Ed Hahn Exhibit - August

Fine Art Photographer Ed Hahn is having an upcoming exhibit at Applegate gallery in Vienna Va. This is a pretty intimate setting to meet Ed and learn more about his artwork in person. I hope you can make it!!


Artists Reception August 13th from 6 to 8 pm 
Work showing through September 9th

101 Church Street NW, Suite C
Vienna, VA 22180

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Here is a step by step demonstration of a single subject using the classical realist approach to painting. I have taken this directly from the approach used by schools in Florence.

I begin with a drawing which can be done on paper and transferred or drawn directly onto canvas as you see here.

Next, I block in the darks and shadow areas. Ideally, I should use three value massing to keep the shapes simple and clean - but admit that I usually get carried away by prior habits and start working as if I'm drawing in paint. I love the way paintings look in monochrome!

In the following step, I begin to add color and create the forms that live in the light. I'm adding a bright red in the cloth area early so that it can dry and allow for thin transparent red layers in the mid tones later.  Once the lights are finished, the darks simply require a few strokes of color to darken them and the painting is done!

So - I should share with my students who read this blog that THIS is the SLOOOOW and steady way to make a painting. Normally with a subject like this, I prefer to work Alla Prima and block in the colors, making corrections as I go and finish the painting in one sitting. You can see examples of this in the previous two posts. But, the approach above works really well for people in my current situation (with a wonderful new baby at home) who only have a few stolen moments here and there to paint between other commitments. This way, one is not relying on being able to re-work the "drawing", value and color all at once while the paint is still wet. Instead, using this approach, one can focus on just capturing the light patterns during a first sitting and then sort of go on "autopilot" and enjoy knocking in the color during future sittings.



Usually, I only paint from life but lately with the limitations of time and location, I've been accepting inspiration in *any* form I can get it. Tonight, I was so taken by a photo from an open studio at ArtSquare in Leesburg that I just had to paint it for the simple joy of painting. With only 20 minutes of stolen time to work while my family was at the grocery store (before the bedtime routine began) I enjoyed every brushstroke!

My painting (and this cell phone image of it) doesn't do the original photo justice but it was fun to paint anyway. I've inquired to find out who took the original photo - and will share his/her name when I know it.

example of an 8x10 rapid oil sketch on board

Oh ... I miss open studio time.


Kids Are Awesome: Anson Berns on Art

I just stumbled across this little video of a young boy named Anson Berns talking about art (he's taking art classes at Studio Neptune in Bethesda). At first, I was just enjoying it as a parent who values seeing kids develop their interests ... but as Anson continued to speak, it was such a pleasure to hear him beautifully sum up how he (and probably most people today) connect(s) with art in the simplest terms possible.

Interviews with Artists: Anson Berns from Studio Neptune on Vimeo.

As artists we can only hope to capture the amazing beauty and reality of life - but children *are* themselves among the greatest creations ... I dare say the greatest works of art on the planet. We should cherish them (whether they are small or hidden inside adults) more than any work of art in any museum.


On the Easel - On it's way to Broadway Gallery Shortly

As many good friends know, I don't have much time lately to paint - as we have a new sweetheart of a baby. But, I am finding time to finish previously promised paintings and commissions - and loving it!

Here are two photos of a painting on the easel today. It's an 8x10 designed to go with my earlier onion painting and will be delivered to broadway gallery in Alexandria shortly.

Initial Sketch

Current Painting

I could paint this elephant garlic repeatedly if I didn't have other paintings due right now. I love the white crispy wrapper and shape of the cloves.

My camera recently stopped working (uh oh!) . So, sorry for the poor photo quality photos are they were taken on my phone.

Approach and Colors: I started with a transparent oil sketch to establish the composition and shadow shapes. Then added the darks and step by step built up to the lights. This was completed with a limited palette of Transparent Red Oxide, Ultramarine Blue, Lead White and Indian Yellow (I used two kinds, W&N for the transparent areas and Vasari for the opaque areas). Oh and I did use a dash of cad green light with cerulean to get some of those knocked down shades of blue green. 

I'm still painting in a "low toxicity" environment. So, I wear gloves and don't use any turp, gamsol or other OMS - just paint and a tiny bit of walnut oil to clean my brushes.