Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Portrait of Hooter – Part Four

This took a little longer than I thought it would to post. A week was spent looking for the materials that were swept up in a studio cleaning. By Friday, everything was in place and fresh paints were mixed and ready to be back on track for that Monday start.

I had a little disaster in the previous stage and that was too much Prussian Blue. Add that colour in a little bit at a time! I made the mistake of treating it like a weaker colour of blue. The mixture looked fine at first but as the painting developed I became worried. The final decision was just to continue painting and try to adjust it to a more olive tone in this layer. Even though, the photograph above may lean towards the blue, be assured it is fine.

So the values were already established in the previous layer. In the second dead layer I made corrections to the portrait. It is important to get the proportions and shapes correct in this layer before starting the layer of colour.

It is time for me to decide on the colours and prepare the palette for the next step. Kinda looking forward to it!

Portrait of Hooter
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

- Kim Bennett

Monday, 24 August 2009

Portrait of Hooter – Part Three

Nearly half way through the painting, I would like to just point out that this type of painting is a slow process. The first dead layer of the grey values is in positions and just about ready for another layer similar to this one to be put into position.

Before it is time to add the second dead layer a revaluation the work will need to be done. Any corrections to the painting will have to be made in the final dead layer. Also, the darks and highlights will be developed in the following layer. As soon as the next stage dries the placing of colour will begin.

Portrait of Hooter
Part one
Part two

-Kim Bennett

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver, acrylic on canvas board, 8" X 10" inches

I’m just popping this painting up to show you. This is a taxi driver was painted last summer using a direct approach. It was done in a portrait class taught by Arthur Evans (no links!). He supplied me with the photo of the taxi driver and the street scene photo later on. It must be said that he taxi driver's features were a pleasure to work with.

The portrait that I am currently working on is, for the moment, looking very realistic and tight. For a realistic perspective, the painting is fine as it's keeping within the likeness of the subject. The time that has gone into the care of blending is heading towards greater realism and a cleaner painting.

Without dwelling too much into it, I have been wondering a little too why this is and what relevance will it have to the final stage. Mind you, it is a warming experience to have and being relaxed and just let things happen in a learning process is reassuring.

The first dead layer of my most recent portraiture should be finished in the next couple of days. I wasn’t kidding about the amount of care going into it. Hopefully I'll have it posted by the end of the week.

One of hurdles that has developed during this painting is my better half comments of the experiencing a curious odour of solvents lingering through the house. With no desire to go shopping and to continue to live and paint here, without being sent to the shed, a non-toxic and odourless solvent has been rediscovered in storage. (A little reminisce from back in the day.)

This solvent has been used in the house before without any questions. In other words, it should do the trick and a much happier studio for it!

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Pear 2 - Catching A Muse

Pear #2, 4" x 4" inches, acrylic on MDF

In the Just Paint It - Pears post, it was mentioned that I was going to take what was learnt and make another painting. This process was an idea that had been on hold for a long time.

I had been itching to try this process for quite some time but it had slipped my mind who knows how many times. It was a post by Neadeen Masters called first acrylics on the Traditions Artist Internet Group that reminded me that I was wanting to play with my materials in a particular way.

Well, should we collect ideas or just get on with it and do it? My thoughts are when you have these A-ha moments or when looking at an artist painting and you just get it. That energy should be put to work before it passes you by. Grab your net and let's go and catch that muse!

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Just for fun - Rainbow Quiz

Your rainbow is shaded orange.


What is says about you: You are a strong person. You appreciate a challenge. Others are amazed at how you don't give up.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Just Paint It - Pears

JPI- Pears, 5" X 7" inches, acrylic on canvas board

This is a submission for the Art Apprentice Online Yahoo List – Just Paint it challenge.

Sorry that this is not a very good photo. It's not the one of my best pears but I take these once a month JPI challenges to try something different.

It was time for me to experiment with a painting using texture medium.

For this painting, the paste was added until the mix became transparent. When it was found necessary, a faux medium was brushed mix into my colours. It was kind of like watercolour with texture which sort of gives it an encaustic look.

Planning to try this process again with what I have learnt.

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 10 August 2009

Portrait of Hooter - Part Two

For those of you that are following the progress on the Portrait of Hooter this is the second layer of the work in progress. At this stage, the Umber has been put into place and once dry, it will be ready for the dead layer.

My earlier portraits have always been approached more directly which involved a lot of push and pull with the paint. This is my first time using this technique and it is going to take many layers (about seven in total) before the finished piece is achieved.

As the portrait is of my brother and our relationship as siblings is a close one. For that reason, special care is being made to capture his likeness. His likeness becomes lost when too many details have been applied and this will have to be something for me to remain aware during this study.

The question I have, and won’t know until the painting nears the final stage, is where does it become too much or not enough? Any thoughts are welcomed.

Portrait of Hooter
Part one

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Portrait of Hooter

Well there is a warning that artist should not paint a portrait of someone close to them. Oh well, so I decided to break the rules. There is still another layer of Umber to go but I decided to let it dry before working any further.

This time I am working from a photograph. It is of a self portrait that my brother once used as a profile for his flicker account. The photo I am working from has so much of his personality. Luckily I saved a copy before he replaced it. The recent photo is another one of my favorites where he is looking distantly out of a window to a beautiful snow scene.

