Monday, June 23, 2014

Demo Painting From Ottawa Workshop

I had a great time teaching a workshop at The Studio Cafe in Ottawa last month! It was a three day portrait painting workshop, working from a live model with a full palette. Below is the demo painting I did in the class as well as a few photos from the workshop. I'll be teaching several workshop in BC this summer.  There is still space in the one in Penticton and Nelson.  For more information check out the workshops page on my website.

Block in with Burnt Umber
My canvas is prepared with a mid-tone greenish grey ground, using white acrylic gesso tinted with a bit of acrylic Yellow Ochre and a little Mars Black. I let it dry thoroughly then sand it before beginning the underpainting. Using oily, viscous paint, thinned with linseed oil, I mark in the basic proportions first. Measuring the proportions to get the drawing accurate, I compare the width of the head to its height.  Then I mark in three equal proportions from the chin to the bottom of the nose; bottom of the nose to eyebrows; and eyebrows to forehead.  Because her head is tilted down, the top distance (from the top of the head to the hairline) is about an equal proportion to the thirds of the face. Next I block in the big forms and shadows in Burnt Umber. By “drawing with the shadows” I am able to establish the placement of the features quickly and accurately by judging the shapes and distances of the shadow patterns on her face.

Color Lay-In and Big Form Modeling
I begin laying in the color by establishing a basic color for the light side of the face.  I am leaving the “real” shadows (the cast shadow on the neck and the cast shadows under the eyebrows and nose), alone for now so that they don’t get mixed up with the lights.  I will go into them later. I tint the base color in the light side of the face as necessary, such as in the plane change where the forehead bends up towards the light.  Also, the light side of the face gets slightly darker and cooler as it moves down the face (away from the light) so I make sure my colors and tones reflect that change.  At the edges of the face it also gets darker and cooler.  This helps to establish the “big form modeling” of the head, rendering the head like an egg by darkening around the edges, and turning the form to give it dimension.

Describing the Smaller Forms
I complete the color lay-in by blocking in a basic color for each element of the painting.  For the shadow side of the face I tint the base flesh color with a mixture of Viridian Green and Cadmium Red Light to create rich shadow colors. I continue to establish the big form modeling, making sure that the hair reflects the egg shape of the head, and the head and body have a cylindrical nature. I paint the hair with a “Grainer” brush, which has some long hairs and some shorter ones. I lay in distinct brushstrokes in the hair and try not to mess with is.  This creates wonderful hair-like texture. Using a 1” synthetic bright brush, I block in a loose background, letting a bit of the under painting show through. I also suggest the sheer nature of the shirt in a painterly fashion.  Once the key elements are established, I define the smaller forms of the features, defining the planes of the cheekbones, none, chin, etc.

Final Rendering and Edges
At this stage I thin my paint with a bit more linseed oil as I continue to refine the features. Focusing on the description of the planes of each feature, I make some final refinements.  I also make the different textures (i.e. skin, hair, cloth), look like the material they’re made of.  Final highlights are added to areas such as the nose, forehead and hair. I also refine the edges, softening edges where the form turns as it meets the background, and sharpening areas that are bony, or where I would like to draw more attention. Edges are an area where an artist has a lot of artistic license.  The way edges are treated can really effect the mood of a painting. I like to contrast soft, “lost” edges (where you can’t really discern where one thing ends and another starts), with sharper edges.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Loved and Observed at Hersh Fine Art

I'm so excited that my painting "I Will," will be on display at the upcoming opening of "Loved and Observed, an exhibition of work by female artists that is co-curated by Manu Saluja and Diana Corvelle at Hersh Fine Art.  It runs June 21st to August 12th, with an opening reception on June 28th from 6 to 8pm.  Hersh Fine Art is located at 14A Glen Street in Glen Cove, NY. For more information, please email Steve Forster.

It's such an honor to show with so many artists I admire so much! The participating artists are: Elizabeth Adams-Jones, Erin Anderson, Juliette Aristides, Julie Elizabeth Brady, Aleah Chapin, Diana Corvelle, Michelle Doll, Alia El-Bermani, Alexandra Evans, Shauna Finn, Nanette Fluhr, Nanci France-Vaz, Kristy Gordon, Clarity Haynes, Leah Lopez, Gaetanne Lavoie, Lauren Amalia Redding, Kay Ruane, Manu Saluja, Holly Ann Scoggins, Rabecca Signori- ello, Emily Slapin and Maria Teicher. Hope to see you at the opening!

