Friday, October 31, 2008

The Pumpkin Carving Lesson...less is more

Ah...the pumpkin carving. The buying of the perfect pumpkin.
The anticipation of creating a masterpiece of this odd orange vegetable.
The loss of confidence as you start to carve, realizing you have neither the time, patience, or desire to cut out 72 little tiny pumpkin sections from a 3 inch thick rind to create the ultimate spider web image, complete with an eight legged spider.
The joy at watching your three year old draw one eye, nose and mouth on his pumpkin.
The realization that three holes are easier than 72.
The elation at being able to use a real kitchen knife instead of those little miniature hack-saws that come with the pumpkin carving kit.
The best pumpkins I have ever seen.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Painting Update

OK - worked without Jack in my way! Thanks David for taking Jack away for a little while...

I'm mellowing out a few of the squares - layering some more neutral browns or changing some of the more intense blues to more greyish blues. I think it's looking much better!

I'm posting a big influence on this piece - a painting by Kim Frohsin ( that I tore out of a magazine a couple years ago (I think!!!) It's been hanging in my studio forever. I love her use of color, line, paint quality, the variety she achieves in her piece while still maintaining unity among the squares.

This is a corner of my studio - covered by naked ladies - but

showing a drawing from way back in 2003 - the purple and black of drawing of a torso - where I also did a first layer of squares before drawing on top. I'm glad I had that drawing on the wall, too...I like the variety of drawing techniques I used. I need to keep that in mind! There's a different feel to a painting from a live model - an energy an immediacy - you can't always achieve when working in the studio from memory.

Click on any picture to see detail.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Painting Update...mine and Jack's

Well I finally got to work for a short while today - and I use that term loosely because I had a three year old monkey boy climbing on top of me, asking for paint, wanting to peel dry paint off my old pallette (OK who doesn't love to do that?) and dropping my favorite blue Nupastel on the floor and breaking it into a zillion pieces.
O well...I did get some things accomplished, and I like some of the small sections individually, now I need to make the whole thing work together.
It wasn't a total loss in the studio least Jack made a good painting!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


One of my favorite (and most popular images on my Etsy site) sold at the Grand Opening of Heartworks' and Roomscapes new location! I was excited about the sale...thrilled it was going to a friend of mine who was buying it as a gift ...but more excited about the new gallery and studio space! Congrats Debbie and's a beautiful space!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Figure Drawing Techniques...My Favorite Backgound

So I drew from the lovely Miss Stephanie at Shane's studio last night. I only lasted until 9:30 - I was so tired! But I got a nice drawing done. She had a classic pose with warm overhead lighting. I had another piece of this great neutral tan mat board, and I love this color. Depending on what colors you use, it can be either a warm or a cool tan - so blues and oranges look great on it.

I started the drawing by blocking in areas of color, trying to get the general layout - making sure the whole figure was going to fit on the page.

I then went over the Nupastel with charcoal pencils to define the figue. I worked both the light and shadow at the same time.

Great pose...great model...wish I was more awake!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Figure Drawing Techniques...Dividing the Page

Last Thursday night we drew from the lovely miss Stephanie...she has been a wonderful model for me - several of the paintings in my shop are of Stephanie. She has a fabulous, curvacious figure that creates beautiful forms.

I wanted to do something a little different, so before she took her pose I divided a large piece of watercolor paper into squares.

Then, when I was drawing, I moved around Stephanie and drew from several different angles. Sometimes I would use several squares for one view, other times just one small square.

I only shaded the first couple of drawings - after I filled in a few squares, I had the feeling that just the line was going to be necessary for my next step (painting over the drawing) so I stopped shading.

Well even though only Arianna slept today I got to start painting while Jack was playing in the back yard. I started with a little watercolor, just to get some color on the surface. I also used a clear glaze in a few areas where I wanted to save the line quality of the initial drawing. Then I started to paint, using blue painters' tape to work each square individually, even if the drawing was larger than one square.

Anyway, it's just the beginning, but I like it so far!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Where it all began...I think...

I knew it still existed!!! A couple of moths ago I did an interview on another blog and the question was asked "when did you know you wanted to be an artist?" and I could remember a book report from a long time ago that I made for on a book about a bunny - I loved it because my mom suggested coffee grounds for the dirt! How cool is that!
Well I told my mom about the interview and I said I KNOW that book report still exists - if you find it, please send it to me!
Well, she found it and sent it! And it is just as cute and fun as I remember it. It's dated October of 1984...oh my goodness that's 24 years ago!!! Well now I feel old...but cheery at the same time! It's so much fun to look at an old project...and to think about the excitement of putting it together, and the first instance of "thinking outside the box" grounds...that made a huge impact on me!!!
Here's that interview...

Cherokee Tribune Article

Here's Jack holding the paper with the was a small but quality crowd for the lecture (Thank you to Woodstock's mayor for attending!) but it's hard to compete with College football in Georgia...the Dogs were playing at 12:30!
It was really great to put the lecture together - it gave me a reason to revisit some of my old papers on my art that I wrote in Graduate school, and sometimes looking back can be helpful. It refreshed my memory regarding some of my main goals as an artist. Of course, one goal in general is to improve my drawing and painting skills. But a goal that I set for myself back in Graduate school was to make sure that what I was creating was INTERESTING to the viewer - not just the subject matter, because that can only take you so far. But my desire to make the paint itself - color, texture, application - interesting enough so that beyond just looking nice, the viewer wants to look at it again and again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cherokee Tribune Article - me, my art and my kids!

Very exciting!!!! I'm giving a lecture in downtown Woodstock ths Saturday and here is the newspaper article about me and my work!

