe.

Day Twenty-Eight - Daughter Dear

Daughter Dear
11x14 oil on (white) canvas
This feels like a worthy underpainting... I hope to come back to this one and develop it further.

Day Twenty-Seven - Prop Shelfies

Prop Shelfies
12x24 oil on stretched canvas
I struggled, I growled, I might've sworn a little under my breath. Painting on a black gessoed surface is something I hope to never do again.  Karin Jurick does it every day. My hat is off to her. Just like when you paint on white, even light colors look dark, when you paint on black, even black looks light. Grrrr.  I do like the shapes, so when this painting sets up and I stop growling at it, I would like to develop it further.    In the meantime, this is what I accomplished today. 

Day Twenty-Six - Moving Forward, Looking Back

Moving Forward Looking Back
18x24 oil on stretched canvas
Something different. An idea I had, and I wanted to see if I could get it across. You'll have to let me know.

Day Twenty-Five - Nancy and Lucky

Nancy and Lucky
12x16 oil on a slick-as-grease gesso panel  grrrrr
Nancy and I have been friends online for maybe 25 years... since we met on an artist's group on Prodigy... remember Prodigy? Anyway, we only managed to meet once, years ago, but we have cheered each other on ever since.  If you're lucky enough to be Nancy's friend, you wish you could live next door. I wish that.  This is one of Nancy's lucky horses, named Lucky, as luck would have it.

Day Twenty-Four - Cody Wyoming

Cody Wyoming
My friends, Donna and Julie Good kindly allowed me to use their photograph of Cody as my reference for today's painting.  Like each of these 30 in 30 paintings, it's not as developed or "correct"
as I would like, but it was fun and I had the pleasure of company of the most wonderful artists online as I painted. Thank you, All!!!

Day Twenty-Three - Grapefruit and Liz

18x18 oil on canvas

10x10 oil on canvas
Finally! I was able to do these two paintings today to "catch up" with my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Both need more work, and I hope if Liz sees this, she'll be comforted to know I'm not finished.

Day Twenty-Two, Painting Twenty-One - Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy
Detail from 16x20 oil on stretched canvas

This is as far as I got on this painting tonight, so it will have suffice as my daily painting. I have high hopes for this one once I get the time to really focus and continue.
I made two hour-long videos of me painting this on www.ustream.tv/channel/susancarlin, if you want to watch something slow... It's like watching paint dry.  Ha!  I had a couple of artist friends in the chat room, so occasionally I respond to something they write.  Scintillating!

Day Twenty-One, Painting Twenty

Irish Quartet
8x10 oil on canvas panel
This was a grouping on our table at an Irish cafĂ© last September. Mismatched, all white and looking for all the world like a tight group of friends or maybe a band of musicians. Real cream in the jug. Real sugar in the sugar bowl. Fabulous coffee. Looking out the window onto the water and boats along the west coast. Chatting with the woman waiting on us... and discovering she'd spent a summer in Austin the year before and has enjoyed her visit to San Antonio.  Small, beautiful world.

Day Twenty - Painting 19 - How Now

How Now
16x20 oil on canvas panel
Much frustration and disappointment trying to use my better camcorder to broadcast tonight while painting.  Viewers were subjected to Vaseline commercials ad nauseum, the broadcast clicked off and on throughout.... but I kept painting. I painted a cow because Phyllis asked me to. I hope she didn't have a Longhorn in mind...

Day Eighteen - Sisters

11x14 pastel on Rtistix board
I bit the bullet and hooked up my exterior webcam to my laptop and broadcast this little pastel as I was painting it tonight.  Surprise, surprise- friends showed up to keep me company as I painted!!! It's been so long since I've done that, I didn't know what to expect. I haven't painted anything in pastel in ages and I was using a "set" (mishmash of pastels I threw in a box a LOOONG time ago) I was unfamiliar with... Although I'd be unfamiliar with even my favorite, last-used set if I could even find it!  Anyway, it was fun in a panicky sort of way.  Thank you to the friends and friendly artists who chatted me up as I painted tonight.  It meant a lot to me.

Day Seventeen - David Phillips

David Phillips
24x36 oil on canvas
David is a phenomenon. Actor, producer, director. And a very nice fellow.  He was our second AirBnB guest in July. We had the pleasure of getting to know him a bit while he was in town to show his latest film in the San Antonio Film Festival. Just before we drove him back to the airport, I asked if I might take photos of him for a possible portrait.  Both UK and I shot dozens and dozens of pictures until this one showed what I had in mind. We did get him to the airport in time, but just barely.  A couple of months ago I started on this portrait, but only got it kind of sketched out and the face blocked in.  Today I've gotten it to this point over many hours' work. There's more to go, but I feel like it's in good enough shape to post for my day Seventeen.  

Day Sixteen - Me Sideways

Me Sideways
The profile of UK seemed to beg a bookend.  Here t'is.  This is from a photo five years and fifteen pounds ago. Wise move.   Now we can be hung nose to nose.  That's not a sentence one is called to write very often.

