Category Archives for oil painting

Why Oil Painting is So Hard

“I’m just a little terrified”

“To me it’s scary even to think about…”

No, we’re not talking world politics, death or taxes.

We’re talking ART.

Oil painting, to be exact.

The quotes above are from students, some accomplished drawers, others complete newbies to 2D creativity, talking about getting started with oil painting.

I am always surprised at how emotionally invested we can get…but then again, I’ve been in love with oil paint since I was a high school freshman, learning about the Renaissance and getting my first whiff of oil paint in art class. It smells like history, and classical artistic tradition. (C’mon, with a last name like Antonelli how can I NOT be in love with the Renaissance?)

 

So why is this lovely medium so scary?

Precisely because it’s so wonderful, with such a rich history behind it. As Ira Glass describes in his famous quote on creativity, the gap between what we create and what our (totally killer) taste recognizes as good art is wiiiiiide when we first begin painting.

Getting starting is FRUSTRATING.

That’s because unlike drawing, there is a LOT to know about your medium.

  • What angle to hold the brush
  • How to properly mix colors
  • What mediums to use, and for what purpose
  • Different techniques of applying paint (like, what’s a glaze vs. impasto?)
  • Different techniques of beginning a painting (To start with a drawing or no?)
  • The fat over lean rule
  • How to ensure your painting lasts and doesn’t crack over time
  • Color mixing recipes
  • What paints to buy for your purposes
  • How to blend

That is a LOT to know!

So if you’d like to overcome your apprehensions about starting out with oil, I suggest you try my motto:

“Action cures fear.”

Get into action by becoming curious about all the questions you don’t know yet about oil painting, and discover the solutions in a beginning oil painting class.

You can just jump in on your own, if you’ve got the materials and access to Youtube. But self-teaching yourself something like oil painting is more of a psychological battle than anything else. Without personal guidance, it can be tricky to tell if you’re on the right track.

If you’re in San Miguel de Allende, I’d love to guide you through the basics in my Basic Oil Painting Class, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 7th until Thursday Nov. 16th. 10am-1pm.

We’ll cover all the foundational practice you need to know so that you can begin oil painting with confidence.

And after the basics class, I’ll have an Oil Painting Studio class which will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5, Nov. 21st-Dec 14th. For those who have the basics down, we’ll be diving into improving our skills and finishing a painting or two in a supportive group setting.

So if you think you are ready to expand your artistic repertoire, email jessica@jessicaantonelli.com to sign up for classes. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions!

 

“Flower Girls” come to San Miguel

Samantha Wiley comes from a long line of Texan artists. She will join us here in San Miguel de Allende for an exhibit of her recent work, “Flower Girls,” oil paintings of southern belles from Galveston, Texas.
Samantha’s portraits have a luminous, elegant quality that brighten a room. The “Flower Girls” bring a fresh feeling of innocence and the feminine spirit to mind. The bright flashes of flower petals in the sun-spangled hair of the “Flower Girls” feel right at home in SMA, even if Ms. Wiley’s ladies are imported from coastal territories.
The “Flower Girls” will be on show at Studio Antonelli on Thursday, June 29th. Be sure to mark your calendar now for a lovely evening with floral touches and musical entertainment throughout the evening.

Would you like to be able to paint like that?

Nab your chance now while Samantha is in town! A graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting, Samantha has honed her craft studying under contemporary masters and will be sharing her wealth of oil-painting knowledge during a weekend workshop.
June 24th & 25th, Samantha will demonstrate her painting techniques and take you step by step through painting a portrait from a live model.
Email jessica@jessicaantonelli.com if you are interested in joining this short but powerful workshop on capturing light and likeness in your oil portraits. 

 

The Painted Feast: Still Life Oil Painting Workshop

Still life painting gives us the opportunity to work with a completely unmoving subject and a continuous source of light. In the studio we are able to focus on form, value, texture and edges, and experiment as we work toward developing our own unique style.

In this workshop, we’ll be painting a lovely arrangement of a flowering onion, a sandwich cake, a colorful vegetable tray, and a stunning desert.