We are worlds apart distantly but I like being around him because music sounds so much better when he's there.

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 31 July 2009

Paint Brush Award

This award from Krista Meister - Hope in Every Day
Thank you Krista for this lovely award.

With this award, I am suppose to tell you seven things you don't know about me and then pass on the award to seven others. So here we go

1. I read children’s books for relaxation. These are books for between the ages of 8 – 12 years. So far my favourite author is Roald Dahl.

2. Liking all things to do with water and have been called “A Water Baby.” This book is also a children’s classic that I would like to read.

3. I used to have a diet of sugar before attending swim meets. I started the day with glazed doughnuts. Rolly Coasters for lunch then followed by chocolate bars and powdered sweets during swim meets.

4. I placed first in the region in backstroke and also received best swimmer award from the swimming club.

5. My second toe is the longest of all my toes and I have very flat feet. It pained me to think of becoming a ballet dancer.

6. I enjoy listening to folk music.

7. My least favourite colour is Magnolia which is a type of beige or cream. It is also considered to be the least offensive colour in home décor. I guess you can’t please everyone.

Marian Jackson, MDA- is a teacher and a master of decorative arts through the Society of Decorative Painters. She teaches the art of colour pencil painting.

Fat Over Lean - Katherine Kean is a master of light and mood and her clouds just blow me away.

Carol McIntyre - Is a professional artist and I believe she teaches. She has been having so much fun with her blog showing step by step pet portraits. Keep up the fun Carol!

Vickie Martin - is an abstract painter who really knows how to feel it! I enjoy reading her blog and her post on facebook and twitter.

Dianne Poinski - Hand coloured photography and studiojournal. Wow, her photography and work is so breath taking. She also teaches hand coloured photography from her working studio.

Marlis Egger - Textile Artist from Switzerland. Her fine art techniques and printing on fabrics look like fun!

Our Beloved Hills - Betty Hyre , CDA she holds a Certificate of Decorative Art through the Society of Decorative painters. It is my mother’s blog and I do try to help out time to time. It amazes me how she finds time to paint.

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Found Fortune

We sometimes look for advice in some of the funniest places.

They are delivered to us in many ways. Sometimes reaching you in a stylistic form. I prefer my note from the grand old universe of ours encased in a sweetly flavoured cookie.

And even so they are disguised as some sort of vague advice, and think, "Heck with the fortune I’ll have the cookie!" These slips of paper get saved and only to be rediscovered in a wallet search.

It's too tasty to knock the cookie!

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Christmas in July Seminar with Brenda Stewart

Williamsburg, VA was a beautiful setting for the three and a half day homecoming seminar called “Christmas in July” taught by Decorative Artist Brenda Stewart. The two pieces that we painted were Christmas Bells Box,a Winter Landscape painted on a shadow box, and a Santa Gift Wrap / Stick Stand.

Day one was a mid day class that was used for preparation of the wood piece or surfaces and for Brenda to discuss things we would be going through and applying to our painting.

The seminars were intense as the doors to the class room were open at eight in the morning for an hour of catch up. Our classes ran from 9 am to 10 pm. There were breaks for lunch and Dinner. The students were kept busy.

Typically Brenda invites her students into her hone for a cooked meal and a tour around the house. It is a beautiful place in which she displays many of her painted pieces.

Keeping in the spirit of the Colonial Williamsburg, the pineapples played a significant design element in the furniture and decoration within the dinning areas and the doors of their home. Hospitality is important to the Stewarts and the for them, the pineapple reflects this concept.

-Kim Bennett

Saturday, 4 July 2009

FestivALL June 19 - 28th, 2009

Sorry that I haven’t posted lately. I have been sharing a computer with three other people. It took us just over a week to get all four of the computers connected to the internet and the wifi set up.

What I like about visiting the states is that there is one big festival after another. There has been three locally in a few weeks time. My explanation to most of my friends in the UK is it is just another reason to have a party. But, I am sure that the lovely weather has something to do with it too.

One of the first things I did in West Virginia was to visit some of the studios and shops that were participating in the June 19 – 28th FestivALL 2009 in downtown Charleston. This was a celebration showcased many local talents. You can click to view a slide show of the FestivALL 2009 that I found through the Gazette.

This festival was directed by local talent and the host of NPR’s Mountain Stage Larry Groce.

On the morning of the first day a friend and I went into Charleston and had a look around some of the studios that were preparing for the festivities and opening night. Some of the places we visit included some of the studios belonging to the Allied Artist in West Virginia.

While we were in down town Charleston we had a look at the Callen McJunkin Gallery that is now above a fabulous antique store. It was fun looking around the place and interesting to see what some of the local artist were doing.

We also stopped off at Pro-Art to say “Hi” to Jack Trail and his son Tracy who run an independent art shop. I have been going there ever since a child and art student. They are very helpful and knowledgeable when it comes to artist materials. If they don’t have it they will order what you need. I also managed to pick up a few a pieces of Ampersand to try out.

I must say that our first priority was to stop at a bakery that makes specialty breads. Everything looked and smelled delicious. I brought several breads home with me. Everyone’s favourite turned out to be the olive bread and I only got one slice! The large scones went over well and they were light as a feather.

