Monday, December 31, 2012

"Fiscal Cliff", Palette Knife Portraits

"Fiscal Cliff"
Palette Knife Portrait
12 x 16
Johanna Spinks
Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I wish you and your families the best of everything for 2013.

I am excited for the year ahead. Yesterday I decided to paint my last portrait of the year, using a palette knife from start to finish.

Not wishing to poke fun at the current economic climate, I named it "Fiscal Cliff".

A sense of humor is important in all things, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Everyone.

This is my sixth Holiday Gratitude Giveaway Gift which has been running mostly on Facebook. Post here what you are grateful for today to enter to win this original oil, 18x24. There have been some amazingly uplifting comments.

Seize the Day


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

Mr. John Paola
The Face of Malibu, featured in The Malibu Times
Two hour life sitting.

Hi all.

Feels like I am now 'off and running' as my third sitter for The Face of Malibu portrait series, the wonderful John Paola, appears in The Malibu Times this week with his life story. What a great guy.

The Face of Malibu follows my Face of Ventura series which is still appearing in The Ventura Breeze thanks to the wonderful publisher Sheldon Brown, now a dear friend of mine. I am thrilled to announce that those 58 portraits have now found a final home. Stay tuned...

All portraits are painted in a single life sitting of around two hours.

It is a joy.

What is your joy?

Go seize the art day.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Naughty or Nice?

By Johanna Spinks
12 x 16 Original Oil on Canvas
$550.00 pls CA sales tax and $15 shipping

Naughty or nice? Santa wants to off the easel. And the perfect Holiday sizzle gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day Two of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

"Ahhh...Which One?"
Johanna Spinks

Here is Day Two of my 12 Days of Christmas/Holiday Gratitude Giveaway.

Tell me you favorite Holiday memory to enter the chance to win this 16 x 16 original oil. I will pick my favorite post. 

This post from yesterday won the Day One sketch:

This season I have chosen to be grateful for the things that money can't buy! The grin of four-year-olds,surprise kindnesses,and home town love expressed through thoughts and deeds.I'm grateful for my grandchildren,to be able to hug and kiss them-to see life through their eyes and share their plans and dreams.We won't remember the gifts,but we will remember the atsmosphere ,the support and the opportunity to give back to the one who were so careful with us.I know PEACE,and I feel cherished now, not always,but I am embracing it now.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Gratitude Giveaway

This Beaty Can be YOURS!!! Happy Holidays Everyone
"Seeing Red
8x10 on linen panel
By Johanna Spinks

Ba humbug. The Holiday Season leaving you less than jolly.

Then turn it around. Tell me what you are most grateful for this Holiday Season and my favorite comment, over the next 48 hours,  will win this 8x10 oil sketch absolutely free.

This 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is also running on my public Facebook page, link to the right. You can also post there as see what others are saying.

Watch out for the next giveaway. There are 11 more coming. HO HO HO.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cold Feet? Birthday Bash Demo..

The lovely Sara Streeter
My demo for LAAFA's 10th Anniversary Party
The demo will be auctioned off by LAAFA to raise money for its' art programs

My portrait demo last night at The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art's 10th Anniversary Party, at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.

Painting the legendary model Sara Street is always wonderful. Seems like she and I have been treading the L.A. art boards for quite a while now! And my feet were freezing on those boards last night. Great buzz last night. 

Congrats to LAAFA. I remember when you had just begun.

Catch my new teaching class there in January.

Tuesday: Portrait/Figure, Santa Monica location

Thursday: Still life, Van Nuys location

You can also find me at the newly vamped California Art Institute in West Lake Village, CA, every Wednesday morning.

You can also attend my monthly studio workshop day in the beautiful Malibu Highlands, Friday January 11th. email me

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Join me tomorrow...

The Bookie
By Johanna Spinks
Palette Knife Portrait
12 x 16

One space left for my First Friday Atelier Teaching Day in the Malibu Highlands tomorrow. Join me. All aspects of painting will be covered.

email me for details

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Go Kate!

Congrats to Princess Kate. I love her!

Princess Kate
Johanna Spinks
Pastel Portrait done at their engagement which was featured in American Artist Magazine, summer drawing issue 2011.

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Friday Atelier Day this Friday

Join me to learn all aspects of painting...this Friday for my popular First Friday Atelier Day in the Malibu Highlands.