By the time we’re done painting we’ll definitely be drooling over the food, so we’ll move our feast from the classroom to the dining area in the courtyard, and talk art with our stellar view of San Fransisco Church in the background.

Do I need to bring my own materials?

Yes, although we provide canvas, panel, or palette paper as you prefer. If you do not have oil painting supplies, they can be provided for an additional $200pesos (10USD) per class.

What food will be served?

We will paint and eat: a “flowering onion,” roasted and served with a basalmic reduction sauce, served with crusty bread.

A sandwich cake, with avocado, cucumber, smoked salmon and creamy dill spread. This Swedish recipe is worth painting!

Dessert will be based on a poll of our students to see if we’ll paint a chocolate or lemon themed dessert. Let us know your preference when you RSVP!

Who is this class for?

Beginner to intermediate oil painters. Basic drawing ability recommended.

Complete beginners will be given instruction on which colors to include in your palette, useful mediums, and painting techniques. Color blending recipes will give you go-to color systems for your future still life painting practice.

We will have brief group critique at the middle and end of our session to help us assess our strengths and weaknesses, and decide what to further evolve in our painting practice.

How Much Does it cost?

$1000pesos per person.
This includes canvas, easel, instruction, food, and beverages. Wine, water, and tea.

Additional materials: use of paint, odor-free solvent, brush cleaner, brushes, palette, rags, etc. available for use for $200pesos per class.

Pay with Credit Card now to reserve your spot:

The Painted Feast 1 Day Workshop



Goddess Art Opening

Artist Jessica Antonelli tells the story of her inspiration to paint the goddesses of the Tantric Hindu tradition.

Thursday, February 16th, 4-8pm
#18 San Fransisco, Upstairs
Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Join artists Jessica Antonelli and Emily K. Grieves for a showing of “Sacred Woman Revealed,” paintings of the Feminine Divine in the Studio Antonelli Gallery.

Hart Studios will feature a collection of beautiful jewels fit for a goddess. Fiber arts and Fashion by Billielee Mommer.

www.hartjewelry.com 

www.emilykgrievesart.com

2016 Summer Classes at The Studio Space

I’m so happy to unveil the location for our summer art courses:

The Studio Space at Casa de la Paz. 

You may know the Studio Space from it’s inspiring art openings and theatrical performances, but we’ll be harnessing all that creative energy to hone our drawing and painting skills.

 

Entrance to Subida al Caracol #11
Entrance to Subida al Caracol #11, street view

From July 4th-September 9th, take your art practice to the next level.

 10 Steps to Drawing Anything

If you struggle drawing stick figures, this class is for you. The 10 Steps have been specially formulated to fast-forward your drawing ability, using the latest in neuroscience and stern looks from the teacher. 😉 Learn the drawing tricks the pros use to make it look easy. Take the full 10 weeks and you will never look at the world in the same way again-you’ll be seeing through an artist’s eyes. You can also choose to take 4 weeks or shorter sessions by arrangement with the instructor. Some materials included.
10am-12noon Mon, Wed, Fri. 

Drawing and Painting classes  Oil Painting Workshop 

Learn the traditional techniques of the Italian Renaissance painters, and experiment with new styles and media. Both beginners and intermediate level painters will benefit from this workshop style class. Develop your skills in a supportive group setting where we’ll be improving our own abilities by learning to critique and discuss painting and composition through class discussions.  Learn which brush is best for a variety of techniques, recipes to mix just the right color, critiquing your work, and much more.  Confident drawing ability is required. Some materials included.
 10am-2pm Tues & Thurs

Sign up by clicking here or email jessica@jessicaantonelli.com

Quiz: To Paint or to Draw?

