Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Story of Chef Anna

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Sneak Peek at the Paintings inspried by the 2013 Storyteller Experience

I don't think I have ever been as inspired as I am right now to create a group of paintings!  I returned from Italy filled with joy, excitement, appreciation, and about 1500 photos all deserving of being translated into Paint.

So my idea for the first round of paintings is to try and capture 6 of the people who made the trip so special for our group.  There was Anna, the fabulous chef who cooked for us every day at the Casale...

(detail of Anna at the sink)

And Giacomo, the DaVinci Wine ambassador who answered every question, and shared so much of his knowledge of wine with our group.  His fabulous smile and warm spirit was so wonderful!


One of the growers, who lives on a plot of land that can only be described as Heaven on Earth



And the hands of the gardener who taught us how to harvest, and also everything that needs to be considered with every cut, every trim.  I just noticed all the men are wearing blue shirts...

Two more paintings to get started this week - probably another one of the fabulous growers, and one of the vintners of DaVinci.  I'll keep you posted!

The final paintings will be revealed by the DaVinci wine company in November.  In the meantime, I hope you come by and visit the studio in November and see them in person!  

Friday Night Live
November 1st 6-9 PM

Woodstock Art and Wine Festival
12-5 Saturday November 2nd
1-5 Sunday November 3rd

Art Mob Studio Tour
Friday November 15th 6-9 PM
Saturday November 16th 12-5
Sunday November 17th 12-5

Friday, October 18, 2013

The 2013 DaVinci Storytellers' Home Away from Home

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Fellow 2013 DaVinci Wine Storytellers...

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Friday, September 27, 2013

A special going away present

The last couple of days have been very busy, with final errands, a little bit more baking (stocking the freezer with home made bread for the kids!) a last night of figure drawing group, and lots - and I mean LOTS -  of laundry!

One project that finally got finished up was something special for my daughter, Arianna.  Arianna has one very strict rule whenever I am about to leave the house or right befor she goes to bed: Kiss and Hug. Kiss and Hug is very important.  We must kiss and hug, even if I am just running to the grocery store.

Ever since Arianna found out about me traveling to Italy, she has been asking for extra Kiss and Hugs to save for when I'm gone.  I knew I would have to do something to appease her need for Kiss and Hug for ten days.

A while back, Arianna came home from school with this adorable drawing of a frog.  Super colorful, lots of character.  I had seen something on Pinterest where an artist took a child's drawing and transformed it into a three dimensional stuffed animal.

So that's what I decided to do.  Create a stuffed frog that would be named Kiss and Hug - filled with all the extra kisses and hugs she will need while I am gone.

This was fun to shop for - the corful fabrics for the legs, Pom poms for the toes and fingers, cloth buttons for the belly.  It was harder than I thought to put it all together, but I was pretty happy with it.

I just gave it to Arianna tonight (don't worry - Jack got something too!) and she knew right away where she had seen this frog before.

Hopefully the time will pass quickly and her new friend will remind her that mom loves her, even from far away.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Two Portraits in Two Juried Exhibitions

I'm very pleased to be part of two wonderful juried exhibitions this fall.  The first is the Fall Exhibition of the Atlanta Portrait Society.   Juried by award winning portrait artist Jamie Lee McMahan, the portraits will be on display at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art through December 16th.  One of my favorite portraits, my daughter Arianna holding a baby bird, was selected.

This was based on a photo just taken this past summer.   A baby bird was on the grass, and my neighbor's little girl picked up up while playing at our house.  Ari took a turn as well.  They were fascinated by this sweet creature, new baby feathers, but not yet able to fly.  After a short while, I encouraged the girls to put the bird back in the grass, so mama bird could come back.

Well - mama bird came back, and she was angry!  Hopping up and down in front of baby bird, she squawked and chirped, obviously angry at the baby for taking a break from flying lessons.  The baby bobbed up and down a bit - trying to take flight - but no luck.

