Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Full Palette Notes

I've decided to do a new post about my current palette, as looking back on my last post about my palette, I've realized how much my palette has changed since then. It was fun to read my 2008 post, I had sch a cute, informal way of writing back then that I feel like I would never allow myself to post now. A lot of what I wrote still stands, my full palette is basically a combination of the artists I have studied with, and has transformed over the years.  At this point it's a combination of Jeremy Lipking, Juan Martinez and Yuqi Wang, with a little Kristy Gordon mixed in there as well.  I've taken a lot of the earth reds and browns off my palette now, which forces me to mix from brighter pigments and create richer colors.

I mix certain colors out to a "string" to create a tonal range to work from.  To do this I use a palette knife and pull the color down to some white, mix it in and back up, creating a darkest, middle and light tone for certain colors. I am careful to leave the color at the back pure, with no white mixed in. Also, I don't do this with the transparent colours anymore, such as transparent red oxide, viridian and ultramarine, as mixing white in with these colors would make them more opaque.  Therefore, I keep white far away from them since I want to keep them as transparent as possible.  I also prefer certain brands for the transparent colors, both Richeson and Windsor Newton have the most transparent versions I have found of transparent red oxide, burnt sienna, viridian and ultramarine blue.  I like to have transparency in my shadows, so by avoiding mixing white in and using transparent brands for the transparent colors, I am able to get the shadows to set back into transparent paint.

Another amazing thing I have discovered is something I learned from Alexandra Tyng, where cadmiums, which are usually somewhat opaque, when mixed together with a transparent compliment, become quite transparent.  So when I teach workshops with a full palette, I have the participants mix these two separate shadow color mixtures: cadmium red light with viridian green, and cadmium orange with ultramarine blue. These provide the lovely rich shadow colors that I prefer over using the browns and earth reds that I would reach for if I still had them on my palette.

I have also developed a series of pre-mixed colors that I always have on my palette.  I even find the "flesh color" useful when I'm painting plein air landscapes! The "flesh color" is a base color that I tint to make it cooler or warmer as needed to match the color of the models skin. The "blue mixture" is one that I learned from Jeremy Lipking.  It's a compliment to the flesh color (blue compliments orange) so when I want to make the flesh cooler, but not darken it as adding ultramarine blue to it would, this works well.  It's already lightened to the tone of the flesh color.  I started mixing the neutral grey mixture as well.  I'm not sure when it started, it just happened very naturally, and it's a very useful color for me to have handy.

I hope that helps!  Feel free to post comments and questions below!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm Teaching a Workshop in New York in March!

Hi All! I'm super excited to announce that I'm offering a figure painting workshop in New York in March!  We'll be using the famous limited palette that Anders Zorn used, consisting of only white, black, red and yellow ochre. This offers a surprisingly full range of colors as well as providing great color harmony. I hope you can join us!

Contemporary Figure Painting Using Classical Techniques 

Limited to 10 participants!

Location: 231 Maujer Street, 1st Floor, Brooklyn

Dates: March 20th from 6pm to 10pm, March 21st and 22nd from 10am to 4pm, 2015

$300 plus model fees

Learn a foundation of traditional techniques that can be used to develop your own personal style.

This three-day figure painting workshop is a unique opportunity for students of all levels to learn the process of painting the figure in oils using a limited palette.

The course will center on the experience of painting from a live model and there will be a single, sustained pose throughout the workshop. Participants will learn how to achieve a better likeness as well as how to paint convincing flesh tones. Each day will include a painting demonstration, discussion and individual instruction at the easel.

The beginner will learn fundamental principles such as how to mix colors and render form modeling. The more advanced student will discover how to take their work to the next level and achieve the finish that they desire.  These tips can be applied to all future work and improve any painting of any subject.

Discussions and handouts will cover the stages to developing a painting, comparative measuring, proportion and structure of the face and body, as well as glazing, value, edges, composition, light, and modeling with color temperature.

To register for the workshop, or for further information, please email


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dacia Gallery Holiday Show

My latest painting, "Radiate" will be included in Dacia Gallery's holiday show, Nunc Veritatem that opens tomorrow in NYC.  It is such an honor to be included in this amazing show with artists I admire so much, such as Patricia Watwood, Daniel Maidman, Max Ginsburg, Leah Lopez, Erin Anderson, Casey Childs, Janet Cook and Adam Miller.  I hope to see you at the opening tomorrow night (December 11th) from 6pm until 9pm.  There will be artist talks at 7:30!

"Radiate," oil on canvas, 24"x 24," 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Plein Air Landscapes in Winter Exhibition at Grenning Gallery

I have a number of new plein air landscape paintings included in the "Gems of Grenning Gallery" exhibition at Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY.  Below are a few of the paintings I have included in the show, as well as some photos of me at Cathedral Lakes in, British-Columbia, Canada, painting on site. There will be an opening reception on Saturday December 6th from 5:30 to 7:30.  I hope to see you there!

"Stream from Pyramid Lake," 8"x 10", oil on canvas

"Stream from Pyramid Lake II," 11"x 14", oil on canvas

"Waterfall by Quinescoe Lake II," 11"x 14", oil on canvas

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Solo Show at Cube Gallery Written Up in Fine Art Today!

I am so grateful for the lovely write-up in Fine Art Today about my upcoming solo show at Cube Gallery in Ottawa!  I love what Jeffrey Carlson wrote about my work!  The opening reception for the show is next Thursday, Nov 6th, from 6 to 9 pm.  I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Newly Released Book "The Figure"

I am so excited that my painting "A Forward Pull II" is included in this newly released book "The Figure: Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, Contemporary Perspectives," published by Skira Rizzoli.  A huge thank you to Margaret McCann and The New York Academy of Art for including my work in it! It is an amazing collection of figurative artists.  John Seed has written a wonderful review of the book on Hyperallergic.  You can order your copy of this amazing book HERE.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Figureworks Juried Show 2014

I'm so excited that I have been asked to be on the jury for this year's Figureworks show in Ottawa, Canada, so I wanted to put the word out to all artists about this wonderful show. The deadline for application is Oct, 3, 2014, and you can find the submission guidelines on their website HERE. This is going to be an amazing exhibition of figurative art and is open to artists internationally.  I'm so honoured to be on the jury with the amazing artists Mat Dubé and Andrew Morrow and I hope to see your submission soon!