Who is your muse?

Sometimes the hardest part of creating art is deciding the subject matter. The role of an art teacher is to inspire students to create art, even with unexpected subjects. That inspiration is a great motivator in the classroom.

My most favorite subject is family and faces. Recently, we celebrated my daughter’s 23rd birthday, and I thought about all the different works that I have done based on her face alone.

Drawing or painting what you love becomes reflected in the work! My most recent inspiration is my granddaughter Carmen. Babies are particularly hard to capture. The softness of their features is very challenging. More on Carmen later.




New Techniques in Painting Explored in Spring AW and YAA

The Spring 2018 semester of Art Workshop and Young at Art explored painting. These five weeks started with a watercolor-like painting process using instant coffee. The 26 artists were challenged to paint images of their own hands in a creative way.

In week 2, the artists used acrylics as a watercolor. It is always a challenge to isolate the white of the paper, and to think in translucent layers of color. For inspiration, the student used flowers. After a couple of short studies, they composed an 11 x 14 piece.

The final three weeks of the semester will be spent using the Flemish Style of Painting with acrylics. After completing a detailed, valued drawing of their work, the students will paint a raw umber (thinned with gel medium) layer, a “dead layer” (black and white), before adding color to their pieces.

Please join us on Sunday, May 6th for our show and reception at Immaculate Conception School, 606 West Avenue, Jenkintown, from 6-8 pm.

Mark Your Calendars for the Winter 2018 Art Workshop Show: Art Matters

Sunday, March 18 is the date for the Winter Art Workshop show and reception. The twenty-nine artists in the programs, ages 8 to 15, have studied why art matters. “Art entertains”, our idea for the first class, had the students create cartoons and animation drawings, “Art identifies” gave the students the challenge of using a grid, ruler, negative and positive space to recreate sports logos. “Art accessorizes”, which may have been the artists’ favorite piece, was based using design constraints (a shape and up to three symbols), to creat a tshirt. Those awesome shirts will be hanging in our classroom the evening of the show. We won’t give away the last couple of works…..you’ll have to join us!

Sunday, March 18 from 6-8 pm

Immaculate Conception School, 606 West Avenue, Jenkintown

All are welcome! Below are the invitations representing each artist:

Exploring the Flemish Method of Painting

I am not a big social media fan, but one advantage of having an Instagram account is following different artists and learning from them. Visually and artistically, dark values and contrast are appealing to me. I discovered the Flemish method through an Instagram post, did some research and found a great step-by-step tutorial from Carrie Lewis. Here is the link if you are interestedExploring the Flemish Method of Painting

The process involves layers of work: a drawing, then an inked-value study, an umbra layer, a “dead” layer, then several layers of transparent color. This process is generally done with oils and takes a long time, since each layer has to be completely dry before proceeding to the next step. I am currently working on a portrait of St. John Vianney for my son. The color layers are now in process but here are some of the stages:

I was curious to see if the method would translate to digital art, and created this portrait of my granddaughter, using the layered method:

Now, I am going to try that same method in acrylics, as a possible teaching moment for my students. Here is the start of a Nativity painting I am working on, the “dead layer” is in progress:

Update on the Flemish Method: I have found that this method translates well to acrylic and am in the process of finalizing the details (color layers) on the Nativity scene I showed in the previous picture:

I plan to introduce this method to my spring art students when we study different types of painting. The advantage here is that the layers can be dried with a blow dryer, so waiting is not a factor.

Here is my “almost done” version of St. John Vianney. I love how the color just radiates from the piece, and the darks are so saturated. I think that it must be due to the multiple layers, and dead layer underneath, since I noticed the same result in my Nativity painting:

I’ve started a new work of my latest muse, my granddaughter Carmen. My daughter captured Catalina and Carmen in a classic mother/daughter pose one afternoon on our side porch. The lighting of the shot was so beautiful, I had to paint it. Here is the beginning of the painting. I’m working hard on the “dead layer” so that the values are correct before I add the layers of color. The worst part of this method is the waiting!

You are Invited….to the 2017 Fall Art Workshop and Young at Art Show

This semester, Art Workshop and Young at Art Students have been studying Light and Shadow. Each week, the students have been challenged to use light and shadow to create dramatic and interesting works.

Sunday, November 19th is the date for our fall show which will feature the work of 35 artists, ages 8 and up. Works in charcoal, pastel, acrylics, and other interesting mediums will be on display. Please join us for the show and reception from 6-8 pm in our classroom and along the hallway of the second floor of the St. Joseph the Protector Jenkintown campus.

Watch the slideshow below to enjoy a sample of the work.

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AW Students take Honors at JFA

Eleven Art Workshop artists from 2016-17 participated in the Student Exhibit of the Jenkintown Festival of the Arts on Sunday, September 17th. Congratulations to all the artists who submitted their work. There was much positive feedback from the crowd who came through the show.

Our winners from the show:
In the High School Category, Bella S, 3rd place
In the Middle School Category, Olivia K., 2nd place
In the Middle School Category, Hope H., 3rd place

Join us today! AW students’ work featured at Jenkintown Festival of the Arts

Today, AW students from 2016-2017 will have their work featured in the Student Exhibit of the Jenkintown Festival of the Arts. The festival starts at 1 pm and runs until 6 pm. The Student Exhibit can be found at Yorkway Place, a quaint alley off of Johnson Street in the heart of town. Please come by and view the work, as well as the work from Jenkintown Elementary and Abington Friends School.

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