Are you feeling the urge to create, but don’t know how? Studio Antonelli is offering a drawing workshop and an oil painting workshop for 10 weeks this coming July 4th through September 9th. Compare the descriptions of the drawing class in pink and the painting class in purple to see which medium best suits you.
Choose the description in pink or purple that best fits you or what you are interested in learning.
Inline image 1
If you chose mostly Drawing (pink)
Have you noticed that you have been doodling on the side of the important notes you were supposed to be taking lately? You have got line and design on the mind and you are ready for a workshop experience where you can fast-forward your drawing skills to a new level.
-You are a beginner or intermediate drawing
-You are interested in getting really really good at making the thing you are looking at come out accurately in the drawing
-You haven’t taken many (or any) classes but you’ve always enjoyed drawing on your own
-You want to know how to hold your pencil for best effect, or how to use different media like charcoal and inks
-People always tell you you’re a good artist (even if you don’t believe them)
-You want to be able to capture the beauty (or the rough sides) of life in SMA
-You want to be able to draw what you see…and have it actually look like the darn thing
There are loads of great teachers all over San Miguel, but people say Jessica’s classes are really great.
 
If you chose mostly Oil Painting (purple)
Colors, colors everywhere and not a drop of paint. You feel good about your drawings (most of the time anyway!) but pen and pencil isn’t cutting it anymore–you want gobs of color to express in color the world around you. Although the detail of drawing is great, you’re ready to learn about big-picture skills like composition and color theory. 
-You have taken art classes before
-You may have worked in acrylic or oil before
-You know that there are different techniques to use with oils but haven’t tried more than one
-You are looking for feedback and workshopping of your work from peers and teacher guidance 
 
No matter what creative pursuit you are interested in, studies have shown mental health benefits of drawing and painting, including that they help dealing with chronic pain, and improving brain plasticity.

The Story Behind the Painting

I am thrilled to be a featured artist in San Miguel de Allende’s Lokkal online magazine, terraanima.org

Click here to read the story from the Lokkal website and to check out the other fabulous artists who share the stories about their work, or enjoy the story behind the painting “Antonia in the Jardin” below.

Antonia in the Jardin

I was walking through the jardin, gazing up in admiration at the Parroquia, when I looked down and the image in this painting stopped me in my tracks. There, on the stones before my feet was a perfect lace-circlet of shadows cast by the freshly sculpted trees. I snapped photos, promising to find the right painting to showcase this San Miguel secret.

At the time I was working on my Ladies of the Night exhibition, inspired by the history of San Miguel de Allende’s Casa de la Noche BnB. It was once a high-class establishment until public houses of prositution were made illegal in 1961.

I found Antonia’s picture among the aged photographs of the girls, class of 1936, which hang in the entranceway to Casa de la Noche. The photos were taken from the girls’ health certifications, which licensed them to work. Although she looked almost flirtatious in her photograph, my initial painting of her came out steaming, oversaturated with red…she looked angry.

I paint with a series of layers to build up depth of color and it was time for the next glaze to change the tone. Still, I felt she needed something deeper than a glaze of naples yellow.

Looking into the eyes I was painting, I sensed her energy coming across the canvas in waves of enmity. Touching fingertips to the canvas, I sensed the same fury that would be seen in the eyes of a jaguar in a zoo. She had also been caged, trapped her situation. Intuition told me that this woman had yearned for nature, that she resented cities and their trappings for failing her, for letting her fall through the cracks to end up where she was.

I love to create stories through my portraiture through collaging images that speak to the life of the subject. I chose to place Antonia’s image over the hills of the high desert visible from Umaran street, a bar dotted street she would have been sure to walk down on her way through the jardin.

Perhaps my story of Antonia is simply a conglomeration of my own feelings after researching the lives of women like her world over. But whether it was a whisper from the painting itself or inspiration from within, I knew that the laced leaves from the Parroquia’s trees were for her, like an olive branch offered in peace.

Much thanks to Lokkal Magazine for the invitation. This piece is the completed version of one of my 10 paintings in 10 days challenge, and was featured in the Ladies of the Night art opening in September 2015 in San Miguel de Allende.

Day Ten: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

 

Though it is still in progress, I present to you my final painting of this challenge.

Thank you, yes you, for following along with me. Your views and comments and likes and shares lit a fire under my butt to keep on painting. I learned about myself and the practice of painting, painted some of the best paintings I’ve done, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

This painting is another from the Storyville prostitutes, whose lives across the border mirrored the lives of their Mexican counterparts.  The women would all dance in the hall, turn a trick, and more often than not sit and play cards when business was slow.