All aspects of painting covered. Email me for further details and to enrol

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beauty is is the eye of the beholder?

Johanna Spinks
Figure Oil Sketch

Happy Sunday afternoon from rainy California:

I posted this sketch I did from life on Tuesday on Facebook and it got quite a  few comments. Mostly because I took it down from Facebook after someone posted a very public mean comment on my timeline, I am sure, offended by my posting of this image. I apologized to all if I had caused offense.

I was heartily encouraged to re-post the nude, evidence of my art process, and the knowledge that artists have painted and sketched the unclothed human form for centuries. To be offended by it, my FB commentators, said was rediculous.

At least two other FB artists told me they were deliberately posting their nude sketches that day in support.

It is a funny world we live in out there. 'Sexy' sells all over the planet. The Kardashians rule. Young girls want to look like the latest Britanny Spears, whovever she is these days. But a simple nude sketch causes offense. Painting the human form well is one of the hardest art disciplines. That is my only goal.

To paint it well. Better each year of my journey.

To my eye, the nude figure in art, is beauty. And a challenge to paint.

That's all.

Now go take on the art day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Please Persissssst....

Untitled as yet
16 x 20, oil on panel
 By Johanna Spinks, copyright

Close up
Johanna Spinks

Morning friends:

Every felt like giving up on a project or task? Well, I did on this one.

I told myself 'please persist"... it will come to pass. I tell myself that quite often in life actually.

That is exactly what I did on this still life...almost finished bar a few tweaks and value adjustments. That yellow cup on the right needs to be glazed down as it competes with the head. And the fan needs a bit more work.

I started the gold head months ago but then changed direction a few times to finish it.

It's early days after such a long 'persist' to know if it was worth it. But I learned from the persistence so that is reward in itself. A bit like your husband cooking a marvelous dinner in the kitchen, but you have to do the messy clean-up.

Nothing in life is gained without a huge period of persistence sometimes, don't you agree? And then there must be a pregnant pause

Now Go Take On The Hour.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Sleepy Hipster", Palette Knife Portraits

"Sleepy Hipster"
Oil, Palette Knife Portrait
By Johanna Spinks
For Sale
Contact artist

Morning All:

All I can say is I had a blast with this palette knife portrait of a sleepy hipster done in one life sitting around three hours.

I don't know why she was so sleepy but you know how those hipsters are. Up all night doing creative things. 

I think I am going to be a hipster today.  For 24 hours. Better run out and grab some black-rimmed glasses and get a cropped hair cut.

What say you?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Pastel on paper
Johanna Spinks
Happy Thanksgiving All. Even if you don't live in the U.S., it is good to stop for a moment and think what we are thankful for...

Plus, I get to eat turkey and pumpkin pie today on top of all the over things I am thankful for.

Not sure I want to draw a turkey ever again though.

What about you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Follow Your Bliss

Teacup Madness continues thru' November. Join my mailing list, button above, and I will send you a free teacup print via snail mail, absolutely FREE.

Opening Night
16 x 20
Oil on linen
Johanna Spinks
To purchase contact artist

Morning friends:

There is always a story behind a teacup. I painted this still life, most of all,  wanting to paint the pink vase, an unusual color for a vase I thought. 

These flowers and vase were given to me by my mentor for the Opening Night of my 365 Days of Drawing Show in 2010.

I need just that little something 'extra' to make things sing. And sure enough, this little silver Christening Cup was waiting for me at the local thrift shop near my studio where I am often to be found.

I found my bliss and it was a snap to paint to complete the painting.

More bliss followed when this still life was later chosen for the cover of the Jack Richeson Still Life Show Book cover.

Always important to follow your bliss, don't you think?

Have a blissful day now.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stick at it...

The Early Hours
Palette Knife, Oil.
Johanna Spinks

Morning friends...

I started this portrait in the early hours of the morning when, unable to sleep,  painting seemed like a good idea. Of course, I lost much of the next day feeling tired but I liked what I got on this portrait, done with a palette knife and nothing else. The face was done very quickly.

Inspiration strikes! Don't we love it when that happens?

 I finished it up yesterday but it was much slower going than at 3am in the morning.  Stuff that should have been easy was like walking in molasses. But I got there.

