ART NEWS: Open Studio in Fairfax Virginia - Adam Lister Gallery

Calling all area artists seeking working studio space on a flexible basis! Adam lister gallery is now offering an Open Studio. Visit the following link for details *and* you can register on line!



New session: March 1 - April 5, 2012
Location: Adam Lister Gallery

The Open Studio Group is designed for artists of any level, working in any medium. This group offers time, workspace and a creative environment for anyone interested in making art and being around other working artists.  Bring any materials and supplies that you want to work with, and we provide tables, chairs, and plenty of space to spread out and make your art.  Individual and group critiques will be available to those that are interested.  All group participants are allowed to leave their works in progress in the gallery storage area.  The group director will be on hand throughout the open studio time for suggestions, guidance and technical advice if needed.

All group participants will be invited to exhibit some of their artwork in a group show here in the gallery at the end of the session.  

Group Director: Adam Lister

For ages: 18 & up

Fee: $120

Space is limited, so register early.

T# 646.263.7305


Robert Johnson Workshop - photos of demonstation

Update: Here is Robert Johnson's Newest Video from August 2012 of his beautiful paintings. I'm sharing it here as painting inspiration.

Some artist friends and I decided to enjoy a long weekend of painting together at Robert Johnson's workshop in Leesburg. I enjoy his workshops because he knows how to get artists in the mood to paint, enjoy every brushstroke and try new things.
Bob spent about 30 minutes quietly creating his setup and started painting right on time with a description of the block in and how he likes for each stage to be artistic. In a setup, look for opportunities to include variety (or polarity) in: Texture, Value, Size, Shapes, Intensity of color and even direction. He didn't mention this but I'll just pass along that it's important to emphasize variety if you want you paintings to have an organic quality. You can use less variety to create a colder, more mechanical feeling.

He talked about his canvas preparation as well. He prefers double lead primed linen from New York Central Art Supply (in Soho New York City) mounted onto gatorboard with miracle muck. (For what it's worth, you can also get some awesome triple primed rabbit skin glue portrait linen from the art league store in Alexandria Virginia ... I buy that and have it dry mounted on archival foam core for travel panels) Roll it flat with a brasier to make sure there are no bubbles. Pile the panels on top of each other with a weight and let them dry 24 hours - then trim off the extra canvas that hangs over the edges with a sharp exacto knife. Or ... you can just buy them pre-made from Windriver.

During this block in stage, he used the standard "light touch" method of picking up the lit areas with a cloth. He selected one sharp lit area of particular interest along the top edge of the silver jug and wet his brush with a dab of gambol to erase a nice edge along that area. Notice that he did *not* paint the handle of the silver jug. It turns out that he likes to leave that for later so that he doesn't have to cut in the background around such a specific shape. He simply said - I'll paint the handle in later. (It was almost the last thing he did).

After the block in, he says he lets the painting lead him. He mixed up some background color with Transparent red oxide, ultramarine and a dab of indian yellow (or naples yellow) with white. (I've also seen people do this with white, Thalo blue or green and burnt umber) The idea is to make a warm mid tone grey so that you can easily cut back into finished areas later without feeling like you'll ruin the background. Why didn't I think of that? I've always done it the hard way (lol).

From there, he did something I think was really important to notice but he didn't actually talk about it. He took some of that "atmosphere" color and knocked it into the sides of the silver put where it appeared and he would use it later.

From there he added the light on the silver and enjoyed working on that to get the values and rounded out of the shape.

With that subject taken care of, he jumped into the strongest color in the roses and pears. Whenever they didn't seem lit enough, he darkened the darks to avoid adding white to the lits which would dull the color of the fruit and flowers.

Leaves: Although everything is important, Bob explained that he is more concerned with value than exact color and temperature at this point. This really shows up in the way his leaves are resolved. He darkened the darkest leaves with cool green and added cool red (like alizeron or quinocridone) in the veins. Then he gave most of his attention to picking out a few, beautiful lit leaves to give them life. He often cautions people not to short change leaves. They should be given as much respect as the flowers. Leaves may seem similar but rather than repeating patterns, look for variations and emphasize those. 

At this point I should probably mention that it's MUCH better to actually attend a Robert Johnson demo/workshop than to rely on my random notes. I am only writing the little tiny bit of superficial step by step information that I can remember off the top of my head. The real value in what he teaches is actually something you can only pick up by being there.

