Friday, December 9, 2011

Drawing with Albert Rose

Albert Rose is a lifelong Northwest artist. Over the years, he has won numerous awards at exhibitions and shows in the Northwest. He teaches Drawing Fundamentals at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. New students are always welcome at these classes. Read what Albert has to say about his work as an artist.

When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
My interest in art has been lifelong. I have fond memories of 1st grade drawing experiences (airplanes on the blackboard, elephant eating snakes -- little boy stuff). Somewhere later in my elementary school life, I found an oil painting kit in the attic that had belonged to my mother, and I started making paintings. These early paintings found their way onto the kid's page of Oregon Farmer Magazine, at $5 a crack. Wow, I was published and rich!

What do you seek to communicate through your art?
I don't know that I have a particular mantra, perhaps decency and order. I don't find any satisfaction in negativism, but the communication itself is important. It's not so important what I say as it is to say it well. I try to emphasize the "life" in my still lifes. A sense of immediacy quite delights me.

What drives you as an artist?
Well said statements, and the incredible beauty of everyday things.

What is a recent piece of art you created and what inspired you to paint it?
I'm currently working on a still life that features a white coffee mug. I was simply looking for a vehicle that would let me explore the beautiful reflections in a ceramic surface without being terribly concerned about the color.

Do you have a favorite brand of paints, brushes, or canvas that you use?
I don’t, but I do have favorite brands for pencils and paper. I use Tombow Mono100 pencils and Strathmore 500 series bristol paper. I am particular about my tools and supplies, but the quality and functionality is all that really matters, not who makes them. There was a Russian made Kolynski sable brush on the market several years ago under the brand name of Yarka. They weren't fancy, but for the price (cheap) they served quite well.

What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
Take your work seriously, dig deep, and take advantage of every source of helpful information that you find. Growth and development is hard work.

What do you think is unique about Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio’s workshops?
Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio and Cary reflect the very best quality art in the presenters' work and their teaching skills.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Painting a Day

Do you dream of selling enough paintings on a regular basis to generate a steady income? It is possible. Duane Keiser, CarolMarine, and many other artists are doing it, and you could too.

Back in 2004, Duane Keiser was your typical fine art artist. He created large paintings, displayed them in galleries, and sold a couple of paintings a year. Then he hit upon a new idea.

Duane started spending one to three hours each day working on a postcard-sized painting. He created a blog to write about what he was doing and feature his paintings. He posted his paintings for sale on Ebay and pointed his blog readers to Ebay to purchase each painting. Art collectors saw his art, liked it, wanted it, and clicked to purchase. Within a year, Duane was selling a painting a day and the “A Painting a Day” movement was born.

Soon other artists followed and now thousands of artists are selling paintings each day. These paintings, which are typically less than 8x6 inches, sell for around $100 each, usually under a bidding system offered on an auction site like Ebay

 Selling a painting a day does not make an artist rich, but it does generate a steady income, and it could make some famous, like Duane Keiser. The practice of creating a painting a day has many other benefits for artists. Some of these include:

  • It develops the disciple of being in your studio every day instead of waiting around for inspiration to strike.
  • It allows you to develop and hone your skills and sensibilities through many hours of diligent, regular study and application.
  • It allows you to break free of your usual and try new techniques or subject matter you might not normally attempt on a larger painting.
  • It allows you to produce a larger body of work, which can build your reputation in the marketplace.

As the painting a day movement has gained steam, art enthusiasts recognize that these stunning little masterpieces were a great way to build their art collection at an affordable price. As a result, more people are making a living as artists, and more people are buying art.

Carol Marine will be teaching a workshop on this technique of “A Painting a Day” on February 13-17, 2012, at Whidbey Island FineArt Studio. The class is already full, but we do have a waiting list. If you are interested in learning how you can join with other artists in making a steady income by creating and selling a painting a day, go ahead and add yourself to the waiting list. We may add a second workshop on this topic later in the year if we get enough interest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Advice from an Award-Winning Artist

David Gray, visual artist, (not to be confused with David Gray, recording artist) is a contemporary figure and still life painter in The Classical Realist Tradition. A Northwest local, David Gray, received his Bachelors of Fine Art right here in Washington at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

We had the pleasure of hosting David at our recent Open House.  During the weekend, he conducted a portrait demo of a model. His painting demonstration lasted about 5 hours. 