I am glad I stuck with it. I believe in sticking with things. What do you stick at for results? Now, let's take on the day.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Kensington Getaway"...

Kensington Getaway
Oil on canvas
12 x 16
$575 including shipping

It is always good to get away. This is one of my favorite spots in London. A scene of many good times over the years. And we all need those.
The Finished Painting 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Making It Your Own

My Very Own
By Johanna Spinks
8.5" x 11"
Watercolor, oil and gouache.


Good afternoon dear friends:

One of my art students yesterday, an absolutely charming Italian man, came over to me as I was finishing these ordinary teacups up,  and said something like:" You have shown me how you take something (ordinary teacups) and make it your own".

This comment passed over my head somewhat as I was a bit tired from election night and art school coffee was giving me more heartburn than caffeine lift.

 But then I really started to think about his comment today and what a compliment it was.

Making it your own is the key to whatever you do. And it sure takes time.

 It can turn the mundane into the extraordinary, don't you think?

A boring political speech into a teary masterpiece

A hum-drum piece of writing into a Nobel prize-winning tour de force

A simple apple pie into a mega monster pie hard to beat at the annual pie contest

A simple rose bush that flourishes magnificently with crazy blossoms year after year

You get the idea.

So let's all go out there and be extraordinary for the next 24 hours.

What will you do?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Positive thoughts...

"French Brew"
Johanna Spinks

Join me email newsletter list for a free tea cup print thru' November Tea Cup Madness

Morning Friends:

This cup of brew was painted while I was in France doing an international art residency in Dinan with Les Amis de La Grande Vigne. It is very sentimental for me. I was a little nervous on arriving. Would I be able to paint well? What would I find to paint? Would my schoolgirl french get me through. Well, that was rediculous, but you know how those negative thoughts spiral.

So, on my first day I ran into the local cafe off the beaten track and nervously ordered this in said SG french. It was a cold misty morning by the Rance River and the hot brew, and bright sugar packets, hit me just right. Restored my confidence.

This cup was begging to be painted and it was. It was the first painting of about 25 I did the whole month. Every time I look at it, those memories come flooding back.

Isn't it funny, how an image can do that? Much like a song.

Take on the day

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teacup Madness

Tin Cup of Old
By Johanna Spinks
Oil on Linen Panel
Morning friends:

Yes, you can still get your free teacup print thru' November by signing up for my newsletter above!

So what's the story behind today's teacup? I am often inspired by stories from the Old West so when I saw this beaten-up little tin teacup, I knew it had stories of old trails to tell.  A welcomed  cup of tea by a  night camp fire after a hard day battling the elements, traversing a brutal and windy terrain.

I painted this little guy with a lot of love thinking of those bygone historical times, particularly important on today's Election Day in The United States.'

I am proud to be an American having gotten my citizenship a few years back, but only after quite some effort to get it.  Today reminds me of that.  The journey. The trail.


And have a cup of tea while you are at it.

Cookie on the side. American chocolate chip, all the way.

See ya

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teacup Madness Free Print

Morning friends:

Yes, here's another one. I have painted this little blue cup quite a lot over the years. Now, unfortunately it is no longer as I broke it.

But its' permanent record is here and I hope I did this humble cup justice through my brush.

Don't forget a free tea cup print awaits for joining my mailing list. See button above. My thank you gift to you for following my teacups - and work.
Green Envy
Johanna Spinks
For Sale
email for full image

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tea cup madness -Free tea cup print

Double Spode
Johanna Spinks
Mixed media on paper
8.5 x 11

Morning all:

November Tea Cup madness continues. Join my email newsletter, button top, for a free tea-cup print!

Personally, I love this one. I have a thing for blue and white Spode china and collect it. But I also make sure I use it daily, hence many chipped and broken pieces. The earthquake in the 90's didn't help. I lost a ton of old Spode then which still makes me sad.

I did this at my First Friday Atelier Day this week. We sure had fun. I served PG Tips (strong British tea) in these very cups after I finished sketching them.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sign up for my list,,,free tea cup print

Hi All:

Day 3 of November Tea Cup Madness...hope you like my humble teacup...any good names for this teacup folks?

"Teacup in White"
Johanna Spinks
Come back tomorrow. I love the one for tomorrow.


