Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Paint Kimonos?

Satin Kimono Day
12 x 16
Oil on Archival Board
$500, free shipping

New Purchase Gets Painted

Sometimes my brush seems to take over, and exuberance overcomes us both. I don't mind these moments at all.

I bought this kimono this past weekend at The Cambria Wine and Art Festival Weekend in CA.  Some wine did indeed get drunk in the company of good friends, especially by MOI, but as soon as I saw this kimono, I knew it was mine. I felt like I had hit the art jackpot when I walked with it out of the store.  I was itching to paint it.

Sure enough, I found time this week amid a busy portrait workload to do just that and a lovely model into the bargain. The kimono was also a bargain by the way which makes the whole thing really sweet.

All those flowers on it though? How do you calm them down in paint? Ah, just forget about them. Let the brush do the work. So that's what I did.

Sometimes when I think about things, it all goes South. How about you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Feel The Love, Show Time

I Might Wear This? What Say You?

Hi dear friends:

Yes, it is that pre-show, reception ahead time,  a solo show of over 100 pieces of art.

I could get nervous.

Instead, I intend to "Feel The Love"! Join me. Love is good. Feel it. Spread it like butter all over the place. Especially to those who need to "Feel The Love".

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Jurors Look For in Art Shows?

Hi friends....

I enter a lot of competitions like a lot of artists. My mentor has told me to do this. He is right. Competition success is vital for an artist who wants validation, perhaps, or  to earn a living.

Clients paying a lot of money for a painting or commission want to know some other group or art expert validates their choice of artist.

BUT competitions are expensive to enter on the national circuit, time-consuming and not always fair.  Oftentimes, it seems the same artists are getting in but not YOU. However, it is very FAIR when YOU get in. Let them eat art cake.

You are not always even sure when you send those jpegs off these days with your Paypal account depleted, that anyone is even looking at your entires. Slides sent in an envelop in the old days, with some spit to seal the deal,  had a more honest ring. Rediculous, I know.

I remember first starting out on the competition circuit locally in Malibu. I had success very fast. It was incredibly exciting - and incredibly misleading. It soon went flat as a day-old Crepe Suzette shortly after when I headed into deeper national competition water. 

So, I learned  to enjoy  competition success when it came, because it came far less often, and to be honest, when I least expected it.  

The bigger the competition playing field, the harder the score and the tougher the goal keeper. The coach also likes his favorites. 

I remember when I won the Daler Rowney Painting of Excellence Award at Oil Painters of America National Show. They even used my image to publicize  the gallery show online. This was heady stuff. Fortunately, by this point, I knew to do wild cartwheels around the living room and never expect anything like this ever again. That was wise. 

So this brings me to my point.

Over the last few years, I have been asked to judge shows, including today for The Studio Channel Islands Art Center portrait show called "Essence" I was told  the entires were among the highest number for a show there

Let me first say it is an honor to judge anyone's artwork, other than my own.  I never take this lightly.

I think of each entrant that has prepared their digital entry slide, put blood sweat and tears into their choice and work, and is, quite frankly, waiting to hear if they made the cut. I know if they don't, they won't feel good. Yuk. 

I KNOW. I am waiting on four competition results right now - I don't expect to get in  but I sure hope I do. I know I will feel that little sting if I don't. And I will be poorer - four good dinners, out on the town with expensive wine,  lost.

The STING is less now because I  have learned to cope better, to develop more of an elephant's hide. One has to. I allow myself 20 minutes of wallowing in the mud, snorting my trunk in the air. Then I move on. 

A super successful artist I know keeps a competition  'Gold Win' award on his mantelpiece. The year before it was rejected by everyone. Those slips are on there too. This keeps him, he says,  level-headed. Competitions don't judge you really. Random.

YOU CREATE because some force inside makes you. Period. 

So today, as I looked at each entrant's image, my thoughts were plain and simple.

Gratitude to be judging, as I am judged. Honored, as I am honored.

Then making my choice around work that caught my eye. Gave me a zing. Couldn't be denied. I find judging around the ZING concept, very easy.

