Archive for February, 2013

Degas' Millinery Shop

Degas’ Millinery Shop

A new show opened yesterday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  I WANT TO GO!  Of course, I do.  🙂  It takes a look at the role of fashion in the work of the impressionist painters.  It should be fascinating as that work takes place in the mid to late 1800’s when fashion was amazing.  One of my favorite Degas paintings,  “The Millinery Shop” is in the show.  Hats like these are glorious.   The wonderful thing about these special exhibits is that some wonderful curator has pulled together paintings from wonderful museums all over the world and put them in one place for us to see.  This show features works from The Art Institute of Chicago, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, The Museum Folkwang in Essen and several others.  Some of these paintings have never traveled to the United States.  That is the ingenious things about these shows.  And we get to see it. Did I mention I WANT TO GO!  🙂  You can see more about the show by clicking here.

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SAMSUNGLast week when I wrote about of abstract painting in class (Check it out here.) there was one student who I did not picture and I sure didn’t want to leave her out.  Janice works mainly from family photographs and she does a terrific job.  Currently she is working on a painting of her dad with his grandson.  As you can see here it is an adorable composition.  Keep up the great work Janice!

And for those of  you who are curious, you can see that everyone works on a painting of their choice in class.  Not only will you develop your painting skills but you will have a painting of your choosing.  Come join us.  Contact kwalker@doubledogdesigns.com for information or to sign up.

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Candy Pot boiling




 Last weekend as I was cleaning out a cabinet I came across a bottle of homemade cane syrup that I had received for Christmas.  It made me think of the old-time candy that Big Mama used to make for us.  So I gave it a try.


Big Mama’s Cane Syrup Hard Candy


 2 cups Georgia cane syrup


2 cups light corn syrup


1 tablespoon vinegar


2 tablespoon butter


Candy cooling


 Cook ingredients over medium high heat to a hard crack stage.  (Cook to hard boil stage for chewy candy). Pour into buttered pan to cool.  When cool enough to handle pull until light color.  Cut with scissors into small pieces.

Cut and Ready to Eat

Cut and Ready to Eat

This candy has a distinct taste.  It makes a nice hard candy but you can also cook it a little less time and then when it gets cool enough to handle you can pull it into a nice taffy candy.  You do have to work with it pretty hot to get it to work so be prepared for your hands to hurt a little.  But it’s worth it.  Enjoy.

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Luncheon of the Boating Party, Renoir

Renoir’s, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-81, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Happy Birthday Renoir!  He was a French painter and pioneer in the Impressionist painting style and is best known for his painting of feminine beauty and nudes.  One of his most famous paintings, Luncheon of the Boating Party, painted in 1880-81, can be seen at The Phillips Collection in Washington DC.  I can recall the first time I saw the painting in person there.  I had seen prints of this amazing painting all my life but when you walk into the gallery and see it hanging it is an overwhelming experience.  It’s very large, for one thing, and the colors are just gorgeous and no matter how many reproductions you see of it you have to see it in person to truly appreciate its beauty.

Renoir's, The Large Bathers, 1887, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Renoir’s, The Large Bathers, 1887, Philadelphia Museum of Art

 artist-pierre-auguste-renoir-painting-with-brush-tied-to-his-arthritic-hand-last-days-of-his-lifeThe last twenty years of his life he experienced severe arthritis and often had his brushes strapped to his hand so he could continue to paint.

 He was a prolific artist painting several thousand paintings, many that featured the  warm sensuality of  style he made famous.  Most people recognize his work as it is one of the most well-known and frequently reproduced works in the history of art. The single largest collection of his works—181 paintings in all—is at the Barnes Foundation in Philly.  Read more about it here.

Happy Birthday Renoir.  We do so appreciate the beauty you have brought to us!

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Winslow Homer's "Breezing Up", 1876, National Gallery of Art

Winslow Homer’s “Breezing Up”, 1876, National Gallery of Art

 Born on February 24, 1836 in Boston, Massachusetts, Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter best known for his marine paintings.  His mother was an amateur watercolor painter and was his first teacher.  He was an average student but always showed an aptitude for art and upon graduating from high school his father helped him get a job with a lithographer as an apprentice.  He spent twenty years doing illustrations for Harper’s Weekly and other local publications before opening a studio.

One of his most well know paintings, Breezing Up, depicts a father and three boys out for a sail.  In 1962 it was released as a commemorative stamp honoring Homer. 

Boys in a Pasture, 1874, Winslow Homer, Boston Museum of Fine Art

Boys in a Pasture, 1874, Winslow Homer, Boston Museum of Fine Art

In 2010, the Post Office issued another stamp as part of their American Treasure series.  It was the Boys in a Pasture from 1874.  I was lucky enough to have seen it in Boston last year at the MFA.  Considered one of the finest American painters of the 19th Century he died in September 1910 at the age of 74.  Today we wish Winslow Homer a happy birthday and remember his art with admiration.

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value scale multi colorOne of the first things I talk about in my art classes (and then I harp on about it continually) is that it is so important to use a variety of values in your paintings.  Most new painters tend to work in the middle values.  In other words, if you  look at a value scale of 1 -10 (light to dark) most people paint in the range of 4 thru 7.  And if the blues, yellows, greens, reds, etc. that you use are all in that middle range then your painting will appear flat.  You MUST get some really light and really dark values into each painting for it to be successful.  And the way to do this is to practice. 

I was reading through a Walter Foster Publication called The Daily Book of Art and found an interesting quote.  Joseph Stoddard said that his friend and artist Marilyn Simandle told him that “color gets all the credit, but value does all the work”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  🙂

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SAMSUNGAt the Wednesday morning Adult Art Class Kathy came in with this large canvas and an idea for a large representational abstract.  She hasn’t tried abstract before so we all decided to try something different.


The other Cathy in the class also painted a representational piece with a floral design.


My painting was a non-representational abstract painting.  It reminds me of Easter so I decided to call it that.  Easter is an acrylic on canvas and measures 18″x24″.    While everyone thinks that abstract is easy and anyone can do it, to be successful it requires some thought and planning.

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