Accept or Reject

This spring, a collector of my works became a patron. Yes, it's as strange and wonderful as it sounds. I'm overwhelmed by this special person and their serious belief in the quality and value of my work. My patron vowed to commission me for as much work as I want, and they have kept their vow. I just hung their first commissioned piece in their home last month and today they will come to my studio to either accept or reject their second commissioned work of art.

That's right, I said accept or reject. In my 15 years as a graphic designer and illustrator, I watched my work evolve into something that was no longer my work — as it passed through the gauntlet of editorial boards, marketing directors, art directors and so on. I knew from the first few commissions I painted, I wouldn't...I couldn't create my best work, knowing that anyone would have more of a say in what I paint than I do.

So, I adopted a policy that may seem odd, but it works really well for me. I'm happy when I work and I don't apologize for making terms that create a working environment that truly lets me flourish.

Essentially, I work really hard at the beginning of a commission to be sure I fully understand the vision my clients want. I provide to them a digital image that is very representative of the painting I will paint. Together, we can alter and manipulate that image endlessly until both the client and I are very happy with it. Still, in essence, that digital image is just a reference, and in the course of the painting, if I veer from that reference, that is my prerogative.

Commission collectors understand, they know my work, they trust that the painting I will create for them will be of the highest standard and in alignment with the quality and sensitivity seen in all my works. So, before I've ever even touched brush to canvas, I'm very confident about what I'm painting. When Accept/Reject time comes, I'm never really nervous. I have 50% of the total due already in my pocket, which covers my time and materials. If the painting is by some wild chance, rejected, I know I've painted my very best work and it will be of value in some way. Perhaps I'll enter it into a competition, or sell it to someone else. This whole process is explained clearly in my contract, so it's never a question of changing the mouth just a little bit, or some other soul crushing change.

I also turned down a commission last month, which was really difficult to do. The collector is charming and kind and I am so thankful they thought to connect with me to see if I was the right artist for the job. But knowing myself, I knew I wasn't as excited as I should be about the idea and I recommended another local artist for the work. It wasn't an easy conversation, but the right one to have.

At the heart of it, I know if I'm the artist who is right for your project or not. In the end, you really want to work with the artist who is right for you.

Just an iPhone photo of the piece, nearly finished, on my easel with my computer monitor and my reference image. I just have the title of the book left to add.

Just an iPhone photo of the piece, nearly finished, on my easel with my computer monitor and my reference image. I just have the title of the book left to add.

Let Me Break It Down for Ya...A Workshop Experience

When you walk in the door to my teaching studio, you're going to be greeted by this:

This is Romeo. He's the main security and food supervisor here. Don't worry, if you're not a fan of poodles, Walter, the studio cat is always on duty.

This is Romeo. He's the main security and food supervisor here. Don't worry, if you're not a fan of poodles, Walter, the studio cat is always on duty.

I've held a lot of workshops here in the nearly 5 years since I started painting and I've received some really touching feedback from my students and the students of my guest teachers. But there's always one or two artists who tell me how terrified they are to take a workshop. They would love to do it, but they don't feel 'qualified' to, or worse, they admit to feeling down right intimidated. So I thought it might be helpful to break it down for ya. 

ON DAY 1:

I love having artists from all over the world visit my studio. The farthest away so far has been an artist from Australia who came here to learn from the amazing Stanka Kordic. Every artist I invite here to teach has one thing in common: I want to learn from them. Each of them has brought with them their own unique style of teaching and philosophy on making art. 

In almost all of my workshops there are a wide variety of artists at all levels, so I do my best to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable. This isn't a competition. It's my job to help you move from where you are to your own next level of understanding. This point is so important, I even go so far as to recommend to my students to use the same canvas for the whole workshop and wipe it clean at the end of the day to reuse the next. This takes the pressure to "make a masterpiece" off of everyone. You can take photos of your work in stages, just like you do of my demonstrations. The point is to gain new understandings...not make something better than the person next to you.

Model Relations:

From my point of view, values is one of the most powerful elements to master in painting. If you want to create high drama, an easy way to get there is through high contrasted light. However, whether you're painting a wide or narrow range of values, if you don't understand how to create that contrast on your palette, you won't get there in your painting. Below, I'm about to trace the shadow that is falling on this model's beautiful face. Of course I've asked her first, if it is okay if put my hand in her face and maybe even touch her face. I stress to all my students the serious importance of communicating with your models, not only your expectations of them, but your gratitude for their hard work and most importantly ask for their permission in EVERYTHING you do when they are on the model stand. As my good friend Michelle Dunaway says, "She is not a bowl of fruit." You should be careful not to objectify your model. Be respectful and clear and generous and your models will love you and work very hard to help you make the best art you can make. 

