Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to positive changes in 2009!

"New Year's Toast" 2.5"x3.5" watercolor
I had it planned to post this toast with my DSDF portrait piece but I haven't had any sleep because we had to take Mom to the airport at 3AM. And you know what happens when you lack sleep, your normal seconds stretch to minutes or hours lol But I actually sketched out the portrait by 8AM thinking finishing it would be a piece o' cake...well I can't open the bottle of Liquin - DOH! >_< How do you force open a glass bottle without breaking it? It's not like the can of Turpenoid that eventually punched a whole in because I couldn't take the cap off it WAH! Tips would be welcome for uncapping those stubborn push-and-turn caps.

I sold my "Teacups and Roses" 14"x37" pastel to my dearest Red because she wanted to surprise her Momma who expressed how much she liked the piece when she saw in the pastel exhibit. Here is a closer shot than the previous images I posted. Blowing you a kiss Red - MUAH!

Catch y'all next year ;)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from ArtByErika :)

I am having a lovely Christmas Season with my Mom visiting from California. I am also especially pleased that I finished all my commissions, even the big one I finished last night that's not due until next week. It's a private piece I'm not allowed to share though :) I feel as if I hadn't taken a breath until I knew this last piece was done lol! Now I can spend a whole week with nothing dangling in the back of my mind to hold me back for some quality time with family!

While I was furiously finishing my last piece, we were surprised by carolers! My dermatologist and the rest of his 20-member family and a box of homemade goods! I wish I could have joined them and singing to the rest of the neighborhood but I needed to keep working. I felt like a Scrooge.

I hope all my blog friends are feeling fulfilled and whole as I am. I wish you all the best that the season can offer. Please know I appreciate the time you've given me by reading up on me even if you don't comment hahaha! Each of you is a beautiful gift in my life xox

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mommy Baby Dog commission oil portrait done!

"J&H" 8"x10" oil on canvas
I call that part of the chest where loved ones feel they belong perfectly a personal parking space :) I rarely do a commission where I don't have the need to modify the poses before I paint it. Most of the time I have to combine at least 3 photos so the composition doesn't look like a collage when I paint it. **Dec.22, 2008 I've updated this image with the scanned version. Hope you like :)
"Zoey" oil on canvas
Incidentally, same client owns this portrait of sweet Snoot Girl Zoey who sadly passed away recently. This painting is from 2000 I think. I've seen this painting hanging on every wall H moves to and I see the images on the Internet, it's so cool so to see my art continued to be enjoyed through the years :)

At this point I feel good about meeting my professional deadlines and now I can do some personal art except there's a big piece I need to finish by end of the month and it's a private piece I can't share others. So if it seems I'm even more scarce online it's because of the holidays and that piece.

It's been brought to my attention that some people post comments and they disappear :( I'm so sorry to hear this - I DON'T DELETE comments unless it's completely offensive, and in which case I contact the poster and ask for their address so I can personally run over their toes. Please don't let the website's occasional burps discourage you from posting. I love comments and am always grateful for the time people take to make their thoughts known to me. :)

**update on commission: She cried! I'm so mean! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DSDF 15-16 Watercolor Boots Oscar Myers

"My Winter Thoughts" 5.5x8.5 watercolors
Sung to the tune of the Oscar Myers jingle:
"Oh I wish we had a California winter
'cuz Arkansas just gets too cold for me!
My feet get cold and only Ugg shoewear keep them warm,
And those datburn things just do not come for free!" *curtsy* :)

Well we had our official snow scene yesterday and it was also a wet chill in my bones, I don't like it I don't like it WAH! Thankfully I have Karin Jurick's photo to vent out my WAH-WAH thoughts :) Please visit DSDF week 15-16 when you get a chance ;)

I haven't touched the Mommy Baby portrait but spent a little time with Mom. It's also officially Christmas in our heads since Mom has plugged in the fiber optic 4-ft tree LOL! The owners of Sandy and Domino's portrait picked it up yesterday and were very wowed so that that of course warms the cockles of my heart :) (But not me feet and hands hahahaha!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Van Gogh, Betty and Baby Mom oil portrait WIP