David started with a small color study before he launched into his serious work. The color study is the image on the right in the picture below.

Already an award-winning artist, one of David’s portraits of a young girl named Hannah has just won the Silver Medal Award in this year’s Oil Painters of America Western Region Exhibition

As an art instructor, David tells his students, "Take every opportunity to draw/paint from life. Try not to get too frustrated with perceived failures. Learn everything you can and you will improve loads. If you are still struggling, take a workshop or two. I know I have done that, and with great results. Choose your instructor carefully and you will not feel your time and money have been wasted."

You certainly won't be disappointed if you take a class from David. We are pleased that he will be returning to teach a 3-day workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio next month. His class “Painting the Portrait from Life” will focus on the head.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Invitation to WIFAS Open House

You are invited to attend:

Saturday, October 8  &  Sunday, October 9
10am to 5pm

The open house will be held at our lovely studio at:

813 Edgecliff Dr.
Langley, WA  98260

Our open house will include fine art for sale and demonstrations with artists painting in realistic style. Demonstrations will include oil painting, encaustic (hot wax) painting, acrylic painting, printing, and the use of oil sticks. 

Gordon Edberg
Cary Jurriaans

Artists presenting art for sale and demonstrations include:

Anne Belov   *   Lianna Bennett   *   Gordy Edberg   *   David Gray   *  Cary Jurriaans   *   Anne Mastronardi   *   Albert Rose   *   Tenaya Sims   *   Hamid Zavarei   *   and more

Tenaya Sims

Mark your calendars and come out to lovely Whidbey Island to enjoy some art! We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making the Everyday Beautiful

Michele Usibelli is an award-winning Northwest artist who has established her own unique artistic style. As a versatile emerging 21st Century American Impressionist, Michele’s work is recognized for its expressive colors and passionate brushworks. Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio has the privilege of hosting Michele for a three-day “Painting the Portrait” workshop in November. Read what Michele has to share about her passion for art.

When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
My interest in art began as a child. I still have a homework assignment from second grade that tells the story of how I wanted to be an artist when I grew up!

What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
A collector once said that I have "the ability to make the mundane beautiful," that sums up my desire of each painting I create, to make the viewer stop, smile and reflect on the simple, everyday life occurrences.

What drives you as an artist?
Whether its painting, gardening, sewing or building, I am happiest when creating tangible objects or spaces that I can touch, feel, experience and enjoy!

What is a recent piece of art you created and what inspired you to paint it?
"Penumbra," I love the atmospheric interest in this piece. I set up a challenge for myself, to create a piece without the usual use of "color" that I gravitate toward with my work. This was a lesson in "restraint" and I am happy with the way the viewer is led through the piece and how the limited use of color in the focal areas really draws the viewer in.

Do you have a favorite brand of paints, brushes, or canvas that you use?
Not really, I like to experiment a lot. In oils I always find Old Holland and Gamblin consistently good. I have just started playing with Daniel Smith jars of heavy acrylics and heavy gel mediums which have been fun to play with!

What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
Draw, draw, draw...I tell students that they will never achieve their painting goals if their drawings aren't spot on.

What do you think is unique about Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio’s workshops?
The location and setting enjoyed by WIFAS is unique. This picturesque studio inspires creativity and focus.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Painting with Feeling

Mary Whyte is known for her large-scale watercolor paintings. A resident of Johns Island in South Carolina, Mary is noted for her depictions of African-American Gullah women (descendents of coastal Carolina slaves). 