Friday, November 2, 2012

November Tea Cup Madness Continues.

Day Two of Tea Cup Madness running through November...Get you free tea cup print by signing up for my email newsletter.

Come know you want to.

Cup o' Gold,
Johanna Spinks
Mixed media
Why do you think people like tea cups to much?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is Tea Cup Madness and Thank YOU month.

Tea Cups By Johanna Spinks
Mixed media
Prints available, see below.

Hi all:

This blog has been running quite  a while now. Many of you have been with me through thick and thin sending nice notes. My cup runneth over with gratitude.

Therefore for the next 30 days during Thanksgiving month, I am running 'Tea Cup Madness' month,  giving away a free print  of this tea-cup print as a 'thank you'.

All you have to do, is join my email list to receive this 'thank you' gift using the link above. Or just email me at

Yes, that's all you have to  do!

Take on the delicious day and make sure your cup is full with a cookie on the side.


Monday, October 29, 2012

2010 Artist in The Community Award

Thank you!
I am deeply honored to receive The City of Ventura 2012 Mayor's Art Award for "Artist in the Community". 

Reception at The Museum of Ventura County November 15.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Palette knife portraits


Fun with the palette knife. Blue and orange color harmony.
This palette knife portrait was done in my teaching class at The California Art Institute this week and then finished in the studio.

I set up two light sources in the class on the model, one blue and one orange. It was a challenge for students - and me too.

I do like the texture one gets from the knives and the happy little accidents. Will be playing with palette knife portraits a bit more.

I actually have used palette knives in my painting for years. Love them

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to paint a palette knife portrait...

Beautiful young actress Ms. Laci Kay

I had so much fun with this palette knife portrait of the beautiful young actress and singer Ms. Laci Kay who I have painted before.

I was feeling the need to shake things up a bit...not work so tightly and grabbing a palette knife will sure achieve that. 

It amazes me what a fast process this is for me compared toworking with a brush. Feels almost like you are sculpting and I love that.

I find it helpful to pre-mix some neutral greys on my palette first so you can just fly. The aims is to just put down a color value with the knife hopefully on the right plane, working against or with the plane.

Different palette knives achieve different effects. I used three different ones on this portrait. If you would like me to post them, lemme know.

Hope you  like!

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to paint skin tones

This was my class demo this week at The California Art Institute. Red and green compliments. Feel free to ask me questions about it.

12x 16

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

It's official. The Face of Malibu is launched, to be featured in The Malibu Times newpaper. My first sitter was published this week,  the delightful former Malibu mayor Laura Rosenthal. Read her life story by clicking on the link below.

I am excited to see where this new project goes, hot off the heels of my Face of Ventura project published each week in The Ventura Breeze. 57 sitters were painted from life in a single two hour sitting. No photos were used ever. However I might allow myself a photo or two this time.

Stay tuned...

Ms. Laura Rosenthal, former Mayor of Malibu and my first Face of Malibu sitter.
Laura sits for me in a single two hour sitting for the portrait sketch.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Class demo at The California Art Institute

My class demo
 yesterday at The California Art Institute, two hours...and my new crush. 
This will be my model tomorrow for my Friday Atelier teaching day. Join me. One space left.

This demo is for sale

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How To Paint Interiors...

Time to get serious, if you know what I mean...

Oil on canvas
12" x 16"
$750.00 plus shipping

Email artist for more information

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to make a career in painting...

I love what I be on this planet living my dream, painting my world of

This was my life painting demo today at The California Art Institute, USA, 30 x 24!!  About two solid hours of demo painting. Yes, that big.

Go big or go home. BE fearless.


I will remind myself tomorrow...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Face of Ventura on TV...

Check out the TV show running locally this week about my Face of Ventura project. Thanks to TV producer George Alger, of Our Ventura TV, for doing such an excellent on site job.

Thanks so much also to the sitters also for such gracious words, interviewed here....

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Day At The Kentucky Derby


"Who's THAT Girl? Kentucky Derby", original oil on canvas, 11"x14"

$975.00 including frame and FREE shipping


After the success (and pressure) of last week's show, a portrait sitting this week, and classes to teach, I felt like having some fun this weekend. This is the result.

Painting clothes especially hats is super fun. Light side, shadow side, never the two shall meet.