Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vermeer - the hottest thing since sliced bread?

My favorite painter Vermeer traded his master pieces for bread just to survive.

I guess he had no time to second guess his art work, never imagining in his wildest croissant dream moment that he would be the hottest thing since sliced bread centuries later, his "Girl With a Pearl Ear-Ring" idolized world-over.

Did he like his paintings when he finished them I wonder? He was a SLOW methodical painter, fastidious in technique, who apparently did very few paintings in his lifetime. Being the bread-winner, got in the way.

Not that I am anything close to a Vermeer, but I promised I would post the' finish' of this painting just off easel, after the earlier 'mushy middle' stage post. I am now in the final stage wondering if a good crusty warm french loaf is in my future.

American Stories By Johanna Spinks, copyrighted.
oil on linen, framed
Shipping $50

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to paint hair?

Super nice guy Peter Godinez of Xerox, made this surprise nod about my Face of Ventura Project.
Hair is fun to paint, so is a bald head but I really must remember to brush my OWN hair more when someone is filming from behind.

Where is the hair and makeup team when you most need them? Oh, who cares! So long as the sketch turns out ok. Thanks Peter!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dog Tired With Sargent

Bentley Azure is not just any old toy dog. Oh no. He gets to sleep in front of huge portrait paintings by John Singer Sargent. Now how cool is that???

This one, of sitter Pauline Astor, c. 1898, is at the Huntington Gardens Library in Pasadena, Ca. It is said to be Sargent's largest and most impressive full-length portrait in a landscape setting.

The dog pulling on the cool satin gown, a marvel in itself, is a spaniel and certainly female. Bentley could not take his eyes off her all night.

He is dog tired today.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's A Dog's Life..

My mistress is bored of doing her blog so has handed it over to me for today.

My name is Bentley Azure. I am a very smart silky terrier and handsome in a canine sort of way which you can see in my distinguished portrait here which was featured in The New York Times a few years ago. What a 'DOUBLE WOOF' surprise that was.

SHE didn't do a bad job of my likeness but I think there is 'something' wrong about the mouth" for sure.

As a trusted studio companion for nine years now and I have seen it all, from the fur flying on the bad painting days to being served fresh chopped liver on a silver platter on the good.

Unfortunately the bad days seem to outweigh the good from where I sit and observe - and I am often treated just LIKE chopped liver, only once in a while allowed to sit on that comfy red portrait throne in HER studio.

This weekend is quiet after a busy studio week. . A party tonight. A portrait sketch to finish tomorrow. Hopefully that will mean some good quality 'curl up' on the couch time while SHE is distracted with those little black sticks that look like they come from the garden.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

FACE of Ventura...Public Demo tonight...

I am doing a public demo tonight from 6 to 8pm at Ventura Harbor, The Greek Restaurant, for my Face of Ventura project. Here is this week's sitter film director Lorenzo Destephano, creator of The Ventura Film Society and currently working with legendary actor John Hurt....wowee,,,

Now that's a chap I'd like to chat to over a martini - but not two. Might fall off my manola's.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Painting- The Mushy Middle Stage

I am at the mushy middle stage of this painting, knowing I will bring it 'home' but quite a lot of work to do still.

I said I would post it again as a 'work in progress' so hope you find it interesting. Those yellow arches on the left will disappear tomorrow. That is the original ground. and there is a lot of tweaking all around that needs to be done.

Most of all, I am working 'inside out'. Finishing an area almost to completion and then working outward from it. I find this a challenge and it is not my usual process but the great master artist Morgan Weistling often works this way and he has inspired me, as he often does, to try new things around old concepts of hanging on to one's drawing, value control, and compostion concept.

Who knows...every painting or sketch has a 50/50 % chance of being a somewhat success or complete disaster. Don't ya think?

PS..unless you are Mr. Weistling.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Catch me today on KKZZ am 1400 Talk Radio today, The Lyn Fairly show, 11 am to 12 noon, talking about guess what?

Thanks to photographer James Scolari for this great photo of me painting my most recent Face of Ventura. Ventura Film Society Founder Lorenzo Destephano who will also be on the show.

Call in and chat to us.

805- 639-0008.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quick Sketch With A Belly Dancer...

Even belly dancers need a break. This was a super quick sketch demo I did at CAI today in my teaching class. Wish I could have taken it further.

Ever felt that way?

Orange and blue was the color harmony with two light sources set up on the figure, one orange, one blue, to push the theme. This makes it harder for students because it is harder to see the form compared to a raking single source light.

Quite a few students got frustrated with their work for one reason or another...harder for the teacher! No coffee break today for me. I was working flat out.

The model had to move her pose because she was uncomfortable after half an hour of sitting. People complained the about orange and blue lights being in their eyes; two lights on one pose in a teaching room is going to hit someone the wrong way.

YES, it was one of THOSE days! BUT I believe in shaking things up in the teaching room. Shaken but not stirred. Hmmm....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Face of Ventura Project

Another day, another amazing sitter, Lynn Mikelatos, for my Face of Ventura Project with The Ventura Breeze newspaper.

55 people will be painted from the town in a single sitting from life to reflect the town, each image and the sitter's unique story appearing in each edition of The Breeze. So far 14 people have been painted.

I was really sick this day. But the job had to get done in a timely fashion for the newspaper deadline as I had to travel. NO matter how kindly the newspaper publisher Sheldon Brown is, he would not think kindly of a blank hole in his paper.

A challenge is a challenge, no matter how big or small the project you take on. I learned that last year doing 365 Days of Drawing, no matter what. Newspaper deadlines over a two year span, week in, week out, keeps you on your art toes, not to mention your sketches from life appearing for all the world, at least Ventura, to see.

I am enjoying it tho.!

Friday, June 3, 2011

How To Paint A Perfect Mouth...

How to paint a perfect mouth? Well, don't ask me! But I do love painting lips. In my old makeup artist days I was told by the esteemed TEEN magazine editor I did the best lips in the business.

Painting lips in oil is far harder than in lipstick. For years I put too much information in them, thinking I was perhaps applying lipstick? Too many dark accents. Too much of a 'sea gull wing' affect. Then I saw how Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler N.A., and Mr. Morgan Weistling did them and I learned a thing or two... slowly. Lipstick is so much quicker on the draw.

Here, on this quick sketch from like, I tried to leave out a lot of information on this model's very lucious pout. Maybe going for a neutral bisque Chanel No. 16?

Class demo this week at The California Art Institute.

The overall sketch wasn't the best, my drawing a bit off, but I liked the lips. A kiss-off of sorts?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Artist's Muse...

One of my most 'painted' and favorite models Rosie Spinks graduates college shortly...and is chosen as a perfect 10 (you will have to read the link to fully understand why) by UC Santa Cruz. I couldn't agree more although I am a bit biased.

Here are some paintings of RosieI have done over the years. I am sure there will be more but she won't be around as much.