Friday, December 19, 2014

Face of Malibu Portrait Project Hits Two Years

My Face of Malibu portrait project hits two years with twice mayor Sharon Barovsky. She has some interesting things to say about this town currently in The Malibu Times.

The Face of Malibu appears monthly in The Malibu Times. Each sitter is painted directly from life in a single sitter. Sharon is sitter number 26.

Read more about her life here:
Sharon Barovsky
Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Special Bishop Gets Unveiled

The Rev. Canon Michael Wright, Rector of Grace Church, gives the dedication of  Bishop William Alexander Guerry into The Guerry Chapel
Portrait by Johanna Spinks

The dedication morning starts with a talk in front of the three portraits I have been delighted to paint for Grace Church

A wonderful welcome by Grace Church

Bishop William Alexander Guerry
Reformed Martyr
Grace Episcopal Church
Charleston, South Carolina.
It is always special when you attend unveilings as a portrait artist. We often work quietly in our studios shipping out portraits, hoping they get there safely, but not getting to see the final "reception" at the destination.

This weekend I had the pleasure to see my portrait of reformed martyr Bishop William Alexander Guerry unveiled and dedicated into Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston by the Rev. Michael Wright , rector of Grace Church, in front of hundreds of people in the beautiful 'cathedral-like' stained glass window setting.

I was also hosted by a lovely Charleston couple, Katherine and Dan, staying in their beautiful historic picture-perfect Victorian yellow and white home that was full of Southern charm and Christmas festive, like something out of a magazine. Thank you!

Bishop Guerry was an incredible, passionate and brave man in his beliefs. He was shot dead in 1928 for his mission for inclusion in the church of all folk, including African Americans. Read more here:

I was quite moved to be honest and felt his presence coming through when I painted him. It is my third portrait for Grace Church and I was thrilled to revisit two of the older portraits and see them situated in their rightful place, plus give a talk to the visitors about my portrait work for the church.

It will always be a special weekend memory for me, including of course the day before starting my new portrait The Bishop  of South Carolina Charles vonRosenberg. I am excited to paint this great man.

While all this weekend's greatness was going on, there was a personal moment for me to reflect on the very sad loss of dear friend, Dick, Friday night.  I said a prayer for him in Grace Church during the lovely service and it felt just perfect.

Life is short.

Live it large.

Dick did.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Honored to Paint a New Bishop

A wonderful morning in Charleston starting a portrait of Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, pictured here with his gracious wife Annie, while the choir sang, for The Episcopal Church of South Carolina. Thanks to lovely Katherine Falls Mengedoht for all her help, graciously hosting me in her beautiful home.

Getting a close-up of hands

The portrait sketch from life to aid with the final portrait

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Palette Knife Portrait of Julie

My last teaching class of the year, and I decided to end it with a palette knife portrait demo of the lovely Julie. I am slowly bringing my palette knife work into the teaching room after years of using a brush. It is harder and slower. I am pushing myself both as a teacher and artist.

Thanks to all my students who have blessed me with their art journey this year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Palette Knife Portrait - Blue Orchids

I have long been fascinated by Lisi's hair. She is a great artist and many people admire her work. But her hair is also a work of art in its' own right. She colors it from cobalt blue to fuchsia depending on her mood. The cut is also quite a statement piece.

I had been wanting to paint Lisi for quite a while with a palette knife. I had already done a portrait of her with a brush but that sketch didn't feel quite edgy enough to capture her.

Lisi and I went on a day trip to The Huntington Gardens in Los Angeles to see the annual Orchid Show.  I found myself staring at her hair in the sunlight rather than at the orchids. I decided she was really as beautiful as any orchid on display, although they were amazing too. And if I had to choose between painting an orchid or Lisi and her hair, I knew what the favorite choice would be.

I may still have a little tweaking to do on this yet but I really think I captured that lovely blue hair and its' incredible shape. I like that I was able to keep the area in the light to the bare canvas. Michael Harding's Ultramarine Blue helped me get there. Quiet a delicious paint.

"Blue Orchid - Lisi"
12 x 12"
Oil on linen via palette knife

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Palette Knife Portrait Picked for CAC 104th Gold Medal Show

I love GOOD news and it always seems to come when you least expect it.

I just heard today this palette knife portrait of my globe-trotting daughter entitled "The Homecoming" is selected for The California Art Club's 104th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the USC Fisher Museum of Art in 2015.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am very thankful for that - and for both my daughters.

This portrait was started late at night when my daughter and I were sitting enjoying each other's company after she returned home from a long absence abroad. She is about to depart again.

This CAC Gold show has a judging panel of about 10 highly esteemed art specialist judges. I feel very honored they liked my piece enough to include it. Thank you.

To find out more about this show and The California Art Club, visit here:

"The Homecoming"
9" x 12"
Oil on linen via palette knife
By Johanna Spinks

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Portraits From India

I bought this lovely Punjabi Suit in India just last week. You can see the lovely man making it, in the collage, as I watched.

It felt so right that  it make its' speedy debut in my studio today on the lovely sitter Leah.

I felt terribly jet-lagged to paint, but the colors and memories somehow moved me. I didn't paint for too long but just long enough to capture some color and a likeness. Then it was time for double expresso knowing that I will revisit this suit - and India- again soon.