The RUG: The rug was handled much like the other objects. He doesn't let the actual pattern in the textiles dictate the outcome of his painting, he uses what he needs for the purpose of a better painting and just paints that. Notice how he uses exaggerated perspective as lines along the far edges (i.e. farther back) are thinner and closer together and the ones up front are fatter and larger.

An important learning point that I took away was that he paints objects in the direction of the object but he paints planes like the table/rug in the direction of the light. Notice how the brushwork is dragged across the canvas from left to right.

Notice all of the brush angles in the photos of Bob painting. The key to these beautiful paintings is in each persona's own technique of brushwork. Bob holds his brush delicately, often applying paint without the brush (i.e. only the paint) touching the canvas. This creates nice globs of organic looking texture as he changes the angle, direction and pressure on the brush (I think they were almost all long bristle filberts but he also showed us a soft, flat mongoose by rosemary brush company that he likes using).

Normally, I wouldn't add so many "basics" to a blog post but I've been noticing on my blog stats that with over 2500 hits a month, about 1/4 of readers are spending most of your time in these "how to" posts. New students have also been calling me to learn the basics. Because I have cut back my teaching schedule to a couple of workshops a year and teaching private lessons in order to spend time painting ... those calls alerted me that I need to do a better job of explaining not only what I  think is unique in these workshops but also some of the basics that we all need to constantly review.

Hope this post was better for you and not too cluttered!

Do me a favor and drop me a line if you found any of this useful. I write these posts for my own use (so that I have electronic notes and photos) but I take time to add details in hopes that other people will benefit. If I know one or two of you are getting value out of them, then I know the extra effort is worthwhile.

Here is a video intro to one of his demo videos:

This weekend, my friends and I were all working on different things in this workshop. I specifically realized my own need to let the quality and texture of the paint reveal the way light trickles across an organic object. I also appreciated what Rob said about learning as much as possible while giving respect to your own personal aesthetic. It's nice to hear this recognition from someone who has such a specific and beautiful style of his own. For example, he prefers things lit naturally from above and to the side which I think gives a calming effect. Sometimes, I like to dramatize things with unusually low lighting, obscured light or even (rarely) I like multiple temperatures of light hitting from different directions.

That said ... for the purpose of getting as much as possible out of any workshop, I try to spend some time practicing within the teachers' aesthetic or approach to make sure I'm getting it. Then, on the second or last day I also like to spend some of time experimenting with things I've been wanting to try ... just to see how to incorporate the new learning with paintings I would probably do on my own later. This experimentation might sometimes seem to the teacher that the student is going off track but in Bob's case, he understood our need to experiment as an essential step in personal learning. The result: The first time I took one of Bob's workshops, a couple of friends saw the paintings I finished in his workshop and immediately said "Robert Johnson". One friend asked assumed I had purchased his demo and the other asked if I copied one of his paintings. Laughing out loud, I explained that I learn best by letting go of earlier ideas whenever I study with someone ... but we all need to let our own voice out too.  So this time around, I took that learning a step further. I used his direction for the setups but incorporated different learning points into paintings that were in the direction I am personally going as a painter. I worked on two totally different still life paintings of similar subjects and had a great time!

He has made a number of videos so I'm including short clips here just for fun:


Artists-on-Art Magazine ... worth your attention

I was so pleased to learn from Daniel Keys about the new on-line magazine called Artists-on-Art.


Take a look. This is what an on-line magazine today should be.

- Focused on content
- A balanced mix of informative and inspiring articles
- Clean and uncluttered with visually pleasing layout (this is a welcome relief)
- High quality images
- Easy navigation between on-line articles using hypertext
- Option to download pdf version for off-line reading is also very useful
- Editors embracing opportunities for other media like videos and reader commentary
- Priced accordingly

Artists on Art is fortunately focused on peer to peer content rather than heavy advertising because the business model isn't burdened by the high cost or risk of producing and shipping printed copies. If they continue with the same quality and continue to expand the use of different media (video, reader comments, cross links, slideshows etc.), then I look  forward to future issues! 


