What’s been on the table this week…

My discipline has been good lately, though I am torn three days a week when I have to work on my side business that actually brings in a meager amount of money. I will say that it is gratifying to have your own business, but not nearly as gratifying as making art.

Lisa, the Director of the Neoteric Renaissance School of Art and dear friend was over for a visit the other day and looked at some of my recent endeavors in progress. She said the most encouraging thing I have heard in a great while. She said she always recognizes my work. She said that the decisions I make regarding moving light and line through a piece, what I accent and what I down play are delicate and consistent. We talked about how these things happen unconsciously, the real signature of an artist being the little things like where you begin and end a line, the way you choose to accent the light moving through a work, etc. Delicate is not a word that I think of when I think of my work. I constantly struggle with a heavy hand. It was good to hear though, and then to let go of and get back into the learning. If it happened unconsciously then I best just be true my studies and not become too self-conscious of it.

I was quite tired today and found that it actually helped my art work a lot. It slowed my mind and all the thoughts that tend to dart all over the place and tire me out much quicker when I’m working. I put in a good five hours today.


I have made progress on the Varo! It should be done within a couple weeks, definitely by the end of June. I had a great go at it Saturday and made lots of progress. I really just have the table and box to do, the final touches to the cloth and then the face and hands of course. The face and hands will go fast, because it has to be on the money the first pass. I have been working on this one for almost a year, a little at a time.

I work slowly and I still find the act of close comparison fatiguing over time. So I just work on spurts. I generally do not work longer than ½ hour without a break, and around three or four hours before a longer break. Sometimes that is all I can put in for the day. Sometimes I go back to it after a few hours of doing something else. Often I work on my writing or book studies in between painting sessions – or play a computer game – another way I like to take a break. I do not know why I fatigue so quickly, but it does get noticeably better when I consistently work every day.



The less I think about what I’m doing the smoother what I’m doing becomes. It is a luxury to not think about what you’re going to do next, especially when you’re learning because you’ve always got this dialogue running in your mind coaching you, the voices of teachers, of books, instructing you into the correct way to do things. I do my best when I shake all that.

With Josie, I wanted to smooth the effect in this session. I was not happy with the scratchy marks and the cumbersome execution with the charcoal. I wanted something fresher, cleaner. I looked to my right and I saw one of my super soft paint brushes. To my surprise I just took it and I started brushing the charcoal around. That’s a really bold move when you’ve spent a month working on a portrait and have never done the technique before. I could have lost everything but I got lucky. Actually, after so much study, I don’t know if it’s all just luck anymore! I was able to reconcile some problem areas and add some fresh spontaneity to the background and achieve that flat neat black background that I wanted. About three times I should have stopped and I by the end of the session I had created and lost about 3 completely different drawings. Must work on more control.


Getting ready to work the print in the cloth. Right now it appears like a blank canvas but will have a very complex French vine and floral print. The potato came along very easily. The paint tube still needs a lot of work. I am getting faster with my pastels and more confident.



I have been working on my Sadie Valeri Atelier Online projects – more spheres, value strips and a couple block in progression. It was a challenge to get the block in consistent and identical in each stage. What a great exercise, doing each stage from the beginning. I am very much enjoying and learning from Sadie’s curriculum and approach. I also think I finally am happy with my value sphere!

My goal this week is to finish Josie and continue to make progress on the Varo. I have a new block in to do for Sadie and want to start a couple of small graphite drawings as soon as Josie is done. I am not enjoying the charcoal much at all. Also, it poses the same storage and framing challenges as the pastel. I still want to work in oil and graphite primarily. That being said, I am setting up to paint this week so will be focusing on that as well.

A Change of Scenery

Sometimes I need a change, sometimes I get tired of hitting up on my limitations over and over again and I need a shift in scenery, a new direction. I have for the immediate future left studying at the Neoteric, though I will always consider it my art home. Lisa and Matthew are my good friends and said they would continue to come by for the informal crit and coffee. I enjoy that time a lot. They are the first really close artist friends I have made in many years.

That being said, I am now studying remotely/via an online program at Sadie Valerie’s Atelier. It better meets my requirements at this time and the direction is more geared towards still life drawing and painting. The work I have done with Lisa and Matthew has prepared me tremendously for this, though Sadie’s curriculum and methods are QUITE different. I can really see how the Florence Academy of Art informs Lisa’s teaching methods.

The first thing Sadie has me doing is drawing a sphere. I thought that would be easy peasy but she had me redraw it three times. In addition to the sphere beginners in her program start with ellipses, 2D sphere light direction and shadow studies and a variety of value strips using a variety of pencils. After jumping right into figures at the Neoteric this seemed to be going backwards, even basic. I was quite happy though with both the level of personal critique from Sadie and what I learned in the assignments. I am happy to say she let me move on to drawing the steps of a block in and doing one full block in in a simple still life. She did this with the addition that I continue to work on my third sphere and my pencil work on the strips. My pencil work is still a little rough. I blame my camera – heh.This all is preparation for painting in the indirect method that she teaches. It is very much in harmony with how I tend to paint naturally.

So below are my Spheres and misc. work from Sadie’s program. I will post these along the way, and also my own personal work which I am always working on. I want this blog be more about my total art journey and not just the work I do related to an atelier. A little different than the in the past. Cheers!