Thursday, September 27, 2012

Last Alla Prima Painting...For Now

Yesterday was my last day of class for a little while. I am finding it hard to attend classes with all of the painting I am doing outside of class. While I love the time to do something different from my current series, but it's hard to find that time. I am hoping that I can still take some time during the week and practice alla prima portrait painting on my own. If any of you want to volunteer to model for me for about three hours, there will be a nice home-cooked meal waiting for you when we're done. You may even end up with a painting, if I like the results!

Here's what I painted last night...I am pretty happy with it. It looks a thousand times better than the last woman I did. The skin tone is still off, but getting better. I just need more practice.
This painting of Tori makes her look a bit older than she actually is.
She had a mass of curly hair and a very detailed earing on.
Here are my steps:
All of the things I learned about drawing in Sadie Valeri's class
 (looking at angles, making "connections" with parts of the face,
etc.) have come in handy here. My drawings are more accurate
and I draw quicker since there are less corrections. 

I am still not the best in getting those super darks in. They look fine here,
but if you notice in the next photos, they become muted again. I'm not
used to starting with the darks. I usually add those in once the paint is dry
in my regular work. You can't do that in alla prima.

For those of you wondering about my studio...It's still in the process of being built. Ben got the basic structure of the painting racks done. He just needs to add in the bottom slats and then attach the second level. It's much harder to build a studio when you have a full-time job also. Hopefully by this weekend they will get done.
This is the botton half of the racks. They will hold paintings up to 42" in length.

This flat surface is the bottom of the second level of the rack which
will hold pieces that are 26" in length.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Candid Moments at ArtHaus, San Francisco

I have been busily working, trying to finish up the last few paintings for my solo show, Candid Moments, which opens at ArtHaus gallery on October 5th. I have been working on a 4x4 grid of 12"x12" panels of women faces and I have two more left to paint. I am hoping to have them done by the end of this week so that I can wax all 16 pieces this weekend. I should have about 26 new pieces for the show. If you are in the area, stop by the gallery. James and Annette are the nicest people who know an amazing amount about art and their artists. The show is up until December 29th so there's no excuses...unless of course, you live in another state, although San Francisco does have great weather in the Fall...perhaps a little vacation here is in order.

Two more paintings left to complete...!!

Here's the press release for my show:

Paintings by
Jhina Alvarado
October 5 – December 29, 2012

“With these enigmatic panels, Jhina Alvarado has become a cinematographer with paint, bringing the past forward, with a cinematic spirit she keeps alive in her contemporary painting…”  Roberta Carasso – Art LTD. Magazine

Exhibition Dates:  October 5 – December 29, 2012
Opening Reception:  Friday evening, October 5, 2012, 6-8pm

Jhina Alvarado, And the Winner is..., 36”x36”, oil and encaustic on panel

San Francisco…ArtHaus Gallerists, James Bacchi and Annette Schutz, are pleased to present  CANDID MOMENTS, an exhibition of selected works by Bay-Area artist Jhina Alvarado, beginning October 5, 2012 in the ArtHaus Project Gallery.  A reception for the artist will take place on Friday evening, October 5, 2012 from 6pm-8pm.

There is quite a buzz in the Bay Area Art Community about San Francisco Artist, Jhina Alvarado.  Asterisk Magazine recently named Jhina Alvarado one of the TOP 20 ARTISTS in San Francisco.  At last year’s International Encaustic Conference, Alvarado lectured on “Taking the Leap.”  Her paintings were featured at both the SF FINE ART FAIR and ArtPad this year. Eight galleries nationwide continue to clamour for her paintings and place her work with collectors. And, the artist’s blog, focusing on the accomplishments and struggles of one artist trying to make it in the art world, has a major following. Jhina Alvarado is certainly an artist to keep an eye on.

And what about those eyes?  According to the artist, “Since many moments and memories are shared, the identity of the person within each memory is inconsequential.  I always block out the eyes so that the viewer can take part of each memory as if it were their own.

Jhina Alvarado, The Photographer, 30”x24”, oil and encaustic on panel
Alvarado uses oils to portray untold stories from long forgotten photographs.  “I paint these images on wood panels using a considerable amount of white space, cropping the images from their environments, creating a sense of unbalance and emphasizing the need to focus on the individual’s memory, rather than the whole picture.  The painting is then covered in encaustic wax to add and antique photo and dream-like feel.”

CANDID MOMENTS runs through December 29, 2012.  Also on exhibit in the Main Gallery, BEST IN SHOW – a rotating exhibition of works by ArtHaus Gallery and Guest Artists, featuring works in various media by Carolyn Meyer, Patter Hellstrom, Maxine Solomon, Marc Lambrechts and Brian Blood.   

Voted BEST ART GALLERY IN THE BAY AREA three years running, ABC-7 A LIST, ArtHaus is located at 411 Brannan Street in San Francisco.  Gallery Hours are:  Tuesday-Friday, 11am – 6pm and on Saturdays from Noon-5pm.  Visit ArtHaus on the web at:
For further information phone: (415) 977-0223.