John Ebersberger Workshop Recap

Here is a useful recap of a Henre Henche style color study workshop written by Ed Terpening and automatically reposted here using his blogger repost button. It's also exciting to see that the Cape Cod School is being revitalized. For more information about new classes starting THIS SUMMER 2012, visit their website: http://www.capeschoolofart.com/

John Ebersberger Workshop Recap

I  (Ed Terpening) studied with John Ebersberger this week at l’Atelier aux Couleurs: the Art Academy.
John’s a great teacher, full of energy, enthusiasm, and most of all, knowledge.  He is from the “Hensche School” painting method, whose lineage goes backward from Henry Hensche (John’s teacher and Hawthorne’s assistant), to Charles Webster Hawthorne (Chase’s assistant) to William Merritt Chase. The main ideas of this school of painting (which is really more of method of seeing) is that 1) form can be modeled with color variation; 2) painting in outdoor light; 3) outdoor light/conditions introduce a “light key” that must be represented (eg, from an overcast day to a full sun day).  To give you a practical example of how the school’s differ, a tonalist would mix a shadow color, then add white and a bit of yellow to show the sunlit side, whereas a Hensche colorist would see each color as a completely distinct mix. So while a Hensche colorist may turn a form with color and temperature changes, a tonalist (or “value painter”) may do so with value alone (the range of values from black to white).
I’ve studied this method under Camille Przewodek as well, and can tell you Henche’s method is not a “one workshop thing”.  This is my 3rd, and I feel I’mstarting to get it.  It takes years of study and practice, and although Camille has applied the technique to plein air painting, I think it’s best learned with outdoor still life study.  In fact, if you study with her, you’ll probably spend most of your time painting colored blocks in outdoor light.  Sounds boring, but believe me, it’s more challenging than you may realize. In a still life, you can practice with objects and light conditions that are highly varied.
To learn more about this school of painting, I recommend joining John’s Facebook group on Hensche, and not bothering too much with the Hensche Foundation website, which does not present his best work and looks quite stale.
Here are some of my and John’s studies, along with commentary. I hope you find them useful!  If you’ve studied this technique as well, chime in with your feedback by entering a comment on this post.

John Ebersberger Images

As you can see, John paints with a full spectrum palette of color.  If you’re interested in the specific colors, let me know in comments and I’ll list them out [see the update below, all his colors and the brand of paints he uses are listed at the end of this post].
John Ebersberger Palette
John Ebersberger Palette
Isn’t this a beautiful start?  I missed most of this demo, but was able to capture the end of the start, and where he started to work on refining the large pot.  The sides of the pot and the cast shadow on the table are being refined with warm/cool note differences, but he started the pot just as he did the apple, as simply a light and shadow note.
John Ebersberger Still Life Demo (start)
John Ebersberger Still Life Demo (start)
I have a video of this on my previous blog post, step-by-step.  Notice how the shaded side of the head holds together well, even though there is variation between the hair and skin (the lit side, too).  He emphasized this often, that you hold to the large relationships first (figure to background) before you start color variations, and eventually detail.
John Ebersberger Figure Study Start
John Ebersberger Figure Study Start

