Friday, December 20, 2013

The Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

My ongoing Face of Malibu portrait series continues with The Malibu Times. Meet this month's sitter, Ms Jackie Sutton, painted in a single life sitting. 16 x 16. Jackie is sitter number 15. It will be intesting to see what next year brings.

Read Jackie's story here:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gratitude Giveaway Continues...Win this Original Oil

"Summer Belles"
Oil on Linen
By Johanna Spinks

My Holiday Gratitude Giveaway continues for just a few more days. Post here or on my public Facebook page what you are grateful for in 2013 to be picked to win. I think this one is a little gem, a perfect gratitude for someone.

Looking for that perfect Holiday Gift. Free shipping. Gifts for every budget: Holiday shopping go here:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

WIN THIS! My Holiday Gratitude Giveaway

The Mandarin Collar
By Johanna Spinks
Oil and Gold Leaf

You can win this! All you have to do is post what you are grateful for this Holiday Season in the comments section below. I will pick the winners December 24 from my favorite posts. Read the gratitudes on my Public Facebook page too to inspire you. Link on the sidebar.

Need a Holiday gift? Visit my online store:!product/prd1/1458282471/the-mandarin-collar

Friday, December 6, 2013

Win This Original Oil, Gratitude Giveaway Continues

"HIgher Ground"
By Johanna Spinks

This item is valued at $600. See it in my online store and other goodies at!product/prd1/1452754771/higher-ground

WIN THIS ORIGINAL OIL by me. "HIgher Ground", 5x 7, painted in The Sierras. My Holiday Gratitude Giveaway continues. Post what you are grateful for in 2013. Winning comments will be picked on Dec. 24th so you can keep posting on all giveaways until then.  My giveaway also runs on my public Facebook page so you can see the fun there too. Link on  sidebar.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

WIN THIS PAINTING! Gratitude Giveaway Continues...

PANSY POWER! Original Oil

WIN THIS ORIGINAL OIL by me!  "Pansy Power", 5x 7. 

My Holiday Gratitude Giveaway continues. Post what you are grateful for in 2013 in the comments section below. Winning comments will be picked on Dec. 24th so you can keep posting on all giveaways until then. Shipping free, my thank you to you. This is also running on my public Facebook page so you can join in the fun there. Share in the gratitude. 

Visit my online store for some great Holiday gift ideas. Art for every budget.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Gratitude Art Giveaway

Today's Gratitude Giveaway
Post What You Are Grateful for This Year!
"Figgy Plum Pudding"
Shipped free to you!
My annual Holiday Gratitude Giveaway begins today!

Just like last year, until December 24th I will be posting art giveaways, the winners picked from my favorite comments posted. There are lots of giveaways to be won!

So tell me what you are grateful for this year in the comments section of this blog below and I will pick a winner. This is also running on my public Facebook Page, look to the sidebar, if you want to see what others are posting.

The final day, Christmas Eve,  will be an original piece of art. A festive 16 x 16 original oil painted portrait. That can only be won by posting here on my blog.

So come on enjoy the fun. Share the gratitude!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Palette Knife Portraits

Palette Knife Portrait
By Johanna Spinks
Seems to me you have to work with even more precision when working with just a palette knife than a brush. Funny thing that. People imagine that it is so much more freedom to get out the knives and go swish swash.  Palette knife portraits take me far longer to paint than ones done with the brush. And to do them painting directly from life, the sitter really does have to sit still.

This is a close up of a posthumous portrait I am working on. It is giving me quite a challenge but I am getting there and sure enjoying the process.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


This has to be the bravest lady I have ever met. I was honored to paint her as she faced a very difficult health challenge in her life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Perfect Holiday Gift - My 2014 Calendar

Johanna Spinks' Fine Art 2014 Limited Edition Calendar
Gift Wrapped and Personalize To You
Free shipping within the U.S.

View inside images and purchase by clicking below!product/prd1/1382122341/2014-limited-edition-calendar

My 2014 Limited Edition Calendar is here with hopefully some crowd pleasers. I have carefully chosen images from the last few years that seemed the most popular from either what collectors and students told me or what competitions validated with awards and nods. And others I just plain liked just because... phew. 