Our gorgeous Amelia. I'm so fortunate to have the most elegant and professional models on my call list.

Our gorgeous Amelia. I'm so fortunate to have the most elegant and professional models on my call list.

Creating an interesting and clear value pattern is paramount in what I consider great work. Here is a shot of my palette as I mixed general flesh tones in dark, middle and light values. This three value mixing philosophy is a cornerstone of my painting practice.

Creating an interesting and clear value pattern is paramount in what I consider great work. Here is a shot of my palette as I mixed general flesh tones in dark, middle and light values. This three value mixing philosophy is a cornerstone of my painting practice.

I love working from the live model. It is a serious exercise that when practiced regularly will sharpen your painting from photos skills. For me it isn't practical to work from the live model for the bulk of my work. I'm too introverted. I want to be able to sing and dance with abandon when I work and I'm too self conscious to be myself in front of a model. I also find it difficult to schedule a model for the days on end it may take me to create what I consider a quality work. I pay my models generously, so affording a live model for 30 days would be a real challenge. 

I've found working from photographs more difficult than working from life in some ways, but in terms of working on my own time in my own quirky ways, its easier. I can zoom into incredible detail without breathing down my models neck. With the help of Photoshop, I can maneuver, edit, and manipulate many photos to create whole new references and control the design and composition. There's so much more to it than simply copying a photo, and my 20 plus years of experience in Photoshop makes it easy for me to get right to the heart of the matter and show my students the best and most valuable tools to creating masterful photographic references and subsequently masterful art work.

Apparently, I 'rap' my workshop demo's to a wicked beat. LOL! Thanks to my student Barbara M. for these great candid photos. It's 2017 and artists have a myriad of tools, (tools photographers and film makers have mastered) at our fingertips. I love to show my students my strategies for painting from photos on your monitor and on print. You're not lost if you don't have Photoshop! There are wonderful advantages to both approaches.

Apparently, I 'rap' my workshop demo's to a wicked beat. LOL! Thanks to my student Barbara M. for these great candid photos. It's 2017 and artists have a myriad of tools, (tools photographers and film makers have mastered) at our fingertips. I love to show my students my strategies for painting from photos on your monitor and on print. You're not lost if you don't have Photoshop! There are wonderful advantages to both approaches.

Just a few minutes into this selective start demonstration and it is already starting to breath and look like Amelia.

By day three we're really working. All the nerves of day one are long gone. Folks have started to make new friends, go to lunch together and when we're painting, turn inward toward their own growth instead of focusing on what others are doing. Each workshop I teach is a remarkable experience for me. I'm astounded at the change I see in people, in their understanding and their growth, and I'm privileged to be there for their light bulb moments and to cheer them on through the hard work of learning.

Click here to see my 2017 workshop schedule and the schedule for artists I've invited to teach here!

REVIEWS:

Here's some of what my students have said about my workshops:

“Absolutely loved your enthusiasm and approachability! Very generous with your knowledge
and patience with (particularly) my lack of painting experience! Very encouraging to me! Especially at my advanced age. I can learn this if given enough time." —Cheryln Claman

“I can’t express how wonderful it is to have an artist who is so capable of simplifying techniques into an understandable format. Tina is an amazing artist and incredible teacher.
I learned so much!" —Terri Horner

“I love your energy and your kindness. Thank you for encouraging us to do our best. Thanks for taking extra time on lunch and breaks to give us hints and tips and answering questions. Can’t wait and hope to make it to Tuscany [in 2017 to paint with you again]!” — Jenny Hambleton, Salt Lake City, UT

“Tina is an extraordinary artist! She is open and honest about her methods and approaches
to her work. I found her comments and direction during the workshop very helpful
to me.” — Rose Moore, Rio, IL

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I learned so much at this workshop! You gave so many valuable tips and answered all my questions. I love the way you taught by demonstrating! I learned so much just being able to watch you paint. You are a wonderful artist and an inspiration to me." — Amy Van Fossen, IA

“Demonstrations for me are the best way I absorb information on the painting process. Although I worked in acrylic, I found all the information given easily adaptable to all mediums, especially in terms of color mixing. Thank you for your generosity in your style of teaching." — Brad Bisbey, IA

“Tina, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to attend your amazing workshop. Your warm, cheerful demeanor and refreshingly genuine personality made these past three days an absolute pleasure. The techniques and tricks on how to handle oil paint, as well as how to achieve beautiful, rich skin tones will forever be implemented into my process. I very much appreciated the insights and wisdom on the difference between P.R. and marketing and on getting our artwork out there for potential collectors and clients. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” Dean Larsen — UT

