Monday, March 28, 2016

Museums, Tulips and Seattle

Pike Place Market

Seattle in the springtime, the tulips are in bloom and art is in the air. Seattle is one of the places I frequent and enjoy writing about. I Have written several articles about trips to the greater Seattle area about several museums and art happenings. Recently while planning a trip to to the northwest and before finalizing my schedule, I checked the Gage Academy of Arts website. 

Female Nude with Skeleton

While looking at the Gage Academy of Art's schedule of events, I saw a workshop offered by Colleen Barry. She normally teaches at the Grand Central Atelier, in NY.  The timing was a delightful coincidence and I was able to join the workshop before it was filled. I am particularly excited about this workshop because last year I had the opportunity to interview Colleen Barry  for the Portrait Society of America. You can see the article re-posted here. Of course I look forward to sharing my thoughts about the workshop in an article in a few weeks. 

Leon Gaspard

Soon after arriving, I visited the tulip fields in Skagit Valley. It's was a few weeks before the peak season however, the fields were looking beautiful. Later, I visited the Pike Place Market and the Frye Art Museum. The Frye Museum had several current exhibits. One exhibit was Fechin, Gaspard and Repin, Russian Paintings exhibit and the Frye Salon. The Frye Salon is the recreation of the collection of Charles and Emma Fry as it appeared in their home gallery. 

Ilya Repin

The Russian Paintings: Six paintings by Fechin, Gaspard and Repin

These painters lived more than 150 years ago. In 1870 these painters created the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions and are in the permanent collection of the Frye Museum. These painters would become known as the Peredvizhniki or the Itinerants or Wanderers. This group of artist wanted to establish a national art. One they felt would be more accessible art that reflected the lives of ordinary Russian peoples. 

The Frye Salon

The Frye Salon - The paintings in this exhibition are from the permanent collection and arranged in the same manner as when the paintings hung in the home gallery of Emma and Charles Frye.

Harbor Tripoli, Felix Ziem

Hanging paintings salon-style, can be a dramatic way to decorate a space. In the Frye Exhibition, we can see the range and styles of frames that are used. Frames are diverse, with varying dimensions and the placing of the artwork next to one another creates an interesting effect.

Here I Am, Leopold Schmutzler

Salon style dates back to 1670 and the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Salon style hanging grouped artworks in large halls where paintings were displayed side-by-side and stacked one on top of the other. This style of exhibiting paintings began as a means to display all of the works of the recent graduates. To fit all of the paintings into one room, the curators arranged the paintings in this manner. 

This painting is one of my favorites!

To read more articles related to this trip please click on the these links.
Colleen Barry
The Frye Museum of Art
The Gage Academy of Art

CLICK HERE to Subscribe to this blog

Thank you for joining me, and please continue to send me your comments. I enjoy receiving your emails, and comments on the blog and Facebook. If you like this article, please share this post with your friends or on Facebook.

Until next time...

Artfully Yours,

Please click to visit
Annette Goings Fine Art Website

Annette Goings Fine Art Facebook

Monday, March 14, 2016

Portrait of Sophie Claire - A Step-by-Step Approach

Sophie Claire

Recently I completed a portrait of a beautiful and energetic young girl Sophie Claire. In her family, it's a tradition to have a portrait made around a certain age. The mother and father both had their portraits painted around the same age as Sophie Claire. In a couple of years, I will create a portrait of Sophie Claire's younger sister, Emily. 

When the parents were presented with the portrait, they were extremely pleased. When Sophie saw her portrait she opened her arms wide and wanted to give her portrait a big hug, we let her have a small one. For me, this meant a job well done. Having portraits made is a wonderful way to honor those you love. For me and it's a pleasure to be a part of the process of creating a cherished keepsake for these and other families. 

It's been about a year since I've published a step-by-step article. In this article, I'll share with you a few photos of the Sophie Clair portrait in progress, the materials I used and my overall approach.

Graphite reference portrait

On my initial visit with Sophie Claire, I first took quite a few photographs of her. It's best to take as many pictures of your subject as time and patience allow. The is a primary advantage of the digital camera over film cameras, the ability to take copious photos. With numerous shots, you have a better chance of obtaining and working from good reference material. This is especially true with younger people who are so often full of beautiful energy. It's hard for them to maintain a pose for very long, so having multiple poses is important. 

Typically I will work from life and do an initial drawing. However, with children, I work primarily from photos. One of my first steps is to make many sketches and then do an initial drawing based on the reference photo. The preliminary portrait is drawn with graphite and not intended to be a finished piece. 

Drawing a preliminary portrait allows me the necessary time to study the person's face, compare their features and work through my thought processes. When I analyze the initial drawing, it will serve as a guide and reference. It will help me focus on the areas that might need more attention in the finished portrait. 

Tools of the Trade

As you can see the shelf area of my easel is where I keep my tools handy. For this portrait, I used Conte, Pitt Pastels, and charcoal. I also use many different erasers, a good brush, an Exacto knife, sandpaper and old t-shirts cut up into smaller pieces. This pre-drawing is on 300# drawing paper. After the reference drawing is "complete" I begin the finished portrait. 

The paper used for this finished portrait is BFK Rives - Tan. The paper is mouldmade in France and is 100% cotton and acid-free. This paper doesn't hold up well to overworking or a lot of erasing. Too much erasing will pull away the fibers.

Easel shot
My easel is arranged to allow the 1/2 to 3/4 size reference portrait is on my board and in full view as I work on the finished portrait. By this time I have determined what needs to happen in the finished portrait. So I am using my initial drawing to guide me. 

The newsprint taped in the middle of the two portraits acts as a guard for my hand - a resting place as I work. It also serves to keep the edge of my hand from picking up the material and or smudging the paper.

Because the paper will pick up any lotion or natural oils on your hand it's best to touch the paper only when necessary and only then after checking to ensure your hands are "dry".


During the process of the portrait, I took photos with my cell phone which doesn't quite represent the true color of the paper and drawing materials. The finished portrait was professionally photographed

I hope you have enjoyed this step-by-step description of a portrait painting. 

CLICK HERE to Subscribe to this blog

Thanks for joining me, and please continue to send me your comments. I enjoy receiving your emails, comments on the blog and Facebook. If you like this article, please share this post with your friends or on Facebook.

Until next time...

Artfully Yours,

Please click to visit
Annette Goings Fine Art Website

Annette Goings Fine Art Facebook