I had to share that today Mom and I went to the car shop to get my wheelchair tire changed lol! The local wheelchair repair guy couldn't get the stripped stainless steel bolt out about 10 months ago. He was at it for almost 2 hours while I was being charged $45/hr so I had him stop then and let me take the new tire home. But hubby couldn't get the bolt out either. So today we just went for last resort because the old tire was more bald than Savalas. And while we were there we had the van get some love too for some lube and oil. Incidentally they are lovingly referred to as Betty and Van Gogh, right Red?
I was really hoping to get this piece done by now since it's fairly simple and small at 8x10. But I think Mom is getting restless and she was literally cleaning and bumping around me today while I painted so I had to stop and play Scrabble with her. I think the painting is looking so sweet in more ways than one. Sweet in that it's a sweet shot and sweet for artists who just melt when they feel they are hitting the right colors and the feeling they envisioned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby and Mom oil portrait

I got final approval for Sandy and Domino and while I was waiting for that email, I went ahead and drew my next one which I've quickly under painted today. A new baby and his momma, 8x10 oil. This will go to Chicago.

Hillary asked me what I meant by final approval and/my process for commissions. First, here are my 6-yr old commission prices. I haven't read it in a while but I guess since I wrote it I agree with it lol!

Anyway I divide the process in 3-4 stages. First, the client "retains" me which to me means, I save a slot in my waiting list for this client for 1/4 or 1/3 of the final fee which is based on size and how complicated the piece will be. This retainer fee is unrefundable because it means their turn is guaranteed and I possibly researched and bought materials for it already. In all likelihood, I was already painting it in my head before I finished the previous piece.

Next I draw the art and get approval for the composition and maybe the likeness too. Then I block in colors and again I get approval for the colors and the look. Somewhere there the next payment is secured. Final payment is sent when the piece is about 95% or more done.

And here is the just about done version of Sandy and Domino, I just need to paint the edges of the canvas :)

I apologize for not visiting my usual rounds. I'm on the roll and sorta don't want to break the groove ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chihuahua oil pet portrait update and wii

Update on Sandy and Domino. Got 100% approval from client on this stage so I will now take it to the finish. However I've decided I will go ahead and lengthen Domin's left leg because it bothers me. She has it pulled in closer to her in the photo but nobody will see the photo so she looks a little odd this way. So I will just give it a little more even look, don't you think? Man will they ever be surprised with the finished product. Most clients don't really know how much better the final look will be and they're basically approving the artwork about 2/3 into it teehee :)

Yes, running behind. We ended up cleaning the house for two days because we don't have a housekeeper. Working from home can really create a mess. And usually one can tell I'm busy with art when the house looks like a war zone, I'm not kidding at all!!! Thank goodness hubby dear is game about helping me clean.

And MOM IS HERE! So I now get daily massages ooooohhhh sooo nice! And you can be proud of me that although Mom, Pops and my sister got us wii sports and fitness bundle for Christmas, and it's now hooked up, I haven't let myself get addicted yet because of the commissions lol But I played tennis, bowled and got strikes 4x in a row, gooofed around golfing, but knocked out my opponent on the 5th round (yes, better than Paquiao) -- all in one night! It was sooo bad for my rotator cuff problem so I'll await Mario Kart which cousin Ed ordered for me, so I can drive. Thanks to Theresa for raging about wii on her blog, I decided it was another active activity hubby and I can do together. So far he LOVES it and has played tennis daily! Believe me, he needs to be pried away from work badly!

Hope your holiday season is cheerful so far!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pet portrait in oils in progress #1

Here are Sandy and Domino looking a mess in their initial state. This is 20x16x1.5 oil on canvas. Now hubby and I must begin cleaning the house in anticipation of Mom's arrival on Sunday.

Final and approved oil portrait + Leap of Faith

(remember to click images to enlarge)
"D&M" 11x14 commission oil portrait on canvas
I love love love how this portrait fell together. The photo of the hubby was nice and clear to work from. But the one for M posed a bit of a challenge because though they are good looking people, they just have limited pics of themselves! And I'm such a sucker for love stories and couldn't wait to do this portrait. They've been sweethearts since teens and now successfully married and just attended their eldest daughter's wedding. She found me on Etsy! She originally hired me to do a portrait of her hubby for their anniversary until he found out and was sad that she wasn't going to be painted too. So there ya go, we have, as we do in real life, D&M together forever! And truly is one of the best clients I've ever met. She saw the email and responded SHE LOVES IT and the final payment is in the mail YAY! And this painting is off to Michigan! Hmm there's here left ear peeking twixt her hair which shows fleshy unlike the photo so I don't know what happened there...

