Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Lesson

This was more of a success. I have told you previously about studying with 'Jo' in Gilbert, Iowa. She is such a wonderful and colorful spirit. Well, during our last session she was giving a demonstration and the light coming through her studio window just danced across her hair. Their was a softness about Jo that day.

I snapped some photos and this is what I ended up with when I got home to my own studio.

"Thank you Jo".

Life Drawing- Savannah

This week was another opportunity to draw from the human figure. Always a challenge and a humbling experience. After many short poses (30 seconds to 2 minutes) we went on to a longer pose. This will take awhile to get comfortable with watercolors on an almost vertical surface; let alone the drawing aspect.

I found the gesture drawing (what we are learning currently) is different than contour or blind contour drawing as with gesture drawing the lines need to be fluid, continuous and capture the gesture or movement of the mode. My first attempt (attached) at drawing Savannah is somewhat clumsy. I did feel some relief in adding some color. However, my pride turned to dismay when I added a second wash (because I felt to good about that FIRST wash) and the colors became garish. Wow! Yuck! Why did she turn cadmium yellow and quinacridone red?!?

Well, when I got home I found Adobe Photoshop saved me a bit with some of their texture programs overlaid on this study. OK, humbly I submit this posting as I said previously I would submit these.

BTW, the painting of poor Savannah got taken to the sink and looks a bit better now that I have scrubbed out most of her color with lots of water and a sponge.

Until next time.....Happy painting!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's what I do

Well, it has been awhile since I wrote and I am petrified to actually tell you just how much I have been painting. See, this is just what I do. I paint. What have I been painting? Hmmm. Portraits, Chinese brushpaintings of orchids (both the flowers and beautiful, graceful stems and leaves), an abstract and a landscape or two.

I paint daily; actually averaging five days a week. I have signed on with two different groups this semester. My plan this semester is to immerse myself in both drawing and painting with a focus on the human form.

Thursday's group meets in Ames, Iowa and we paint nudes and still lifes. The teacher (Jo) teaches out of her home and gallery. She is a true art-spirit who lives and breaths art. She just returned from a workshop on the East coast with Charles Reid. This week we painted from 3 different still life set-ups that she had in her studio. It was a treat to see her notebook and paintings of Mr Reid's class and to hear some of her stories about studying with this master watercolorist.

Tuesdays group meets at the Des Moines Art Center and is taught by Tracy Duran (the visiting artist at the DM Art Center). First class is this Tuesday and I look forward to this. More on that class after Tuesday.

Well, next time we meet I plan to start posting photos of projects and paintings (both finished and complete).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Well, we're off....just finishing my first website and am pretty excited about it. I have been painting for many years, but a bit slow to come out of the gate and put my art 'out there'. My goal here is to write at least weekly about the goals, thoughts and challenges of producing fine art.

Over the past few years I have been studying both Western painting (with a focus on watercolor) and Eastern painting. Currently I am focusing in two areas:

1. on life drawing and painting. That translates into both drawing and painting live models. I actually start one of my classes this week and am pretty excited! I will be taking weekly lessons or classes at both the Des Moines Art Center and at a private studio in Gilbert, Iowa. I am challenging myself to keep watercolor as my medium during these classes. Watercolor can be pretty unforgiving, but will hopefully help me to lighten up during these classes.

2. on Asian philosophies as I realize that calligraphy and Chinese brush painting are as much about the process or way of life and thinking as about the product (finished painting). My goal is to blend these two types of painting into an expression that is true to myself.

The past three months I have flown out to California to train with an artist/calligrapher in the Santa Rosa area that has studied Chinese brush painting for years and has trained with Ning Yeh. Her name is Judith Cunningham.

Books and DVDs that I am currently reading and studying from are many. Here are a few on my desk at present:
'Asian Philosophies' by John M. Koller
'Japanese Kanji Calligraphy' by Kunii Takezake and Bob Godin
'The First 100 Chinese Characters' by Allison & Laurence Matthews'
Ning Yeh's series (DVD) on Chinese Flower painting, along with his books- both instructional and illustrational. You can view these on his website at:

Well, enough for now. I hope to start posting some musings and photos (whether good or bad!) of either Chinese brush painting or paintings of live models.

Blogging these thoughts is new to me; so please feel free to give me feedback. I look forward to this adventure!

back to the studio.....
Today, I created a fan page on facebook for Kyoung Studios. Feel free to become a fan and post any questions or comments you may have. I plan on adding a few pictures of my paintings on that page, but several are already up on my website: