This past August I finally finished a very personal family portrait of my father and son which turned out to be a true labor of love, begun 3 years ago. My patient father simply waited until I was able to work on it, a little at a time, in between my portrait commissions.
My father is a passionate gardener and the background of this painting is my father’s very own garden depicting his collection of azaleas, deciduous azaleas and rhododendrons. It is a fitting tribute to him and to the loving relationship he shares with my son. My favorite part being the tender gesture of their hands touching each other.
WIP. 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.
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.
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.
I will be giving a little talk today on my Canoness copy from the National Gallery of Art. Specifically who was the Canoness, the painter Nicolas Largilliere (shown above) and my experience of copying at the NGA. I hope you can come join me!
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.]
I’ve had the privilege over the past 3 years of teaching painting and drawing to students ranging from ages 8 to 60, out of my Loudoun Co. VA studio.
My classes begin with instruction in drawing from life utilizing graphite and charcoal and then progress along with the individual’s growth into pastels and color theory. After the student has achieved a good foundation in drawing, he or she begins painting in watercolor, then ultimately in acrylics. Youths 16+ years of age and adults have the option of learning oils in a private class setting.
Classes are on-going and consist of 1.5 hours of weekly instruction. Tuition for group youth classes is $68 per month. Private classes for all ages are $50 an hour.
I currently have several youth classes with some spots available on the following days and times:
There are few things in life as artistically satisfying for me than to have the opportunity to create an heirloom quality portrait for a client. Perhaps it is the exhilaration of observing the client’s emotional reaction to the work that I find so rewarding. But I can’t help but feel that this is the way that I can best share my “gift” with others–by helping people honor and immortalize those they hold so dear.
I can create a pastel drawing or oil painting of your loved one or colleague starting at various price points. Below is an outline of my typical commission process:
Personal Consultation: Initial discussion to identify scope of work and client objectives.
Subject Observation: Meeting with subject (portrait sitter) to observe & better understand the personality and mannerisms of the individual. If possible, I will sketch and make initial studies from life.
Photo-shoot Preparation: Photo-shoot location & date identified along with attire and and other details.
Photo-shoot and Review: Photos are taken (for use as painting references), processed and reviewed with the client to identify candidates for the final painted portrait.
Painting/Delivery: Typically a year once the painting process begins depending upon the complexity and scope of the work. Note: A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking.
Please contact me directly for my 2017 Commission Prices. Suzanne@lagoarthurstudio.com.
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!