Alice Thompson asked me to post old work and open them up for discussion. Ok it's dark and I've stopped painting for now so I can play a little. I've chosen a series I did right before I moved to Arkansas in 2004. It all started with one painting for a show that EBSQ called "Cirque". After painting the first one, I enjoyed playing with the colors so much that I eventually ended up painting 3! Each one 18'x24" on canvas. The first and last were acrylics; the 2nd in oils. They were originally titled "Cirque 1 -3" lol But after I saw them together, they became the "Leap of Faith" series. Unintentionally, each piece progressively told a story. The first one was tethered like the cirque du soleil performers. The 2nd piece, looks like she went and jumped off with the ball. And the third looks like she has finally mastered the leap and was actually able to float gracefully. All these have sold! This year I sold and shipped the last and my favorite of the three painting #2 to Australia to one of my Ebay buyers who saw the painting in my website :) Man was that a learning experience to send a big flat package there! Incidentally, each was especially composed from my fuzzy head; none was based on a specific photo. The first was inspired by someone's Halloween costume, the second one I completely concocted the figure and the background inspired by a ceiling of a building in Cuba, the last one was inspired by a buddhist tent at an annual food bash they hold annually in Sacramento. :) What a triumphant series to be able to sell pieces I made all up in my head. They really made me feel like the artist I want to be when I grow up!

Chop chop, I'm in the middle of painting Sandy and Domino now!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oil portrait commission and

update #3 on this oil portrait commission
I've been working on a few portrait commissions for the last stretch of the holiday season. I was hoping to be done this week in time for my Mom's arrival on Sunday but I don't think it will work in my favor as I have 5 more to go!!!! I might be able to finish three this week and one next week but the big one I have until end of December. For some reason my brain knows exactly when my deadline is so the rest of my body will find all kinds of obstacles so I only have but a small window to meet my deadlines. Do any of my artist friends know what I mean, I wonder?

I had a lovely Thanksgiving I hope you all did too! I got full too fast for my liking so I didn't get more than 3 slices of turkey at my SIL's. So yesterday I roasted our own turkey :) In fact I roasted just the turkey body (is there a more proper way to say that?), as in no limbs. And I think that's the way to go for us because neither one likes the dark meat. We also met for the first time our first grand niece, little Ava Elise, who is every bit as pretty as her name! I'm sure to paint her at some point and I will share it with you.

I LOVE how my grandma's book turned out!!!!!!! Excellent quality I completely endorse photobooks! I know my Mom will SO CRY, she will be all weepy at Christmas Eve when I give this to her mwuahahahahaha! I got her 3 books so she can give copies to a couple of her sisters. She has 4 sisters but these books aren't cheap.... in fact I will get myself a copy later. But I made another book which is about portraits I've done. (the title is "My Favorite Portraits"). I wanted to try the book with dust jacket for one thing. But I prefer the hard cover. The jacket will fall apart faster than the cover which doesn't have anything written on it. On the cover is the 3"x4" oil portrait I did of my Mom which printed beautifully even as a bigger version of the original. Ok I must go back to painting!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DSDF 12-13 Buddha Chakras 1st Christmas!

Buddha oil painting
"Buddha Morning" 10x10 oil on canvas

I am so glad I did this week's DSDF in oils. It's so juicy so I used one of my special 10x10x2 gallery wrapped canvas. It was very odd to paint this and the scary news from India was first thing I heard when I turned on the TV (I like noise in the background). My prayers to all affected.

Buuzzzy beeesy busy! Getting ready for Thanksgiving at my sis-in-law, she and hubby give the best Thanksgiving bash! I'm bringing Browned Butter Squash and cut veggies and dip.

Tomorrow we meet the newest addition to my husband's family, a grand niece. So I've been busy making some gifts for them and my sis-in-law first Christmas ornaments (different photos when you turn the ornaments) . This was my genius idea so I'm glad it worked yippeee!