A few years ago, Mary realized that a large segment of our population works unnoticed, year after year, in all kinds of jobs that are becoming outmoded, downsized, or phased out. She then turned her attention to painting southern laborers. Her exhibition of fifty paintings and drawings called “Working South” is currently on tour with several museums and featured in her book Working South: Paintings and Sketches.

As an artist, Mary has learned many lessons over the years—both about art and about life. She has shared many of these lessons in the books she has written. Her latest book, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor releases in December.

As an art instructor, Mary believes that the techniques of watercolor painting can be learned. It can be tricky since watercolor is the only medium that relies strictly on timing. While the skill of painting with watercolors can be taught, Mary believes, “skill is never enough. One must also learn to feel as well as to see in order to become a complete artist and a complete person.”

Mary teaches art workshops all over the United States. We are privileged to have her come teach at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in October. We are excited to have her teach us watercolor technique as well as to help us capture our feelings in our paintings. After all, Mary believes that your paintbrush is not just an extension of your hand, but an extension of your soul as well.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Painting Figures with Aleah Chapin

Aleah Chapin will be teaching a five-day workshop on Beginning Figure Painting in oil at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio (WIFAS) next month. This is a great workshop for teenagers, but adults are welcome to attend also. Aleah is a Northwest native and is currently a working on acquiring a Master of Fine Art at the New York Academy of Art.

Read our recent interview with Aleah to get a feel for who she is as an artist.

Q: When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
A: I don't have an exact age that I became an artist. Really, it’s been my whole life. Every kid likes to draw; I just never stopped liking it. My mom is an artist and taught me a lot when I was young and both my parents have always been very supportive. My birthday presents were art books and art supplies. I suppose I became more serious about it though in high school when I was studying with a local island artist named Pete Jordan.

Q: What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
A: In my art and in my teaching I hope to communicate the pure joy of creating. Yes, there are those difficult times, but as a whole, being able to play with color all day is such an incredible feeling. I hope the viewer can sense a bit of this. I also hope to create images that distill a sense of pathos, not necessarily sadness, but more about introspection. I want the viewer to feel connected to the person I am painting.

Q: What drives you as an artist?
A: Something that I cannot put into words. Right now I am living in Germany. I’ve been here for less than a week, but standing in front of a canvas with my palette and brushes I feel completely at home. being an artist doesn’t feel like a choice I made one day. It just feels right to mush beautiful pigment around on a white surface. So what drives me is the feeling of completeness I get when painting.

Q: What is a recent piece of art you created and what inspired you to paint it?
A: Instead of describing a specific piece, I will talk about what generally inspires me. This is because I don’t get ideas from a certain story or idea and then illustrate them. Its more of a feeling. I know I keep using the word “feeling” but this is really the only way I can describe it. When I paint, or am beginning the idea for a painting, I divorce myself from the part of my brain that uses words and where things are solid. I try to create images that come from a place away from my conscious brain. When the idea for a painting is just beginning, its like I’m looking at something through deep water or fog or in a pitch black room. I search around for it until it is clear and then the “concept” and “meaning” of it grows organically out of the physical act of painting. 

Q: Do you have a favorite brand of paints, brushes, or canvas that you use?
A: I like Old Holland paint a lot. Its texture is thicker and the paint is heavier. The colors are also gorgeous. With brushes its not a particular brand, but I use a lot of bristle rounds. Many of them have now become scratchy and worn down, which I love because it creates texture and lets the paint be a bit more free. I use canvas (not linen), and again am not picky on brand. I like a tighter weave and I gesso it about 7 times including 2 layers of oil primer at the end, sanding in between coats. Surface quality is one of the most important things in a painting for me.

Q: What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
A: Look at art. Look at all styles from all times: contemporary and traditional. Think about why you like one thing or dislike another. Study with as many different artists as possible and know that no one person has the answer to what makes “good” art. Although this can be a bit confusing at first, it will help you discover your own visual vocabulary and once you feel strong in that, then everyone else will believe it too. Don’t think too much. Just paint, paint, paint. Don’t be frustrated when it's not “perfect”. Let accidents happen. Don’t try to control them too much. Some of my best paintings have come out of accidents.