Day Fifteen - Three Of Cups

Three Of Cups

11x14 oil on canvas
This was enjoyable... Very long, but enjoyable.   Sleepy... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Day Fourteen - Sue Bown

Sue Bown
20x16 oil on canvas
First of all, if I haven't completely portrayed Sue as the most charming, artistic, beautiful sprite of a woman, then I've fallen short.  And of course I've fallen far short. The reference photos were taken across the dinner table at Paesano's on the Riverwalk last April as we waited for our meals to be served. The table was encircled by all the artists attending my workshop in April last year. We'd had a horse-drawn carriage ride to the Riverwalk and were all getting to know each other better. Sue was in that great chartreuse sweater and scarf, with her great red hair against an abstract painting behind her.  I hoped someday to have an excuse to paint her from those references. Day Fourteen seemed like the perfect excuse! 

So much work yet to be done... Her hands are just blocked in and the sweater and scarf painted in a fast, slap-dash manner.  But it's 11:15 and I want to sleep a little tonight, so I'm posting it as is for now.

Day Thirteen - Phone Call

Phone Call
What fun!  I took the reference photos for this during my workshop last April- Narrative Figure in the Interior.  Our impromptu model here was one of the artists- Chelsea Phillips.  I took much creative license while painting this. I didn't want it to be a portrait necessarily, but I was grateful for such a cool pose.
This is 18x18 oil on canvas.

Day Twelve - Toys

These toys were listed in the online listing of an upcoming estate sale. They were propped on a carved wood piece of furniture and against a white wall. I thought they had a charm, and hope others might enjoy seeing them, too.  Wish I knew who the maker is and what they're called. Anybody?
10x10 oil on canvas

Day Eleven - Freshen Up

Freshen Up

12x16 oil on canvas.  
Confession: I found the reference for this painting among images in the advance advertisement of a local estate sale.  I removed offending objects and added the towel.  I love the subtle color scheme and will come back to this painting later on to further develop it.  Or not. I may decide to like it as it is.  Tonight I started painting at about 4 p.m. and it's now 8 p.m. My earliest finish yet!

Day Ten - Lady Mary

Lady Mary

I did use a Googled search for Downton Abbey to find the reference I used for this painting. I think I exaggerated the shape of her hat and her chin, but I do like this quickly done painting. It's about 12x16, I think, and oil.  And it's only 11:19 p.m.!! A triumph!

Day Nine - John


It hurts me to post this of John.  He's a classy, handsome fellow and I've only had time to do a first pass, so it's pretty crude. Basic shapes are there, but all the necessary subtleties are missing as yet. This one is 11x14 on RayMar panel in oil. Probably way too large and complicated to try to do in one evening. Ok, not probably. For sure. But By Golly I'm going to post this toddler of a painting and hope it gets the chance to grow up someday.
John is a literary agent in Dublin, Ireland. His love is Janetta, a lovely artist and friend I've known since I took a workshop in Ireland in 2009. The reference photo was taken during a dinner they hosted for our other host and friend there, Jan, her husband Colm, and UK and me in September.  They are all wonderful people. But, truthfully, if anyone speaks to me in an Irish accent I go all mushy and starry eyed and hope they won't ever run out of things to say. If you want to convince me of anything, say it in an Irish accent.

Day Eight - UK

Tonight I was looking around for something to paint and I looked up and thought, "What better???!!" It took a little convincing, but eventually her "good sport" nature overcame her natural inclination to avoid the spotlight.  I hope she won't feel misused by my inclusion of her in my rising to the challenge of these 30 Paintings in 30 Days.

Oh, and I take full responsibility for each and every one of those sparkling salts in her pepper. True.

Warning: If you come around here in the next few days you might find yourself in a command photoshoot.  Just sayin.

Day Seven - Tangerine

This one was simply to indulge myself.  Simple shape, favorite colors.  Whether successful, or no, I did enjoy the doing of it.

Day Six - Shelby

Shelby is my friend and my neighbor.  I sketched this out last April- a loose, light sketch - while Shelby sat for the artists in my workshop here at Whistle Stop Corner.  Tonight I dug it out and enjoyed painting this. I do see some changes to make, but it's midnight and time to post my day's painting.

Day Five

Little One

I'm grumpy about this one, but I've given it all the time I'm willing to give today.  I really love the reference and someday I'd like to revisit it and hang on like a bulldog until I'm proud of it.

Day Four

Prop Shelf
So much about this still needs work, but it's almost midnight and I need sleep. So it's got to be posted as it is!  I like a lot about this, but it needs a few more passes.

Day Three- Bedriye


This is an 8x10 oil of my partner's mother, one of the dearest people on this earth. When my mother died two Aprils ago, Bedriye made sure I knew that she was now my mother. I'm lucky indeed to be loved by her. Istanbul is so far away, but Skype does help us stay close with our family there.

Day Two - Janis


Oh my, am I rusty!
My reference was  a Facebook photo of my friend Janis who lives in Austin and is a wonderful pastel painter. I hope she won't regret agreeing to let me use her photo as a reference....

Day One of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Maddy in April

I needed an intervention. Painting used to be an everyday joy, but my usual mechanisms to trigger picking up a brush and squeezing out the paint have ended. I need the same assignment-and-deadline as every other artist needs, so when I saw that Leslie Saeta was initiating a new round of 30 Paintings in 30 Days, I decided to join up and use it to get my painting juices going again.

It felt good to spend my evening painting this 8x10 oil of the lovely daughter of a dear friend. 29 more paintings coming up!