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I was so surprised to receive an overnight FedEx box and opened it with these contents! I couldn't figure out who sent it as it didn't have any note. I called family members but it wasn't any of them. Finally I called the shop where it came from and with some coercing I found out it's one of my regular portrait customers who read on my blog that I've been very sickly this year so he sent me these!!!! I didn't ask how much it was but the gal on the phone said it was a substantial gift. GOSHHH that's just the sweetest thing! Umm I have to install a software, and open the DVD and plug in the finger things and connect them to my fingers..... I'm game!

So I'd like to take this moment to let you all know how thankful I am for your continued support of my blog. I appreciate the friendship and companionship I've received from you all and for all the things you've been so willing to share in your blogs! xoxoxoxox

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and if you're not celebrating the event, please know I am thankful for you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

NFAC Bunny Got (Christmas) Tree ACEO

"Bunny Got (Christmas) Tree" ACEO
This jolly folk art bunny is my lovely entry for the NFAC (NibbleFest Art Contest). I think he may have come out of my holiday spirit hahaha! This month's theme is "Christmas Tree".

This reproduction is based on a painting I did on some folk art I see around my area, so you might say it's a product of my environment. I did a series of Bunny which still cracks me up today so I might just decide to revive him and his happy personality :)

This item, as the rest of the NFAC listings start at 99 cents.

My other Bunny Art (not included in this auction)

"Bunny's First Christmas", "Mz Bunny Got Pet", "Bunny Got Snow" and "Mz Bunny Got Baby" (as always, click image to view bigger version)

Monday, November 17, 2008

DSDF #11 Upside Down Walker Lola Snapfish photo book

"Upside Down Walker" 7x10 watercolor
Oh my, this week's challenge is pretty challenging. I laughed to myself when I turned my painting upright and I was a bit disoriented that the woman was facing the opposite direction from when I was painting her LOL! Ok, maybe you can understand more what I'm talking about when you visit this week's Different Strokes by Different Folks, a blog hosted by Karin Jurick.

I need to note that I've determined an additional benefit I've inherited from Charles Reid when I took his workshop. His painting technique has allowed me to not discriminate against most papers. In fact, I haven't encountered a watercolor paper that I can't paint well enough on. This paper is Portofino Aquarello Cartiera Magnani. I didn't like this paper when I used it the first time. The paper wasn't letting me get crisp edges; I guess not enough sizing. But I am perfectly happy this time around.

One of my favorite things to multi-task with is listening to Oprah's show. I've often wished I was in her studio for her Favorite Things because I love love gadgets and anything free! Well recently they have actually been extending the freebies to their TV audience. Last week it was a free photo book from Incidentally the offer is still active until November 22 and if you'd like to me to get 20 4x6 prints for referring you, give me your email so I can send you an invite. By opening an account you will also get free 20 prints. Anyway, it turns out the book which is worth $29.99 is only for 20 pages. Well my book is 44 pages long! It's a book on my very missed and departed sweet 97 year old grandma who I lost last year, I call her Lola because that means grandma in the Filipino language. Gosh, she was a girlfriend more than a grandma to me and yes, she was tons of fun and very wise. Always a joy to have around and very independent up to the end. So here are som excerpts from my book. I can't wait!!! It's my Christmas gift to my Mom and I dedicated it to her :) 98% of the photos were my photography.

The cover

Page 1 (Mom, Lola and me)
Pages 6 and 7
Pages 15-16
I put limited text. I think the images will speak for themselves and will always populate so much more memory than numerous statements I can make. I am so so thankful for the first digital camera Mom bought me in late 90s. I'm so glad I don't let people discourage me for taking more pictures than they think is sufficient or let them make me put the camera away. All I can say to those people is NA-NA-NA-NA-NA and a raspberry on top pppffffftthhhh!

TAGGED ACK! *Since I'm new to Blogspot I will do this once :) ***

I've been tagged by the lovely Theresa Rankin! This is a really fun way to get to know your blogger friends in art! The rules of this great game are:-
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Here is the list of 7 things about me, like it or not here we go!

1. I marvel at the realization that my manual wheelchair which I use for traveling (otherwise I use a motorized one daily), has been to Japan, Europe, Canada, Philippines, New York, New Mexico, Michigan, Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, all over California, New Jersey, Boston, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Colorado, etc.