Included in the 9"x11"(approx.) high gloss interior are:

"Heather's Braids" Winner of The Oil Painters' of America Daler Rowney Award of Painting Excellence
"Sienna" First Place Atlanta Portrait Society

"Bella Marie" Finalist Oil Painters of America Western

Click the image above to purchase $29.95 including free shipping within the U.S.
Supplies limited so hurry.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Face of Malibu, One Year Old!

This month's Face of Malibu appearing in The Malibu Times
 Scott Tallal
Executive director, Malibu Film Society
Life sitting, two hours

The Face of Malibu, featured in The Malibu Times, is now officially one year old! My 13th sitter Scott Tallal, executive director of The Malibu Film Society, appears in this week's addition and it is a moment for me to reflect.

As readers of this blog will know, it is not my first time taking a town on with my portrait brush. The first outing was in Ventura, C.A, where I painted 58 people in a single life sitting, no photos used, over a two year period.

The sitter was picked to deliberately reflect  a slice of the town and what was going on in it during that time period. More importantly the sitter's life story appeared in each edition of  The Ventura Breeze newspaper and a voice aired weekly on the Lyn Fairly and Friends  radio show.

It was quite a journey with all 58 portrait sketches, and life stories in print, eventually going into the permanent collection of the Museum of Ventura County with a fabulous' end of project' art show sponsored by FOOD Share to a packed house.

I also won the Mayor's 2012 Artist in Community Award, I am sure, as a direct result of this community project funded by myself.

It is hard to repeat a successful project and I certainly wondered if I should even try. I was lucky that Arnold York, publisher of The Malibu Times, was receptive to the concept when I first approached him as the Ventura project was finishing.

Mr. York and I took a few meetings and launched the project to see where it went.

The project in Malibu so far has certainly been different. For one thing, the pace is much slower with just one sitter a month, rather than two, appearing in the paper. Also,  there is no determined number of sitters unlike last time.

I decided early on to not try and repeat. Let the project have a life of it's own in a new town without controlling the outcome.

The one thing that remains the same is the life sitting and the concept that we get what we get.

One aspect I really like about the new project is that each sitter actually gets interviewed by a reporter. Before the sitter had a form list of questions that was then edited for the paper. I think the actual interview tailored to the sitter makes for a stronger representation of the sitter's life story. That is important to me. This is not just about the sketches afterall.

After a year doing the new project, I look back with gratitude. 

 I am not always happy with the sketches. Sometimes I feel anxious putting them out there. I talk to the sitter while I paint. The point being the interaction between us. Getting to know them. This often compromises the sketch result. But I just can't seem to stop myself.

I think of all the portrait greats that went before me like Franz Hals, Phillip De Laszlo, and John Singer Sargent. I just KNOW they talked to their sitters too. The face moves when people talk, well, derr. But if you can catch that quickly with your brush, there's a  real 'feel' of the person rather than a static pose producing a static face.

I look back reflecting on the record now of 13 people in Malibu this year that I have been honored to meet and paint.

It is a vulnerable act for both of us each time. I never take it for granted.

Sometimes the sitters are nervous. Anxious even. Sometimes I am, wondering if my brush will perform the way I want it to. And certainly any project is a commitment in time and money for both artist and newspaper publisher. Few know the behind the scene stories. One sketch was painted the day before I went in for hip replacement surgery to meet the deadline. My mind was elsewhere.  Thankfully my sitter was kind and gracious around the situation. 

All sketches were fitted in around a busy schedule on everyone's part. 

So a big "thank you" to each and every one who have made this 'Face of Malibu' year happen: MT's publisher Arnold York, and especially MT's associate editor Knowles Adkisson for working so closely with me on this series. 

I also thank the journalists Homaira Shifa and Catalina Wyre for their insightful interviews with each sitter. The sketches would be nothing without the life stories, in words,  behind them.

Mostly, I thank the sitters for placing their trust in me.

I look forward to seeing what the next year brings.

None of these portrait sketches are for sale. 

