Thursday, April 19, 2012


Siri   oil 18 by 24
Karen arranged dramatic lighting on Siri, which accentuated her beautiful red hair and pink skin.
Iris Sabre


Denise at Artist's  Loft     acrylic on canvas  24 by 20
I am trying to have more fun with the backgrounds at the Firehouse and in this one I was thinking about what it might look like if Denise was modeling in one of the lofts that are near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.  It is still a work in progress.   Karen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Larry, reading

This was a frustrating session for me. Larry took a seated reading pose and had a little trouble holding it--the position of his head was not consistent. Since I was working only on the head, this was a problem for me. At one point, one of the other artists asked Larry to correct his pose, and he complied--taking him into what was, from my vantage point, a completely different head position. So I started over on another sheet of paper. After twenty minutes of the new position, Larry somehow went back to the original head position and held it pretty consistently for the rest of the session. So I went back to the first painting and dropped the second one. Neither one is "finished" but it's obvious which one I spent more time on. It's also obvious, to me anyway, how much range there was in the position of his head.

Denise in pink dress

This was not my finest hour. Denise brought a wonderful, colorful costume and took a very interesting pose--so interesting that I wanted to
move beyond the face and take advantage of the arms, legs, etc. Alas, I'm not very used to painting the whole figure any more. It threw me for a loop.
I sacrificed the chance for a good, life-sized portrait without even getting the whole figure in. Life-size seems to be my comfort zone.

Looner, again

Looner's a great model and very fun to draw. Both of these drawings are charcoal on paper. The profile drawing is on paper that was stained with red wine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Randall the Pirate

Randall the Pirate    oil 24 by 18
Iris Sabre sent this painting done during the recent session that coincided with the North Shattuck Wine and Food Festival. We had 5 painters who were all very good sports and kept painting even though the room was filled with people who stopped by to taste wine.    Iris said, " I went to my happy place while painting Randall during the wine-tasting last week. With 100 plus people in the room drinking Kombucha the intensity of his focus was matched only by my own."


Prudence  oil  24 by 18

Prudence reclined opulently amid the deep blues, purples and reds of her scarves and pillows.
Iris Sabre


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prudence as Olympia

Prudence as Olympia
Oil on canvas, 18 x 24"
It all started with Prudence's pose. We were joking around and then, seeing I would have a bit of extra time, I measured my height vs her figure and drew an outline of myself in the background. I figured I would challenge myself to paint a credible portrait of myself as Olympia's servant in my studio. I did the underpainting for myself at the very end of our three hour period.

Once home I asked Sarah to take a picture of me in the same position I had sketched, using an old laptop as a prop. We used the light from our living room window because it came at the same angle as the light from the lamp at the Firehouse, but once in my studio, I turned it into incandescent light by using the same color mix I was using at night, titanium white, cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue.

I know the composition isn't fantastic, but I was really going for the challenge I had set myself and not so much for a perfect product. Now that I have a method, I will try this again and again until I feel more comfortable.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Denise On The Red Chair

Oil on canvas, 18 x 24"
Denise is an unusual model in that she can sustain a smile for three hours. I don't know how she achieves this.
For this painting, I mixed each color with a lot of stand oil. Normally I don't do this when I work all a prima, but the resulting mix is too thick. So mixing each color beforehand with stand oil gives the whole painting a more fluid feel. You can really see it in the objects near the window.

I worked on the area next to the window first, for fear of losing the blue light after the sun went down. Then I worked on the room, and lastly, on Denise. I revised in my studio, making a mental note of what I wanted to change before I left the firehouse.