Plein Air Competition - Paint Herndon (over $2000 in prizes)

Plein Air Competition
Paint Herndon
Friday August 29th - Monday Sept 1st (Labor Day)


- Hosts available!
- 15 Juried Artists exhibit in the Gallery for the month of Sept.
- Location: 750 Center Street, Herndon VA 20170
- Registration now Open
- Applications Due by August 1st
- Over $2000 in prizes
- e-mail: PaintHerndon@gmail.com
- Quicksketch on Sept 1st is next to the Herndon Jazz & Wine festival

Participate in the newest Plein Air Competition in the country! This event marks the grand opening of the much anticipated ARTSPACE Gallery.

I'm reposting this because the website is now available and applications for the competition are being accepted.


Portrait Intensive (My final painting)

Here's my final painting along with a shot of the model. I developed this painting while thinking of the 19th century Mennonites of Ak Metchet Uzbekistan we've been researching for the "Through the Desert" Documentary. I imagined him represented as one of the Mennonite elders in this painting and tried to capture the sense of quiet contemplation of an elder who has traveled a long way and has seen the hopes and tragedy of life in that community.


Portrait Intensive (Close up of Rick's final painting)

I hope this has been a useful illustration. I know that every artist's version of classical or old master realism is a little different. But, this is the first time I saw someone build the layers in this sculptural way.


Portrait Intensive (My version of step 4)

I was very happy with what we learned and practiced during this workshop. Rick effectively gave us a short course in Old Master painting. Here's my final step. I'll take another photo of it at home that isn't so blurry and post it on my website and personal art blog.


Portrait Intensive (Step 4)

After letting the initial dark mid-tone dry. We blended light colors and moved up toward the highlights one step at a time. We could also add more "chroma" so you begin to see more warm and cool tones. I don't know if he did it intentionally (I imagine so) but Rick toggled between warm and cool as he moved forward which naturally created more energy on the face and brought our attention to that area. You'll notice in this photo that he also built more cool tones and warm color into the background along with a few very understated light on the shirt.


Portrait Intensive (My version of step 3)

My attempt at step 3

Portrait Intensive (Step 3)

After finishing the gray layer, Rick continued his demo and added a dark mid-time. He used the standard recipe; warm yellow, permanent rose, ivory black and titanium White (alkyd). But, looking around the class, we could see his talent for mixing skin tones given that we were all using the same colors with dramatically different results.

With only four colors many of us were winding our palette knives through a maze of hues ... too pink, too purple, too jaundiced, too gray, too blue, too muddy ... until the right color emerged. It was like being in one of those walled gardens. You know you'll come out if you keep your hand on one wall ... you start begin to wonder when ... and then suddenly after many turns you are rewarded with a view of the palace at the exit.

The most important thing he tried to teach at this level was to really use the grey by feathering or scumbling into it with the dark flesh tone. I realized while working over the grey that you really only have one shot to keep it dark and matte. You can erase off if you lay down too much flesh tone but it created a subtle shine that brings light into the area where you are attempting to create dark. The same was true with the umber areas. It worked best when we didn't touch them.


Rick Weaver - Portrait Painting Intensive (photos)

I finally figured out that the best way to illustrate what we did this week in Rick's portrait intensive was to take photos. Here, you can see the grey layer. The approach here was to take three (or two) grays that match the darkest mid-tones and lay down a layer which will act like a sculpture. Basically, we used the gray values to define the form as strongly as possible. We were instructed to leave the heavy burnt umber in dark areas.

Adding transitions (the change from one angle to another) was fine but Rick explained that you should only do it as an exercise because it would all be lost in the next step. I practiced some transitions in this stage for two reasons. 1st: There is always extra time in a group workshop so I had time to mess around anyway. 2nd: I think I needed some practice developing my transitions and this was a great way to see if they made sense before getting into color.



One of my favorite holiday activities is walking through art districts and visiting a series of Galleries in search of great art. My husband and I pontificate about the paintings and installations as we view them and then over dinner, discuss which one stood out as our favorite. We're always energized when we discover a "favorite" new gallery that carries art matching our collecting interests. Previously, I was buying small landscapes and an occasional photo. Right now, I'm into contemporary realism and 18th century art. My husband, having grown up out west, appreciates oil paintings of wild horses like John Leone's art. We also like installation art ... if it's practical.

But ... I digress ...

Whenever we are preparing to travel, I spend hours just looking through Art Gallery websites and researching artists. I study countless galleries every year and return frequently if they represent an artist we follow. After taking Rick Weaver's workshop, I found myself pondering the difference in technique between his figures in the dark and Steve Huston's paintings of men at work. If you enjoy this type of "discovery", here are the links I've been walking through today as I contrasted their work and studied the galleries where they have exhibited.

Eleanor Ettinger Gallery
Principle Gallery
Lee Hansley Gallery
Sullivan Goss Gallery

On each of these sites, you can scroll over each artist's name - even if you don't find Steve's or Rick's name in the lists - it's fun to look at the work of other artists who have shown at the same gallery. It's an endless web leading from artist to galleries, gallery to artists and so on. But, over time, I have seen some of my favorite artists pop up in different galleries around the globe and we have developed our knowledge as collectors.

Click on the "artist" links on each gallery website to see where the journey takes you.


Portrait Painting Process - Tim Chambers.

Artist Tim Chambers posted a great comment on cast drawing entry and it reminded me of something I want to share with you. Tim has as a unique and detailed description of the process he followed to create a recent portrait of Chuck Colson.


