Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Palette Knife Portraits

"The New York Times Crossword"
By Johanna Spinks
Oil, 12x16
Palette Knife

When I pick up the palette knife to paint a portrait I feel like I am 'home'. I can't explain it. It's a 'feeling thing'. Have you ever felt that way?

 I never get to work this way on commissioned portraits but I wish I could.

This is hot off today's easel...painted with no brushes at all. It takes me a little longer but I like all the carving out of the planes with a knife like you are a sculptor and the happy accidents of paint slopping about.

I also enjoy the effects from the different shaped knives.

I also enjoy most of all not having to clean brushes afterward.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paint in the beautiful Malibu Wine Country

NOW how fun is this? If you like top-notch painting instruction, good food, company and spectacular Malibu vineyards and  wine? Limited space. Filling up fast. Email with any questions,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Figure painting in Paris.

Dreams of Paris
oil on archival board
Free shipping

Writing letter to get me to Paris

If I am going to spend a year in Paris, I am going to need a good satin robe. For the models, not me, silly.

Plans are going well. Resumes/applications being hand-written for opportunities.  Yeah, right.

This  figure sketch was painted this week in my teaching class at The California Art Institute. Join me every Wednesday. Well, until I get to Paris.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

365 Days To Live In Paris

"Gay Paris"
Johanna Spinks
oil and silver leaf on archival board

365 Days to live in  Paris...I have decided I want to live in Paris for a year -with my art.

Day One
Intending It...and painting something with a red french beret.

View from the studio today.
My trusty  palette will be coming with me to Paris

Friday, February 15, 2013

Going Under The Knife?

Palette Knife Portrait Begins. No brushes used at all. 

This morning I am going under the knife - the palette knife that is.

This afternoon I am working hard on finishing up a large triple portrait commission so a quick blast with a palette knife on a looser portrait sketch re-energizes me and gives the big portrait some drying time.

I often find doing something like this to start my art day makes me paint better when I get to the big stuff. Bit like a ballerina doing her 'barre' excercises before she takes the big leap into a pirouette.

Ok,,,back to two easels....

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Love Letters Home
Mixed media on paper

Happy Valentines Day Everyone.

This is one of the few remaining drawings from my year in drawing 2010. I can't quite believe most of the drawings sold but they did. 365 is a big number and that's a lot of drawings.

Maybe I need to draw again every day for a year. What say you? I am severely tempted.

Go out and hug someone today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


"Feel The Love Reception"
Face of Ventura Sitter Mr. Howard Boroughs and I feel the love.

Thanks to everyone who came to my "Feel The Love" show in Ventura, CA. It was a fantastic turnout with some nice sales from the 100 or so paintings and sketches of mine on display. This is my favorite picture from the reception, myself with Mr. Howard Boroughs, a former biochemist and sweetheart of the first order.

Read his life story here:

Mr. Boroughs turns 100 this year.  My portrait of him will be included in the Museum of Ventura County's 100 year Anniversary Birthday show, opening March 23,  which I am tickled Valentine pink about. Mr. Boroughs IS Ventura. He has done so much for the town. I just adore him.

So my feelings after this show? They are a lot of work. This is my second big show in five months. Working that mailing list, getting people in the reception room, mailing out invites, phoning, editing paintings to hang, delivering them,  framing them,  worrying that no-one will show up...ahhh, must be nice to be a big New York artist with none of these issues. And I do know a few who seem to  just breeze into their shows and out.

I am also so lucky my last two shows to have had the support of FOOD Share and The Ventura Breeze newspaper. I also had this current show hosted by Crowell, Weedon & Co., who did a lot of the work for me putting on a lovely reception and, yes, hanging the show. Thank you. But the pressure of a solo show is on the artist's solo shoulders at the end of the day.  A flat reception won't make you look good.

I also learned a lot about myself as an artist, over the last five months. What work I was proud to stand by. What work generated the most excitement from viewers and generated actual sales. How lovely it is to feel warmth from visitors toward your art. To hear them ooohhhing and ahhhing. That is music to my heart.

I won't be having a big show again for a while. I need to get on with a new collection of work inspired by the last two shows. That is the greatest Valentine gift I can give to myself.

Thank you everyone. I felt your love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Be my guest tomorrow at The California Art Institute in Westlake Village, Ca. Yes, the newly improved CAI, under new ownership. I am newly improved too it seems, energized by all the good stuff going on there now.

This is my demo from last week...I sure had fun with those glasses. I love painting eyewear.

Portrait Demo
12 x 16, oil
The California Art Institute
Join me every Wednesday 10.30 - 1.30

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I have finished this still life just in time!
The Valentine Letter
12x16, oil on board
By Johanna Spinks

10 minute value/color block-in, 6x8, sold
End of demo at my January Monthly Workshop

It's now or never. Come "Feel The Love", my show reception, tomorrow, Thursday. 4 - 7 pm, Crowell, Weedon & Co., 5740 Ralston St., Ventura, CA. Wine, Food and Song. A  portrait sitting to be won by raffle draw, 10 per cent of sales donated to FOOD Share.

I have over 100 pieces in this solo show, including The Face of Ventura portrait collection.