2. I am attached to my digital camera. When eating out, I tend to take photos of my food before eating "just in case" I decide to paint it!

3. I came to the US when I was 17 having only finished 5th grade. After testing the San Francisco Dept of Educ. put me in 10th grade. I guess I was still advanced because when some teachers had to be away, they asked me to take over the classes. I lived in constant stress, it was too much for this little Filipino girl in a wheelchair GAH! HAHAHA I quickly grew more Westernized and they left me alone! BWAHAHAHA!

4. I auditioned as actress at the Paramount Studios when I was a high school senior. It determined whether I took my Art scholarship or pursue showbiz instead. Well I went to college hahaha!

5. The Paramount Studio audition didn't get me an acting job but Anson Williams or Potsie on Happy Days liked my singing and got me a gig. I represented Paramount Studios.

6. My dad was a famous movie director in the Philippines and he featured me in 2 movies: first when I was 7 years old and 2nd, I was 11. I had long dialogues and I sang while crying. Amazing how inhibition creeps in as one matures.

7. I've spent this whole year without any direction for my art. I am mainly focusing on commissions while I wait for my calling again.

I am boldly tagging these artist friends!!!

1. Alice Thompson
2. Hillary Millery
3. Akiko Watanabe
4. Caren Goodrich
5. Kathy Jurek
6. Truly Younts
7. Deborah Ross

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heart Glow watercolor ornaments

"Heart Glow" 6x6 inches watercolor
I did this for a challenge in my critique group that meets monthly and also for my WNW watercolor group. The project was to take a still life composition and cut it in squares, rearrange it for a more abstract composition and paint it. The theme is Christmas. Of course I added a representational object on top because I had a feeling sticking to the challenge was going to drive me insane. In fact, this is really 8x10 format and I cropped it heehee Well I love red, I love glass art and I love SOME heart-shaped things, so there you go.

8x10 version. see how it's better to crop it? ... or not?

I met this challenge despite my stomach issues since Saturday but I just am not going to be able to pull off this week's DSDF but y'all might go visit them as they always have cool art to see!

Last Thursday was finally the 5x5 show fundraiser for the local art center. Both my contributions were bought. Last I looked my Obama portrait had way more silent bids than McCain. I wonder if they ended up with one person. It's always a blast. So well attended and all the 5x5x1.5 inches canvases are lined up at eye level on all the walls of the lobby. At the beginning of the evening all I see are butts as shown here. But at the end after they call the closing bids and folks sales people have taken down the sold pieces I finally get to enjoy a more artistic view lol I can't imagine guessing the number of submissions... 300-400? There have been more in previews years I think. This was my 3rd year donating art and 2nd attendance.

Thankfully, the spread is always healthy and constantly replenished!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Bless America! DSDF #10

Erika Nelson's Dawn at the Capitol"New Dawn at the Capitol" watercolor
This is week #10 challenge for Different Strokes by Different Folks, a blog kindly hosted by talented Karin Jurick.

I wanted to depict current season at the Capitol on this important and historical election day. Please go vote and be a part of change!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Alabama Cow and Fall pic

Different Stroke by Different FOlks #8"Sunny Alabama Cow" 8x5 watercolor
I really wanted to paint Karin Jurick's Alabama Cow for her DSDF week 8 challenge but I never found the momentum so watercolor was the quickest. Anyway I'm pleased to have painted this beautiful cow! You know we pass many cows when we drive around some lingering farm areas in Northwest Arkansas but I guess my California eyes have never really had the pleasure of observing how CUTE they can look! She actually looks like the cows they portray in Disney cartoons LOL!

Well it seems I was hardly home this week and I'm feeling a little sorrowful about that because I need to be still and paint at home but my schedule to cover the gallery has been a bit off so I'm having to do more days than usual. I also attended a couple museum events. One of them was a calendar signing day where I met many local Arkansas artists I admire and also meeting the First Lady of Arkansas Mrs. Ginger Beebe! She is so petite and very nice, I enjoyed meeting her very much :)

Fall by Erika NelsonPart of the joy of traveling around town was enjoying the fall show of the Ozarks and I must say, this has not been a bad season for colors at all!