The rest of the day was spent chatting and chilling in the studio. Great end to the day.

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Painting With Wood - Part One

While working on my first wooden marquetry piece, I soon realised that it can share many of the concepts and theory used in painting. They don’t call it painting with wood for nothing.

Marquetry is cutting out individual pieces of veneers from a layout and connecting those pieces together with glue to form an image. Pieces of wood veneer are selected for the colour, interesting effects and grain characteristics. Once the image is assembled it is then glued to a base or structure such as a cabinet or piece of furniture. The piece is then scraped back until the surface feels smooth to the touch. A finish is then applied.

I most certainly have seen value and colour theory used in some of the more elaborate pictorial and advance pieces. I’m not sure if the craftsman was aware of these principals or through experience, intuition or gut feelings, knew what worked best. But, I know, sometimes you can over think these things. If these theories were applied to marquetry, one would have a better understanding of the pictorial and design process.

Before staring a piece, you may ask, what can be done with the materials that are available? Off cuts or left over pieces of veneer even can be used as you can find a place where they can be useful in other places or pieces even.

The Next two things to considered and is essential to the art of marquetry is the grain or defects and the colour of the wood. Colour of wood ranges in colour value (light and dark) and colour temperature (warm and cool. These can be used to help create interest and the illusion of space and distance. Value can also help establish the light and shadow in the composition.

Can the colour wheel be used with wood?

Can a value scale or a value finder be used?
Sure, why not.

"Watching Paint Dry" is a shared Flicker image by the Marquetry Society.

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 15 June 2009

Ready Set Go

Work in Progress, 10" x 10" inches, Kim Bennett

There were a few things that enticed me into the studio on Friday. First was the need to paint second was some new brushes to test and the other was to use some paint left over from a previous painting. This teapot or tea set was started on Friday and it will be one of the two unfinished works that will be travelling with me.

It has been a while since I have had a critique and I am hoping that I will be able to catch up with a couple of friends and ask them what they think about my work. We often critique each other work via e-mail and value each others opinion. This accommodation works very well but admittedly, nothing can replace seeing the work in person.

I was pleased with this painting until Sunday when an image of it was uploaded to the computer. Doing this usually gives me the opportunity to sit back and view a piece with a critical eye. It is similar to the way one would look at their work in the mirror, but the image is not reversed.

I don’t have a mirror in my studio yet. And, I am not suggesting to using the camera in place of the mirror. The mirror is more practical as it is not necessary to step away from your work or the studio and secondly, a photograph can add contrast to the look of the image.

Through this observation and having an objective eye, I am led to believe that the painting is indeed in need of more contrast. This is the opposite of what I had initially set out to do. In fact, I deliberately lowered the intensity of my darks.

Now the looming question, should I add more contrast to the painting or should I start another? Upon the revisit I should have a better understanding of what to do.

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Travel Doodle

Awake on the plane and doodling in 2007.

Strawberries are in season and Wimbledon is probably not that far off. Our strawberries started to bloom in late April. I was out in the gardening yesterday checking them carefully but no luck yet. So it looks as if it will be another summer without indulging in some home grown strawberry goodness. All the more for my hubby Mark.

I will start my travels across the pond on Monday. I have been packing and starting to think about the necessities that are to go with me like a bathing suit, tooth brush and a sketchbook.

The sketchbook has become one of my favourite companions to take on holiday. It has a multipurpose use and comes in handy for this reason. On my journey, it becomes my travel log of keeping track of events. It records sketches of memories or those passing moments and it is my outlet to just doodle.

I have never been a serious sketcher. I am actually more of a doodler. I find it relaxing making swirls and shapes in my sketchbook or travel book. And because doodling doesn’t involve too much thinking it is particularly useful for me to get through that flight and the jet lag. It also passes the time, and has at times helps me to stay awake

Over the weekend I had purchased a new travelbook for my journey. This was just a practical and inexpensive travel book about 9 x 14 cm size with a unfinished soft cover. This is ideal to fit in my back pocket.

Now, I had made my own travel books in the past but thought, why not, would it really hurt to treat myself to one?

Then, I discovered that the company that made the sketchbook have been papermakers since 1584. Now, some may not bat an eye lid to this but, I felt blown away with this extraordinary bit of history. For a brief moment, I was taken away with the thought of people dressed in 16th century attire making paper. I’m glad that I treated myself.

My pen is poised and ready.
Happy travelling.

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 8 June 2009

Patchings Festival - 2009

I received the phone call on Friday to get ready for a journey to the Patchings Art Craft and Design Festival 2009. This was taking place near Robbin Hood country in Nottinghamshire.

The trip to Nottinghamshire was made with my art companion Ann. On the way there I had learned from Ann that the word “shire” (in Britain) means county. An area with the name followed by the word shire is a division of land. Also, “The shire in early days was governed by an ealdorman and in the later Anglo-Saxon period by royal official known as a "shire reeve" or sheriff.” From Wikipedia

When we arrived it was pouring the rain but by the afternoon it was pleasant enough to eat ice-cream at the tables. It was both of ours first time at the Patchings and we did enjoy ourselves.