“I have met many wonderful artists and I have met many wonderful teachers, but it its rare to meet someone who embodies both great artist and great teacher. Tina’s demeanor is friendly and accessible. She seamlessly moves from beginner to advanced and knows how to handle any painting situation and any personality type. She’s a gracious host and she truly loves what she does!”
— Rachel Mindrup, Nebraska

“Tina is very knowledgeable and insightful. She has a way of looking at a painting and problem solving in the simplest way.” — Shrina Baumann, UT

“I have taken a few art lessons over the years, but have no formal training. Every time I approached my easel I would dread the struggle and frustration that would come, because I was so confused. I called Tina and arranged to take private lessons via the internet. Seven months later I can hardly wait to get to the easel. I have so much more confidence because I have had skill instruction. I learned about drawing, values, color theory, how to mix paint, brush strokes, edges, composition, choosing the right materials, and especially, I learned to find the joy in my artwork. These lessons were the best investment I have ever made.” — Marcy Roth, Arizona

“I enjoyed my individual lessons sooo much that I will be attending workshops and group lessons as soon as possible! Tina is a great teacher as well as a wonderfully talented artist.
I feel so privileged that she generously shares her wealth of expertise, her comfortable space, and her inspiring passion for painting!” — Dot Charest, Kansas

“One of the best workshops I’ve ever attended. Tina is very knowledgeable plus has the ability to teach. Another asset is her ability to make every artist feel successful regardless of their level of skill.” — Theresa Eisenberg, Tampa FL

“Thoroughly enjoyed your workshop. You presented all the information in a practical, fun and thoughtful way. Few instructors are as generous with info and dispel all the mystery. I take home so many new approaches and ideas on how to move my own art to the next level. Thanks for being a great teacher! And such an encouraging presence.” — Laney Haake, Kansas City, Missouri

“It’s always great to learn from different artists, especially at the high caliber Tina is. Even though I have been painting a while, I feel I was beginning to hit a plateau. I wanted to hone in on my style and absorb as much knowledge (painting & business) as I could. Tina surpassed my expectations. She is very willing to pass on the knowledge and expertise she has, and I am truly grateful to have worked with her.” — Kathryn Zansler New Orleans, LA

 

Meet Mrs. Process...

March 4th marks the anniversary of my 4th year of oil painting. I have learned so much in such a short time! You can see the progression in the diagram below. I finally find myself moving past the mindset of being a "Beginner". Conversely, I still don't feel like a Master, though my work has begun to receive such a designation from both the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society and the prestigious Art Renewal Center.

Having had instruction under some of the best artists living today, I do, however, finally see my skills are beginning to catch up to my taste (to paraphrase Ira Glass). But, now that I can paint, what shall I paint and why?

If I quiet my mind the answer is clear. When it comes to what to paint, I need to paint what my heart is pulling me toward. I need to paint the ideas in my mind which make my stomach fill with butterflies! I have been doing this all along but with a tinge of worry about my works lack of continuity, fear it may not sell, as well as a fear that I don't paint enough work. I worried I may find it hard to sell my "product" if what is coming off the easel isn't in line with what was produced before. But I've decided I don't want to be a production artist.

The wise Dr. Vern Swanson once told me, "Don't be Mrs. Product! Be Mrs. Process and you will make masterpieces." Dr. Swanson was critiquing my work "City Blues" in the MEAM in Barcelona when he gave me this advice. Advice he intended to encourage me to find the courage to set aside worries about gallery expectations and financial reasons to "produce work" and instead do the work necessary to make truly great works.

A quick color study for a commissioned piece. I have to admit I still skip this part of the process sometimes, but it's only March! New habits take time to implement.

A quick color study for a commissioned piece. I have to admit I still skip this part of the process sometimes, but it's only March! New habits take time to implement.

The "work" Dr. Swanson spoke of is color studies, value studies, drawing studies, attention to mark making, and most importantly, having a clear mindset so when I approach the canvas, I do so with the right intention...the intention to make a masterpiece.

Intention, that is the "why". So now that I know how to paint, why am I making the work I make? Answer: Because, with every fiber of my being, I want to make masterpieces, and giving it my best try is true bliss.  

Now I take Dr. Swanson's advice with me to the easel each time as a talisman against production and toward real growth, experimentation, discovery, and the best intentions.

 

To Barcelona and Back...

How do I even begin to write about this extraordinary experience? 
I should start at the beginning...