Don't forget to turn your clocks back Sunday morning! Cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Double Oil Portrait Commission WIP#1

Here's a current commission I can share with you in progress with permission from my client since her hubby already knows of this anniversary gift. In fact, she just wanted a portrait of him, but when he found out, it made him sad that she was not going to be in the portrait, sweet huh? They look like a Hollywood teen couple, I told her she reminds me of Lindsay Lohan. It's 11x14 oil in its under painting stage. I'm really enjoying this project as it's a portrait of a couple just as in love since they were teenagers - and they recently married off their college aged daughter! It will be painted in full color and of course you can follow the progress along. Ugh I already see many things that need adjusting.

Well I voted (early) today! I can't believe how long the line was! My friend Linda was kind enough to drive me so I can vote. We got there at 10:01, a minute after they supposedly opened and there was already a long line! Way to go, I say! Your vote counts, I don't care how you vote, but if you don't vote, I don't want to hear any belly achin' coming from you about the country!

Is it me or does it seem like there's never enough time to do everything? lol What would it take to feel more in control of our time? It seems it's always a choice between painting and clearing the kitchen sink or folding the clean laundry, etc. (I usually choose painting lol)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Watercolor fall quilt

"Big H in Fall Morning" 10x13.5 watercolor on paper
I did this for my watercolor group (WNW), challenge for months of Sept-Oct. The challenge is "quilt". I wanted to not fall into a tight one despite the subject and hopefully still be able to convey the lovely variety of colors and patterns on a quilt.

This is based on my best friend Hillary. She speent a week with us 2 fall seasons ago, all the way from California. Well she has always been so loving to visit me just about anywhere I move because she probably misses her sushi and art buddy lol Ok it doesn't have to be sushi, it can be ANY food but most likely exotic. Ok it didn't have to be exotic, it could just be a burger in some greasy spoon -- AS LONG AS IT'S FOOD! lol

I made this H-quilt for her, a timely gift for her visit :)

Do visit her blog as she is posting an excellent silk painting demo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This totally made me laugh I had to do this!

I'd credit the Photoshop artist but I don't know who it is -bravo and well done! I vote this best Photoshop art and most effective!

As for me I feel like a Shakespearean story "Much Ado about Nothing!" Well I am busy with my commissions but there's so much more I want to do too WAH!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roses still life oils

Roses oil painting Erika NelsonToday I go back to the studio. Two weeks ago this is where I left off with my painting. But of course the roses have long been history. I designed this set up because the autumn colored roses from my garden looked so impressive they inspired me and I thought they would look perfect in Linda's antique blue kettle. I do like how far I got with my painting and I should be able to finish the piece from photos I've taken. In fact I painted the last watercolor from one of my photos in the previous post.

Holidays are quickly approaching and I'm feeling the crunch of the commission deadlines as well. Life would be easier if I didn't have the need to mix things up a bit with commissions along with my short projects lol Oh well, it makes life interesting! I also want to get back to DSDF! I totally missed out painting the Chicago Bean! They all came up with such cool renditions and I had one idea for it I was all excited about too!

Gee I was also thinking, Charles Reid should consider having an art show with some of his workshop students. This is me throwing ideas to the universe and maybe someone will catch it and turn it into something awesome!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A+ workshop with Master Charles Reid

Charles Reid watercolor solutionsFirst of all before I happily get carried away, I'd like to recommend Charles Reid's latest book. Click the image to get more information from Amazon. Com. The title is Charles Reid Watercolor Solutions.

This book is easy reading with many illustrations and images to keep the hungry artist interested. You will note that it's very detailed and easy to understand which tells me that Charles was completely hands on with this book; it reads like the way he teaches and talks.

If you have ever attended a workshop and left disappointed so you never took another workshop, you need to sign up for one more just to completely get rid of the bad experience - the workshop to sign up for is one with Charles Reid. He goes all over the country all year long and he also offers workshops in Europe covering a great variety of subjects. Check out his workshop schedule in his website by clicking here - Reid Workshops

I can paint pretty loosely but lately I've gotten a little tighter than I prefer. These next 2 pieces are some of my figurative works I did in 2002 I think and they are 6x8 watercolors.
Erika Nelson figure studies
Watercolor nude figure by Erika NelsonBut for some reason I didn't really understand what it was about my technique I liked; I just knew I enjoyed it and I never really had any plans when I painted them.

