Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Blog - Artist Robin Roberts

A note from Dot:
Robin Roberts was so kind to send this to me... and I want to share it with you...

Dot Courson's Guest Blogger.... 
Robin Roberts....

Scary vs Fun...

It went something like this:   one of my ardent painting students requested a class about faces and suggested we use a photo of a pretty lady she noticed in a blog.   It just happened to be my friend Dot Courson of Pontotoc Ms.   The student liked the smiling face and the straw hat.  So I requested a printable photo from Dot that she graciously supplied.   The students who attended are the brave ones willing to learn and tolerate boo boos.   I told them this would NOT be the portrait in a curly gold frame.   The class was intended to let them experiment and play with a face and not worry about having a finished "portrait" .
You can see the reference photo of Dot that we used in the top photo . 
We talked about the axis tilt of the head, and some basic proportions of the head.  I didn't use formulas for face colors, letting them play with their own mixtures.   The compositons were similar, but you can see interesting differences in how they put it all together.   One was finished, and the others show how far they got in about 2 hours.    None were experienced in faces or portraits other than family photos .    So hats off to the brave students.    I think they had fun.


MY DEMO IN STAGES:   looking strange at this stage

Dot minus real eyeballs.  I'm painting fast as a sketch at this stage, and as usual, the students out run me.  We talk about the color of hair and try some experiments noting the color is not what we would think.  

this is close to how I left it.  I'm going to cheat and say I caught a few aspects of Dot's face after this photo.   But the point was to have fun, stay loose and learn something.    And we did.

Now for the even funnier part of Dots painting class and painting friends:

Oil painter Robin Roberts has lived in 5 states, but north Alabama roots keep her grounded. Inspired by ordinary views by the side of the road, Robin seeks nobility in the everyday scenes we encounter. .Originally from north Alabama, Robin’s family lived in Iowa twice, Texas twice, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. That southern orientation emerges in the oil paintings. Now Alabama again presents wonders begging to be brought to life.

Robin’s collectors find her art at: Dragonfly Gallery in Fayetteville Tn; ARTifacts Gallery in Florence Al; Renaissance Gallery in Northport Al; Kathleen’s Fine Art in Decatur Al, Ashland Gallery in Mobile Al, and Charleston House Gallery in Montgomery Al or www.RobinRobertsArt.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Amish Paintings: 

This is an Amish child in Pontotoc county Mississippi, learning to drive a team of horses. I named it "Allied Education." as the Amish are home schooled until the 8th grade, I hear, because they learn only to do their life's work.I read a court case in TN that stated that once.

Around here the Amish have several saw mills. Also they sell fresh vegetables and homemade jams, etc. All done on wood stoves in the blazing hot summers. They are sweet folks! 

I have prints of this (Amish Driver) for sale... 8x16's for $ $50 each unframed. Contact me if interested.

A few weeks ago I had friends from out of town here and took them to see our Amish country...It's really interesting to see this place!

Here are just a few of some oil paintings of the Amish that I have done:
12x16 Available- $ 350 Unframed. 




Amish Road (Study) ©Dot Courson   AVAILABLE   - Oil - $300    14x11 Unframed.

Today I drove two hours one way to judge an art show for the Red Hill Art Association in Louisville. I would have loved to have stopped many times to paint along the way, but didn't have time... It's hard to drive past a scenic place - the old home places and farms and let that scene go by you: forever un-captured except in someone's special memory of their homeland or their own home place... And that light was just right this afternoon...  
We really have some neat places to paint in north Mississippi!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Knife Painting Techniques

Lately I have gotten interested in palette knife painting. Years ago I used to do some, and I still use a palette knife occasionally but it's mostly done along with brushwork. But nothing is "breaking the rules" in painting as far as I'm concerned. An artist can use anything- even elbows if they want to!

I recently saw Barbara Flowers doing her wonderful and inspiring palette knife painting demo in Florida during our Women Painters of the Southeast (WPSE) show and got interested in doing palette knife work again. Here is a beautiful loose painting by Barbara who served as our show judge just in case if you are not familiar with her work:

Teaching Pallet Knife Painting...
So this past week I brought fresh pears to my painting class and taught palette knife for this weeks lesson. I was not sure what the students would think as I have not even talked about palette knife painting with them. And since I have never taught this - I looked back to my painting image files to find some of my own works done in palette knife. Here are a few along with my thoughts about how I did them:

 I did this one in 2005. I used to sell wholesale to a decorator store in Tupelo- Staggs Interiors. Staggs sold my work exclusively somewhere from around 2002- 2006, and they  sold a LOT of my work. It was wonderful and I would produce many of these little 5x7 and larger paintings that they used in decorative frames. These little pear paintings look great stacked in dining rooms and above other larger paintings, and were reasonably priced and very affordable. 

