Sunday, August 29, 2010

Painting Sheep, #2

Untitled Sheep (#2), 12"x12", acrylics on canvas © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Here is the second painting in the series I'm working on of sheep.

Going through all my photographs of this flock, I found photos I took of shearing. The wool from their shearing now insulates my studio walls. So it is with gratitude and appreciation for what they have done for me, and the attachments I have to, and memories I have of, these sheep, that I work on these pieces – in addition to all the usual considerations of form, composition, color....

Classes begin again on September 1st and 3rd

Our painting space in the Calistoga Art Center,
1336 Lincoln Avenue (second floor), in Calistoga

My Acrylic Painting classes begin again at the Calistoga Art Center this week, on Wednesday, September 1, from 1 to 4 PM, for the Wednesday classes, and on Friday, September 3, from 1 to 4 PM, for the Friday classes. You can register online at

The classes will run in four-week sessions. As always, I will address the needs and interests of students attending each class, in addition to teaching principles and practices of composition, design, values, color, and materials, and introducing both historical and contemporary artists.

For anyone who doesn't know how I teach, I pay particular attention to diving in and learning to ignore the critical voices in our heads that tell us what we do is wrong or bad. Our inner critics may mean well, but that kind of judgement impairs the creative process. Art happens when we send our inner critics out for coffee. Sound good? I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Painting Sheep, #1

Untitled Sheep, 12"x12", acrylics on canvas © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

This is the first in a series I'm beginning of sheep. These particular sheep were my next-door neighbors at the small ranch where I used to live. My cottage was built into part of a barn, next to their corral. My studio's back door opened into the rest of the barn, where the lambing pens stood. Not long after I moved there, lambing began, and the new mothers and their lambs were moved into the pens on the other side of my wall. Perhaps because of this, I feel a particular affection for these sheep. I have been longing to paint them since I took these photographs several years ago. Finally, it's time!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Painting the costumed model – I

Painting study (Jenny at the beach) © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Looking forward to this weekend's workshop, Painting the Costumed Model, I began pulling out painted studies I'd done in my Costumed Model drawing and painting group in Carmel, from nine to thirteen years ago.

Painting study (Big hat - looks a bit Lautrec–ian, don't you think?
It did moreso before, though. Now she looks a bit healthier.) © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Looking wasn't enough! I began working on some of them, finishing them a bit, working with the colors.... It was fun to deduce what colors I'd been using in each one. My palette was very different then – very experimentational – and included colors I haven't used in years. I didn't have the model in front of me, but that enabled me to work on each study simply as a painting.

Painting study (Dancer at rest) © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I'm enjoying returning to them after all this time, with what I have learned in the interim. It's not exactly like picking up where I left off... it's better.

Further evolution...

Morning Celebration, most recent version © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

At this stage, painting involves lots of looking, lots of sitting quietly and simply studying the painting. For me, the act of painting is like conversing. Now I sit and wait for the painting to talk to me. The changes come more subtly now, but each change takes the painting closer and closer to where it wants to be. It has to tell me, and I have to listen.

Morning Celebration, with a yellow sky © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I'm now making most of the changes in the upper part of the painting. Can you detect the changes from this one, above, to the more recent stage at the top? It may be too hard to tell, on the web.

Just above, I had taken the sky to yellow, from cobalt teal (a lovely light turquoise blue; mixed with white, it makes a robin's egg blue) over other layers of colors. It felt a little too similar to the meadow, so the next stage was to bring more of the cobalt teal back into the sky (which you can see at the top). I think it's wanting a bit more of the cobalt teal, but the presence of the yellow was much needed. Each layer influences the layers over it. I probably have somewhere between ten and twenty layers of color in the sky.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Continued Evolution of a Painting

Morning Celebration, latest phase © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Sometimes these come sloooowwly.... Here is Morning Celebration, in its latest stage. The photo here looks a little darker than the actual painting.

It's spent a long time in its "green goo" phase – the in-between-ness of a creative work, where a painting is on its way, but hasn't yet arrived. That's the most challenging part of a painting, for me. It's also the time when I'm most likely to set something aside for as long as I need to – sometimes months, sometimes years– until I finally know what it needs next.

Now this one feels as though it is beginning to find its own magic. Believe me, though, there's still plenty to do....