In February I wrote a list of 5 goals to be accomplished in 5 years.
The list was titled "2015 - 2020 Goals". This is that list, pay close attention to numbers two and three:

1. Advertise my own workshops through the National Oil and Acrylic Painter's Society and Oil Painters of America

2. Jury into the ARC Salon (Art Renewal Center's most prestigious competition) 

3. Get a piece collected into a museum or equivalent private collection 

4. Achieve "Signature" Status with in the National Oil and Acrylic Painter's Society

5. Have my work recognized by the Portrait Society of America

If you know me, you know the story of how I was a career freelance illustrator for children's publishing and how, since kids have iPods and iPads and not crayons and workbooks anymore, I was, not so gently, forced to rethink the course of my life. I had been the breadwinner in our family for more than a decade. I spent well over a year floundering, dreading the idea of learning how to create apps and animation. I had tried them and they seemed to me more like computer programing than art. 

I researched going back to school to become a fine artist but there were no reasonable choices for me here in the Midwest. I was the mother of two pre teens, going back to school for a 4-year degree was not an option. I researched fine art ateliers and found the Art Renewal Center and their amazing map that shows ARC approved ateliers all over the country. There is where I found an ad for the Scottsdale Artist's School and the rest is...the rest is in my earlier blogs.

So now we're back to present day and I'm reflecting on 2015, and the list of goals that is now completely checked off. It was a phenomenal year possible because of the torrential downpour of love and encouragement I've received from mentors, artists and dear, dear friends who were daring me to even mention becoming a dental hygienist again or else I'd get a good smack! Yes, I was that confused and unconfident. As all artists do, I continue to have my moments of terror when faced with a blank canvas. But from now on, I'll look back on this year and dare myself to feel less than worthy and dare myself to look back on 2015...and try like hell to top it. 

Numbers 2 and 3, jurying into the ARC Salon at the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona (MEAM) and having my work added to a permanent collection of museum quality, these were the pinnacle in achievement and I truly believed would take me at least 5 to 10 years to achieve.  I hope you guys know how humbled I am to be recognized in this way and enjoy the following photo blog of this tremendous adventure. 

Madrid, Barcelona and Paris! A Photo Blog:

And now to the "Thank You" list:

Thank you Adam, Seth and Grace Garrett for being as excited about these adventures as I am.

Thank you Laura Aubé for not letting me become a dental hygienist. 

Thank you Robin Blakely for helping me understand myself, my goals and my own personal power in making them come true.

Thank you Jackie W., without your beautiful collection of vintage clothing, these paintings would not exist.

Thank you to the awesome facebook community who is there cheering me on with every piece of work and every milestone and inspiring me with their own masterful art and creative wisdom. 

Thank you Randy and MaryAnn, Kathy H., Susan C., Judy S., Brad and Sandy C., Dennis Y., Rachel E., Ben and Roxanne M., Amrit S. Bret D., Wes M. and all my collectors for buying into me and my work from the first brush stroke. Yours is the truest compliment an artist can receive.

Lastly, thank you to the Ross family and everyone at the Art Renewal Center for your philanthropy and your passion for representational art, artists and lovers of fine art. The gifts you continue to give to the fine art community and each artist you encourage are paid forward exponentially. ARC is truly a legacy for the world.  

What's Old Is New

Breaking News: 

This just in: One of my works is an Art Renewal Center Annual Salon Finalist!

I entered two works in the Art Renewal Center Annual Salon with no expectations. I'm so very humbled that one of them has been recognized. Some Salon winners are included in an exhibition at the MEAM (Museum of Modern Art in Europe) in Barcelona Spain! Details on which piece and any awards will come in early May. I'll be holding my breath! (For those outside the art world, ARC sets the industry standard for art teaching, promotion and restoration of the practice of representational, realistic art — and is the foremost authority in my field, as far as I am concerned.)

Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Post:

City Blues, first in my new Vintage est Nouveau series, is a busy girl! She is on her way to Cutter & Cutter Fine Art Brilliance in Color Gallery in St. Augustine, Florida for the Oil Painters of America 24th Annual National Exhibition where she competes with 200 other remarkable works for the Gold Medal Prize of $25,000! Holy cow! Wouldn't that be amazing? Wish her luck! 

Want to celebrate with Tina at the OPA National Exhibition Opening Reception? Here are the details.

So you might be wondering, where did the inspiration for this new series spring from?

"City Blues" 24x36 OPA 24th Annual National Exhibition Finalist 

I have to take you back to August of 2013, to the day I first met my now good friend, Jackie. For those of you who know me well, you know I often embarrass my friends by walking up to strangers and asking them if I can paint them. Surprisingly enough, it almost always works! Only a few times have I been given the "You might be a serial killer" look. Most of the time people are flattered to be asked and I arrange a sitting or a photo shoot, etc. 