Although this is a New Orleans sourced photo, I’ll be using the designs from traditional Mexican handicrafts for the pillows, and work in photo references from our Casa de la Noche show for the girls.

Now it’s time to finish off these paintings and get them ready for the show!

September 12th, 5-8 at the Bordello Galeria in Casa de la Noche, #19 Organos, San Miguel de Allende.

 

 

 

Day Nine: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

Eureka.

I have figured out what was flummoxing me in my initial paintings of these ladies of the night–texture. The gorgeous and CHEAP handmade canvas, with it’s almost 3 inch deep frame and pre-toned primer applies, has a very different texture than the usual plastic-wrapped sort I’d get at El Pato or art supply stores in the states.

The toothy, richly toned canvas is ideal for a dry brush technique, where just a tad bit of paint is scrumbled, painting in a circular motion. I originally discovered this on day 5 of the challenge, but I added too much paint and lost the lovely, delicate quality of soft-toned skin that I had fallen for just a few brush strokes ago…

That’s why Day 6 of the 10 paintings in 10 days challenge produced one of my favorite works of late-I applied what I learned in day 5.

I used the same approach for today’s painting.

maria

 

The internet here in San Miguel seems to be taking a siesta…or more likely tipsy on tequila, since it’s past midnight as I clock in day 9, so I can only load this one photo of the process.

This dama  had a challenging, and yet resigned look in her photo. I was inspired to put the stamp of the San Miguel health inspection stamp on her card behind her head like an off-kilter halo. She immediately became Maria for me, a fallen angel, a very different manifestation of virgin mother…or perhaps more Mary Magdalene? Her breast is bared to offer sustenance, like each Mary did in her own way, and as all women offer themselves in one way or another to create life in this world.

I’m going to cut myself a break and add all the gold I want on this one. The Klimt influence gets to flirt with italian renaissance representations of the divine feminine. Loving that learning from my mistakes this past ten days, and learning how to use my materials, has led to the creation of this Maria.

Day 8: 10 Paintings in 10 Days

10 Paintings in 10 days? What was I thinking?

I have to admit, I jumped into this challenge without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had adopted a looser, faster style recently, and felt confident that I could at least make a really strong start on all the pieces for the show coming up in TWO WEEKS.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

One thing I love about this challenge is that it is keeping me painting in the studio, as non-stop as I can manage between teaching and celebrating life, like you do in Mexico (it’s a requirement here, like sitting in traffic in the states).

I think of painting like working out, you go to the gym and it hurts every time and you sweat every time…but each time you get back in there, you’re able to lift heavier and heavier weights.

But I gotta admit that painting is HARRRD.

I tell my students that, if they’re lucky, they will like 1 out of every 50 pieces of their work. Most often, we see what we want to fix, or what needs work, not the nice painting others see.

For day 8’s painting I revised a canvas I had all but cast aside

I went back to the studio, and knowing that I HAD to paint something tonight, I revised a painting that is very special to me that I had set aside months ago in frustration.

This painting is a gift to the wonderful host family I lived with my first 10 months in San Miguel, a portrait of their 3 fantastic kids.

Breaking my own rules of painting

Unfortunately, when I began the painting, I was out of practice drawing and broke all of the rules I use now. In fact, I learned my rules from my mistakes with this painting: now, I draw the subject at least 2 or three times before painting–the more I draw studies, the better the final painting.

20140824_205124

Rule 1: Do practice drawings first! Or else…

 

I began this painting a year ago, no drawing studies, little practice. But I did them! Although I wasn’t satisfied with the original lay-in, the drawing in paint that sets the stage for the final piece, I continued on. So today, I had to work on reframing the faces and fixing some basic drawing issues I had in the beginning. Next, I need to add color so they don’t look like vampires and do the background.

20141012_233748

this might be ok if the painting looked like the girl on the right. but it doesn’t…

I may still have a few more visits to the art-gym before I finish this painting, but I’m grateful this challenge has pushed me to keep working on it!

20150901_005423

getting closer