Archive for January, 2016

2016 Snowbird Classes

Friday, January 15th, 2016

After not having taught my usual art classes during the Snowbird Season last year, I wanted to get back to teaching again. Taking a new tack on an old theme, this winter I’ll be offering several one-day beginner classes with focused purposes. They’ll be held in the Verandah Community in Fort Myers, Florida, for six consecutive Tuesday afternoons, beginning on January 19.

160103w In Class (quick sketch)

160103w In Class (quick sketch)

The first class will offer guidance in basic drawing skills, simplifying a form into basic shapes, developing the silhouette, and simple ways of suggesting form.

The next session will help students learn in somewhat greater depth to depict form, still working monochromatically.

The third week will be devoted to color—the three principle aspects of color, temperature bias, and how the understanding of these features can take much of the mystery out of mixing colors effectively.

We will again address the matter of form the fourth week, when we investigate how light and color can be used to enhance the impression of 3-dimensionality.

Next we’ll challenge the long-standing fallacy that watercolor is the most difficult painting medium. By understanding a few simple principles and learning some basic techniques, we can take the “R:ST RATIO” out of FRUSTRATION and make it simply FUN.

The final session will give participants an opportunity to obtain objective and constructive critiques of their own paintings, or simply learn from critiques of others’ work if they prefer, and then join in the subsequent group discussions.

Feel free to email me for further information. Class size is limited. As always, I look forward to meeting my new students, who typically keep me delving into the how’s and why’s of painting, and who always motivate me to keep learning more.

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1st, 2016

As a New Year gift to my followers, I have decided to begin a newsletter, called “Around and About,” about art (not only my own) and the journeys and experiences that lead the way.  Through it, I intend to keep you posted on my recent work, give you a peek into what goes on behind the scenes, and share some of my art insights and travel experiences with you. I may even include some critiques to share my thoughts regarding artistic design.  You can expect to see a new issue every 2-4 weeks. If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe to receive “Around and About.”  You can cancel at any time.

Here is a critique I wrote recently regarding a portrait of the Russian painter Konstantin Korovin, by Valentin Serov:


“Korovin” is an example of impressionistic portraiture, relying more heavily on suggestion than on precise detail. The artistic concept appears to be to portray the subject’s relaxed and contemplative repose.

Serov suggests repose by the downward angle of the subject’s body, the horizontal stripes of the bolster pillow, and the extended horizontal lines of the subject’s book (at his right shoulder) and his left shoulder and of the paintings on the wall. That the face is intended as the primary focal point is indicated by its being the most carefully detailed element of the composition and by being isolated at a “sweet spot,” approximately 1/3 of the distance from the top and left edges, almost entirely encircled by the light wall and shirt collar.

Though the shapes of the hands are only suggested, they too are in sweet spots, roughly 1/3 from the side and bottom edges. The fact that the right hand lies against the colorful stripes in an otherwise almost colorless room suggests that the artist’s painting hand lends color to his life. The significance of this hand is reinforced by the directing lines of the shirt collar, the white sleeve, the line of the pant leg, and the converging stripes behind the hand. The left sleeve and hand act as a balance to it, lying relaxed against the dark clothing and softening through lost and found edges into the gray wall behind.

Serov has maintained a sense of unity throughout the painting by using a limited palette, linking dark areas, and repeating reddish color spots in key areas—the face, wrist, wooden footboard, and covering of the daybed, and the bolster–which balance the otherwise dominantly cool composition. He has also used spotting (particularly with whites) to keep the light/dark patterns of the notan design interesting. Upon closer inspection, we can see that Serov has provided additional visual interest in the directional strokes on the wall and bolster cushion, and in textural brushwork throughout.


If there’s anything you’d particularly like to know about regarding materials, techniques, design principles, or my own working methods, drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to hear from you and will try to respond.  Or if you would like me to include a (gentle) critique of your own work, with comments about what succeeds and (if needed) how it might be strengthened, feel free to email me a clear picture of it, along with your name, the title, medium, and dimensions, and I’ll consider featuring it in the newsletter.