My art has taken a turn

for the better! In order to describe my journey accurately, we need to rewind time. Back up to spring of 2014. About the time I wrote my last blog post. I was searching for a workshop to further my education. At first, I was looking into drawing workshops. Most of them were only a few days, there were some actually close enough to drive to, and I'd feel comfortable going. My husband looked at me as if i was crazy.

"But you know how to draw. Aren't you supposed to go to a workshop where you learn something NEW?"

mmmm. Yeah, probably.

"Oil paint. You want to learn. Do it."

Panic started to rise up. I don't know if I'm ready. I haven't studied enough! I don't KNOW enough!

After a few tentative searches on the web, I found a workshop that looked promising. It was a chunk of money to go. We'd have to fly to Austin, TX, and stay in a hotel for over a week. But I figured that if I was going to really learn, I'd have to leave the house, and for sure leave the children (with grandparents...)!

The man is Mark Carder, founder of the Carder Method He has been painting successfully for over 20 years. His paintings are very realistic and that was exactly what I wanted. He also offered a workshop in the subject matter I most enjoyed: portraits. All of that was great, but what I liked the most through my research was the way he taught. It was a relaxed way of teaching but with high expectations. He gave you all the tools to learn the foundations of oil painting. He simplified all the materials so I could learn. Over time, I can add variables like other mediums if needed. He has most of the information for free on youtube. It's a great starting point for any artist that wants to learn the basics and get a great painting on the very first go. After you master color mixing and learning how to use a brush (not everybody smooshes the brush into the canvas), you can branch out and do your own thing. But what a great start!

At the end of July, my hubs and I flew down to Austin, TX for a much needed "vacation". During the workshop, I learned to pose my model, take decent photos for painting (very different than taking regular photos), process, print and laminate the photo. I learned to use a proportional divider to relay points effectively from my photo to my canvas.I learned how to make my colors from a limited palette of just five colors: alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow pale, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, and white. By the time the workshop was over, my portrait was half finished. It blew my mind that I could paint this well for my very first attempt at a portrait in oil. All my other oil paintings have been abstract. 

Pensive  16x20  Oil on canvas 

Pensive  16x20

Oil on canvas 

This is Emily, Mark's wife. I got to meet her and talk with her at length and come to find out we have a lot in common. She is also a very talented painter. I tried very hard in this first portrait to not blend until all the canvas was covered. This is why you see the edges of the brushstrokes. The painting was shipped to my home while it was still wet. By the time it got to my house, the strokes could not be blended because the paint had dried too much. I embraced this and finished the painting "unblended". I was so pleased with this painting and couldn't wait to get started on the next!