Sunday, August 28, 2011

Leonardo Quotes

Today I'd like to share some quotes from my favorite old master Leonardo da Vinci. Study closely as there will be a pop quiz at the end.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452-May 2, 1519) was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculpture, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of unquenchable curiosity and feverishly inventive imagination. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person to have ever lived.

Besides his obvious genius, he has great advice on how to live and make art.

Sounds like me, right? I paint, design homes, garden, help kids with math/science homework, plan birthday parties, take photos, serve in church, write a blog, cook from scratch, sing, and am politically active. I think I'm a little MORE diversely talent than Leo. Ha, just kidding. Maybe.

"I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have."
-Leonardo da Vinci

What? I wish I were so offensive! Artists are typically so very hard on themselves.

War chariot with scythes. Eww... gross. He even drew the chopped up bodies.

"There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see."
- Leonardo da Vinci

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."
-Leonardo da Vinci

"You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself." - Leonardo
I am always telling my children that. Good advice for sure.

He was a master of drapery. I really wish I could do fabric like that. I saw this drawing in person and there are hardly any pencil lines. He can really blend.

I love to draw houses but I never drew anything so fancy. He had very wealthy clients.

"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions." -Leonardo

"Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence."- Leonardo

When I saw this in person I was saddened by the age and deterioration but in awe of it's beauty. This is my all time favorite work by Leonardo.

He said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." I wholeheartedly agree.

Besides the 'Mona Lisa', 'The Last Supper' has got to be his most famous work. Unfortunately, he experimented with unproven techniques and failed. If he had done this work on panel or canvas like his other works this would be the most incredible painting of all time.

"Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else." - Leonardo

"Learning never exhausts the mind."

"Talent is like the grease on the wheels of the cart, you don't need it to get to town, you'll just squeak on the way." -

"Art is never finished, only abandoned".-Leonardo

"Nature never breaks her own laws."- Leonardo

And my favorite quote of Leonardo da Vinci is this one, "Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel." -Leonardo

Maybe that's why he never married.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Portrait Commission Step by Step

My girls take piano lessons from the famous, lovely, and talented artist Angela Henrie. Some of you may know her name from her line of jewelry or her blog. She has 8 kiddos just like me. She even has 2 boys and 6 girls just like me (and my Aunt Joanna). I just love her, and my kids do too. I also dig her hot pink kitchen! Who wouldn't want to cook in there!

Here is Art Girl at her recital. Did I mention that Miss Angela is very Classy? Yes she is. I think it is from going to the same High School as me, Mountain View.

Here's Mini Me playing Brahms Lullaby.

Well, I begged Miss Angela if I could paint a portrait of one of her kiddos and she said "yes". So here is how I go about making a portrait for someone.

Step one: Arrange a meeting with the client and discuss what you want and the clothing. Angela really liked my paintings of angels and wanted one for her little Winnie. For her clothing, I draped and pinned some silk fabric on her and set her in the light the way we wanted. They both wanted a dark blue background and so we set up a black poster board behind her to set the values.

Step two: Talk with the model to loosen her up. As you can see Winnie was a little shy at first but we took care of that with a few jokes. Then, I just shot with the camera to get the model used to idea. The best shots will never be the first ones...ever. So relax and shoot away.

Step three: Have your model grow some angel wings right before your eyes. This might take a few minutes so be patient. Just kidding, we used some costume wings and propped them up to approximate what the lighting will be on the painted ones. Also, note how Winnie is starting to warm up and smile.

Step four: Choose which pose you like the best. Sometimes this can be agonizing and sometimes it is very easy. Winnie is so cute that it was hard to choose, so Angela had me email her a few shots and they had a family vote. They chose this one. The family just loves the way she smiles. Me too.

Step five: I did a mock up of what the wings will look like and the colors I would use for Angela's approval. I juiced up Winnie's skin a little with some color in her cheeks and made her eyes just a teeny bit bluer. I put in the blue background and of course, painted in some wings.

"Winnie" Angela's Angel. 2011

And here is the finished painting. See how easy it is? For you guys, not for me. I love painting angels. I think there will be more angels in my future. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Decorating Trends

I used to be an interior designer and I love to follow decorating trends and decorating styles. Personally, I have always NOT followed trends but designed timelessly. If you decorate English or French or Italian, stay true to the style and you will never go wrong or out of style.

