What’s on my easel: “Abuelo & Alexander”

WIP_AbueloandAlexanderWIP. I am almost at the finishing line of this portrait of my Dad and son. Yay! The reference here was taken 2-3 years ago. I started it and then had to put it on hold for a while due to commissions.

There will still be some refinement done to the figures and background before I am done. The next time you see this painting will be when it is finished and I have had my photographer take the official picture of it. I will blog about the creation of the painting then. For now, please ignore the glare in this cell pic.

 

The Making of “Mortui Spinus Tristis”

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“Mortui Spinus Tristis”. Oil on canvas. 8 x 10. Artist, Suzanne Lago Arthur. 2015.

I thought it would be fun to show some process shots of one of my most recent paintings. I found this sweet little goldfinch one day after she flew into my window. Once I got over the sadness of the whole thing, which took about 30 seconds, I ran into the house to get a freezer bag because I knew she would be the subject of a painting one day. Fast forward about a year, I found myself recently in search of a still life subject to paint under artificial light because it had been raining day after day and the light was horrible for the projects I currently had up on my easel.

So I pulled Franken Goldfinch out of the deep freezer and began placing her on objects in my studio. From a previous experience with a Franken Rooster, I know that frozen birds tend to thaw out really quickly under hot artificial light. So my strategy was to paint the bird alla prima (in one session) which took about two hours from start to finish. This includes redrawing the initial under drawing a couple of times until I had the composition just right to line up with the golden ratio.

The next day I began working on the plate. The following day I finished the Blue Willow design. I did the painting in about 8 hours spread out over a couple of days which I was able to accomplish because I put my covered palette, my painting and my subject back in the freezer in between sessions. I simplified the Blue Willow pattern considerably as I was only interested in getting the “feel” of it. However in future attempts at blue & white pottery, I know I will want to approach the design more abstractly.

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Process shots showing the set up and painting in a couple of stages.

The title of this painting means “The death of the Goldfinch” in Latin. Spinus Tristis is the Latin name for the American Goldfinch. Coincidentally, “Tristis” means sorrowful in Latin. It adds to the significance of the painting which for me is an homage to a delicate and beautiful life.

Caroline & Annika

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“Caroline and Annika”. Oil on canvas. 30″ x 40″. Artist, Suzanne Lago Arthur.

I am happy to share with you my last painting of 2014, a double portrait commission that I have spent most of this past year working on. These two beautiful sisters, separated by 10 years in age, were an absolute pleasure to paint.

[Unfortunately due to being sick right before the commission was due, I did not get it professionally photographed. Please excuse the quality of my cell phone pictures for now.]

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Detail of Caroline.

 

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Detail of Annika.

 

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Detail of Annika’s hands and dress.

 

 

Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (WLAST)

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I will be participating again in the WLAST tour as a guest artist at Franklin Park Arts Center, stop # 32 in Round Hill, VA this weekend, June 21 & 22 from 10 AM – 5 PM. The paintings above, and many more including examples of my portraiture will be on display and for sale. I will also be conducting paintings demonstrations through out the weekend. Consider making a day of it by visiting the studios of more than 60 artists in Western Loudoun Co. You will see painters, potters, print makers, sculptors, jewelers, fabric artists,  photographers and so much more! There will be something to suit everyone’s taste & interest. I hope to see you there!

Mastering Work Flow: Black Boards

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Here’s a little peak inside my studio.  I am currently working hard at getting a body of work together for the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (WLAST) which is scheduled for June 21 & 22. At the same time I have a double portrait commission half way done. I need to work on all my projects at the same time and I need an easy, daily reminder of where I am in each of those projects. I grabbed this low tech Mastering Work Flow technique from my bestie, Dana Aldis a couple of years ago and I find it really helpful to keep one on task while avoiding pulling out all of your hair.

At a glance I can see what the project is and whether or not it is complete (check mark = done, “o”= open). I could take this one step further and diagram out how long I think I have left on each project and then schedule my day accordingly. And I might just do that as I get closer to my deadlines.

Or I could just simply ignore the white elephant in the room…

What’s On My Easel

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This sweet little girl is part of a double portrait commission I am currently working on. You can’t really tell from this picture, but I am using a lot more paint here and aiming for more expressive brush strokes all around. And another new approach for me is the palette I am using, it is basically the Zorn palette with three additional colors (Cad red, Cad yellow light, Yellow ocher, Black, White, Prussian blue and a color similar to Magenta).