Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Class Space

This summer I am offering classes through the City of Los Altos for the first time. There was some confusion with the registration process and people were told that the classes were full. There is still room in both classes - particularly in the afternoon class - and I would appreciate everyone passing the word around. Register at Thanks.

Lesson 42 Still Life on Reflective Surfaces

This lesson was inspired by paintings of Charles LeClair, particularly ones he included in his book "Color in Contemporary Painting". LeClair used plexiglass and other reflective surfaces to create variations of an image and to bounce color around a composition. In class we set up small still life arrangements on plexiglass or shiny plastic sheets and also experimented with propping up these reflective surfaces vertically behind the still life.

Sheauli set up her objects on a sheet of blue plexi on a brown table. Her reflections show the fruit's color tinged with blue.

Rita's yellow flowers are reflected on the shiny plastic sheet below and also on the glass vase behind.

Emily used the blue plexiglass and reflections to create a striking arrangement of predominately horizontal and vertical shapes.

Brian used clear plexiglass and plastic both under and behind his setup to create a pleasing play of blue and orange shapes.

Carrie added shiny metal to the challenge. She has reflections on the tray and bowl as well as under and behind these objects.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Class

I was not teaching this week - instead I was participating in the Los Altos Rotary Fine Art in the Park. It was a HOT weekend but the Rotary folks who run the show are so well organized and they treat the artists so well that it was an enjoyable weekend.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lesson 41 Self Portraits

Every so often we review the placement of features on a face. The easiest situation to deal with is a face in straight front view. After determining the general size of the skull on the page, the oval is divided into quarters with the horizontal mid-line representing the eye line. An eye width is roughly one quarter of the eye line and there is approximately an eye width between the eyes. Once the eyes are located other features are placed using eyes as reference. We went through the guidelines for placing features step by step checking these against our own faces using a mirror.

Here I am checking my face with Dan working in the background. Everyone complains about having to draw themselves but we came up with some great paintings in the short class session. Here are examples by Emily, Selma, Nancy and Kazuyo.

Summer Class Listing

The following is the listing for my summer watercolor class offered through the City of Los Altos. Participants can start registering Friday, May 15th. They can register on the phone 650.947.2790, in person at the community center or online at

Watercolor Explorations

Students will experiment with various watercolor techniques, as well as look at problems of color and design in painting landscapes, still life and the human figure.
Equipment Note: Bring basic watercolor supplies to the first day of class.
Hillview Rm 13 Zittin
18+yrs Fri 6/19-8/14* 9am-12pm
18+yrs Fri 6/19-8/14* 12:30-3:30pm
Residents $70 All Others $82
*No class 7/3, 7/17

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lesson 40 Compositional Formats

The object of this lesson was to take one park or garden scene and to arrange the components into a variety of compositional formats. We began with pencil sketches making a scene into a cruciform, radial or s-curve design. Later we experimented with high or low horizons, cantilever or circular arrangements.

Jesslyn experimented with a high horizon in a vertical format. She pushed her subject matter to the top and let the bottom portion of the painting be a simple large shape.

Catalina also pushed her interesting shapes into the upper area and created a zig-zag path through the lower portion.

Bev chose a radial format with fields and fences leading to the house. Later she added the red roof to the second building which acts as a secondary interest area and balances the design.

Susanne used foliage edges to create a circular pathway framing an area of interest.