Gently, I lifted the baby bird up again and placed it on a low tree branch  A few moments later mamma bird returned, and more hopping and chirping and high pitched conversation ensued between the two birds.  I didn't stay to see the final scene, but I'm guessing the baby never left another flying lesson before he was properly dismissed.

Click for another great Ari-bird story....

I also shipped the portrait of Mona in the Turquoise Scarf to the Cumberland Society of Painters National Juried Exhibition, being held at Richland Fine Art in Nashville Tennessee.  I am honored to be among 100 beautiful paintings selected by juror Peggy Kroll Roberts. 

I will miss both openings and award ceremonies while I am in Italy, but I am hoping they are well attended and I wish all of the artists the best of luck!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm a 2013 DaVinci Storyteller!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Drawings for Sale

Every few months I look around my studio and realize I have been spending WAY too much time drawing and painting and not nearly enough time selling my work.  The selling part is a necessary part of the art else can I afford to buy guacamole at the taqueria across the street from my studio if I don't sell my work?!?  (The accompanying margarita that makes it's way into the rotation once a week ain't going to pay for itself, either!)

So I am finally finding myself catching up!  I have recently listed a bunch of charcoal drawings in my Etsy shop. my avocado addiction...

View all of my original drawings on sale on Etsy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Painting with Casey Baugh

Last week was the third week that I got to watch and learn from modern master Casey Baugh.  And I am still learning from this man!  He did some awesome demos, showing off some new techniques, and even using different brushes than the last time we worked together.  I posted some of the highlights on my Studio 81 Facebook Page.

So here are a few of the paintings I did in between adjusting spotlights, fetching fabric, filling jars of thinner, changing radio stations, stocking water bottles, and helping out in any way I could :)

I'm most pleased with the top two - I actually really enjoyed the back view on top.  She held the pose beautifully, including the draped hands, and the light on her shoulder was very subtle. The palette in the second one was minimal, and therefor the focus was easily kept on her face.  The bottom two are a little too saturated, and forced.  I don't think I was relaxed!!! But good practice none the less :)  I'm already looking forward to Casey's next class in June 2014.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Figure Drawing Master Class with Michael Mentler

I am THRILLED to announce that "The Bone Doctor", Master Draftsman Michael Mentler will be coming to Studio 81 in December 2013.

Mr. Mentler is a prolific and gifted artist and a force as a teacher.  I feel like I could write ten paragraphs on why I think his work is so fabulous...but for now I will sum up why I think his work is so IMPORTANT -

Artists need an understanding of geometry and anatomy in order to take their work to the next level.

That's it.  I really believe that, and Mr. Mentler embraces both of those vital elements in his work.

This class WILL fill quickly!  Register via Michael Mentler's website - The Society of Figurative Arts -

(The Figure in Dry Media)
December 2nd - 6th 2013
Location: Studio 81:Portrait and Fine art by Kristina Laurendi Havens
8594 Main Street, Woodstock 30188 
(2nd floor)
10-5 Monday - Friday

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Vanilla Banana Muffins

Yes...this is an Art blog.  But I also have a family.  And I also bake.  And I love recipes.  And I love good food.  And I love to share all of this with you :)

I have a few staple recipes that work really well for my son, Jack, who has self-control and behavior issues when he eats certain foods - the main culprits being artificial colors, preservatives, HFCS, apples juice, and dairy.  Through process of elimination, and the great feedback and guidance from the Feingold diet, I have also found that a gluten free diet really help Jack maintain a calmer attitude and more agreeable behavior.

So I LOVE recipes like this! Yummy, quick, and perfect for every meal and lunch box!

I found the original muffin recipe when searching for muffin recipes using coconut flour - one of my new favorite ingredients!

