Thursday, August 18, 2016

I Love Paisley- Thanks Laura Ashley!

I have always had a thing for paisley fabric probably thanks to Laura Ashley and being put in those kind of frocks as a kid.

Lovely Katy arrived at my studio for a life-sitting wearing a simple paisley shirt. I didn't really do the shirt justice but I certainly was enamored with it - and Katy.

It was a three hour sitting with The Saddlerock Painters at my studio in the Malibu Highlands, yes, near Saddlerock Mountain.

This painting has already found a home but if you are interested in some of my smaller daily paintworks which are very reasonably priced, please go to this gallery link

"The Paisley Shirt"
By Johanna Spinks
Via Palette Knife

"Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom".

Walter Benjamin

In much to get done in just under three hours via my palette knife which moves slower than a brush for me.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Paint An Apple, Paint A Face.

Years ago I was told if you can paint an apple well, you can then do a face. I did both this week from life, via my palette knife, both in same color compliments. Both still excite. Thanks to photographer/art muse Timothy Clark for sitting for me. What a nice guy.

Timothy 16 x 12"
Oil on linen
via palette knife
"Spa Lunch"
Oil on Board
by Johanna Spinks

Single life sitting
Timothy Clark
via my palette knife

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Golden Secrets of Painting

I don't know about you, but I love seeing how things are made, especially paintings and especially paintings with a lot of things going on in them.

I just finished this multi-figured golden beach scene which was designed initially as a 'companion' painting  for a client who originally commissioned me to create a fairground "Golden Days" painting for their first child's nursery in Washington. See below. That was not a fast painting.

This painting, "Endless Summer" 30x24", was done mostly from my imagination with the theme of childhood in my head.  I live near the ocean so it is close to my heart. I have long been a fan of Edward Potthast's charming paintings of happy summer beach scenes so there is also a heavy nod to him in this painting too. Thank you Mr. Potthast.

My color harmony was limited to different hues of blue and orange to match the carousel painting. At times I got blocked, wondering if it is was going to work,  but because I knew I had a strong start, I kept telling my imagination to just proceed. The start took me five days to work out the S curve composition and how all the figures would be arranged in spade. The gold lay-in wash created sunshine without really having to try too hard later.

My application was mostly via palette knife apart from the washes which are impossible to do with a knife.

Can't wait to start another one!

Would love to hear your thoughts.

For more of my figurative work please go to my main website:

Available paintings are here:!figurative/c21w9

Endless Summer By Johanna Spinks
24x30" via palette knife

The start...this part of the painting took me a long time to work out. S curve composition of umbrellas .

A good start? Maybe I have a painting that will work.

Slowly moving outward toward all the umbrellas and the figures near them or underneath.

Almost there. The final water and sky were painted in a single fast session as with the pier and beach huts.

"Golden Days" by Johanna Spinks

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Prime Minister Theresa May

Iron Lady The Second?

 I sketched this block-in  for a portrait of Theresa May, Britain's new prime minister as of today!

I wanted to capture the emotion of the day and the big task ahead taking Britain forward from "Brexit".

 A big job ahead of her - and me. Good luck new Prime Minister May.

Come back to see the portrait done.

Prime Minister Theresa May
"The First Day"
by Johanna Spinks

This portrait follows one I did last week.

"Brexit - Last Day- David Cameron"
By Johanna Spinks

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cheers! My Perfect Commission

Anyone who knows me,  knows I love wine.
Rose in the summer
White anytime
Red in the winter or next to a good steak.

The perfect commission landed in my lap earlier this year, creating five wine labels for The Stonehaus in Westlake Village, California.
The company, who sells its' private label wine all over the world,  specifically wished for my pen and ink/watercolor sketchbook style. A match made in heaven. Can't wait to taste the wine. Thanks to Maria Solorzano too.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth - As American As Apple Pie?

As American as apple pie? Maybe not quite. I still like a cuppa at mid-afternoon. But super proud to have become an American citizen December 20th 2002 at mid-day. I never take this life privilege for granted.


"Apple Pies" by Johanna Spinks.