But please, no poor photo'd image entries. Zing-less.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Garden Party
12 x 16, oil on canvas
Available for purchase here

Happy Saturday.
I don't know about you but I love garden parties, sunshine and painting roses. Some students of mind find roses hard to paint and get impatient with them.  I love painting roses but they don't always co-operate with me. I kinda love this little painting and find it hard to part with. It makes me feel happy. How about you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Doing color/value studies

Morning Friends:

I love to do color/value studies for my paintings...I try to be as loose as possible and get as much color in as I can of all different color temperatures.

Come study with me this Friday at my Atelier Day at my studio in the Malibu Highlands. The day includes a yummy lunch and a lot of fun...

Or you can join me tomorrow at The California Art Institute.

Email me for details

I will post more about color sketches later.

Color/Value Sketch

Would love to see you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Princess Kate's Portrait...

Kate Middleton Portrait
By Johanna Spinks
Done on her engagement
Princess Kate's Official Portrait
Paul Emsley
OK what do you think? A big buzz in the portrait world today over Princess Kate's first official portrait..and most of it toward the blistering negative from both the public and art critic alike.

I feel sorry for the artist Paul Emsley. Not easy to do a royal portrait or any other going into a public collection. I have done it. You get nervous no matter what. You know your art butt is on the line. And you also know everyone has an opinion about absolutely everything from five day old fish and chips to Kate's mouth pursed tight like a fishwife.

I think he should certainly have done a sitting from life of her which he freely admits he didn't, working the whole time from photo reference he shot. He even did a film showing his studio and his photo reference of her all over the place. I found that hard to watch being a portrait artist who has made life paintings of the sitter an important part of my process.

The good news is that Princess Kate loves it and is on film saying so. Maybe that will help the artist today because unless he has skin thick as an oyster shell, the reviews must hurt. He is probably under the bed covers eating toast and peanut butter right now. Or down the pub on his 10th pint. Or both?

Now go take on the art day!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Passion For Pink

Pink Passion
12 x 16
For sale through my online store. See link at top of page
$325 incl. free shipping
Class yesterday. Join me Wednesday mornings at The California Art Institute, Westlake village

Morning Friends

It was the first day of a new teaching semester at The California Art Institute yesterday under the new ownership of Kate Barnholz. I don't know about you, but I find change hard.

I was delighted to see a full house in my teaching class which is always fun.  Come join us Wednesday mornings. 

Here is my demo. I love painting vintage hats. Every hat tells a story of good times gone by and makes the perfect still life. You almost don't need the model

This pink hat has to be seen to be believed. Whoever wore it must have had a lot of confidence.

Now go take on the art day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Painting Accidents

Oil on Canvas
By Johanna Spinks
12"x 16

$500, plus tax and shiping

Sunday morning, Perfect. Time to reflect on the week over a cup of Joe.

I love when you don't plan to do something but it just kinda happens. And turns rather out well. That was the story behind this sketch, done in oil, on canvas, not paper, a technique I have often seen Jeremy Lipking use. Boy, have I been lucky to be around him this last year.

My scheduled sitter didn't arrive Friday afternoon. I was a little frustrated having prep'd the canvas, mixed up my muted palette, cleaned my studio floor, and made sure my sweater was on with the label not inside out. You get the picture.

In frustration at waiting for my sitter, I grabbed a pic of this hip hop dancer that was lying around, picked up a brush, some raw umber and a sparkling new canvas board I wanted to try out. Oh yes, and a kneaded eraser for pulling out the lights.

Hey presto, an hour and a half later, this appeared like a  ghostly genie out of a bottle.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Come Study With Me in  2013. New class schedule

Happy New Year Joy

"Sweet Goodness"
Johanna Spinks

Hi Everyone

Happy New Year. I am chomping at the bit to get into the studio this morning full of new resolutions and energy for the year ahead with some nice commissions on the go.

In the meantime, I post this humble cupcake. Feels kinda joyful to me. And it sums up how I want my year to be and YOURS.

 Now Take on  The Joy