With the unpredictable British weather, everything is set up inside marquees. There were hands on opportunities to play with the mediums and products. People were there demonstrating and selling their work. There were also other events or workshops running throughout the four days where individuals could attend for a token price of £2.50

The artist and crafter stalls were of quality and there were also exhibitions taking place there as well. Also we had a chance to admire a barn owl who thought he was human.

At closing time we were exhausted. Passing through Sherwood Forest on the way home, we briefly stopped near the Major Oak. According to folklore the Major Oak was used as Robin Hoods Shelter. Ok, it’s old but probably not that old! But even so, it is still a fun place to visit wearing tights.
- Kim Bennett

Related Links
The experience of Patchings was made more special by speaking with artist about their work.
These are some of the artist that could be found demonstrating at their stalls.

Martin Kinnear
Kinnear’s The Studio blog
Helen Parsley -acrylic
Linda Wain - acrylic
Mary Herbert – pastel pencils
David Curtis –watercolour and oil

Friday, 5 June 2009

Faux Madness

Today I wanted to look at and list some other applications of the faux finishes. Some of the techniques that we will be covering in my Magnolia Faux Marquetry class in June will be transferable and useful to you. Let us look at where these skills and finishes can be used and incorporated into a living space.

How can these faux finishes be used in other areas?

Give your wall variation- Accent walls are a hot item right now! The going trend is to paint the wall in the room, skirting boards and the window frames in white or neutral colour. Then choose a wall to place your accent colour. By introducing a colour or even a faux finish you can introduce warmth, textures and interest into your living space.

A faux technique on an accent wall doesn’t have to be an earth tone colour. It can be any colour or your favourite colour. In my living room there is a base coat a neutral cream with a faux of a colour that matches the carpet on top. This has introduced texture and interest in what could be considered a plain room.

Also, accent walls are great for a couple that can’t always agree on colour. Having an accent wall can allow you to introduce something bold and exciting to your wall. For example, my favourite colour is a vibrant orange. Full coverage of orange in a room may be too much for your better half. But having it in small amounts may be okay and liveable for everyone.

Box of Grapes, Acrylic on wood, ©2008 Kim Bennett & Betty Hyre, CDA

Panelling can be exotic- I love the look exotic woods they are so sheik! But how practical are they for both their use and your budget? More expensive woods can be reproduced with faux techniques.

Case in point, I toured an estate last year. When our group entered the room to the main stair case the entire area was panelled in a faux wood finish. I was told that the reason for this was to give a cheaper wood a richer look without the extra cost. They possibly also couldn’t import the wood at the time.

In more modern times, we also find that some of the exotic woods are protected but the look can be reproduced by applying faux painting techniques.

Recycled Desk, acrylic on wood, painted for KVDA Community Service Project 2007

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle- Instead of disposing of old worn furniture why not recycle and rejuvenate them by going green with faux finishing. Above is a piece I had worked on for a fundraiser. It was fast and easy project. The top is a painted white marble the remainder of the desk is a combination of several faux wood techniques.

Canvas Art- Many times I have seen printed canvas in the modern home furniture stores and have thought to myself that this can simply be made with a couple of colours and faux finish techniques. These colours can be soft tint like blue or green which is calming.

By creating you own, you are giving it a personal touch. And again, introduces texture and interest into a room.

Boy these old doors could use some sprucing up- Before embarking on painting you cabinets determine rather if it is worth it. For example, I have good quality oak doors in my kitchen. It would be nice to paint them rather than refinishing or buying new ones. Would I do it? Not a chance.

Yes, it can be a cheaper alternative but ask yourself realistically, is it really worth doing?

Mantels and columns- Make your mantel more interesting by adding rich faux techniques.

Are there other ways of using faux techniques that you would like to share?

- Kim Bennett

Related Post:
Decorative Painting Faux Finishes

Other sites of interest:

Karl-Heinz Meschbach

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Yellow Tea Cup

Yellow Tea Cup, 10" x 10" inches, acrylics on panel/MDF
©2009 Kim Bennett

Here it is! Thank you to everyone for the encouragement to get it finished.

This painting was started by blocking in the colours. The first layer of paint was applied with a palette knife. The paint was then manipulated, pushed with a bristle brush. I also borrowed colour from one place and introducing it in another with the brush. This was a good technique for me as I wanted to keep the painting loose.

This was painted on fibreboard. I am not satisfied painting on this type of surface for a couple of minor reasons. One of which is, I have noticed that the edges can easily be chipped. This is occurring in exposed areas such as the corners. When moisture gets into these areas the fibres expand. I can’t tell you how frustrating it can be when those little misshapen corners are brought to my attention.

At the moment I am trying some alternatives to this surface. I will let you know how it goes.

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 29 May 2009

Started a tea cup

Work in progress 10 x 10" inch Acrylic on panel/MDF

Today, I thought would share a work in progress from my studio.

This week was a start of a routine for me. This was to pay a visit to studio each morning to paint. Even if it is just for a little while.

It is a work in progress so there is still areas of the painting that needs to be resolved. I have gone back and made corrections on the ellipse at the top left of the cup. You can see where I rubbed in some white. This still needs some attending to. I'll have to revisit the body of the cup. At the moment, it as is just the first layer and mapping. There is also a decision to make with the stylized flowers in the background. But, it's coming along nicely.

