More on line resources

Hi Everyone,
In addition to using my blog (which posts itself to facebook) to share news and artistic discoveries, I also use it to log interesting links that I stumble across and want to keep for my own future reference. I bumped into this one while looking up new paintings by Sadie Valari - whose work I just love. Sadie and other artists post short articles here. http://www.artistsnetwork.com/category/medium/oil

Sadie is also on Vimeo


Jonathan Linton Demo

Jonathan Linton gave a demo at the Vienna Art Society Thursday. I was fortunately able to capture a few photos as he painted and chatted about everything from materials, setup and approach to the new school he recently opened. I've seen other demos by Jonathan and this one was different. He used a seemingly unstructured but careful Alla Prima approach on heavily textured canvas (you could easily mistake this canvas for a gessoed burlap sack - so it had a great tooth to it). This portrait is different then those on his website but if you follow his blog, you'll see that he has finished plenty of other soft, loosely painted figure and portrait paintings.

I hope you enjoy these few photos.

Before he started painting, he spent about 15-20 minutes on setup and lighting. He prefers natural light but uses both halogen and florescent in situations like this that don't allow natural light to work. (notice the bright pink of the setting sun in the upper window within the first seconds of the demo ... the sky turned a glorious hot pink a few minutes later and then went dark ... if only we could hold that kind of natural light for 3 hours! )

Specifically, Jonathan started with a light wash of darks and lights (above)on a dried ground of mixed tones. Carefully adding the major shapes of the lit and shadow side, knowing he might correct them later.

Then, he added masses of darkest darks but took care to create the soft, artistic strokes that fade into soft edges for the hair.

Then, he scraped everything down with a knife to keep the edges turning away (from us the viewer) soft and "lost".

As he progressed, he used the palette knife often to darken areas that seemed out of balance and continuously soften by scraping off paint. I was impressed by how brave he was about removing strong strokes. Another artist and I remarked later about this because he would create strong 3D forms and then scrape off the meat of the paint leafing behind only a hint of the earlier success.

Finally, in the last sitting, he picked up a smaller brush and very carefully touched in some of the strongest lit areas (notice he avoids putting anything sharp near those soft turning edges). He could easily have taken this further given more time but I thought it was really interesting to see the alla prima work of an artist who usually spends countless hours developing a portrait.

The major lesson I took away from this was the dedication to soft edges. Jonathan was willing to repeatedly sacrifice inspired strokes of paint if the edges were too hard in exchange for a softer look.


Expressions Portrait Competition - Deadline SEPTEMBER 26th

Hello Portrait Artists,

The Expressions Portrait Competition 2011 deadline is September 26th and they are accepting entries now! I'm flattered to have been selected as a juror and look forward to seeing the portraits this year.

Click below for the prospectus.

(c) The Writer by Douglas Kingsbury

Here is an article about last year's competition and winners:


Golden Section

When I first learned about the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio, I recall experiencing a feeling of peaceful satisfaction while considering all of the places they naturally appear. So, whenever I stumble across new explanations of either (like the one below) I try to save a link to it.

When I stumbled across this link (yet another one) I just had an image of myself as a sort of virtual pack rat, and this blog is my parlor packed with links, piled like newspapers from ankles to elbows. =)


These simple formula's make fractals, seashells (like the image above) and other patterns seem magical. I always enjoy considering that magic until upon consideration I suddenly find myself embarrassed by the realization "of course the human body and just about everything can be broken down into increasingly duplicating intervals - They are constructed through cell duplication or compilation - nothing could be simpler." Then, I lose interest for awhile, until I stumble across a Leonardo Da Vinci drawing and my senses are stimulated again.


Dan Thompson Painting Demo

I thought I had posted these videos last year while taking Dan's workshop but can't find that post anywhere ... so, in addition to his drawing demo below, here is Dan Thompson's open grisaille painting demonstration.



Dan Thompson - Drawing demo video

I *really* appreciate the quality of Dan Thompson's demonstrations. He's an outstanding teacher and I'd love to study with him again. The next best thing for me is to occassionaly find one of his demos like this on line. Here, the video is humorously shaky ... but what do you want for FREE!

Many thanks to the person who had the presence of mind to capture this on video and post it here on u-tube for those of us who couldn't be there in person!


Do artist's really eat that well?

I was having lunch with a friend who said he imagined an Artist's life as one of sitting around with other artists, talking about philosophy, eating fabulous food and drinking great wine because we would emerse ourselves in all things artistic ... and food is an art.

Others have asked "Do artists really eat that well?" when they see our paintings.

The answer ... it depends.

There are plenty of hungry artists out there who must use their hunger as inspiration for drama in their art.

But, for this not so starving artist - the truth is - Yes! I love to eat well and enjoy art in many forms.

Our job description includes wandering through farmers markets (or gardening) to find the freshest, most beautifully colored radishes, peaches and other luscious treats. If we walk by a bakery and smell fresh bread that can also be used for a still life setup, why would we resist? It's a matter of being practical.

Being someone who is inspired by many things simultanously, I usually find more to paint than I can possibly capture within a few days. They must be eaten. So, when I look in my fridge for a quick snack during a painting break, it's not hard to throw together a mixed green and herb salad with hard boiled eggs, alvecado, apple, strawberry, cheese, blueberries, pralined pecans only to add a few pre-processed items like roasted turkey and a can of water chestnets.

On the other hand, I have to admit - I've also missed a lot of great flavors because they took too long to paint. Last year, I purchased about 15 mini mandarines that were so juicy and buttery, they melted in my mouth. With the leaves still attached, I couldn't eat them all before painting a few of them. One painting led to another and before I knew it, I had a set of miniature dried oranges in the studio. So, one might also argue that we can't always eat that well. Sometimes you do have to suffer for your art. = )


Tricia Ratliff's Artwork in Something Hot Exhibit.

One of my new paintings  "Steaming Tea" is in the Something Hot exhibit at ArtSquare Leesburg (12 Cardinal Park Dr. SE Leesburg Va).  For those of you who are local, I hope you can join us Friday night from 5:30-8:00pm for the opening reception. I'll be arriving late on Friday but Walter, Ari and I do plan to be there with our new baby Mark who (in other good news) is now out in public! 

If it is still available, this and other recent paintings will be included in the October exhibit called "Change of Seasons" at Broadway Gallery in Alexandria.  The reception for that show will be on Saturday October 15th. I hope you'll SAVE THE DATE!!

Steaming Tea 12x14" by Tricia Ratliff 

Also - a note to students who have been patiently waiting for classes to restart. I plan to begin teaching again this fall/winter starting with workshops, followed by private lessons. Regular group classes (other than workshops) may start again in 2012 depending on my travel schedule. I look forward to seeing all of you again soon and thank you for being so patient !!

Angie's Roses 11x14 - by Tricia Ratliff 

Fresh Peaches from the Farmer's Market 18x24 by Tricia Ratliff 

11x14 by Tricia Ratliff 

For those who are still reading ... *yes* ... I seem to be in a red phase right now ... a departure from what I was originally planning. I love the new reds I'm finding. =) 


J Douglas at Medlin Art - ends on Thursday

I know it's last minute but I just heard from J Douglas that his show at Medlin Art gallery in Leesburg ends on Thursday. Where have I been? Self absorbed obviously. Well, take a look.