Monday, October 06, 2008


VICTORIAN DRAW on the VERANDA at Henry B Plant Museum

Yesterday, I participated in an event called the Victorian Draw on the Vernada sponsored by the Henry B. Plant Museum. Artists were invited to create works “en plein air” on the veranda and in Plant Park across the street from the Henry B. Plant Museum. The Museum supplied canvas (recycled window shades) and paper to those who wanted to participate. During the event, I created the piece above. I sat on a bench under a tree and decided to focus on the branches breaking the linear architecture of the once Tampa Bay Hotel. But I must say, while I loved drawing the building, I kept distracting myself by trying to do fast sketches of the other artists. Their poses and focus on their art made it so interesting to draw. You could see their passion and enjoyment on the faces and body language.

There were several artists and non-artists participating in this event. People could see artists on the front porch of the once Tampa Bay Hotel, in Plant Park across the street from the Henry B. Plant Museum, and inside the building itself. Some artists were by themselves and in their own little world, while others were in groups or with their families. Some artists, like myself, looked for the shade under a tree to draw while other placed themselves just under the sun and got a great tan. Some preferred to lay down all the materials on the floor and sat on the brick red floors while others look for the comfort of a wide picnic table and chair. Every artist had its own style and perspective of the area. Everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was so artsy.

As an artist, I truly enjoyed the event, being surrounded by a community of artists, sharing my work with others and seeing others create art. I felt like I was transported to a city in Europe, where artists art frequently seeing creating art on the streets. I hope this event repeats not only at the Henry B. Plant Museum but also around the city. It will be great if each month artists will get together in one section of the Hillsborough County to just do art and allow people to undercover the architecture and beauty of the county, as well as the artist in their community. My only improvement for this event is that next time after the event there should be an exhibition of the work so that the community has a chance to enjoy the view of the artists.

Friday, October 03, 2008


The eyes bring your artwork alive!

A year ago, I took a class with a Moose Peterson, California's top endangered species wildlife photographer. I saw Moose's work the year before in a Photoshop World convention in Miami and I felt in love with his photography. As a result, I took one of his seminars in Yosemite National Park during the winter. It was an excellent photography seminar. A little bit pricy, but I learned a lot and I got to meet really interesting people from all over the place.

The one thing that stuck in my mind from the seminar is what Moose said about focusing on the eyes of an animal to bring the animal alive in the picture. I do agree with that and since then whenever I paint or draw a human face or animal face, I try to bring the eyes alive and make them expressive. The eyes tell you the story of the character. It tells you if the character is happy, sad, etc. It is what brings a painting alive. For example, I drew Mimi, my cat, playing in my yard. While the bold green color will attract you to the painting, Mimi’s eyes become the focus of the painting. This allows the painting to have a focus point from where the viewer can start discovering the painting itself. Mimi is looking at the viewer and the viewer is looking at Mimi, creating a connection between the painting and the viewer.

So next time you paint a person or an animal face and you feel it is missing something or it doesn’t have character, try to make the eyes your focus point and see if you see if that make a difference in the end product.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Paint a subjects you are familiar with. "Found in Captiva!"

After painting for many years on and off, I always have found that when I paint a subject that I am familiar with, I paint them much faster and the components of the artwork ( light, color, perpective, composition, subject, form, etc) work in my favor rather than against me. Why is that? Well, I think it has to do with being more familiar with the subject and as a result grabbing the essence on the subject itself.

Example of this is my painting "Found in Captiva". This painting is 40"x30" and it took me about two days (not full time) to painted. I was surprised how easy it was for me to create the underline drawing, select and modify the colors and illustrate the two subjects. I know my subjects personally, one is my husband and the other is my dog. I know how they move, walk, talk etc. I observe them all the time and I have become so familiar with them that when it came to painting them, I knew where the next brush stroke needed to be. I knew how to create the movement on the left foot for my husband since I know how he walks. I knew exactly how my dogs black hair moves from one side to the other when it moves. I had very few times when I got stack and when I did it was because I had not taken a break for a while and my legs where hurting from standing for a long time.

So before you start painting, become familiar with your subject. Observe it. Look at it 360 degrees. Perspective, colors, light, movement and so on will vary and you will have the chance to discover the best way to represent them or portait them.

While my advise is to become familiar with your subject before starting a painting, I also recommend you to walk away from the painting if you get stack on a particular area of the painting. While narrow vision is great while painting, the bigger picture is what makes the image become attractive or interesting to the human eye.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Running Shoes 26.2

In July of this year I made the decision to stop slacking and focus seriously on my art. I had to draw or paint every day no matter how tired I was or how much work I had. Yes, it is true at the beginning it was hard since there was always distractions. But I didn’t give up. I kept doing it and what it started as a 20 minute per day grew to 40minute, to an hour, to 4 hours, to a daily event. I am painting and drawing each day. It is just flowing.

Above is my latest painting. It is call 26.2. It is an acrylic painting 18x20 inches. I like to run long distance and my shoes have seen lots of races. I use them almost every day to run when I am training for a race and if they could talk they will tell you about all the miles I run, with whom I run, what are my running parters and I chats about and how many water and pee stops we have done while we run. I supposed I see my running shoes as my brushes which help me mark the canvas of my runs. Now I wonder how many miles of paper or canvas I will need to have to to that?

Summer Camps and Art Workshops at Vanessa's Art Studio

Art Summer Camps for Kids and Teens:
 I am offering summer art camps this year in June and July. 
 Week 1: June 3 - June 7  D...