But, in August of 2013 at the National Oil and Acrylic Painter's Society Best of America Show I happen to approach what has turned out to be one of the most interesting and eccentric women I have ever had the pleasure to know. Jackie. Jackie's posture, and hair, below the waist, called to me from across the Dunegan Gallery of Art…She stood on 5-inch-high heals and wore a broom skirt and shawl that swept the floor. Her gorgeous line and slender figure drew me to her. It wasn't until I gently disturbed her that I saw her wizened and magnificent face. Jackie was 82, then.

My excitement and desire to paint her shot off the charts. She agreed to go outside where I could get better light to photograph her by. It was then that she asked me "I bet you're dying to know how old I am, aren't you?" Ha!!! You bet I was! And I was dying to get better photos than what I was getting. 

By January of 2014 Jackie had introduced me to her overwhelming collection of authentic American Indian regalia and early American vintage clothing. The two taxidermied deer dressed as bride and groom and seated at the baby grand piano in her living room were the first clues that I was becoming privileged to a special person of deep and mysterious creative magic. 

By November of 2014 Jackie hand delivered to my studio door, trunk loads of vintage capes, wraps, shawls, furs and clothing and in one glorious day, my team and three models (including my daughter, Grace) gathered enough photo references for my newest series, Vintage est Nouveau (What Is Old, Is New). 

I have since painted two others in the series, both of which, I am delighted to report, have sold before they were even finished. No. 4 is set to begin this week. 

Jackie, an art lover and philanthropist, to say the least, has lent the clothing which inspired (and a print of City Blues) to her county museum. The deer, I understand, are also on loan to an area museum. She and I have a date for Mother's Day when I will get to hand pick the outfits for the upcoming Romel de la Torre 3-Day "Painting the Costumed Figure" Workshop here at my studio in July. Can you hear the clapping and giggling of an artist experiencing pure joy?

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I'm happy to say I have painted two new pieces and a third is on the easel since a host of holiday commissions overran my studio in August. Yes, I started in August and officially delivered the last commission on December 15th. My clients don't know it, but each commission is a gift to me. I know the painting will be loved for at least the lifetime of the collector and most likely become a family heirloom that will be loved for generations. There is comfort in knowing those works will outlive me.

I'm particularly proud of this commission: "Aggie" 30x30. A grand daughter on her first birthday, to be given to the collector's daughter (Aggie's mom) as a Christmas gift. Given only a color copy of a photo to work from and the request that the piece be 30x30 inches square, it was a particular challenge to compose a design that would support the square format in a natural way. 

Everything seen in my work is on purpose. Easily 1/3 of the time I devote to a work is the planning stage. I started with quick thumbnail sketches to work out a simplified design and listed objects which could assist in accomplishing the design. For example, I felt I needed a strong horizontal element to balance out the vertical focal paint of Aggie. In the case where the work is a complete surprise, like this one, I have to be innovative about inventing an environment the subject will come to life in. The client had given me everything they had. I couldn't contact them and ask questions about what their furniture tastes were or what colors they have in their living room. They hadn't even specified they wanted an indoors setting. I request, and was given, full creative license. I had to derive everything from the image in hand and my own mind. 

Inspired by the child's elaborate outfit, I decided to create a plush world for her to live in. One which was sophisticated and refined but also simple and low key. I wanted Aggie to be the star of this piece and all other things to point to her. Even the direction of the leaves and flowers of the orchid, including their edges and level of saturation were purposefully applied to point, both figuratively and literally to Aggie. 

Even as I write this I'm feeling the same thrill I did when I was composing her piece. Ultimately, success of commissioned work is measured by the satisfaction of that special client, the collector. I was sure I had hit the mark when the collector relayed a short story to me: Having grown up in humble beginnings, with a father who worked very hard to make ends meet, with determination of his own, the collector was able to make a successful career. He said as he left with "Aggie, 30x30 Oil on cotton duck, "The best day of my life was the day I was finally was able to do something substantial for my father, to buy my dad a truck. Today feels just like that."  

I recognized then that this commission was not only a surprise Christmas gift, but a symbol of love and pride that will live on in their family, always.

Want to know more about commissions? Click here

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It has been said that my blog is "refreshingly honest". What an wonderful compliment. It is true to say I am unashamed of my art adventures and mis-adventures and happy to share them with anyone whom may glean a bit of useful information or even a chuckle from time to time. Enjoy.

The Lipking Experience:

Jeremy Lipking is arguably the foremost talented and sought after artists today. Winner of this years ARC Salon and the Prix de West, to say the least, Jeremy's work is flawless and pushing the bar ever higher with each brush stroke. I obviously am a fan.  Just how big a fan I did not realize until I was lucky enough to land a spot in one of his monthly, One Day workshops at his beautiful Agoura Hills, CA studio in July.

