“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for classes. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions!
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?
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.
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.
I’m so happy to unveil the location for our summer art courses:
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!