Suddenly Charles Reid's name kept coming up in watercolor conversations so I began to take note of him and years ago bought his portrait book. I've also checked out his videos from the library and I began to feel a kindred spirit with him. Funny how things progress, my dear Vicki Lou mentioned early last year that she and her hubby Randy are sponsoring a Charles Reid workshop in town! They have both taken about 4 workshops with him in Europe so apparently they really like his teachings and simply didn't have enough of them and him! Well long story short, with my health issues and finances I simply was resigned not to be able to take advantage of this opportunity. But Vicki, bless her lovely red hair, never gave up. She had me schedule to pose for Charles's workshop -not once, but two days!!!!!!!!! Then some situations came up and suddenly both my friend Shirley and I were able to attend the rest of the workshop WOOHOO!!! I really wasn't sure my stamina could support my passion but Vicki was willing to find out and apparently, the odds were with us so double WOOHOOWOOHOO!

What does a fan do when she finally meets her idol? Of course I soaked in everything. I found out really quick that Charles Reid is a perfect gentleman. I don't think the word "ego" was ever printed in his dictionary. It's rare to meet a successful and famous person who doesnt' carry that around with him. This is an artist who had kolinsky brushes named after him!!!!!!! Check out ArtXpress Charles was PRESENT. Believe me, I spent most of my adult life in California and I've been around big name artists giving demos. Most of them are MIA. Their bodies are in the room but their minds were on other things but the demo and the audience who took the time to attend in hopes they might learn something artistically valuable. He was there for his students from 9-4 daily. In fact, as if it wasn't enough, he thought we had the meeting room aka painting room 24 hours, so he wanted to hang out with any of us who could stick around and paint with him after hours!!!!!!!! I cannot Charles Reidbelieve this artist who is on all day wanted to be around us longer and paint with us LOL! I'm so used to visiting artists just wanting to put in their time and they either just want to disappear or go party somewhere later. Charles is all about art.

What impressed me the most about Charles is how he takes the time to draw. He does the modified blind contour drawing. He doesn't lift the pencil off the paper though he does look at his paper. He takes the time to do many cross-referencing. His line quality is beautiful, by the way. The other impressive thing that impressed me is how he whistles while he works lol He even whistles while he walks! And when he got close to finishing a piece the whistles begin to sound like a battleship game when kids make those bombing sounds LOL! Then he says, "That's about all I can do!" while he paints for about 10 more minutes. But he never overworks his piece! Hi drawing technique has sparked new life into my routine. I really do feel I'm invincible now and I can draw anything. And I have always had strong drawing skills and won top prizes for my charcoals. But this playful yet effective technique truly breathed new life in me! Here's something I drew today.
blind contour drawingWhen I modeled for Charles, I recognized that he usually mentioned what he was about to work on each time. I truly appreciated this so I knew when I had to keep my eyes or my mouth more steady. This was also very helpful as a viewer because it alerted me to what I needed to pay closer attention to and didn't want to miss. Charles was always happy to answer a question no matter what he was doing. And he was happy to show you on paper or talk at length until he knows the student understands; he was very approachable.

This photo of me modeling is by Vicki Ross. I think I already looked tired on the 2nd day but Charles managed to capture me. He ended up painting me in an outdoors scene with blue skies and the sun shining on the clouds! Photo by Vicki Ross He said it's because I seem have a sunny disposition! AWWWWWWWW! And in my previous post I thought I wouldn't be able to afford my double portrait but I did!!!!!!!!!! YAY for me!!! Here it is before he signed it for me
I want to title it "Sunny Disposition" :) Charles signed it "Erika, Rogers AR 10-7-08" and his signature. Portrait Painting Charles Reid He also signed my portrait book "For my wonderful model Erika!" Click on book cover to read more about it this book. On my 2nd day of modeling I went home and painted a portrait keeping in mind Charles's teachings. I think my painting was a good effort but the only thing I see that might be influenced by him were the drippings LOL He said I worked too long on it WAH!