Marie Stapel
Diana Perry
Bill Swartout
Laura Rosenthal
Lilly Castro
Oscar Mandragon

John Paola
Richard Chesterfield
Douglas Rucker
Millie Decker
 Lesley-Anne Down
Sherman Baylin

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Drawing Portraits From Life

Life Drawing
Johanna Spinks

Headed over to the Jeremy Lipking studio for my regular Tuesday night jaunt there which is always stimulating.

Decided to put down the brush for a change and draw instead. Three hours later this was what I had, although I could have stopped at two and it would have looked pretty much the same.

This was done with a pastel pencil on Rives paper and it is probably my favorite way to draw. I like slowly working up the face on thick paper.

The model's face position had completely changed from where we started. The joys of working from life. So I decided to hang on to my initial drawing start, for better or worse. Never chase a head position.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Palette Knife Portrait - Stages

The New Parisian
Palette Knife Portrait By Johanna Spinks

The Start. Brush only used in drawing stage

Building up the eye and frames with the knife. Not so easy

Mid-way...taking my time.

I am still working away on a collection of palette knife portraits that I am thoroughly enjoying. It feels so natural to me to paint this way. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. I just know it has taken me a long time in my art journey to get to the point where I feel so much at home.

I just finished this one of my daughter, newly situated in Paris. Green and red harmony. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday Nights At The Lipking Studio

Life Study, three hours
By Johanna Spinks
Oil on linen, 12 x 16

Most Tuesday nights I head over to Jeremy Lipking's engaging studio to paint. I have done this for the last two years. He is an inspiration and a true young master at the top of his game.

Lipking paints it all very well from figure to landscape. Plus, he is a generous teacher to everyone in the room. One of the main lessons for the room last night was to work your dark mass shapes first before moving toward the light. Amen. Place your eyewear in the sketch toward the end of your painting. Make sure the eyes are 'pushed back' behind those frames, painted down in value a bit. Treat the under-eye area with kid gloves. Gently. Softly.

I will never paint like Lipking. No-one can. Many try but they are not as good.

That's not the idea. I believe in surrounding myself with greatness, hence showing up the last two years.

Check out Lipking's work here You can also join his ongoing class in Agoura Hills, C.A, by signing  up directly from his website. Look out also for his solo show at the Arcadia Gallery in New York, opening this December 12th. More information here

Above is my three hour study from last night. The room was packed and I was standing near the back. I needed the model's glasses. But I like wot I got. I love a gal in glasses.

Below, a taste of the evening Lipking style!

Close-up of Lipking's sketch. Copyright Jeremy Lipking

Last night at The Lipking Studio - some great work going on.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Paint Posthumous Portraits

Posthumous Portrait Commission
Morning All:

Shipping out of the studio this week is a 22 x 24 posthumous portrait for a client in The South, pictured here.

During my portrait painting career so far I have been honored many times to do this type of sensitive commission work and I consider it an honor each time. I don't take the task lightly.

I also feel the art of posthumous portraits  reflect how important modern day portraiture remains.  A life captured on canvas, reflected on, through an artist's searching eye, captures something  that the camera doesn't. This type of work is also very meaningful for the grieving family and can help in their time of sadness.

Sometimes these portraits are displayed at the memorials. Imagine 300 people judging if you have a likeness!

So how does one approach this delicate painting task? Here a a few thoughts I have:

*Get the best photo reference possible of the sitter, at different ages and stages of his life.  You don't want to paint them in their final days.

*Talk to the family, if you can, for any insights into the deceased sitter. Stories and memories. Character traits.  Do your homework. Know who you are painting so you can put some of that into the painting.

*Find out if there was a favorite tie or a favorite something or other you can add in that isn't in the photos. These little touches can be very special for the family.

*Deliver the portrait in a very timely manner. A grieving family doesn't need to be kept waiting too long.

*Expect the unveiling to be very emotional. Leave your clients alone in the room for a few minutes with the portrait before seeking comments or approval.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Moulin Rouged,

Busy time in the study meeting portrait Holiday deadlines...basically I am painting every day right up until December 23rd. A posthumous portrait of a doctor for a southern hospital, a three child trip tych,  a 15 figure beach scene for a repeat client's nursery, and an engagement beach scene for a lovely couple in Australia.