Vanilla Banana Muffins - Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Preheat oven to 400

One Mashed Banana (any size works - I like medium to large, ripe)
3 TBLS Coconut Oil (liquid form works best)
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup sugar (you could cut this back a little if you use a bigger banana)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 TBLS ground flax seed (optional)

I like to start by mashing the banana.  Then add in the coconut oil.  Mix in the three eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla.  This will look very liquid-y, but don't fret - the coconut oil absorbs a lot of liquid.  I like to sprinkle the coconut oil across the top of the mix, then dust the baking powder over the flour, then mix it all together (helps with an more even distribution of baking powder)

Makes 6-7 large muffin or 12-14 mini muffins

Bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes.


 I recommend the mini muffins - perfect size for lunchboxes and you feel less guilty when you grab one as a snack :)

My other favorite muffin recipe...gluten free dairy free Pumpkin Muffins

Only a few days left to vote! I could be a 2013 DaVinci Wine storyteller!! Thank you :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Aaron Westerberg Workshop Atlanta 2013

I am very excited to announce that Aaron Westerberg will be holding a portrait and figure painting workshop at my place, Studio 81, in Woodstock this October.  Aaron is a highly accomplished painter and has been published in numerous Art magazines.  He was on the esteemed staff at this years' Portrait Society of America Conference in Atlanta, where I had the pleasure of speaking with him in person, watching him paint an alla prima portrait, and I got a very helpful critique of my portfolio.

Aaron is a direct and engaging artist, and this will be a very full week of painting.  On Monday, Aaron will paint a portrait demo.  On Tuesday, the class will paint a portrait.  Wednesday, Aaron will demonstrate a full figure painting.  Thursday and Friday, the class will paint from the full figure.  The model fee is included in the class fee.

Class will meet every day from 10-5  Lunch will be one hour a day, and the studio is in walking distance of a dozen fabulous restaurants

 To register visit Aaron's website.  If you have any questions, please contact me.

Class is already filling up so register today! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Plein Air Painting - Grandpa's Boat

I recently made a long...long...long visit to Western New York to visit family, watch the 4th of July fireworks over the Niagara River, and - I still can't believe this - attend my 20th High School Reunion.

By the 7th day of the 13 day stay, I couldn't fight it any more - I had to hold a brush in my hand and get some paint on a canvas.   I planned for such an occasion by rolling some pieces of Claessens linen in my suitcase as well as tucking in a few of my favorite Rosemary and Co. brushes.  Luckily, my mom is also a painter so easels, paint, thinner, etc. were all found at her place.

Just to get to this point took about 45 minutes.  My parents live right across the street from the river, but the shore is a steep hill.  It required several trips to bring all of the tables, easels, chairs, paints, etc. down the slope.  Of course, as you know, every time you pass one of your children there is one of three statements they must share with you: "I'm hungry", "I'm bored", or "Jack hit me".  None of these can be ignored, so while you may have your paint and canvas and easel ALL READY TO GO, you still have to make lunch, discipline a sibling, or enlist Grandma's help and have her load all three grandchildren into a stroller and take them to the park.

So finally brush touched paint and paint touched canvas.  A quick block in.

Large and loose.  Clean colors.  

I am not good at straight lines.  I did my best to capture the stately nature of the boat, without trying to be too precise.  The wind was blowing, waves skirting along the bottom of the boat, shadows changing with every rock of the boat.  

This is about the stage where I decided to not include the blue bridge.  The boat was the focus of the painting, and I like the soft green landscape in the background.  

Great shot of my left pinky finger...

adding in a few of the rocks on the shoreline and a large driftwood.

At the very end I added my signature and a few pieces of the tall greenery.  Looking at my time stamps from the photos, this was about 90 minutes of painting.  After looking at the painting for a couple days, I saw some things I would change or "crisp" a little more - a few rocks, some deeper shadows, etc- but overall I liked the colors and brushwork.

My mom ventured down the hill with my daughter Ari to check on my progress - thanks for the pictures, mom!!  And of course, since Ari saw Mom painting...

She had to have her very own set-up in Grandma's back yard.  My nephew Joey was very impressed.