411 Brannan Street ~ San Francisco, CA   94107

Friday, September 14, 2012

Studio Floors

As some of you may remember, I just recently moved into a new house and studio (which is in a large space in my house). The floors were uneven and because of it, my easel and chair would roll away from me. In addition, I was having to overcompensate in my posture for the slanted floors and this was killing my back. In stepped my fabulous husband and father to design a platform to level my floors. With the help of some friends (Thank you James, Adam and Erik...but especially James who spent a TON of time building), and a week and a half of work, I now have level floors in my studio!!!! I am still planning on adding another coat of paint to the floors, but I hope to move in this weekend. Next up are storage racks...

In other news...I am still working hard on getting some 12x12 pieces done for a 4x4 grid that will be shown at ArtHaus Gallery for my solo show. The show opens October 5th so there's not much time! I have 6 done, 5 in progress, and 5 to start. Good thing these are small!

Work in progress...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Alla Prima Portrait Class: Day 2

Today was not a good day in class. It started off all nice and easy. My drawing was looking pretty good. I was feeling pretty good. And then came color, my current nemesis. As I have said before, mixing colors, especially flesh tones, are hard enough. Add in a limited palette (yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, and titanium white) and all hell breaks loose! Okay, maybe that's an exageration, but it felt like it yesterday.
I am still not happy with my final result. If only I had a few more hours...!

I like the way that this started.

Still looking pretty good, although I think the nose looks big...

Adding in the darkest darks.

And here is where it all went wrong. The colors look muddy.
 Too much white was added too soon. This was where I
started to wonder if I could make this painting work.

I wiped out all of the paint and decided that the nose and mouth
area need some reconstructing.

It's looking better here but the skin tones still look too red. She was a
pretty pale woman.

More progress...

My final results. I am still not happy with it. The color still feels off.
I wish I had more time to work on it, but I don't. I have to remind myself that
it's just practice and I am learning. I just hate having incomplete work, and work
that I am unhappy with on top of it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Alla Prima Portrait Class, Day 1

Last night was my first day of my alla prima portrait class with Felicia Forte. I took this class because I wanted to work with color and also be less "tight" with my paintings, if that makes any sense. I feel like my paintings have lost spontaneity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing since I like what I am doing, but it's also fun to be a bit more gestural too.

Since we start and complete each painting in one sitting, it forces me to paint and draw quicker. I have to be quicker about sketching (which we do with a dry brush and paint) out my faces and making sure they are correctly proportioned. I can't waste too much time redrawing, not if I want to get a mostly finished painting by the end of class. The class is three hours long, but the model poses for twenty minutes at a time with breaks in between. That isn't much time of actual painting.

Then there's the issue of color and mixing skin tones. This is something I am completely unfamiliar with. It's a challenge that I have been looking forward too, even if I don't get it right for a few paintings. Last night's painting of Wendell is a bit too orange. I think if I had more time and practice, I could get it more natural looking. We are only using four colors on our palette, titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black. This makes for an "interesting" mixing experience, although I am not sure I would get the skin tone any closer to reality if I had more colors. Perhaps it's better to force myself to mix with this limited Zorn palette (named after artist Anders Zorn) cause I could see myself getting caught up in all the tubes of paints, trying to figure out what to add next. With the Zorn palette, I have less decisions to make so I can spend more time painting.

I'm looking forward to next class and the a different model. I am trying to convince my husband to let me practice painting him but so far, the idea of sitting still for at least three hours doesn't appeal to him. I'm still working on him though!

My painting of Wendell at the end of the night. I am pretty happy
 with my first attempt. I feel like the proportions of the head are good and
 it actually looks kind of like the model. I think I got a good amount
done in the limited time we had.

This was what my painting looked like half ways through our  session. At this point
I was wondering if I could actually get a good likeness. It all worked out okay,
but I felt like it was touch and go for awhile.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Building a Studio: Part One

Now that we are moved into our new house and have unpacked, it is time to get my studio in order. Most of the studio is already built, but there are a few things that need to be added. the most important thing right now is to level the floor. Currently there is a slope that causes my easel and chair to roll away from each other, and when I do paint (with the wheels of both easel and chair taped so they don't move), my back ends up hurting since I am compensating for the uneven floors. My husband and father came up with a plan to level the floor and have been working hard all weekend. I can't say I understand what they are doing, but I am excited to see the results. Hopefully it will be done sometime this week.  Here are the pictures of what they have been doing:

I think the floor is going to be where the laser is marking the wall horizontally.

Apparently this is what the floor will sit upon. Each of those pieces of wood jutting out
 is cut at a different length that will make whatever sits on top, like my floor, level.

Once the floor is done, Ben will build me a rack for all of my panels and then a wall that will separate his workshop from my space.