This teacup was another charity shop find from Pudsey. I was unable to purchase a single yellow cup so I acquired the full set of cups. In this case, painting a stack of cups probably would have been more appropriate. But a single cup can be an exercise for a tight schedule.

Other thoughts about a still life set up came to me this morning as I was walking home from food shopping. This time of year, the gardens are thick with red violet peonies, lupines and small cool pink flowers. I don’t know much about flowers or their names but the warm red violet colours and cool pinks would go well with the yellow.

Seeing all these flowers in passing reminded me that I have some gardening to do. Luckily it is going to be another gorgeous weekend.

-Kim Bennett

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Go out and See More Art

Who knows what else you will enjoy!

View outside the York Art Gallery (York Minster in the background)

Outside the café with two latté’s and a plumb and apple slice. Children chase each other around the fountain on this warm day. What a view! I wonder why the tour buses park here. A man with a walking stick and dog on it's lead sits at a table. I take a photo.

Stack of macaroons in Betty's window

Like Oliver Twist, I peep into the window at Betty's Café.Bathing in a vanilla slice tempts me. Heart shape scones with clotted cream and strawberries amaze me. Checking the queue, I enter the shop. The lady behind the counter tries to sell me a Fat Rascal. I purchase a raspberry and lemon macaroon.

Living statue (Busker) on Stonegate

At the Minster there is a puppeteer show. A bearded man in the small alley plays guitar and there are chalk drawings in the square. A pass a uniformed woman speaking with a man on stilts. I pause for a moment in Stonegate to watch a poised man dressed in purple painting a "moustache better than Dali’s."

These photos were taken on Sunday in York.

What else I got into
Went to the St Ives exhibition at the York Art Gallery
Sunbathed and made daisy-chains in the park
Walked around the York Minster
Shopped in small independent stores

In York art is everywhere.

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

St Ives Artist Exhibit with Alfred Wallis

I have been reading books about Alfred Wallis on and off for a couple of years. By chance, the opportunity came to me this weekend as I was paying a little visit for a morning coffee at the York Art Gallery.

While there for a coffee, I thought to check to see what the current running exhibition was. It was a pleasant surprise, for it to become revealed to me, the artist of St Ives between 1930 and 1970 is on show in their featured gallery. The exhibition includes sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, and abstract paintings by Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, Patrik Heron and others. The earliest works on display is by self taught painter Alfred Wallis.

Alfred Wallis was known as a “primitive” painter. In the mid 1920’s, after the death of his wife, he started painting "for company". Living in poverty he painted with household boat paint and materials at hand. Surfaces such as cardboard and wood were part of his regular supplies. Painting from memory and his knowledge of the St Ives Harbour Wallis’s sense of scale and proportion were very much his own. Due to the perspective and the line of the horizon being lost the paintings have a map-like feel or quality to them .

The selected exhibition from the Arts Council Collection will on view until the 27th of September.

Alfred Wallis works can also be seen at Tate St Ives

Further reading on Alfred Wallis:

Alfred Wallis Cornish Artist & Mariner

June 2009 issue of Artist & Illustrators Magazine features an article written by John Charles Clark called “Paint Like Alfred Wallis” In this, Clark looks at Wallis's life and his appeal and influence on 20th Century British painting.
It may also be useful to mention that the St Ives School of Painting will be running one and three day workshops this summer called In the Footsteps of Alfred Wallis.

External Links and information on Alfred Wallis

Images from the Tate Gallery Collection

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 22 May 2009

Magnolias for 2009!

Recently, someone asked me to explain how I developed the design for the Magnolia Box. It was something they found interesting and asked if I would share it with my class in June. So if you are interested in how the idea evolved, read on.

How did the idea of the design begin?
The design developed, by making connections and rolling with them. You may say that it progressed in a natural course. The hues, or the colours, for the faux wood came to me, before I even considered the subject matter.

I wanted to approach the project by using a lighter range of earth tones. I was drawn to the Raw Sienna tone, which leans toward a warm yellow. First, the idea of choosing Raw Sienna rather than a darker earth colour, like the Umber’s, was an attempt to try something different. Secondly, there was the idea that it would be in keeping with modern wooden furniture, like birch, pine and teak. Well, at least the warm honey teak colour of the 1970’s furniture in my house.

These are approximate colours and may vary depending on your monitor.

Also, my was to incorporate the sheik look of satinwoods. With this in mind, the palette quickly materialized. You may notice that there is a green in the designs colour swatches. Originally, I wanted to feature green in my design. But, by some good fortune, I acquired an older supplement from The Marquetarian Newsletter. It listed colour references for veneers. Looking at this reference I discovered that magnolia was one of the recommended veneers for green.

By a stroke of luck or chance, it was April and magnolias were in full bloom. And, that is how the idea came to be, by making connections and rolling with them. Magnolias for 2009!

- Kim Bennett

Friday, 15 May 2009

Magnolia Box in June

Magnolia Box, faux marquetry, 9" x 13" x 4 7/8", acrylics on wood
©2009 Kim Bennett

I have several painting on the go. Things have been going great in the studio. I started on a cityscape and made the final touches to the faux marqutery box for the class in June. It is nice to work the right side of the brain again!