I am honored to be one of 3 visual arts finalists for a trip to Italy with DaVinci Wine and their Storyteller Experience!  You can vote for me and three other artists from various backgrounds every day until July 31st!

Thanks :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In Uniform - Newest Paintings from the Woodstock Series

Memorial Day in downtown Woodstock was absolutely wonderful.  The weather was sunny and clear, and a huge crowd gathered in the city park to honor the Veterans of the Armed Forces.  As I approached the park, I caught my first great photo of the day - a fireman bending down to hand a red hat over to a young boy.

I was pretty far away, so I kept shooting as I got closer.  I ended up combining a couple of shots to get the right pose of the fireman, the child, the firetruck, and the group of firefighters off to the right.

I was hoping to catch a good shot of the local fireman at some point - I often see them at Hot Dog Heaven, but this was a better shot - and showed a great side to their community spirit.

Later in the ceremony, I positioned myself at the back of the Veterans Memorial, where I could watch as several men in uniform came forward to lay a wreath at the base.  Again, I took multiple shots, and I combined a few elements - and left out some extra figures - to come up with this composition.

The gentleman in the middle was the eldest of the bunch, and I hesitated to add the cane, but at the advice of a friend I added it in, and that (along with the height of his waistband!) really helps to show his age.  I liked that contrast of the elder generation in the foreground and the young children in the back, doing their best salutes.  

It was a proud day to be part of the Woodstock community.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rose Paintings are Ready!

A few months ago I painted a series of delightful small rose paintings.  A variety of colors, profiles and personalities bloomed on my easel.  Well, they are all dry, varnished, and ready for new homes!

I will be listing the series - priced individually - in my Etsy shop tonight around 9:PM EST.

Buy 3 original rose paintings -  I will refund 15% of your total sale.

Buy 4 original rose  paintings -  I will refund 20% of your total sale.

Buy 5 or more original rose  paintings -  I will refund 25% of your total sale.

You must purchase all of the roses you are interested at once, and you will need an Etsy account.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Portrait of a Redhead

I'm not going to lie to you.  This painting was painful.  I started pretty enthusiastically - I mean what's not to get excited about?  A beautiful picture with great lighting of a pretty girl wearing my FAVORITE color (purple BTW) and I get to PAINT it.  Nothing wrong with that!

So I started out by working from the photo in black and white - there was so much fun color to play with I felt I needed to just look at the light and get all the proportions and composition right.

I am working on oil primed cotton (for those of you keeping track!) First wash has blues and blacks with thinner.

I had a break in between painting sessions so the black was nice and dry when I went back and blocked in some local color.  

I blocked in the darkest darks - not really trying to get the right chroma, but the correct value.  

As I worked, the areas I addressed became smaller - face, shoulder, etc.

Continued to work into the details, such as the hands and the jewelry.  While I was happy with it overall, I never really thought the length of the neck was right, and I kept going back and forth with her jawline.  

At this point I almost called it "finished" - but the look on her face wasn't quite right.  She was more pensive in the source photo, and here she looked angry.

I was very happy with the hands and the purple shirt.

But the face was just not quite right yet.

So I scraped off the face and started working on it again.  For about 12 hours.  Paint was completely scraped off several times.  I was hitting a wall, I couldn't "see" the issues anymore, there was no progress being made (this is where you feel sorry for me...go on!)

Finally, I was getting closer.  The nose is actually now where the eye on the right used to be.  The jaw is slightly turned up, tilting her head a little.  I softened the eye on the left.

I adjusted the edge of her cheekbone too many times to think about.  Finally, it was much much better.

The adjustments to her head ended up pushing the composition a little closer to the top of the page than I had originally intended, but I think it still works.  

I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on so many portraits in a row lately.  Although I never feel like I have enough time in the studio, as I look at a group of paintings I can really see where my strengths and weaknesses lie.  I'm enjoying one amazing journey in front of my easel!