Ed Terpening Images

This was my first attempt of the week.  I didn’t have time to finish it, but I’m happy with the start.  I do think my shadow notes are dark dark, and I started to work lighter color into them (you can see the darker beneath).  I’d also just started to model the blue pitcher and the pear.  Notice that I’ve left white space between each color note.  This can be confusing at this stage of the painting, but it’s important because it allows me to continually adjust color spots and relationships throughout the painting.  If you bring the color spots together too soon, and need to adjust later, you’ll risk creating mud and maybe creating a type of edge that you may not want.
Still Life Study 1, Unfinished  (Ed Terpening)
Still Life Study 1, Unfinished (Ed Terpening)
I was really happy with this figure study, probably my best of the week!  John took a photo too, as he’s collecting examples of studies for his website.  I had time (about 2 hours) to get the relationship between figure (face) and background, and just started modeling the hair and forehead.  Wish I could have finished this one.
FIgure Study 1 (unfinished)
FIgure Study 1 (unfinished)
Here’s another start from later in the week.
Figure Study 2 (unfinished)
Figure Study 2 (unfinished)
UPDATE [July 15, 2009]: I heard back from John, and he’s happy to share both his palette, and his favorite brands of colors too!  Here’s what he wrote me:
Color List
1. Titanium white
2. Cadmium lemon yellow (or light)
3. Cadmium yellow medium
4. Cad. Orange
5. Cad. Scarlet (or scarlet lake) — A must for outdoor work (see specific colors listed below, you may also explore reds made with napthol and perylene).
6. Cad. Red deep
7. Permanent Rose (or quinocridone red)
8. Dioxazine Purple
9. Ultramarine blue
11. Cerulean Blue
12. Permanent Green Light
13. Viridian Green
Earth colors:
1. Yellow Ochre
2. Indian Yellow
3. Burnt Sienna
4. Indian Red, Light Red, or Mars Red
Any paint brand is fine to start out with, you will find what works best for you. Ultimately you want to learn what pigments you are using. Some are right in the name – Cadmium yellow is made from cadmium pigment. Some are not in the name, for instance Winsor Newton’s Permanent Rose is actually a quinocridone pigment.
Regarding less expensive student brands of paint – when colors are named things like Cadmium red hue, or cerulean blue hue, the pigment is not what is stated in the name – this is not necessarily bad, as some of these pigments are useful. For instance the Cad. red hue may be a napthol, a color with strong tinting strength – and the cerulean hue may be a pthalo, a color with strong tinting capability.
Usually I like a warmer and cooler version of each of the primaries and green. Also a small range of earth tones is helpful.
Here is a color list with brand names that I like to use:
1. The Blockx Cadmium Yellows are terrific for use with palette knife. I use Blockx Cad. Yellow Pale, Cad. Yellow Medium, and Cad. Yellow Deep. When using a brush, I prefer the Rembrandt line of yellows because they are more fluid.
2. Winsor Newton, Cad. Orange (Rembrandt, when using brush)
3. Blockx, Cadmium Red Orange – the brightest red available, on the orange side, similar to cad. Scarlet (a bit thick for use with brush, especially in winter).
4. Old Holland, Scarlet Lake Extra – a beautiful transparent red
5. Gamblin, Napthol Red – the brightest red pigment (made by other companies under different names. Gamblin also makes a Napthol Scarlet, which I haven‘t tried yet)
6. Winsor Newton Cad. Red Deep – not bright, but you don’t always want bright. Almost a cool earth note.
7. Permanent Rose, Winsor Newton (Gamblin, Quinocridone Red)
8. Either Sennilier Permanent Violet, Gamblin Dioxine Purple, or Old Holland, Bright Purple. Also try any of the variety of quinocridone pigmented oils. I still pine for the old Rembrt. Perm Violet and Red Violet!
9. Blue – Still experimenting with brands- right now I use the Rembrandt line – Ultramarine, Cobalt, and Cerulean. I also recommend Manganese Blue Hue by just about anybody, but Gamblin is probably the best deal.
10. Viridian – Rembrandt (have not tried too many others. WN, too stiff.)
11. Winsor Newton, Permanent Green Light, and Cad. Green Pale
12. “Sevres” Green is nice (Blockx makes a good one), or Winsor Green by Winsor Newton. (they might still make Winsor Emerald too)
13. Sometimes I use Rembrandt, Chromium Green Oxide (indoor work, and winter and gray day keys)
14. Burnt Sienna (Rembrandt for brush work. Try Blockx Burnt Sienna Deep too – a very “cool“ brown.)
15. Rembrandt, Indian Red -
16. Old Holland, Mars Red-Orange or Blockx, Light Red
17. Winsor Newton, Raw Sienna (I’m sure other brands are fine as well
18. Blockx, Yellow Ochre, for palette knife. Rembrandt for brush.
19. Winsor Newton, Indian Yellow (you might also try Gamblin Transparent Orange)
20. White – Gamblin Titanium White. Blockx is excellent as well, but a little stiff for brush work right out of the tube.
21. I almost forgot!! Rembrandt Turquoise and Winsor Newton’s Indian Yellow – two indispensable colors.

color study; Lea Colie Wight / Camille Przewodek / Susan Sarback



Imagine Painting the Mona Lisa ... standing next to the master

Check out today's article in The Art Newspaper below.

The Prado revealed a beautiful copy of the Mona Lisa ... possibly painted by a pupil in Da Vinci's studio.  At first, I didn't believe my eyes because I've spent time looking at the Mona Lisa in person and it is not as beautiful as the painting below. It's still hard to imagine that varnish alone on the version in the Louvre is potentially hiding details and light effects similar to this version. Look at the skin tones ... the hair ... the shirt details ... none of those are visible through the varnish and protective glass over Leonardo's painting. Even the beautiful sheer layers of the shirt sleeves come to life on the cleaned version.

The AP Video at the end of this blog post is short but shows the best view of her clothing.

Read the full article here -

A detail of the nearly conserved Prado copy of the Mona Lisa.       Photo (c) Museum Nacional del Prado 

Explanation: Celebration of Life in Pink - 36x48 floral oil painting

Some of my paintings are moody and serious but this one is intentionally more light hearted. Recent events have reminded me of the delicacy of life and the richness of our everyday experiences . With this painting, I want to share my feelings of well being and thankfulness about simple pleasures in life ... in hopes that you find it refreshing.

With a few other paintings in the works ... stay tuned ... more to come!

This painting is currently in my studio but can be available through Broadway Gallery in Alexandria