The faux wood box is a magnolia design that I have put together for the KVDA members in Charleston, West Virginia. Along with the box, we will also reproduce some early graining techniques with 20th century materials. Non-toxic Traditions Acrylic paints and mediums will be used to create the faux finishes.

There is no need for any specialty brushes for this class. We will use a variety of bristle brushes that are readily available at hardware and art supply stores. We will also be making graining effects with materials that you can find on hand or lying around the house. These can be stored in a album that can be taken home.

Prepare to get messy!

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 11 May 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

It is Monday evening. I have already travelled to Stockbridge and back and had a little snooze at home.

As mentioned in my previous blog post. The past few months have been a little busy with commitments that have involved writing. In the past couple of weeks, I felt that all of my words have been used up and I was getting nowhere. I tried to get going again with things such as long walks, cleaning the studio and house, making several "to do" list, research, and etc. This was not enough.

Yes, motivational remedies are still useful but it is time to focus my attention somewhere else.

I accepted during weekend that I was burnt out and in need of some studio therapy. It is time to lay down the pen and pick up the brush. Time to reconnect with the studio… even if was just for a little while or long enough to get my thoughts in line.

The plan is for:

Sketchbooks- Before doing anything else, I would like to spend some time in the morning working in my sketchbook. Trying to do three sketches or doodles a day. This will be before brush my teeth, wash my face or check e-mail. Well maybe I'll brush my teeth but it could be something that I would do during breakfast.

It will be nice if this can help me get in a creative mode for the rest of the day. Hopefully it will act as long term therapy for the days when getting in the studio is not possible.

Studio Therapy- Immerse myself in the flow of the studio for a few days. The studio is a happy place for me.

So the next few days will be spent enjoying time in the Studio.
Wish me luck!

- Kim Bennett

Here are some interesting links that I discovered this week.

Caroline Roberts writes How Can I Find Time to Create?

Michael Nobbs started a discussion last week asking other artist how they stay focus? In this weeks blog post, Staying Focus Michael shares with his readers a talk from TED.com about creativity and flow.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Happy Mothers Day

The past few months have been spent outside the studio. Instead, I have been busy writing instructions and newsletters. As the instructions for my next class is being prepared, I have momentarily set aside another project. That project consists of 22 pages and growing. Also one of the local clubs newsletter has been completed and the next issue will be due in June.

Blessed are all those women who write instructions. Not just painting instructions but needlework, recipes and anything that helps us or adds a little pleasure to our lives.

Now, as my pen runs dry, the computer creeps and the monitor has become a little temperamental. I am left with a trusty laptop. This is not the best of arrangements but it will have to do.

On this day, I would like to wish a Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers in the world and a Happy Birthday to everyone who is celebrating their day of birth. I would also like to send love to my mother. She was able to forgive me for forgetting to send her a card on time.

Enjoy this time because you are amazing!

-Kim Bennett

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Book On Reflections Brings Back Reflections

My art books are my bedside books. Very few of them ever reach the coffee table.

The past six months have been very good to me in receiving art books. They are either piled up on my special “get to” shelf or stacked somewhere near my reading place.

Yesterday a fresh unopened art book arrived in the post. This was from a good friend who knows my soft spot for water reflections in paintings. The book that arrived to me was Reflections of Nature: Paintings by Joseph Raffael written by Donald Kuspit and Amei Wallach.

Just to give you a little insight to myself and interest with the reflections of water.

As an art student at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. I took several painting classes in a studio setting under the direction of Stanley Sporny. He had a different take on colour and approach to painting. And a solid practice on learning to see and the observation of form.

While I was studying, Stan was exploring his Water Series in small studies in his studio. There were multiple elements he wanted to apply in building these painting. It is interesting to see his work after ten years. I think that they were a success from what he had set out to do.

Stanley's last show River Series was located at the Callen McJunkin Gallery in Charleston, WV.
He passed away in October 2008.
Remembering Stanley Sporny

Briefly looking this book and on first impressions. The first paragraph, located in the main text, sums it up for me. This is what I would like to see more of.

“When Joseph Raffael paints water, he paints light and movement. The light is transparent, it glitters, it moves as the water moves. There is a great deal of slippage in this light. It loses itself in the depth and reflects off the surface. The surface appears gelatinous, seems to slide, submerge, to surf the light...

I could only surmise how much of a challenge these water paintings were to create. They are visually challenging. Yet, there is a calming energy about them. They show what an artist can do.

If anyone has read this book, I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Going On a Summer Holiday

Well bank holiday has just past us by and now I actually have a little time to write. I became a year older this weekend. It was a good one and thank you to all my friends for the party atmosphere on one of the social networking places. It really meant so much to me.

In five weeks time, I will be on a long summer vacation back at my native homeland in West Virginia. My room is booked at Ma and Pa’s house and just about everything is ready to go. There is not much to pack as everything that I will need will be waiting for me there.

Still, there are a few more things that I need to get ready for including the class I will be teaching during June for the KVDA Chapter in Charleston, West Virginia.

During the past couple of summers, I had volunteered and dedicated my time to paint faux marquetry projects for community service and fundraisers for the chapter. This year, they asked if I would teach a class in faux wood finishes.

I will be teaching a faux marquetry piece featuring a magnolia design. Along with this, the class will be given an album to hold other faux finishes that we will work on.