Figure Drawing and props

The last couple of drawing sessions have been male models, and I think I make "moodier" work when I'm drawing from the male model - the shadows and the poses always turn out to me dramatic than the female drawings.

What a treat last night! Our model was new to me - James - but he has modeled for many years - and he was probably one of the top 3 models I've worked with in the last 15 years. The poses! My goodness! When we were finished with gesture drawing I was actually sweating! He did some incredible poses - kinda like my other favorite Mike - who is also a human pretzel!

The standing pose was lit from above and below, which gave some great highlights on his head (love drawing a shaved head!) and on the thigh.

The more compact (human pretzel) pose was very challenging. I actually like the parts I worked on the least - the entire right side of the drawing. I think I got too tight on the left side. Maybe I'll play around with it a bit more and try to resolve the arm and his face.

Both of these were drawn on gessoed masonite board - an awesome surface because you can rework the charcoal again and again (I like to gesso it myself - the machine rolled gessoed boards are too slick)

The final drawing is from last Thursday night - Gord is contemplating a skull. I don't know what is about the male models...I get a little dramatic!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Painting Update

Ok I didn't like the red. I've added another layer...much more subdued colors. I think I like this direction a little better! I have to say though...sometimes I'm glad when I make mistakes (paint it the WRONG color) because the layers that follow are always much more interesting because of the way they interact with the layers underneath. So, hopefully it will all work out in the end!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Painting Update

Well it's been nearly impossible to work in my studio lately...Jack has given up his afternoon nap and that means no studio time for me! But I have been thinking a lot about this painting. (I posted the start a couple days ago) I knew I wanted to take it in a more abstract direction, so I started to cover everything in red, emphasizing some lines and covering others. I'm not crazy about the hair right now, but Jack had filled up the little blue pool in the backyard and had proceeded to remove all his clothes and was running around naked. I guess I'll have to finish this later...

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Pumpkin Time

Every year, I think I get some of my favorite shots of the kids during pumpkin picking! Here's this year's photos (with grandma and grandpa) and some of my favorites from year's past!

New Painting

Had a wonderful time painting from the live model Wednesday night...I brought a 20 x 24 canvas and started with doing all of the gesture drawings in watercolor pencil on the canvas...then I washed it all away and gave myself a very cool backgound to start the long pose on. There's nothing more intimidationg (and exciting I guess) than a plain white canvas waiting for that first mark!
Of course I forgot my camera, so I didn't get any shots of the process...but this is how it looks after about 2 hours of painting with acrylics.
I think I'll end up abstracting it a bit more...I have to play around with it in my studio (it is currently upside-down on my easel!) I will keep you posted if and when I make progress!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Year in Review

I was gently reminded by a fellow artist today that I should update my list of recent shows! I am actually pretty happy looking at this list of what I have participated in in the last year...

Recent Solo and Group Exhibitions from 2008
"Painting Processes:a comparison of artwork by students and friends of Shane McDonald Studios"
Harris Art Center, Calhoun, GA
April 21 - June 13, 2008
Curated by Shane McDonald

Solo Exhibit - "Drawn from the Live Model" by Kristina Laurendi Havens
Presensted by Ann Litrell Art
Main Street, Woodstock, GA
June 2008

"Metro Montage"
A Juried Exhibition
Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, GA
July 12 - September 13, 2008
Juried by Dale Clifford and Susan Gunn

"Art From the Heart"
A Fine Art Portrait Exhibition of Geargia's Fallen Heroes
Presented by the Atlanta Fine Arts League, Inc.
A Traveling Exhibition including
National Museum of Patriotism September 8 - Nov 14 2007
James Floyd State Building & the National Head Quarters for Coca Cola Inc.
GA State Capitol Rotunda
Ceremony with Governor Sonny Perdue and Senator John Douglas
January 24th 2008
ART Station Stone MountainStone Mountain, GA
July 19 2008
(shown are pictures from the Floyd State Building and the Capitol portrait is on the far left in each photo)

"Simply Drawn"
National Juried Exhibition presented by the Altlanta Fine Arts League
Art Station Big Shanty, Kennesaw GA
September 6-25, 2008

"Southern Appalachian Artist Guild's First National Juried Exhibition"
Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association
Juried by Alan FlattmanBlue Ridge, GA
October 17 - November 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Figure Drawing Techniques...Collaborate!

I had SO much fun at the figure drawing session at Shane's studio last night! I have a pile of my son Jack's paintings in my studio - well, let me re-phrase that - JACK'S studio (where he kindly lets me work every now and then) and of course I can't throw any of them away. So when I was packing up supplies for class last night I grabbed two paintings Jack did on mat board and thought they'd make great backgrounds for some figure drawings!

Well - here they are! I love them! Jack - the three year old whirling dervish that he is - has so much fun with chalk and paint. He just creates amazing line and composition - I just sit back and wait for him to say "more paint, please!" These may be some of my favorite pieces of all time.

I can't wait until we collaborate again!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Next Inspiration

There are stretches of time in every family when the only times you all gather together are for Weddings or Funerals...luckily the last occassion my family got together for was my cousin Dan's wedding in Colorado. My mom brought a bunch of old photo's from her parent's house, and I just fell in love with this handful...I am prepping my studio and a new surface to paint the one in the upper left of my grandmother holding my mother's's marked "Easter of 1955". I love the clothes, the wind catching her dress...even the look of the tree and the house in the background!
The one of my mom, her brothers, and her dad on the front porch just makes me hear banjos in the background...the pose of my mom on the front porch makes me laugh! (you can click the image to see it larger)
I love seeing old's too bad we only get to know our parents as adults!