That being said, I'm happy to find out that "Old Masters Paintings" are a hot trend right now.
Online store and blog VandM just released their trends for 2011-2012.

VandM officially publishes the year's main trend forecast every August. But what many don't know is that the studio prepares a report each month. We thought it would be fun to share an early peek at the main trend forecast as it is shaping up for late 2011 - early 2012.

Dark InteriorsLight and all White Interiors (Unless black & white)
Old Masters PaintingsToo Many Contemporary Pieces of Art
Eclectic ClutterMinimal Glam
Stuffed Taxidermy BirdsAntler Mounts
17th/18th Century AntiquesDanish Modern
Strong Patterned Flooring (especially animal print)Simple Textured Flooring
Cameos/IndaglioFramed Butterfly Taxidermy
Victorian Hair ArtVictorian Shell Art
American Silver TankardsSilver Trophies
Gold Gilt Elaborate FramesSimple Modern Frames
Thrown-likeWood ChairsModern Plastic Furniture
Chip Wood FurnitureChrome Furniture
Animal Pelts/BlanketsChennile Throws
GobletsClear Stemware
Think Medieval/DarkagesThink White Minimal

One of our shorthand tricks to knowing what the culture is about to start to lean towards comes by way of HBO/Showtime. The number of shows relating to Medieval/Darkages is exponentially multipling. Everything from Robinhood, Merlin, Game of Thrones, cue the 1980's obsessions of Lady Hawk, Labryinth, etc

I think they are right. We are thirsting for comfort and history. I can't think of anything better than making history with a painting. Click on the link and see for yourself. Yay for paintings!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Get a Portrait?

Why get a portrait? First of all, they are wonderful precious family heirlooms.

Kathryn Ireland

And secondly, they are great to decorate with!

Ralph Lauren

Let's face it, art is just decoration after all. There is a new-ish trend to decorate with heirloom portraits. I say new-ish because portraits are always IN, it's just right now they are more IN. I mean this room in Ralph Lauren's house could have been decorated 20 years ago or last week.

But what if you don't have a family heirloom portrait? Well, have one painted!

Charlotte Moss

Decorators all across the country are decorating their own houses with antique portrait paintings. Don't they look gorgeous? Charlotte Moss is my favorite decorator.

Even old fashioned folk art portraits look amazing in a room.

Okay, yes this is the green room in the White House. And yeah, that is Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson...I think. But this Federal Style room looks totally timeless and, well, green.

You don't have to have traditional style to have a portrait painted. Love the modern abstract. Notice the traditional furniture to anchor the room. Seriously, the only thing modern in the room is the art and it makes the whole place look modern.

I love 17th Century Swedish Gustavian antiques.

You don't have to relegate portraits to the living room or the bedroom. I love it in a hallway. I have one in my hallway and every time I walk by it I love to see it.

Sometimes the portrait can dictate the style of the room. Sometimes you can get a portrait to fit your style. I wonder which came first, the portrait or the wallpaper?

A portrait can really personalize a room. Even if you don't know who it is.

A portrait can set the mood. What attitude! Such a manly man's room. No women allowed!

Darin Giese

You can never have too many portraits!

All these photos were from two decorating blogs I love, cotedetexas and tartanscot.

New Website!

I have a new website. Okay, not that I had an old one but saying that I just got a website sounded so amateur. Which I am, but shhhh...don't tell anyone. Here is a link to it. And there are some new paintings. Let me know what you think, unless it's bad then just keep those thoughts to yourself. Thank you.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yellow Rose of ...Ora

I can paint flowers. I just can't paint them like Christie Repasy. So, I decided to just paint the way I do and be myself. This is for my friend Ora. Her favorite color is yellow. When her son moved out she took his room and turned it into a yellow floral woman cave. Nothing manly is allowed. So for her birthday I painted this. Happy Birthday Ora!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm gonna have GORGEOUS grandchildren!