It will be lovely meeting up and getting back together with everyone. Will see you soon!

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 4 May 2009

Lesson 6: Combat the Uglies

Today's lesson for the Blog Triage class was to make a couple of changes to our blog so it would have more of a visual impact. These are a before and after pictures from one of my post. Before is located on the left and After is on located on the right.

Here are some noticiable changes to the blog.

Font: The font in most of the post, title and side bar has been changed from Times New Roman to Arial. Arial is one of my fonts of choice and as we learned today, it is easier to the eyes. I discovered make Arial into a default text. Hooray… no more forgetfulness of having Times when what I really want is Arial.

The Header: I couldn't tell what the font was originally in the header. I can only tell you that it has changed to Georgia.

Font size: The font size to the post text has also been made larger so it is easier to read. I was able to increase the font size in the settings. So it is still normal but looks larger.

Photograph at the top of this post has been increased in size. An extra photo had been added lower down the post. Another photo has been changed in a previous post.

Colour change to the header, title and links.
The header has been changed from light grey to black.
The titles were originally orange but are now black.
The links The link colour was a little bit of a problem for me as the paler blue links made the difficult to distinguish from the text. And now they are one of my favourite colours.

Another alteration that has been made is trying to have some sort of consistency of labelling artwork throughout the blog.

It looks much better!

Over all I am pleased with the changes but will have to return to it with some changes at a later date. There are still a few more tweaks I would like to do such as add a few more photos to a post and work on developing a header.

Thanks for Alyson's advice. There has been so much improvement to it all ready.

Kim Bennett

Sunday, 3 May 2009

A Kreativ Blog Award!

Hurray! Smiles to go all around! I received my first blog award!

Laure Ferlita
has graced me with the Kreative Blogger award.

I have had a wonderful time looking through Laure’s blog Painted Thoughts. She is also in the process of starting a Painted Thoughts Sales Blog which will eventually house her painted works for sale. Best of luck on your new blog venture Laure!

Here are my 7 things I love in no particular order.

Cool wind on a warm summer night

Wading in the creek

Smell of fresh air in the morning

Creativity! Is there anything better?

My family and friends and a jolly cat named Spatz.

I love listening to music with my brother Mark. It just sounds so much better when he is there.

My one pair of woolly socks to keep me warm.

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 1 May 2009

Wounded Blog in Need of Help.

I got myself a prescription and enrolled in the 4-week course Blog Triage course with Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield.

The first part of the lesson is to describe the people I want to visit and read my blog. The second part is to describe what kind of change and growth I would like to experience through blogging.

My blog serves or is going to as an outlet to share things that I am unable to cover in class and connect with other artists. I also wish to share my own experiences and insights that I encounter while painting. And let’s have some fun too!

So artist, student, art appreciators, lovers, patrons, family, friend’s and anyone else that I have forgot to mention. Learn and share this journey with me!

-Kim Bennett

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Relax and Enjoy the Process

Still Life With Melon, 6 x 12 inches (15.24 x 30.48 cm), Acrylic on MDF
2009 Kim Bennett

In February 2009, I was working on a painting that was to be entered in an exhibition. The challenge was, to select a painting from a list of master artist and do our own interpretation of it. I selected a still life from the impressionist painter Monet.

In doing so, several attempts were made on the same surface. When things were not going well, I sanded the work back to the essentials. But, each time they were nearing completion. Why did I do this? The painting was just not working for me. The decision of how to approach the painting kept changing. I now realize that if I treated each attempt separately, I would now have a progression of studies or even sketches to look back on and use as a learning tool.

As the deadline neared the painting had to be finished. It also occurred to me that I could have completed several paintings in the time it took me to produce the final piece. By treating each painting individually I would have had three or four pieces to select from, and not be forced to send in the only completed piece.

During this time, while looking through paintings by Monet, I noticed he often produced several versions of the same study. One example would be “The Façade of the Rouen Cathedral” (1892 – 1894). What he did was to take things beyond. He produced more than 30 works of this cathedral on canvas. Each was created independently and simultaneously. As the weather and the seasons started to change the paintings of the works created varied in the use of light, atmosphere, mood, etc. You will be able to find some examples of the painting here: http://www.learn.columbia.edu/monet/swf/

Yes, we learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we can get so caught up in producing the one painting it can become an unhealthy exercise. When we struggle in our search for perfection we can loose sight to what is important. Just relax and enjoy the process.

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Emphasise Everything and You Have Emphasise Nothing

I was thinking today of some words from a teacher that I had studied under at Marshall University. Sporny said, “If you emphasise everything you have emphasised nothing.” He was referring to an overworked canvas but is this not a lesson we can also bring into our lives?

I am still developing as an artist and often referred to as the “thirty something” range. Anyway, I enjoy the process and the challenges I face as a painter. It is what motivates me in the studio. I love learning and this is what gets me passionate about going in the studio.

Well, this morning I busy working at a project for a class. While doing so, I was thinking about the mountain of concepts or theory that there is to learn in landscape painting. I was feeling good! And then suddenly I stopped and found myself listening to an echo or a voice from inside my head telling me “If you emphasise everything you have emphasised nothing.”

