Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cheers! A Painting Toast To California

Cheers! Some good news. This painting of mine just got accepted into "A Toast To California Regional and Seasonal Show" run by the prestigious California Art Club.

As followers of this blog will know, this is from a series of paintings I am slowly working on called "High Days and Holidays" which I enjoy doing between my portrait commissions.

I have been blessed this year with some juried competition success with these paintings which is very rewarding including the "On Location in Malibu Show"at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum, closing today and the spring CAC "Romancing Europe" show.

I do these paintings just for myself to explore the play of light and color and the joy of life I see around me.  My heart and whimsy sure go into them. At first I was a little nervous putting them out into the world. But I am told when you feel this way about your art, it is a very good sign.

I hope you like...

"Cambria Wine Festival"
By Johanna Spinks
oil on linen panel
To see more of my fine art gallery, please visit

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Best Kind of Day?

The Best Kind of Day
Johanna Spinks
oil on linen via palette knife

What's the best kind of day for me? A brand new model who is excited to be painted. And then painting alongside a good artist friend chatting while we go christening her lovely new studio. Via palette knife. Three hour sitting - ish.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flying By The Seat of My Portrait Pants via Palette Knife

Excited to get into the studio this morning working on a new palette knife portrait of a lovely young lady called Kim who has inspired me.

This one is from Friday, a three-hour life sitting of the lovely Lynette. I sure had fun. I worked 'inside out', a technique I first saw Morgan Weistling do, and then subsequently Jeremy Lipking. To truly work this way you don't do any preparatory drawing at all. Just start on a part of the face or body, say an eye, and get it correct before moving on to the thing next to it.

It is different from the way I usually work 'outside in', where you block in the whole head generally and then get more specific with the the features and likeness. I have been working this way for a long time taught me by my mentor Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler. It would certainly remain my method of choice for a portrait commission where I am not seeking a 'flying by the seat of my pants' art experience.

Both ways are good however and it's fun to shake it up a bit. I find my palette knife technique is really suited to working inside out but I still need a quick block-in drawing to make me feel like I know the rough placement of things on the canvas even though I don't feel the need to 'fill in' the block-in. If things change as I work inside out, that's fine and half the fun.

By Johanna Spinks
Oil on linen via palette knife.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Portrait Location- Wall Street Journal

Location, location, location?

Two portraits I did a very long time ago are included in an article today in The Wall Street Journal about a fabulous Malibu home, designed and conceived by two very clever people I know rather well.

So many congrats to Carolyn and Kevin Cozen. I watched this home being built from the ground up over a few years by these two talents. It is a true work of art and I am honored to have two paintings of their daughters hanging in it. That they didn't put them in a yard sale.

Designer Cozens' showpiece home: Photo Wall Street Journal
View from the other side of designer Cozens' home: Photo Wall Street Journal 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Official Bishop Portrait Gets Unveiled Today

Charleston unveiling this morning... my official portrait of the Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, pictured below, with myself and his lovely artist wife Annie.

What a wonderful honor to paint this great man in a large painting that took me quite a while to paint. I feel so blessed to be a portrait artist doing what I love and meeting such great people who inspire me and so many others. 
The Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg

Flying in for the unveiling with Bishop Charles vonRosenberg and his wife Annie

Saturday, July 18, 2015

J.W.Waterhouse Sketchbooks

"The Victoria and Albert Tearoom"
24x18" via palette knife
By Johanna Spinks
For purchase

The block-in painted from life with that knife

Slowing working through

The background begins
Visiting the sketchbooks of J.W.Waterhouse within the vaults of The Victoria and Albert Museum. Wow!

I have long enjoyed a good scone, thick clotted cream and a nice cuppa especially in lovely British tearooms. I found myself once again in the tearoom of The Victoria and Albert Museum with its' beautiful Pre-Raphaelite windows that leave you breathless with wonder and so enjoying the moment.

I was also lucky enough to visit four of J.W. Waterhouse sketchbooks in this Musuem's collection which was a remarkable experience. Yes, I actually got to leaf through them with my bare hands. What an incredible artist J.W. Waterhouse was. I don't think anyone has yet come close to what he did with his brush and imagination.

So, all of this came together in my painting inspired by the tearoom and those sketchbooks. It was started from life painting the lovely model Amina in my teaching class and taken further during the days that followed. The windows are downplayed which I apologize for but sometimes you have to edit.

I hope you like.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Long And Winding Palette Knife Road

My journey with the palette knife continues, some days good, some days not...but I know I am pushing myself which I suppose is the point.

At this point I know what I can do with a brush.

The long and winding palette knife road? Leads you to your path? We'll see.

This is my quickie demo (90 minutes) from my life painting teaching class yesterday of the lovely artist/muse Mather Louth, painted on day two of a migraine. The model and pose gorgeous but a lot to take on in just 90 minutes.

I went for a color harmony of red and green trying to get as much color into Mather's skin as I could while still greying it down, working with that knife much like icing a cake. Fast.

I hope I am making some progress. What do you think?

Today I start another one, with a little more finish of a wonderful lady that I am excited about.

"Mather Louth"
Palette Knife Life Sketch
Oil on linen board
Johanna Spinks

My weekly studio class is always great fun. Great models and great poses.
Wednesdays 10 to 2pm
Join us?