It's that time of year once again: tomato painting season! It gives me a chance to experiment and have a little fun coming up with new ideas after all the previous tomato paintings I've done. This year my works are an eclectic batch and I am ok with that! I've been putting more figures in my paintings, so there is one of a child harvesting the ripening crop. The basketful of color was inspired by a visit to the farmers' market and also by a very teal-painted vintage frame I've been saving for something just like this. For the sliced tomato, I set up a still life of a tomato sliced and resting on a board. After a few days the still life was sagging and runny and basically inedible, so it did not make it into the salad. I do love the simplicity of the composition. I may do more still life paintings in this style in the future.
These are all heading to East Nashville to be hung in the annual Tomato Festival Art Show August 13 & 14. As in previous years, they may continue the art show online. Here is all 3 paintings in their fun frames:
Happy Summer, y'all ☀️ Thanks for reading my blog!
Last month's Painting to Preserve Art Show was a wonderful success! The venue at Montgomery Bell Academy was stellar and a beautiful backdrop to nearly 500 professional paintings. If you did not have a chance to visit and view that weekend, you are in luck: the art show and sale is now available online until the end of July.
The Chestnut Group Online event continues here through Saturday July 31, 2021
Painting to Preserve ART SHOW & SALE celebrates The Chestnut Group’s 20-year artistic journey across middle Tennessee’s natural landscapes and historical properties. Our Chestnut members have served as active fundraisers and proud partners to more than 25 local organizations and institutions dedicated to the common goals of Conservation, Education, and Community. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the artist, the mission of The Chestnut Group and the student financial aid fund of MBA, who welcomed us into their gallery space for our live event in June. Please enjoy these plein air paintings of middle Tennessee, including some of the MBA campus.
You can view the artwork by clicking on this link and selecting "Catalog" from the menu on the new page. You can also choose to see individual artist works from the "All products" dropdown menu on the Products page. Here are my offerings (wink wink)
Thank you, as always, for reading my blog!
Painting to Preserve Art Show and Sale
The Chestnut Group Plein Air Painters are presenting a massive Art Show & Sale this weekend at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville with 500 paintings of beautiful Tennessee by 70 different member artists. These are my 10 contributions to this show and their locations in Middle Tennessee:
I hope you can make it to the show!
(more good news: there are plans for an online exhibit & sale after the live show closes)
In no particular order, here are the big projects that I've been working on during the last few months. Do I have specialized education in portraiture? Nope. Am I well-versed in the complexities of skin tones? Nope again. Was I slightly terrified throughout each painting? Absolutely! Am I extremely grateful to my customers and patrons? Unquestionably YES!!
The first thing I learned is that there is SO MUCH to learn when it comes to painting a face. I never planned on having this skill, but I think I am now a little hooked on it and want to improve my knowledge base and understanding. My first love will probably always be making paintings of "charmed moments"...my best title for whatever I happen upon that delights my heart (click HERE to see some)...but I have treasured doing these commissions of much-loved children. Many thanks to my clients!!
If you are interested in discussing a commissioned painting, please contact me here: wendyervin.com/contact or wendyervin.com/comission and I will be happy to chat with you.
Spring is popping in Middle Tennessee and my garden has been glorious! I thought I would take a break from writing about painting and make this post entirely about my Spring florals. Here goes....
I hope your Spring is as flowery as mine is! What hope is offered in the eruption of color and texture from long dormant branches and the bleak brown earth. May we always be astonished.
Even when I am on vacation I am itching to paint. A funny thing happens to me if I go more than a few days without putting a brush to canvas...I start dreaming about babies! Once I'm painting again, the dreams cease. (side story: these dreams were nightly in the year or two before I started art lessons and stopped once I began painting regularly. Feel free to analyze that 😊)
This trip I decided to try a new-to-me product that would make traveling with oil paint a bit easier. These are called water-miscible oils; true oil pigments that contain a modified oil binder that can be thinned with water rather than solvent. Normally I used only small amounts of Gamblin Gamsol odorless mineral spirits for the initial wash of paint onto the canvas and for cleaning brushes. I've tried going without it, but struggled with sticky paint and messy cleanup. My routine when traveling, since airlines do not allow flammable materials on planes, has been to hit up an art store upon arrival and buying a small bottle of mineral spirits, which can be a hassle in a foreign country. Many artists have switched to alternatives, such as watercolor, acrylic, gauche, and water-miscible oils. After much research I decided to try the latter and read that Royal Talens Cobra paints were well liked for their buttery consistency. I would agree now that I've used them! They were so easy to work with and cleaning was a breeze...warm water and dish soap. They have very rich chroma and are so juicy that medium (to increase fluidity) was not needed. The best part was that I could use a bit of water to wash on a thin first layer of paint; an important step in the "lean to fat" oil ratio rule.
I would love to say that I painted plein air, but it wasn't in the cards for me this trip. What I did was use photos and color notes to inform the paintings I created in our condo. There was a perfect little nook for me to set up easel and palette and have my fun without being a nuisance. And, yes, my dreams of babies stopped when my painting resumed!
Thanks for reading my blog!!