Q: What do you think is unique about Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio’s workshops?
A: The incredible, supportive and intimate community that you become part of. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Plein Air with John Budicin

John Budicin will be teaching part of the five-day Plein Air workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio (WIFAS) next month. Born in Italy, John was 11 when his family moved to Southern California. John has won many awards and honors for his work and he is willing to share his award-winning techniques with you.

Read our recent interview with John to get a feel for who he is as an artist.

Q: When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
A: My interest in art began when I was a young child. I have been in the art field since 1969. I began as an apprentice doing layouts and then I became the art director. I then worked doing illustrations before devoting all my time to fine art.

Q: What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
 A: I teach plein air. I stress is shapes, values and design. I believe you should begin with a simple statement and do not chase the light. I have always found painting outdoors to be exhilarating.  Mother Nature is the best teacher, and if you make a commitment to be out there day after day, she will "speak" to you. 

Q: What drives you as an artist?
A: I am driven to do better today then what I did yesterday. I have painted in many different places including China. When I want to paint, I head out the door to find a scene that will spark my interest.  This may take hours, or it may take minutes.  What tends to catch my eye is the light—the pattern and contrast created on the subject, or the warm glow of a late afternoon bathing a particular landscape.  I'll sometimes drive around, searching everywhere for the right spot, or it may be right in front of me, waiting to be painted.  

Q: What is a recent piece of art you created and what inspired you to paint it?
A: Catalina Island is one of my favorite places to paint. The interior of the island is like old California. There are a few paintings of the island I feel good about. To choose just one is almost impossible. This painting Spring Forward is of Two Harbors, Catalina Island. My inspiration usually comes from light and atmosphere.

Q: Do you have a favorite brand of paints, brushes, or canvas that you use?
A: Robert Simmons Signet series is a favorite brush of mine. Most oil brands are fine. My personal preference depends on the color. I especially like Grumbacher brand for Cerulian Blue Hue, Cad Yellow Orange and Thalo Yellow Green. For all the other colors I use one of the following brands: Utrecht, Grumbacher, or Gamblin.

Q: What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
A: Never settle! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Truth about Painting with Stan Miller

Stan Miller will be teaching a five-day workshop at Whidbey Island FineArt Studio (WIFAS) next month. He has been a professional painter in watercolor and egg tempera for more than thirty years. His theme will be “Painting the Portrait and Landscape.” Stan will demonstrate the landscape and the portrait, using a variety of styles and approaches, from realism to impressionism to abstraction. Stan recently shared the following information about himself and his painting in this interview.

Q: When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
A: My interest in art began when I was a young child.  I've always loved art. I've been a professional, full time artist, since 1973.

Q: What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
 A: I try to communicate through my art, first of all, peace and quiet, and then the sacred space.  I also like painting things that have a feeling of character and history: old people, old things, Venice, etc.  I think this is in part why I love to visit with old people.  I like Europe because of its character, its history.  

In my instruction I try most to teach students this truth, 'that all people can learn how to paint....painting is a language that everyone can learn if properly instructed'.  Once a student understands that painting is a learnable language and that they can learn to paint, I then try to teach each student to be true to their character and paint the subject that moves them, in the style that matches their temperament.  Whether, abstract, impressionism or realism...all these styles can be learned.  Like poetry, the short story or the novel...  Then, I warn them...that if they really want to be good, they have to have passion and work very hard for a long time...  I also remind them that the arts make life worth living; art opens our eyes and ears to the deeper beauty of our world...

Q: What drives you as an artist?
A: Every soul wants to he heard, and understood.  To do this, they must choose a method of communicating.  The artist uses their instrument, mine is painting, to express the deeper aspects, beyond our daily language, of what they want to share.  To want to share, be heard, what drives not only me, but all of humanity...

Q: What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
A: For artists who wish to improve their work, paint more...paint harder...and enjoy it!