Friday, August 9, 2013

Figure Painting at the North River Arts Society

I have to say, my students are very open minded in my figure painting class. We have not had the best weather on our group of Fridays and have had to paint indoors for the bulk of them, but they have done just about everything I have asked from them this session. Today we had torrential rains, so again we had to go indoors. I wanted to do something different, so I thought of a beach scene with the model at a low eye level. I don't want the student comfortable with the pose, so I wanted her lower than usual to make the student measure and not just paint what they are used to.
As always, I ask my students to do a thumbnail sketch or to just walk around the model to find the best view so that they will think about what they are planning on painting and to find the best composition instead of just jumping in and painting what is in front of them. I want them to think first. Much of what goes into a great painting is an idea, a thought process of what they want to capture. In today's case, no matter where you stood, it was a great painting.

I try to get the students to stand as close to the model as possible so that they can see the details, yet be able to also stand back and view her from a distance. It is a small class so this isn't a problem.
Once everyone has found their spots, I fit into one for myself and begin a demo. They are free to stand and watch or to paint and glance over from time to time. Because it is a small class, I am able to paint through the entire class while keeping an eye on them. This helps for two reasons. To keep me from making the students nervous from too much attention and to remind them of the process of painting that I am experiencing by me talking through the steps that I take. I try to exaggerate values, colors, harmonies, temperatures and paint handlings to show the students how to handle these for themselves.
Today was a great day for most of the students. I love seeing the lights come on in their heads as they start to realize things. It is such a slow process, but some days things seem to click a little easier than others. While some students aren't always happy with what they have done, the failures are just as important as the winners. And I try to stress that it's not always about going home with a great painting, but going home having to great lesson. Seeing a student frustrated only means they are trying to grasp something that is only a fraction ahead of them. I know they will get it. It just takes work and perseverance!
Here are some students paintings....

Here is my demo.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Painting in Boston

The recent bombings in Boston made me step back and think about how much I love this city. Even though I wasn't there or didn't know any of the people hurt, it affected me deeply. Last year, I painted the exact spot where the bomb went off. I walked those sidewalks many times. I grew up there.
Since then, I have been coming in and trying to make new memories and to inspire those that are around me. I painted in Copley Square as a memorial to the Marathon to enter into the Copley Society's 25th Annual Fresh Paint Auction.
Boston Strong  16 x 20  Oil
Two days after the bombings, the museums were all open. This made me come in to see the Zorn show at the Gardner Museum. After such inspiration, it was easy to go outdoors and paint something beautiful. It was eerie on Comm Ave. Many of the streets were blocked off. But the trees were blooming and people were out trying make sense of everything.
Painting in the Public Gardens I meet many people coming in to take back their city. Everyone seems to be in a great mood and so nice to talk to. I have never seen it so busy in there.
This week was the Walk For Hunger. Again, many of the streets were blocked off, but this time it was for a good reason. I managed to find a spot to park and painted all day in the Gardens. The tulips were in full bloom and amazing to see. It was fun seeing the people posing with the flowers all day.
I will continue to paint in the city, putting the tragedy in the back of my mind, moving forward with positive thoughts.
My best wishes goes out to those who were hurt at the Marathon for a speedy recovery and a normal life.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Academic Drawing Class

Today was the last day of our Academic Drawing Class at the North River Art Association.
 We spent 4 weeks on the face and 4 weeks on the figure. It was exciting to see the growth happening in the class throughout the sessions. We had many days off due to shows and snow days, but we got through.
Here is the last portrait demo I did in stages.

Here are some photos of some of the students who painted the whole figure instead of just the face. I think they are all spectacular!

In this class, I tried to get the students not to get a perfect likeness, but to go out of their comfort zones, using more paint, bigger brushes, going outside the lines to make an excellent painting.
New class starts next week. Go to to join.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Take a class or group with Dianne!

Want to learn how to paint? Or just be in a fun group that paints together?
Want to paint interesting still lifes that excite you? Want to paint the beautiful scenery that you live near? Want to have great conversations about art and artists?
Take a class with Dianne at one of the art associations in your area
or ask me for details in joining a painting group!
The Duxbury Art Association, North River Arts Center and South Shore Art Center
all provide these fun classes you can join!