I do allow myself a little fun though. Do you? Hope you like this new corset. It will be in my Holiday Corset Calendar Collection! Watch this space.

Moulin Rouged
Oil on Linen
Free Shipping!corset-art/ca5b

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nattier Blue, Corset Art

I love it when a drawing keeps you up at night, so absorbed that time flies, and before you know the clock has struck midnight, and it's time to slip into the sheets.

I know you know what I mean. What keeps you up at night?

Nattier Blue By Johanna Spinks
Le Art du Corset Collection
12"x 18"
Mixed media and gold leaf on paper

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shaking Things Up, Silver Leaf

Art du Corset
By Johanna Spinks
Original oil and silver leaf
Purchase here: $395 free shipping in the US!corset-art/ca5b
It's exciting when a collection you have been quietly working on, finally comes to light and you feel ready to share it with the world.

My new collection is called "Art du Corset", mostly featuring corsets, sometimes other whimsical things that take my fancy. A lot of gold, silver and bronze leaf is used in the later works.

This range is very affordable making the perfect gift for the Holidays  Here is the newest one I added to my online store this morning.!corset-art/ca5b

International visitors have asked, and  yes, I do ship internationally. Just email me for shipping price.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Du Corset By Johanna Spinks

Art Du Corset
By Johanna Spinks
Drawings, Prints and Original Oils!corset-art/ca5b

You asked so here it is: my new artwork collection "Art Du Corset By Johanna Spinks. My corsets were wildly popular in my 365 Days of Drawings in 2010 which kinda took me by surprise.!corset-art/ca5b

I decided to come up with a collection of affordable drawings, prints and original oils featuring corsets and other whimsical things. I have been working on the collection for quite a while aside from my portrait work. Portrait to corset? Boy, it even rhymes.

Don't worry I am still painting portraits all the time but there is something about corsets which just appeals to me. They have a magic and a story all of their own. And you don't have to worry about a likeness.

Would love to hear what you think?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Face of Malibu, Brad Pitt?

 Ms. Marie Stapel
Face of Malibu by Johanna Spinks
Single life sitting - two hours

Thanks to The Malibu Times for continuing to highlight my Face of Malibu portrait series featuring local residents who make up this uniquely famous beach town. I am trying to focus on people who might be somewhat less obvious than the Mel Gibsons and Brad Pitts who have put this town on the map, although if Brad calls, I will definitely paint him and  you'll be the first to know.

This month's sitter is Marie Stapel, twice president of The Malibu Art Association and all-round lovely lady. Now in her golden years, she continues to surf on boogie boards even.

Read more about her life story here:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dazzling Philip De Laszlo

Oil Portrait Sketch By Johanna Spinks
Copyright Johanna Spinks

I was thinking of my favorite Victorian portrait painter Philip De Laszlo this week when I painted this little's boy's portrait sketch...

I think of Mr. De Laszlo a lot when I paint. He and I go way back.

Please go here to see why I am crazy for this crazy talented man's work

The Queen Mom in her prime painted  by Philip De Laszlo

Mary, Countess of Dalkeith, wife of the future 8th Duke of Buccleuch in 1932, painted by De Laszlo. 

De Laszlo took over from John Singer Sargent when he got fed up painting swagger portraits. I think De Laszlo loved painting portraits. He lived for it.  I think Sargent, less so.

Here are some of the 'wonderments' so far of my De Laszlo dalliance.

* His mother had the same first name as me, Johanna.

* His third son Paul, later a lawyer,  went to Rugby School in England (yes, the game was invented there) where my dad used to be bursar of the school and my husband, his brother and HIS father went to school.

* I own De Laszlo's old National Gallery painting reference book, given to him by his niece for Xmas,  and authenticated by his private secretary on De Laszlo's death. It literally fell into my best girlfriend's hands in an old dusty Scottish book store. She knew of my De Laszlo dalliance and hastily bought it for me as a precious gift.

* I got the  invite of a lifetime for morning coffee to view two of De Laszlo's famous portraits in the private quarters of Glamis Castle by the newer day Lady Strathmore. The portraits, close to the lush living room, were of the previous Earl and Countess of Strathmore, a generation or so before. This castle also hosts, I believe,  De Laszlo's dazzling portrait of the young Queen Mother, pictured above, whose main residence Glamis became.  He also painted the present day Queen of England as a young girl who unfortunately described him recently "as an irritating little man" remembering the life sitting as a little girl. He was probably making her sit too long although he had the faciltiy to paint like lightening.