I asked my son in law if he would like to pose for a painting for me. Luckily, he said he would and with my daughter as stylist, we turned his normal "skater boy/college student" look into this Wall Street looking man. What a handsome cutie. I'm gonna have the most beautiful grand-babies!!!
This painting is my daughter's birthday gift. Happy B-day Married Girl!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What NOT to do in Business

My son sent an email inquiring about a product for sale on a website. The response was hilarious and I thought you would like to have a laugh. Clearly English was not his first language. And remember, Banana is never Apple!

hello friend

paypal also has scam,the buyer receive the parcel but he said he didnot on paypal scam make selelrs worried about the money.these days business is not easy for anybody.

i hjope good buyer and good seller can do business together.although we use western union,but it doesnt mean we are bad seller and dont ship parcel;s. on the contract,we are are very serious in business and want to have longterm business with you, we can also email you some recent shipping every a couple days.

Trust is built as time goes by and not just for a say i m not good ,does it mean we are bad people? we are not bad people and at lease so far we didnt any thing bad to you and we never do you we are doing business for benefiting both sides,hardly for scamming money.

Every penny you earn is important for you and we understand,so the price has been lowest for you so that you can enjoy a good profit at your market and good competition.

The qualtiy is guarranty bvecause only the original count in the market all the time,before and now and future as weell. we have been working hard to establish good relationship although it isn ot easy.the beginnigng is diffuclt but i think the result willl be very good.

if you think every body is bad people,then the world is over in the usa also there are bad people and good people. i m not them so i cannot stop them from stealing money.we are 100% responsible for our sales.Banana is Banana,Apple is Apple,Banana is never Apple.This has been a very serious thing when it comes to the business.

best regards,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Talent vs. Hard Work

When I was a baby, my dad taught me how to read. I seriously never knew what it was like to not read. I was also very bored in school because of it and I passed the time by discovering other talents. Drawing, school work, sports, music, name it I was good at it. I just had loads of natural ability or talent.

Michael Naples

Then, in fourth grade I started to play the violin. I was so good that by the end of the school year I was playing second chair next to the sixth graders. First chair was 6th grader Stephanie Buckley. Who is now an opera singer in New York City, seriously. She was WAY ahead of me in ability. But by the end of my sixth grade year I was still playing second chair. Why? I didn't practice. The girl in first chair had a private teacher and she practiced EVERY DAY. Practice? What's that? I always just floated on my natural ability. Which gets me pretty far but not far enough. So what did I do? I quit the violin.

Casey Baugh

Now why do I tell you this story? Well, I have been teaching art to kids and adults. Each age group feels like they stink and they can't do it. The biggest tantrum I get is from a very talented little 7 year old who wants to paint like Michelangelo and she can't. And my sweet 70 year old student wants to quit every 5 minutes. Everyone has yucky work. Even Casey Baugh told me that he has a room full of paintings lined up against the wall that will never see the light of day.

James Christensen

I asked James Christensen one time if he ever had a hard time parting with some of his most beautiful work. He said, "A lot of my stuff doesn't really turn out the way I planned so I am glad to get rid of it."

James Christensen

He also says you need to put in ten thousand hours before you are very good.

Talent can only get you so far. So, if you have been given a special talent, you better get to work!

p.s. If you know anyone (or yourself) who has a similar story, let me know!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Workshop with Casey Baugh

I just spent the most amazing week with artist Casey Baugh. We was very generous and talented and a great teacher. I learned so much. I can hardly wait to take his workshop again.
He has been in magazines for a few years. Like, since he was 18! This one was in The Artist's Magazine as a demo. His gallery has a page where you can see all the magazine covers he is on. Sheesh, and he is only 26.
Portrait Society of America International Competition award winner.
I think he said he was 17 when he did this one.
My favorite version of "Madame X". He is a genius. I met that model. What 'tude!
Mr. Baugh himself. What a cool portrait. He has a free video of how he painted this on his website here. She? I told you he was generous!
Love it! LOOK at those brush strokes. It looks all haphazard and loose but he plans every last brush stroke down to the last detail. Nothing is left to chance.
This one is so cool.
I love painting tulle. He and I talked about painting tulle and the other guys in the class asked, "What's tulle?" He designs every last detail- even going to the fabric store and buying tulle.
Basically it boiled down to this:
If you were to build your dream house, and you were to put that one special piece of art on the main wall in your living room, what would it be? Paint that. Work hard and plan everything. Spend more time planning than you do painting. And buy Rosemary and Co. mongoose brushes. Thank you Casey!