As I was trying to rationalise this, I thought, okay, how much is there to learn about painting? The reality was more than I would have time for in this lifetime. So, for the first time in my life, I thought to myself that just maybe it would be great idea to have a focus and work on a series of paintings.

I suppose I could have just ignored the thought, but maybe I have spent long enough feeling my way around and trying out different things. Maybe it is the time for me to make that commitment to give my work a focus. Just maybe, it is time for me to grow with my art.

-Kim Bennett

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Recollection of a Blueberry

Huckleberries at Dolly Sods, photographed by Gene Hyre

I had ran across this this photograph while looking for references for a landscape painting. I had been looking for it to show someone but it had been stashed away somewhere in my e-mails. This photo was taken by my Dad.

I used to go blueberry picking with my Grandfather on Bear Rock Preserve the top of Dolly Sods in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. That was many years ago and yes, you can say I found my thrill on blueberry hill. Although, some family insist that they are huckleberries.

It has been a long while since I have eaten a blueberry or even looked at a blueberry. This is because, I can't bring myself to pay for something in the shop that I used to pick for free. For me, it is a crime to see them in a package with a heavy price tag on them.

In all seriousness, I found it interesting that my recollection of a blueberry was different from actual observation of a blueberry.

My recollection of a blueberry :
My first thought is the colour blue and the powdery colour on the outside of the blueberry's smooth soft skin. When putting them to my lips, I would imagine the comparison to the softest skin. Would it be as soft as a baby's bottom or perhaps my grandmother would have soft skin like a blueberry.

I always found it fascinating that I could rub the blueberry and the powdery colour would remain.

Still on the colour As my eye travels around the blueberry I expect as I look into the crown and I would see the inside of the blueberry. For small blueberries, the colour deepens or the value becomes darker as I look down into the crown almost but not quiet a black hole. The crown looks perfect for a small pool of milk.

I loved that red violet colour that your fingers get stained with when you pick blueberries. Yum!

I ate all of them one at a time!

Well, that was the memories... I won't bore you with the details.

It was the best place to go for blue berries. What a view!

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Study - Landscape for Faux Marquetry Box

Study, 8 x 10 inches ( 20.32 x 25.4 cm ), Acrylic on Canvas Board
2009 Kim Bennett

I am in the process of doing a Faux marquetry box and wanted to place a landscape on the top of the lid. This is my first attempt in the process. I wanted to keep it simple, mysterious with a classical appearance.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Organize Research and Reference Material

Majority of artists and designers keep a collection of ideas and reference materials for possible future use in tangible forms such as newspaper articles, clippings from magazines, etc. These references are stored away in what is usually called a morgue file.

Morgue files can hold inspiration or whatever content you choose which get those creative juices flowing. They may contain colour references, backgrounds, subject matter or even compositional ideas. They can also hold things that make you happy or whatever your eye is attracted to. The possibilities and spectrum of reference material is endless.

Reference materials should be organised and stored in a way that works best for you; folders, sketchbooks, box or hanging files, even digitally. A folder with plastic inserts or sleeves is probably the easiest to start with. Just a word of advice to you, make some notes to yourself, next to, even on or the back of the clipping. Write down what it was that you liked or why it was added to the file. Post-it-notes are handy and highlighter pens may also be useful. Notes you make to yourself will help refresh your memory when looking through the entries at a later date.

If by any chance, you would like to start smaller or even minimize ideas into a little snapshots, then why not try a small photo album? You can purchase small photo albums with space for writing memos next to the insert pocket.

While we are on the subject of photo albums, I would like to recommend to you,see through photo album. I have just purchased five to organize my ideas by subject. These are the frosted (translucent) cover with clear inside pockets. I find these are excellent as immediately you can see what is inside them.

You can also consider a flat plastic and handy brag book album, that fits into your either your man or hand bag. Pop a picture or a photo in the front cover of album to show what it contains inside. These are handy when storing photos in a folder alongside current research material that you may be using.

Collect, store, and record your ideas in a sketchbook journal! Everyone should have and carry a sketchbook or journal even if it is something informal.

Last but not least, another approach is maintaining a digital morgue. In essence, bookmarking websites is a way of adding ideas into a morgue. Flicker and Picasa web albums are also a way to keep track of your reference photos. These can either be shared publicly or privately with a password protection. And the neat thing is, as long as there is a way to access the internet you can pull up your photos wherever you may be.

Remember... The idea is to keep a morgue organized and accessible. Clear out and sort through your files at least once a year. Designate a time for you to do this such as in the New Year or during annual spring cleaning.

Best of Luck!
- Kim Bennett

Monday, 2 March 2009

Just Another Quick Study

OK... this is an unfinished study but thought I would show this to you before adding the final touches. During the time, I was more concerned with the skin around the eye area but planning to adjust the eye when the final section is added.

The past few weeks, I have been reading up on a method or technique used by some portrait artist's. It is an imprimatura layer of Raw Umber, an underpainting or deadlayer with Titanium White and then layering of colour on top.

It was an interesting technique and hopefully I will have the chance to work with it again.

Eye Study is 4 X 4 inches ( 10.16 x 10.16cm )
Acrylic on Watercolour paper
2009 Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dutch shoes used to be made in a factory machine, until it got clogged up.