 As I told my class, there are several thing that I love about palette knife painting:
  • Mixing colors is easy. Piles of paint are easily blended on the palette - or even on the painting itself - to make loose layers that show the colors underneath.
  • You can easily paint right over an existing painting that you dislike, because you are using thicker paint and texture just adds to it's visual appeal.
  • Due to the thickness of the paint -it's easy to scrape out and re- apply another swipe of color on top of what you're correcting. 
  • Adds detail and texture to the painting
  • They are quick to do and studio clean up is easy
  • Palette knife painting is a "natural" way to make very LOOSE paintings. 

 Here is another painting that I did around 8 years ago...

This was so much fun to do! I enjoyed doing the reflected lights by adding a  in the shadow area by mixing right into the paint on the canvas. Here is a detail of that:

Looking at the detail, it reminds me of pastel paintings that I used to do back then, the mixing of the colors directly on the surface of the painting and "smushing" borders of objects to soften the edges. This style painting is so natural, easy and almost intuitive for me to do for some reason. I don't know why I stopped.
I also used the end of the knife to add color to make the surface of the cantaloupe in the sunlight:

I believe that a palette knife exercise is good for artists to try occasionally. It gets you out of your comfort zone and opens your eyes to the wonderful freeing feeling of painting if you find yourself getting "tight" with your brush work. 

Here is another knife painting of mine...

And some detail:

The photo above was made prior to varnishing, but you get the idea. In this one I also used a brush to drag paint around on the painting. I like texture in my palette knife paintings that I don't usually put in my other works. It gives the observer some "up close" detail that they can enjoy. 

Here is my demo from my class last week. It is 5x7 and is available unframed for only $75 plus tax in MS -and actual shipping if anyone is interested.  It looks great framed!...But would also look good on an easel... I am going to start selling these small works on my own to raise money to be able to go to southern France to paint next year! Contact me at artist@dotcourson.com if you are interested in helping the me get to France! 
: )

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Artist Workshops
My husband Jackie and I host workshops for artists. 
If you are an artist you understand about workshops. If you are not a painter, just think of it as education and continuing education for artists.
These workshops are for students, intermediate artists and professionals. Sometimes the students are professional artists studying with another artist that they admire. Sometimes even the professional artist instructors themselves study with the other professional artists that they admire! No artist ever stops learning and we all learn a lot from each other. 

I see lots of different styles of painting and work that I admire and their work styles range a lot. We recently invited and hosted a workshop with Anne Blair Brown. Her work is loose and she has beautiful sense of color relationships within her works. A lot of what I love about here work is the beautiful colorful "grays" she mixes. I also like the way she lays in the work on the canvas. She limits her brushstrokes and some of the exercises she had the students do was to "count" brushstrokes and to keep it under 40 strokes. What a challenge!
Anne talks with students at lunch break on the square in Pontotoc, MS
Anne's demo on the square.

Ann was so caring about her students needs. She is a good clear communicator and her demos also speak. She painted several demos at the student's request and had them painting some of the scenes in our little town that drew the mayor, editor of our newspaper and reporter, and the director of our chamber of commerce to our painting site in the middle of our little park area of our downtown square! One of the local opticians downtown also came out and even joined our group the last day of the workshop.

In June - a few days after the Plein Air Richmond, I will be teaching a workshop with the Delta Art Association. There are lots of great artists in the delta and I love to paint that area. Here are some of my paintings of the delta:

If you are interested in this workshop please contact Iris Mitchell at lilyiris@suddenlink.net for details. This is for the Delta Art Association in Greenville, MS and they may want to put you on a wait list until the members have a chance to register unless you are already a member. Not sure how that will work.

  In July we have artist Lori Putnam from Nashville here teaching her still life workshop. I like her work- especially her still life work and we are looking forward to hosting here here for the first time. This workshop is full for now- but do let me know if you want on the waiting list. There could be an opening last minute- you just never know! Here is a painting I did in Memphis when I took here workshop. It is very loose:
Sunflowers 20x 16 ©2011 Dot Courson, Oil

Here is one of Lori Putnam's works:
Painting ©Lori Putnam, Oil
We have added another workshop this fall. Robert (Bob) Harper will be back again and we love Bob. He is one of the most energetic and funny and sharing instructors you will ever meet. Here is a painting of his behind country recording artist Amy Grant.

Amy Grant bought his painting - actually Vince Gill bought it for her --and she loved it so much that she put a larger copy of it on the stage for her DVD that won a Grammy. That is amazing to me to see Bob's beautiful painting that large. What a huge honor. That image had to help account for Grammy!

I have not started advertising spots for Bob's workshop yet but if you are reading this and want in to it please let us know. Dates are October 22-24- That is a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday-3 full days and is $295. Contact us at artist@dotcourson.com to register.