Tina admiring Jeremy Lipking's award wining work at Prix de West 2014

Tina admiring Jeremy Lipking's award wining work at Prix de West 2014

If you've followed me on facebook or read the previous blog, you have heard the tale of how I almost first met Jeremy in June at the Prix de West show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. An unsuspecting Michelle Dunaway, a ground breaking artist in her own right, graciously offered to introduce me to him when I blushed and gushed over his work. I actually had to pass on the offer, because I was so excitable from accidentally running into Michelle herself, that I knew I would pass out or something dreadful if I met him in person right then and there. But low and behold I was to actually learn from him, and I was thrilled!

Caption: My husband and kids toured LA and Hollywood after dropping me off in Agoura Hills. From the left, Seth and Grace with the star of one of their favorite bands. Yes, my kids are that cool.

Caption: My husband and kids toured LA and Hollywood after dropping me off in Agoura Hills. From the left, Seth and Grace with the star of one of their favorite bands. Yes, my kids are that cool.

By the time I made it to Agoura Hills I was 16 days into a three week long road trip with my family. As a way to keep my skills up I decided to plein air paint whenever I could. Looking back I regret this decision. I am no plein air painter, but that is another story. Needless to say I was glad to warm up by painting my niece the day before Lipking's workshop, in the comfort of my uncle's beautiful Huntington Beach home. She was quite a fidgeter, so I let her off the hook after 2.5 hours and finished this piece by iPhone photo. I was mentally channeling Lipking the whole time, aiming for softer value transitions and cooler skin tones. 

"Amanda" by Tina Garrett

"Amanda" by Tina Garrett

The model was a few minutes late and I happily volunteered to pose if she didn't show! Oh how disapointed I was when she did. I was almost off the hook. I could have posed and listened in instead of having to paint. Jeremy did not disappoint. His studio is a den of inspiration an I learned a ton just in the first few minutes when he posed the model. I had actually been told by an artist through another artist that he was a self involved teacher who painted on his own work throughout the workshop instead of walking around and helping the students. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Jeremy's demo was beautifully done, but what's more, he broke down his process in the simplest and most wonderful terms in an attentive and conversational manner. He spent the afternoon visiting each artist for what seemed like an hour each. I both ached and dreaded for him to come look at my work. 

Lipking's demo about 2/3s finished.

Lipking's demo about 2/3s finished.

I felt great when he said I was off to a good start. I was following his demonstrated method, mixing the paint thin and using lead white through out and saving the titanium for the lightest lights only. I loved the Michael Harding Brilliant Pink and Green and used them to bend the values to the right shade.  I felt like I understood his approach, but I got into my own head. I forgot my music and never got relaxed and my ego won out on so many levels. I tried for an overly ambitious composition. By the time he made it around to me again I had wiped my canvas clean. Later, an artist behind me said, "I don't know why you wiped it off, it was good!" It wasn't. The drawing was terribly off. 

Yes, that's right folks, I was so wrapped up in worrying about making sure Lipking knew I could paint too, that I couldn't sit with what I had created. I couldn't allow myself to be the student and be vulnerable. I wiped away any opportunity for real feed back and critique, in my belief, the single most valuable tool to move your work forward. 

Lipking was great about it, though I feel as though he was just as disappointed as I was that he didn't get the chance to really help me move forward. It's not like I'm out in California every month. This was a once, maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity, a somewhat missed opportunity, but a lesson, none the less. 

So, note to self and to students of mine who have been gearing up for the upcoming Romel de la Torre workshops September 5-9th here at Atelier Underground, do yourselves a favor. Take a deep breath and be okay and even proud of where you are in your search for artistic mastery. How far you have gotten is valid and worthy. 

I have to tell you this "If You Knew Me, You'd Understand" Story...

Some wonderful and well connected artist friends have been e-mailing Michelle Dunaway, one of today's leading female artists, on my behalf, to ask her if she would pretty please come teach here in Kansas City. Well, way back in April I was at the Portrait Society Annual Conference in Washington D.C., at dinner with these friends and they asked me if I would like to ride with them from KC to Oklahoma City in June for the Prix de West Art Exhibit at the National Cowboy and Western Museum. I bowed out. Though I'd never been to Prix de West before, I have already taken 4 art-related trips since January. But around mid June I was feeling like I was missing something really awesome. So I asked Adam if there was any way we could swing it. He said yes, of course, because he'd give me the moon if I asked, and we drove 8 hours round trip just to spend 2 hours at Prix de West.

Scott Burdick's, Susan Lyon, Jeremy Lipking and Brent Cotton's beautiful work at Prix de West


I was awed by the art and surprised that the artists who created them were all there!!! Like Scott Burdick, Susan Lyon and Brent Cotton! Yes, the rock stars of my little art world were meeting and greeting folks as they showed their work. I met so many wonderful and generous artists. It was a beautiful day. I lingered repeatedly in front of the Jeremy Lipking work just aching to meet him in person but to no avail. So finally I stepped into the ladies room to get myself ready to get back into the car for the long ride home. As I washed my hands you will never guess who I saw out of my peripheral vision... Well, if you knew me well you'd understand what happened next. 