Artist's individual painting processes seem to be as unique as their studios. I think Tim's overview of the Chuck Colson portrait is a useful, detailed illustration of the many steps in his approach.


Rick Weaver - Portrait Intensive.

What a great week! I've been in Rick Weaver's portrait painting intensive and am seeing the approach of the old masters in a new way. (No photo here because Rick's work is copyrighted on the website) Rick explained that he teaches this intensive workshop because he has spent years studying and researching what he believes to be the closest approach to the old master style and wants to share what he's learned.

Rick also teaches at the well known Andreeva Portrait Academy in Santa Fe. One of his portraits was exhibited in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006 Exhibition at the national portrait gallery in DC.

You can see Rick's finished work on his website.

I can't accurately describe the approach Rick uses on a short blog ... it really needs to be experienced ... but can tell you that it requires some discipline. On Monday, we worked through a flattened underdrawing in raw umber on toned canvas. Using fast drying alkyds the next day, we learned to how to build a grey layer with white, ivory black and burnt umber that is best described as "sculptural". I can definitely see Rick's sculpture experience in his demos. Today and Thursday we are going through a series of organized color steps to build volume and eventually light into the portrait. During every step, we keep small parts of the previous layer exposed.

My simple description can't come close to telling you how to paint like Rick Weaver but I can say that if you are incredibly patient and open to learning it - his intensive workshops are a nice opportunity to get a glimpse of what Rembrandt, Titian and Caravaggio might have seen.


Early Registration for Paint Herndon

Sponsored by Coldwell Banker

FRIDAY AUGUST 29th - MONDAY SEPTEMBER 1st (Labor Day) 2008

- Over $2000 in prizes !!
- Artist's choice award
- Located at the new ArtSpace: 750 Center Street, Herndon VA 20170
- $35 registration + $10 each additional canvas
- Artwork will exhibit in ArtSpace Gallery Grand Opening for 1 month
- Quick Draw Competition Monday 9/1 (only $10 entry, compete for over $200 in prizes)

To volunteer or pre-register, E-Mail: PaintHerndon@gmail.com



Competitions for Artists

Interested in competing?

Here are some upcoming juried competitions for artists in DC

The 2009 Portrait Competition:

Calls for Artists by the District of Columbia:


Studios Today - An immaculate example

In addition to the happily used studios of the past, it's also inspiring to see a new studio space. Peggi Habet's Studio in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is a great example of an organized, immaculate studio where I imagine she can experience clarity of thought in such a peaceful environment. =)


Brilliant - an "all in one" studio tour

Interested in seeing many artist's studios? Looking for ideas? This artist, Joe Fig has done us a great service, he created miniature reproductions of many painters ... so you can take a tour. It also makes a wonderful point that every artist's studio is a completely unique creation that follows function.

Enjoy your tour

Joe Fig's website


A Story: Jean-Frederick Bazille's studio

While researching artist studios, I happened across this interesting story of an artist friend of Monet, Renior, Manet & Zola. The painting above is taken from the www.artexpert.com website and shows these men in Jean-Frederick Bazille's studio.

You might like to read this painter's story and his camaraderie with his peers in their website: www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/bazille.php


Jan Vermeer's Studio

Well known 17th center painter.

I few things I notice:

- First, of course, the great color and light ... signature Vermeer

- He is seated
- The single window to create directional light on the subject. A large curtain, possibly to control the light from a separate window for Vermeer to work
- The painting on his easel is barely started.
- Is he holding his palette in his left hand because the mall stick is resting on the right edge of the canvas so he must be holding it in his left hand.


Pierre Subleyres art Studio

There is an increadible amount of information about different art studios (they are as varied and unique as the artists) so I've narrowed it down to a few of my favorites.

To kick things off, here's the famous painting of Pierre Subleyras' studio.

I love this painting because it is both a "daily life" painting, a posed composition that must have taken months to render and an informational piece as well. As artists are working, we need a lot of wall space (or hanging space) to protect works during varying degrees of completion or drying. Then, of course, we also need space for art that inspire us as well as our own works of art that haven't been sold or shown yet. I think I'm like many artists who flinch at the idea that someone might come into the studio and see our half finished or failed early attempts at something and at that moment write us off as incompetant. (laughter) I imagine that's why the paintings in this studio (above) all appear to be outstanding, finished works of art.

Artist Studios

Check this blog in a few hours for more STUDIOS!!!

Today, I posted an arbitrary photo of my upstairs studio on my blog :
triciaratliff.blogspot.com and thought you might enjoy seeing the way different artists set up their studios. So, the next few blog entries will be committed to that purpose.

This one is my studio while working on a still life using a combinations of classical and contemporary realist techniques. My current studio is beautifully lit so this fabulous hand carved box helps control the afternoon light on the objects.

This month, we'll be setting up my primary studio downstairs. What a great space! I wish I had noticed sooner how flowing and soft the light is. I'll keep a secondary studio space upstairs for my more spontaneous somewhat expressionist paintings but use the lower studio as a controlled light environment.


It's Official: Paint Herndon Scheduled for SEPT 1st

Plein Air Contest Lovers - Save the DATE: Sept 1st 2008.

The Herndon Foundation for the Culteral Arts is hosting "Paint Herndon", a paint out style competition in combination with the annual Wine and Jazz Festival.

I'm on a team developing the event schedule. So, if you are interested in participating, please feel free to visit my website www.agilearts.net and e-mail me for information.