*This trip to Glamis Castle was the highlight of my De Laszlo journey so far. I pinched myself so hard having my private view in the castle of those paintings that I was cerulean blue for days.

* An old biography book I had bought off Ebay, now out of print and based on De Laszlo's memoirs, arrived signed by his son John as gift for someone else thanking them for the edit help of said book. What a surprise that was!

* De Laszlo and I stayed in the same hospital, St. Mary's in Paddington, U.K., me to give birth to my first child, him years earlier to recover from an illness caused by wrongful imprisonment during the First World War.

* The art spirits made it happen for me to visit a painting of his I have always loved in the White Bedroom at Drumlanrig Castle in Scoland of Mary, Countess of Dalkeith, wife of the future 8th Duke of Buccleuch in 1932. See above.

* I was thrilled when the current day Duke of Buccleuch, owner of said Delaszlo Mary painting, unveiled my portrait of Kip Forbes at the Metropolitan Club in 2010.

* Now I am just waiting for an original painting or sketch by Mr. Philip De Laszlo to fall into my arms.

And I KNOW IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  A lot of De Laszlo's paintings have gone missing.

Sotheby's is on high alert!

Yard sales across the country are on stand by!

I'll keep you posted. You'll be the first to know.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New YOU Tube...Portrait Presentations.

Every face tells a story...and every portrait artist has the same thought right before an unveiling:"Will they like it?"

Here are a few of my unveilings and my  lovely sitters. Most portraits you see here were painted from life in a single sitting. I dedicate this little YOU Tube to Ventura jazz singer Martha B who died this week and is one of the sitters in the video. Hint...yellow shirt and microphone.

Thanks to each and every sitter. And I look forward to painting the next one.

Whoever you are...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

I have reached double digits!!!
My tenth sitter Ms. Sherman Baylin,  Face of Malibu project appearing in The Malibu Times.  Each sitter is painted in a single life sitting reflecting the real folk in this modern day ritzy beach town. This projects follows my Face of Ventura project, those 58 portraits now in the permanent collection of The Museum of Ventura County.

Read about Sherman here

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dappled Light

Dappled Delight
Oil on panel
By Johanna Spinks

Purchase at my on line store!product/prd1/1103784231/dappled-delight
$395.00 incl. free shipping
Today's quick sketch of a house with luscious turquoise green shutters. Wonder what goes on inside? If those dappled walls could only talk.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Joy of Quick Sketch

"Afternoon Delight"'
By Johanna Spinks
Oil on canvas

For all you mommies and daddies out there doing the carpool day in, day out, I dedicated this one for you. My quick sketch for today.

I met this little girl as I was oil sketching in Starbucks on the east coast. Her mom had just picked her up from school and she needed a quick snack.. She was as cute as a button. Had to paint fast!

How I remember those days with my kids.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday's Flower Child, Still Life

Tuesday's Flower Child
8x 10, oil on canvas board
By Johanna Spinks

Purchase at my online store


There is nothing more heartwarming than a little life starting on the planet.  I painted these quick sketch flowers this weekend and dedicated them to the birth of a lovely little girl today, Tuesday's Child.  A pink vase and pink mumms seem highly right for a lovely new pink cutey pie.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bling's The Thing...

Close-up of a full length portrait commission I have been enjoying working on for a wonderful client.

How to paint bling? Get in out and out as fast as 
possible. Thick paint. Squint. Let the paint quality show. Gems should never be smoothly painted. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hip Hop Hipster, Palette Knife Portrait

Hip Hop Hipster
Oil Palette Knife Portrait
By Johanna Spinks
12 x 16

Hot off the easel today, my latest palette knife portrait. You have a 50 percent chance of a success or a disaster with a palette knife...painting on a knife's edge so to speak.

I don't usually have such a developed drawing for a pallet knife portrait,  but hey, it was there, so I used it. You can see it changed a lot by the finish of painting time.