The past several weeks have been quite busy with exhibit deadlines and commissioned paintings, so it's been a fun change of pace to suddenly be inspired to update my studio with a new look and feel. I don't have "before" photos, but just imagine carpet remnants on the floor, rickety folding table for my palette, paint tubes under the easel, and not much space to move around in. (Being smallish and having good balance was required)
The renovation started with my dear husband offering to put the tv up on a swivel wall mount. I hadn't really thought it necessary, but once it was up I realized that now i didn't need a large cedar chest it had been sitting on in that corner of the room. That's when the rearranging began and the studio took on a whole new feel.
Taborets are specialized cabinets for serious artists, often at serious prices. Pinterest led me to some great DIY versions and some alternative substitutions, typically tool carts. One day I saw an ad for a movable computer cart, dove down that rabbit trail and found a great one with swivel wheels, 2 shelves, and a drawer for a fantastic price. Now I had a way to keep the brushes and paint tubes organized and a convenient surface for my glass palette to rest on.
The crowning touch was taking out the messy pieces of carpet protecting the floor from those disastrous moments when the brush flips out of my fingers, or the turp container sloshes, or (worst of all) the painting takes a nose dive off the easel. I had to replace those old chunks of carpet with something sturdier than the waterproof cloth canvas protector... Aha! Spring merchandise showing up at the retail stores presented me with outdoor patio rugs, a perfect solution.
Somehow the simple removal of a couple things and the rearranging of a couple more has made the room feel so much more open and spacious...and tidy! Even though there is snow falling outside my window, it feels like Spring cleaning has already begun!
You can see a video of the transformed studio on my Instagram page here. Thanks for reading my blog!!
Recess is important! Taking time to play and discover can open new doors of imagination, boldness, and refreshment in all the other things we do. Being a grownup does not exempt us from the benefits of playtime. After an intense 2 weeks of full time painting for the 6x6" Squared show @ Onlinejuriedshows.com I was ready to switch directions and try something new.
It's been on my mind for awhile to do something with Celtic crosses. I wasn't sure what I wanted to create exactly, but I knew it had to be shiny. So I started playing with design ideas and colors and shiny possibilities and came up with 6 little paintings. Initially, I laid in acrylic paint thinking it would dry quickly and allow for multiple layers of paint. That's how I discovered I really dislike painting with acrylics. The consistency wasn't the yummy, buttery feel of oils and was difficult to apply to the tiny spaces of the Celtic designs. I switched back to oils and then had to contend with the slow drying time. (note: oils can be applied over acrylic paint, but acrylic cannot be applied over oil paint...it will slide right off)
Once I had the oil colors applied the way I liked, I went for the shiny element. YouTube is very useful for learning new things and that's how I learned to apply gold leaf. It is surprisingly simple: carefully apply the recommended glue on the areas you want the gold to be, let it sit for half an hour, then place the gold leaf onto the glue. I used flakes in this project because the spaces were very tiny. It was a bit of a messy step, but kind of magical! Sweeping away the excess gold with a soft brush and polishing them a bit, the crosses now looked very sweet and shiny. Of course, even trying to be careful, there are now flakes of gold here and there in my studio. Being shiny.
I made these just for the fun of it and gave them all away. Maybe I will make some more next recess :) Thanks for reading my blog!!
I am so happy to share that all 5 of my submitted paintings were accepted into the 11th Annual 6" Squared Exhibition and Sale! This year the sale is ON-LINE and there are over 400 paintings to choose from. Do consider buying a painting from one (or more) of the artists here. If any of my paintings speak to you, I would be honored if you purchased one of mine. Purchases are made through the OnlineGalleryShows.com and shipping is FREE!!
I believe that I've mentioned a few times my deficit in drawing skills and the need to get some help with it. Eager to learn painting, I kinda skipped that important foundation. Oopsie.
The problem in my early artsy days was three-fold: I didn't want to take the time, I lacked the discipline, and I didn't like my results. Under heavy conviction, I finally took the steps needed to do a drawing class. My instructor, Jim Himsworth, teaches at Warehouse 521 Art Studio in Nashville and is an excellent artist and a patiently kind teacher. He quickly showed me various ways to assess lines and angles and he reminded me to see shapes, rather than "things."
I can't help feeling a bit dyslexic when it comes to seeing angles...mine are always just a bit too slanted. Jim suggests mentally overlaying a clock face and judging what time that angle is tilting towards. I need more practice (while I blame astigmatism for my wonky angles haha!)
Figurative painting has begun to appeal to me, so I mainly focused on the photos I've stored my inspiration folder. Lines, angles, ratios, and relationships are unforgiving in portraiture and figurative art. Let me tell you, my brain was exhausted after 3 hours of charcoal sketching, wiping, trying again. Also, linear perspective can be a challenge...again with the wonky lines problem.
Having a Beginner's Mindset opens so many opportunities for experiences and growth! Simply being curious instead of defensive is a great start. Add "maybe" and "why not?" to your vocabulary and see what you learn and how you make other people feel. On one particularly discouraging day in drawing class, I found myself feeling defensive and withdrawing from instruction. I thought I should have improved faster; I had expectations of myself that I had to confront with compassion and patience and it helped to remind myself that growth takes time and perseverance. I had to go back to "maybe"...maybe I'll do a little better next try, maybe it'll take practice to train my eyes to see...just doing that simple retracing of attitude was enough to refresh my spirit and find a bit more courage.
There is a kind of freedom in being open, listening, breathing, waiting, and welcoming new ideas, people, and experiences in. It's glorious that we have that choice!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...