I stuttered covering my face and skipping in place, "YOU, you're Michelle Dunaway!! Your work is amazing, other worldly, absolute divinity. I've been trying to reach you to invite you to come teach at my space just outside of Kansas City. How am I finding you in the ladies room at the Prix de West? You don't have any work in this show?"

Michelle hugged me, multiple times, clearly trying to calm me down. Gave me her phone so I could put my contact info in and said she'd call me when she gets back from her painting trip in Alaska. And as if to push me over the edge, she offers to take me right then to introduce me to none other than Jeremy Lipking. "No. No thank you", I said, "I think I'll go home now before I pass out."

P.S. Just a few weeks later...I get to meet Jeremy Lipking after all!!!!! He is now offering a one day workshop, one Saturday a month and I just happen to be in Cali just in time to take his first one! Yay!!! I'll post pics. :)

Local Artist Wins National Prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Artist Wins National Prize 

"Gaze" 20x24 Oil on Linen (Tina's first international sale) Wins 1st Place in the Oil Painters of America 2014 Spring Online Showcase!

"Gaze" 20x24 Oil on Linen (Tina's first international sale) Wins 1st Place in the Oil Painters of America 2014 Spring Online Showcase!

LEES SUMMIT, MO – May, 24, 2014/ – Professional artist Tina Garrett announced today that her work, "Gaze" 20x24 oil on linen (Tina's first international sale) won 1st Place in the Oil Painters of America 2014 Spring Online Showcase.

Tina Garrett's oil painting "Gaze" is the third piece in her New Orleans inspired series. The second painting in this series to be awarded this year, "Gaze", depicting the street artists of the French Quarter, won a $3000.00 1st Place prize through the national art competition sponsored by the Oil Painters of America (OPA), a not-for-profit organization representing more than 4000 artists throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. There were over 700 member artists who competed in this event which is held three times annually. 

This work caught my attention the first moment I saw it on the monitor. The expression “one in a million” kind of describes my feelings for this piece. The artist’s skill in portraying this rather unusual subject is nothing short of masterful. This has been painted as the eye would see it rather than how a camera would see it. The most intense color and sharpest details are on the face. The more you move from this area the less obvious things become. The accuracy and delicacy of the floral pattern is still distinct, but does not compete with the face or the frame. The background has totally gone out of focus making the figure even more dimensional giving it the feeling of existing in real space. The drawing is impeccable, the edges amazing and the color harmonies are beautiful.” Mr. Deibler later wrote, “Tina, I just wanted to personally congratulate you on your marvelous piece. I was monitoring the entries from the time OPA invited me to be the judge. Once I saw your piece it became the standard I used to critique all the others. It was constantly on my mind. There are many great paintings in the show, but your drawing, color harmonies, edges, the uniqueness of the image, everything about it made it the most memorable painting of the entire show. I am honored to have had the opportunity to become more familiar with your amazing work. Congratulations once again.
— Oil Painters of America Judge, Tim Deibler

Tina Garrett lives, creates her art and gives workshops and private lessons as well as hosts nationally known artists workshops in her studio space, Atelier Underground, in Downtown Lee's Summit in the historic neighborhood where she and her husband and two children reside. Regarding this national recognition Garrett stated “Thank you Oil Painters of America and Tim Deibler for including my work, "Gaze" in the group of remarkable pieces selected for the OPA Spring 2014 Online Showcase. Congratulations Robert Christian Hemme, Nancy Boren and all the other truly amazing artists. You have given me something priceless, confidence in my work, validation and encouragement that I am on the right track in pushing myself and my work to my own next level. I am so grateful. You've truly lifted me up.”

The original oil painting, "Gaze" was sold in March to Tina's first international client, a collector in London, England and is now happily installed in its new home.  Tina will announce her new series of work in July 2014. Admirers of Tina's work can follow Tina on Instagram and Facebook or view her latest pieces, inquire about purchasing prints or originals or commissioning a painting at www.tinagarrett.com.

(About Artist Tina Garrett: 

In 2012, based on her self-taught pastel portraiture, including her commissioned portrait of first lady Mary Ann Rhoads, wife of Lee's Summit Mayor, Randy Rhoads, the Scottsdale Artists’ School awarded Tina the first of two merit scholarships and she began working in oil immediately falling in love.