Watercolor female

Charles took us out for plein air painting in Rogers Square. The lesson was value studies. Painting or drawing buildings and having the wonderful natural lighting allows for playful shadows and glowing reflected lights. First we had to paint a view in grey tones with the goal to paint about 6 values. After we accomplished it, we were supposed to paint a full color version. He chose to paint a building with a big archway and some engravings on it. The result of course was beautiful despite a few local news reporters talking to him. There were also some ritzy looking bystanders and I overheard one asking if the painting was for sale. "He's doing a portrait of the city, I want to buy it!" this woman says on her cell phone.

I chose to paint Charles as I mentioned in my previous post. I wanted the opportunity to paint him from life so I did! He liked my painting. I wasn't quite content with it as I thought the colors were subdued. So I went home and painted another more colorful one. But again, I think I over painted.

Plein air painting ReidDay after plein air Charles teaching progression brought us to using our own imagination. He brought black and white photos that each of us had to paint in COLOR! I chose the photo of my top idol John Singer Sargent plein air painting. I think at this point I was finally beginning to get the hang of Reid's technique.

On the last day there was a lovely bouquet in the painting room. It turns out one of the students bought it because she requested for Charles to give a still life floral demo. Charles agreed to it - in addition to his own plans! As a result he painted from beginning to end 2 pieces that day. TWO PIECES! I was dead tired and didn't want to paint that day and he painted TWO PIECES AAAAAHHHHHHHH!

Charles Reid plein air paintingWell here's a shot of all of Charles's paintings during the week minus the still life florals which he painted I think in an hour or so. Otherwise he spent about 3 hours give or take on each painting. Every single painting sold. All of them had more than one buyer interested. In this case his lovely wife Judy did a raffle of for the paintings available to sell (people who were depicted in certain pieces had first dibs). Each interested party drew a piece of paper off Charles's baseball cap and the one who drew a paper with a smiley won!

The pieces he painted for exercises had HAND-WRITTEN TEXT ON THEM! They talked about the purpose of the demo and particular pointers he had!!!!!!!! WoW I wanted every single piece!!!! They also had limited edition prints which was nice as there wasn't enough original piece to go around. But apparently, the students were all very pleased with the workshop and each was willing and eager to buy an original painting.

How my work will evolve because of his workshop's influence will slowly manifest as I keep painting and try to hang on to things I learned and things that got me excited. I hope I'll always remember how modest he is and how this attitude allows people to enjoy art along with him. His apparent passion for his craft was so much fun to witness. He was totally aware of his students and cared about them. He always asked me if I had lunch to eat and if I have a ride ok. His wife Judy visited us daily to make sure all is well and to check if anybody needd anything.

John Singer Sargent by Erika NelsonI am really blessed with great friends. My dear friend Shirley Mullen who happens to be a watercolorist too and volunteered to drive me daily without even expecting that a situation opened so she was able to attend the workshop! My dear Vicki Lou who didn't give up on getting me to the workshop lol And the happy Charles Reid students who were all so nice and so talented - I really felt like we were all there for each other along with Charles, Judy, and hosts Vicki and Randy and the Marriott Residence Inn staff!

Lastly I painted in the drawing I did today. It's smaller than 5x7 which I painted as my birthday card for friend Linda Cassady. Look I have successfully lost some edges! Looks like I have Charles Reid vibes running through my watercolors!

Some pearls from Charles, things most of you already knew but perhaps have forgotten. These were very important for me to hear:
  • Squint so you don't see too much details
  • Spray your palette an hour before painting
  • Cross reference while drawing, vertically, horizontally, diagonally
  • Keep your shapes connected - look for adjacent shapes
  • Keep your pencil on the paper
  • Keep your brush on the paper
  • Combine like values
  • Don't use the point of your brush to make them last longer
  • Don't swish your brush in the water much you waste color this way
  • Shake your brush once after dipping in water so your brush isn't too loaded with water when you dip in the paint
  • For every light area, there is a dark area to support it
  • Don't paint over light areas while they're wet to avoid mud
  • Try to make the first tonal value correct it keeps the painting fresh
  • And finally, if you're Charles Reid, all the rules may go out the window because he goes by his own well seasoned instincts!
This is one long post and I'm not inspired to proof read so please accept my early apologies for some goof ups, hopefully not much HA!
Charles Reid paintingsP.S.
It appears that a Painter's Keys Article by Robert Genn from October 9, 2008 completely supports what I said here
Painter's Keys: The Guru Syndrome