Monday, January 24, 2011

Albert H.Munsell and Johannes Itten

My road to “color mapping”…..

I recently posted an article answering the question of “Why I work the way I do” and by the end of the posting I offered to explain my “color mapping” process. I call it color mapping basically because I pick out my colors for an upcoming painting by choosing color chips from the Munsell book of color and then figuring out which tubes of paints will be needed to mix the desired colors. So just like a map theses choices show what colors I plan to use but once I get down to actually applying the paint I will need to adjust and tweak them as necessary because the map is never like the actual terrain.

So as I mentioned in the posting “Why I work the way I do” my professor in college Durwood Dommisse introduced me to Albert Munsell and Johannes Itten which down the years has lead me to many other tidbits of knowledge and stirred me to using the brand paint that I do today, Gamblin paints.

Three books that are at the base of my color theory knowledge are “A Color Notation” by Albert H. Munsell, The Art of Color” by Johannes Itten and “Blue and Yellow Don’t make Green” by Michael Wilcox. There are many other books that I have read, pursued, briefly looked at and sometimes returned to the bookstore in a hurry.

Color adds a whole dimension to the creative process which I found very daunting when I first began but I hope that in this series of postings that I will successfully articulate my insight on color and my process of “color mapping.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

“Bag of Bones” by Stephen King

What I’m listening to in the studio…

Unfortunately I haven’t gotten very far in my current audio book Ken Follett’s book “Fall of the Giants.” So far I am hooked and I am anxious to get back to listening to it but, the work in the studio hasn’t afforded me the opportunity to listen to an audio book while working.

So I thought I would share one of my all time favorite audio books, Stephen King’s “Bag of bones,” what a great story! I believe I have listened to this book at least 6 times so far and as I am writing this I am thinking about listening to it again, maybe after “Fall of the Giants.” 

Several years after his wife's death, novelist Mike Noonan still suffers writers block. A dream inspires him to return to the couple's summer retreat in western Maine, a lakeside house called Sara Laughs. Shortly after arriving, Noonan is caught in the middle of a custody battle involving the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child's enormously wealthy grandfather. He also discovers that Sara Laughs is haunted and that his late wife, Joanna, still has something to tell him.

The story is filled with creative angst, death, despair, triumph, good and evil and of course ghosts! What else could you ask for? The fact that the house is called “Sara Laughs” is something I just find intriguing and to this day I am still thinking of a name for our house with a name that is just as fascinating. I have a favorite line form this story that you might find me quoting at odd times and it won’t make any sense at all but I just like the phrase, “Give that to me… it’s my dust catcher!”

On last thing, I am very, very devoted to my small list of narrators and 99% of the time I will not listen to a book that is read by the author. Sorry authors but most of you don’t read your stories that well. Stephen King narrated his audio book “Bag of Bones” and WOW did he do a great job! Each character had a different personality, spirit and mood and Stephen infused emotion and sense of true character into each person in the story.

A Great read or listen! What is your favorite book and if you listen to audio books do you have a favorite narrator?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brown Thrasher, Grackle & a Duckling

Busy in the studio this week…

I currently have three paintings in progress in my studio, all at in different stages. With my exhibit and painting demonstration coming up in early March at Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma I am a full throttle painting. Two of the paintings are of medium size and the other is smaller, a 5x8.

This small piece is actually for the Masterworks in Miniature exhibit at Gallery One in Mentor, Ohio. As I said it measures 5 x 8 and it has the first layer of color block in. I got the reference for this grackle from one of my many visits to Charleston, South Carolina and I can still remember how cold it was when I was out there shooting the reference material. I plan to start back on this one with the final layer of color as soon as I get the first layer of color blocked in on the piece below.

The reference for this painting came from one of my many walks in the Fan district of Richmond, Virginia, the architecture here is fantastic. I am currently blocking in the first layer of color but what you see above is the painting with the under drawing and the canvas (board) toned.

I finally got back to this painting after several weeks of being away from it but I now have the first layer completely blocked in and it is now drying. This is another painting from the Richmond Canal walk in Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia. I finished blocking in the duckling the other day and you can see it being painted in the time lapsed video below.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Dune" to the "Fall of the Giants"

What I'm listening to in the studio...

I am an audio book junkie! I probably listen to at least 20 hours of stories a week while standing at my easel. I really enjoy listening to these stories because they occupy my thoughts with an entertaining tail which helps me to keep pushing paint onto a canvas. Over the past few months I have been listening to the "Dune" saga, which I really enjoyed but found the first original novel, that I just finished, some what hard to finish. I attribute that to the fact that I already new the story line from watching the movie so long ago.

So I am taking a break form "Dune" and have decided to listen to Ken Follett's story, "Fall of the Giants." I loved  his stories "Pillars of the Earth" and "World without End," those books kept me painting long after I should have stopped. So far I am about 4 hours into the audio book and I am not disappointed!

A "hot" blog to follow, Julie Bender

My friend Julie Bender & amazing artist is blogging!

"Out of Nowhere," 15 x 22, Pyrography on maple

I just added a new blog to my "Artist blogs" page here on my blog, my friend Julie bender has recently joined the blogging community and I wanted to share that with all of you. Julie's work is amazing, she creates her work basically with controlled fire also known as pyrography. You can find her blog at and also make sure to visit her website,, to see her work.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Upcoming drawing & painting classes...

Last summer I accepted the role as a faculty member at ArtHaus Visual Arts Studio here in Midlothian, Virginia just outside of Richmond. I teach the drawing and painting classes at the school and found the experience of teaching extremely rewarding! I find myself working in my studio thinking of the current piece I am creating and how I can explain the process to my students. I guess the saying is right, "To teach, is to learn twice"!

Below are the listings of my Winter 2011 classes that I will be teaching. Please visit my teaching webpage for more information about my classes.

 Drawing Classes...
Tuesdays 6:30pm – 9:oopm
Adult & Teen
**Going on NOW!**
Thursdays 3:30pm – 6:00pm
**Going on NOW!**
Tuesdays 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Adult & Teen
01/25/2011 - 03/29/2011
(No class 3/1/ & 3/9/2011)
Mondays 9:30am - 12:00pm
01/17/2011 - 03/21/2011
(8 week session)
(No Class 2/28 & 3/7/2011)
Thursdays 3:30pm - 6:00pm
03/10/2011 - 04/28/2011

 Painting Classes...
Tuesdays 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM
01/18/2011 - 03/08/2011
(No Classes 3/1 & 3/8/2011)
(8 Week session)
Wednesdays 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
01/19/2011 - 03/16/2011
(No Classes 3/3/2011)
(8 Week session)

Specialty Classes...

Thursdays 3:30pm - 6:00pm
Open Enrollment
(8 Week Commitment)
(No Class 3/3/11 & 5/5/11)
Tuesdays 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Adult & Teen
Open Enrollment
(8 Week Commitment)
(No Class 3/1, 3/8 & 5/10/11)
Thursdays 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Adult & Teen
Open Enrollment
(8 Week Commitment)
(No Class 3/3/11 & 5/5/11)

Saturdays 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Adult & Teen
01/22/2011 - 02/12/2011
(4 week workshop)

If you see a class that you are interested in please click on the title of the class above and it will take you to the ArtHaus webpage for that class.