And that is precisely what happens to Tina again and again with every face she paints.  Savoring every feature, Tina adores each moment of discovering her subject's line and value and like a mother to a child puts every drop of herself into her new works in hopes they will go off into the world and make something of themselves. 

Tina is a two-time finalist in Scottsdale’s The Best and The Brightest Show 2013 and 2014 and earned a National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2013 Best of America Merit Award, 2014 NOAPS Spring Online International Excellence Award and Oil Painters of America Online Showcase Spring 2014 1st Place winner.

In the few short months since Tina’s introduction to oil she has studied intently the Selective Start Method described in “Alla Prima” by Living Master Artist Richard Schmid, studied in workshops and/or private lessons with Romel de la Torre, Casey Baugh, Aaron Westerberg and Lisa Gloria. In the course of her serious pursuit of fine art mastery, Tina has created a small family of private collectors and commissioned clients in Kansas City, Florida, Chicago, New York, New Orleans and London.

 

 

 

 

How I met Poppy Moon aka "Baby Blue"

Fresh off the plane from my New Orleans trip, it was my idea to load the kids into our camper and trek from the Kansas City area all the way to NYC, with a few days in Washington D.C. for family appropriate patriotic activities. Seth, then newly 13, and Grace not quite 12, mastered the subways and crowds like professionals. We were only accosted once overall and I was proud of them for how they followed my lead. 

The Garrett family making sure everyone from NYC knows we are not from NYC.

The Garrett family making sure everyone from NYC knows we are not from NYC.

On our third day, we criss crossed Manhattan Island to spend a day at the beach in Coney Island to dip our toes in the Atlantic and survey the remnants of Sandy's wrath on the coast line. That's when I saw her, tromping down the boardwalk, tattooed from head to toe and talking boisterously to her friends. 

Now my husband and I have a little trick that helps me capture candid pics of my muses, before they know I'm taking photos. He and I face each other and pretend we're having a conversation about what I'm looking at on my iPhone (but I'm actually taking photos over his shoulder). This helps tremendously since as soon as you ask most people if you can photograph them and use the pics as reference to make a painting, they square their shoulders to you and give you a horrible "Sears Portrait Studio" expression. So candids really help. 

Just before I approached the bohemian beauty with tattoos from forehead to toe with bonus nose and ear spikes, I had a brief second thought as I imagined her socking me square in the nose and in a cliché New York accent telling me to "Back the f*** off!" But she surprised me! I watched her features melt and listened to the slow resonance of her demure cantata in a Scottish accent.  Her voice and innocent eyes were just about as out of place with her ink as I could have imagined possible. "Poppy Moon," she sang her name. "I'm from Scotland, I'm just in New York for a year or two or maybe three. I don't stay anywhere too long, I like to travel."

Poppy was shocked in the sweetest way that I would want to paint "her" picture. She of the two of us was the nervous one. I giggled inside as I realized what a doe she was, so gentle and so magnificent. Though I'd never test it to see if she could hold her own, I have no doubt. She stood easily 5'9". But Poppy's outer appearance is deceptive. Inside she's a mystical, wistful girl with baby blue eyes.   

I doubt Poppy wastes any of her time on the internet. She's feasting on the world from minute to minute. But if you get a glimpse of "Baby Blue" Poppy, I hope you are as in love with her as I am.

Happy travels. 

Ways to Start a Painting

You may have watched the video on the welcome page showing the process of painting in Schmid's "Selective Start" method. Selective Start is one of my favorite ways to begin a work, but only when I'm feeling especially confident about drawing and identifying values. It is certainly not the only way to start a work. Here are a couple others:


I usually start with a full value underpainting when I consider the drawing to be complicated and want to reassure myself that the finished work will be drawn accurately. I use a mix of transparent oxide red and ultra marine blue and work very thin. I can easily wipe away mistakes and try new elements in the composition. The trouble for me lies in stopping soon enough. There is far more information on the canvas than I needed, but I am usually having so much fun it is hard to stop! When I'm sure of my drawing, I paint right over the underpainting using it as my guide.

I usually start with a full value underpainting when I consider the drawing to be complicated and want to reassure myself that the finished work will be drawn accurately. I use a mix of transparent oxide red and ultra marine blue and work very thin. I can easily wipe away mistakes and try new elements in the composition. The trouble for me lies in stopping soon enough. There is far more information on the canvas than I needed, but I am usually having so much fun it is hard to stop! When I'm sure of my drawing, I paint right over the underpainting using it as my guide.


I did a line and color block in for this piece. I forced myself to keep the block in loose and suggestive. I just wanted to know placement and some rough values. Then I came back in and really laid in the detail.

I did a line and color block in for this piece. I forced myself to keep the block in loose and suggestive. I just wanted to know placement and some rough values. Then I came back in and really laid in the detail.