"I Will," oil on canvas, 30"x24"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Michael Wides, me, and Julie Geifman with the precious document

I got my artists visa to remain in the states for another 3 years (while I work on my Green Card to stay even longer)!!!  It's been such a process and I'm eternally grateful to the amazing immigration lawyer, Michael Wildes from Wildes and Weinberg. He and his team somehow managed to organize this crazy pile of art documentation that encompasses basically everything I've ever done, into a manageable looking folder of documents.  It could have been an overwhelming process, but with their help we just took it one step at a time. I knew I was in good hands when I first met Michael and his dad, who was actually John Lennon's lawyer (a fact I didn't know when I sought him out but was totally impressed to find out). I am so incredibly happy and relieved to have my 01 visa now, and am excited to remain in New York for at least another few years!!

Mr. Leon Wildes, and John Lennon

They took this (everything art-related that I've ever done)

...and turned it into this
...and now I have this :D

Monday, April 28, 2014

Finalist in the Portrait Society of America's 2014 International Portrait Competition

I had such a great time at the Portrait Society of America's 16th Annual Art of the Portrait Conference this year.  I love how each year the Portrait Society brings together such a diverse group of people with so many different backgrounds and beliefs and we all connect so soulfully around our mutual love of painting people.  It was an incredible honor this year that my painting "Star Child" was selected as a finalist in their International Portrait Competition.  It was the first year I've had one of my painting selected in the competition, and it was incredible to participate in the conference at that level this year.  Also, I had many people asking me if this was the first nude, or perhaps first full frontal nude ever accepted into the competition, which I can't answer for sure, but I am curious now myself.  It would be amazing if my painting was the one that opened up that door for the first time ever! I met so many amazing artists over the weekend, saw so many stunning demos and heard amazing lectures and have returned to New York thoroughly inspired and ready to start on some new work! Also, check out the stunning painting by the amazing (and humble and sweet) painter Bryce Billings, entitled "A Father's Dreams and a Son's Love" which won the grand prize!  His son was there with him and it was such an epic moment when they went on to the stage together to receive the award.  It was also framed in a stunning handcrafted wooden frame which he had made himself. A huge congratulations to all the finalists and winners this year!  To see images of the 20 finalists paintings (which were selected from 1698 entries!) I check out the post on my friend Matthew Innis' blog Underpaintings.  Also, I've posted more photos on my instagram account which you can check out as well!

Onstage with Edward Jonas and Kim Azzarito
"Star Child" the first full frontal nude finalist at PSOA ever??

"Star Child" among the 20 finalists out of 1698 entries

Bryce Billings' Grand Prize winning painting
Bryce and his son receiving the grand prize

The winners and finalists on stage

The winners and finalists on stage

Cecilia Beaux Panel Discussion

Friday, April 18, 2014

Grenning Gallery Spring Show

The spring show at Grenning Gallery opened last weekend and I have several paintings included among their amazing group of artists.  Here are a couple photos from the opening reception. Also, check out the article in the Sag Harbor Express about the show!  I love what they wrote about my painting "Collective Consciousness":

"The young artist Kristy Gordon, discovered by the gallery last year, will show her surreal paintings of people and water. In “Collective Consciousness,” a man in scrubs, a woman in jeans and other ordinary New Yorkers tread through green water as if it is an urban street." `Tessa Raebeck, Sag Harbor Express

Me and Laura Grenning, the owner of Grenning Gallery

Me and my paintings at Grenning Gallery

"Collective Consciousness," oil on panel, 20"x20"

Monday, April 7, 2014

Article in International Artist Magazine

I am so excited to see my work published in International Artist magazine! I am deeply grateful to Joshua Rose, the editor of the magazine, for all his support over the years and am so touched to have an 8 page spread in the current issue (April/May 2014) of International Artist.  It is incredible to have my work published alongside the work of artists I admire so much such as Daniel Maidman and Richard Schmid.  It's on the stands now so be sure to pick up your copy of the magazine to check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finalist in the 2014 Portrait Society of America's International Portrait Competition

Today a dream I've had for over ten years came true! I am deeply honored and excited that my painting "Star Child" has been selected as a finalist in the Portrait Society of America's 2014 International Portrait Competition. It is an incredible honor to have my work selected to be shown along artists that I have admired for years and I am deeply grateful to Christine Egnoski, Edward Jonas and everyone at the PSOA for all their support! It will be displayed at The Art of The Portrait conference in Washington April 24-27.  I hope to see you there!

"Star Child," 48"x 24," oil on canvas, 2014