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!

A final update: Here is the finished work:

The painting was given to my daughter-in-law on her birthday.

Another project completed using the Flemish style of painting took much longer. This piece was a master reproduction, requested by a good friend of my youngest son. It is still waiting to be varnished, but I finally decided it would be “done.”

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.

Fall Classes and Events…..Coming Soon!

Now that summer is winding down, it is time to get ready for fall! Art Workshop and Young at Art classes start the week of September 11th, and run through the week of November 13th, with our evening show and reception scheduled for Sunday, November 19th. Hold a place in the program, by visiting the Art Program Registration page, and registering.

Art Workshop is open to students in grades four through high school. There are students from many different schools who participate in the program. All that is required is a desire to create! Classes are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons in Jenkintown at St. Joseph  the Protector School from 3:30-5:15 pm. Supplies are included in the fee.

Invitation displaying the Monday section of Fall 2016 Art Workshop.

The Fall semester will be 10 weeks long. A variety of mediums will be used , exposing the artists to different methods of creating. Each section is limited to 10 students. The semester culiminates in an art show,  displaying the work created by the artists.

Young at Art is an adult art program which meets on Tuesday mornings from 10-11:30 am. Adults of any age and skill level are welcome.

Young at Art, Fall 2016, Figure Drawing

The adult classes run for six weeks, and will also be displayed in the Fall show on Sunday, November 19th. Contact Mrs. Cipolla at emcipolla@elenacipolla.com if you are interested in the class.





Art Workshop students from the 2016-17 school year are invited to participate in the 2017 Jenkintown Festival of the Arts, Student Exhibit. The winners from last year are displayed below, click on each of the images to view the artist!

Mrs. Cipolla will be accepting work the week of 9/11. Up to four pieces can be submitted for the show. The show is juired, with prizes awarded in the high school and middle school category. Art Workshop has had winners ever year! The work will be displayed in Yorktown Alley, off of Johnson Street in the heart of Jenkintown on Sunday, September 17 from 1-6 pm.

Art Workshop eighth graders are encouraged to start organizing their work for high school art scholarships. Mrs. Cipolla will be happy to meet with you and help you put your work together. Area private and archdiocesan schools offer art scholarships to incoming freshman. The requiremnts vary by school but often require a teacher letter of recommendation and 10-15 pieces of work, displayed in an organzied portfolio. Most of the applications are due in November and December. Contact Mrs. Cipolla to set up a time!

Looking forward to another great year of creating art!

Art Workshop and Young at Art Spring Shows are coming!

Art Workshop students celebrated spring by creating flowers (and other creatures) in many different mediums. Featured on their invitation are works in Acrylic as a watercolor, pastel, and ballpoint pent. In the last three weeks, they created 3D works in paper and modeling clay, and a final painting in acrylics on canvas. Come and enoy the works of these 11 artists on Sunday, May 7th from 6-8 pm. Their work will be featured in a spectacular collage in our classroom. All are welcome!

“Young at Art” artists have been studying the face, using photographs of themselves. Most artists use self-portraits as a way to learn and express themselves. These 12 artists of varyling ages and art exposure have been working in pencil, charcoal, pastel and black and white pencil. Their work will be featured also on May 7th, along the hallways of our second floor classroom.

Look Out for van Gogh

img_4767Sunday March 19th is the date for the 2017 Winter Art Workshop reception and show. The doors to the show will open following the 5 pm Mass (around 5:45), and the work will be displayed until 8 pm. Light refreshment will be served.

All semester the students have been inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Thoughout the semester they have studied his use of line, texture, and color. The classroom will feature a number of works in various mediums, including the collaborate 3D paintings composed by each section.

Pictured below is a slideshow of the show invitations featuring the work of the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Art Workshop artists. Students are in grades 4-10.

Join us for an evening of fantastic and inspiring art!


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Help from Other Artists

This weekend I did something I had never done before–shipped a pastel work to friends in California. When I was approached about doing the work, the problem of getting a pastel across the county was my first concern. Pastel are delicate. Once they are done and fixed, they have to be handled with great care until they are put behind mat board and glass.

Internet research revealed several websites with advice on how to ship a pastel piece. I am most grateful to artist Karen Margulis at http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/. She had a detailed entry with steps and links to the types of materials used. 

My customer was good enough to fashion a wooden crate just slightly bigger than the finished piece, 19″ x 25″.  He shipped it to me, and along with Karen’s advice, we were able to ship the piece out this week. So make sure you seek the advice of other artists!

Inspired by Van Gogh….Winter 2017 Art Workshop

Starting on January 9, 25 Winter Art Workshop artists, grades 4-10, are creating works and learning from Vincent van Gogh. Texture, line, movement, and color are the key elements the students will take from van Gogh and create on their own.
The first week was an exercise in line and texture. Using inked preliminary sketches of  van Gogh, the students created two 10-minute ink “sketches” using a nib and ink. They selected one of the images to create a work in tooling metal and ink. The work was outstanding. The students learned how texture can create depth in a work. With some experimenting, they also learned how to control the ink they applied to their tooled images.

Van Gogh’s images were compelling, and  he created many still life paintings linked to the lives of real life people. His painting of work boots has been analyzed by many. Some think they were boots he purchase on his own, and then wore in a rainstorm to give them character. Others say that they boots were purchased at a flea market, but didn’t fit him so he painted them. The Winter AW students used their own shoes for the pieces they created in week two. First, they drew up to three different charcoal studies. The final piece was created in black and white paste on cardboard. The cardboard supplied the middle tones. 

Weeks three and four were devoted to a group 3D painting. The students and their teacher learned much during this project. Each group of students had a van Gogh, or a van Gogh inspired work, which was gridded and cut into strips. The student had no idea what the work would look like until they completed their portion of the project and put the pieces together; this work was done in colored pencil and supplied the background for the final work. As a group, they selected the areas of the painting they wanted to stand out. Four inch wooden discs were sanded, primed, and painted, and installed inside the colored pencil work. These three works will permanently be part of our classroom display. The edges of the discs lended much dimension to the piece. 

The students are currently working on a 3D mixed medium piece, which will take them a few session to complete. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and his self-portraits will also play a part later in the semester.

We don’t want to give away too much! Look for your show invitation in about two weeks, and mark your calendar for March 19th for our 6-8 pm show and reception.