Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Steam-punk'd Palette Knife Portrait

Steam Punk'd
Palette Knife Portrait
By Johanna Spinks

My fascination with the palette knife continues...this was my 'fun'treat  to end my studio day after four hours or so spent working on a tighter studio commission in the morning.

 I started this palette knife portrait from a real steam punk sitter a few weeks ago in my teaching class at CAI...I paint much slower with a palette knife than brush which is both good and bad. Bad 'cause I would rather be faster with the knife, good because I need to slow down with the brush. I can go super fast there it seems.

I don't fight the knife...I just let it goes where it wants.

Watch out for my new Tumblr coming soon on just palette knife painting.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Memorial Day Hero...Lance Corp. Nicholas H. Anderson

I honor today on Memorial Day in America fallen Marine Lance Corporal Nicholas H. Anderson who gave his life for us at the tender age of 19.

I painted him two years ago for Sherry Moore's remarkable Fallen Heroes portrait series featured on U.S. TV tonight.

View here:

Thank you to ALL our heroes.
Fallen Marine, Lance Corporal Nicholas H. Henderson, 19.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Palette Knife Portrait Painting Tips

Palette Knife Portrait of the lovely artist/muse/musician, Mather Louth
Johanna Spinks

I love painting with a palette knife. This was my demo yesterday at The California Art Institute. Join me there Wednesday mornings. If you can't, here are my top tips for palette knife painting.

1. It gets really messy. Plenty of paper towels, gloves and an apron.

2. A good selection of knives for different effects. A rounded tip is better for doing a head than a sharp one.

3. Pre-mix a bunch of neutrals ahead of time so you can work faster. Think mid-value pools of color.

4. Let it stand for 24 hours so the paint gets a bit tacky and you can push and pull it a bit more.

5. Put ALL your brushes in a padlocked cupboard. That way you won't be tempted to pick them up. Palette knife portraits are much slower going than brush. You don't have as much control which is the point but it can get a little frustrating when that eye is taking forever. The moment you pick up the brush, it ruins things. I use the brush only for my drawing block-in so I can get a feel for where I am going. Then I put it away.

6. Use the knife as if you were a sculptor going up and down the forms.

7. Relax and let the happy accidents happen

8. Paint from a GREAT model

9. Study the work of Nicholai Fechin

10. Post so I know you were interested and will post more.


Building up the forms
The demo starts after a block-in with brush. This is the only part where I use a brush

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

The Face of Malibu By Johanna Spinks, Dr Bill Swarout, featured in this week's Malibu Times

I remain honored that The Malibu Times is featuring my Face of Malibu portrait series. This series is hot on the heels of my Face of Ventura project, now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ventura County.

Here is the latest sitter Dr. Bill Swartout, painted from life in a single sitting. He has an interesting story. Read by clicking here

Turned out to be quite a colorful sketch. A camera crew was behind me. That may explain why.

I seem to be in a very colorful mode right now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Phew For Fuschia

Demo is done...two with color.

Phew for great colors like fuchsia, although I always have to check out to spell it. Bold color gets my creative juices going, balancing all that hot color with some warms and cools. Old Holland magenta is the ONLY brand that will do for FUSCHIA.

My Demo underway at The California Art Institute. Let me know if you would like me to post the finish.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Art Assistants...

High Days and Holidays Collection By Johanna Spinks
Oil on panel
Incl. framing and shipping

Purchase here:

My studio assistant Bentley Azure is now even copying how I dress. Something must be done, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Buttercup to paint color

Oil on panel
$395 incl. shipping
Purchase at my online store

If you see the You Tube videos below, you will know that I love pushing color. I love artists, past and present, who do the same.

This was a quick color study last night I did over at Jeremy Lipking's studio. He is a wonderful tonalist  painter who also gets some great color in there.

I didn't feel like blending last night.  I felt like slapping that buttercup yellow jacket on the canvas,  three different temperatures of yellow. Warm, cool and neutral with a complimentary purple washed in for my base.

Off to CAI now for my teaching class. Join me there Wednesday mornings.

Friday, May 3, 2013

TGIF Painting Tip

Well, here it TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) freebie painting tip, posted late in the day due to wildfire craziness in this part of the world

Let me know what you think and if you would like more.

Have a great-ful weekend.

Demo, 24x30
Available for purchase