Friday nights Face Off was a smashing success! We are so thankful to our wonderful artists, Mia, Rachel, Cindy, & Terry, our beautiful model Jen, and all the wonderful people who came out to support them!
The artists worked in 20-minute sessions of painting, followed by 5-minutes of questions. We realize trying to fit all your questions in six 5-minute sessions is difficult, so for those who didn’t have a chance to get all their questions answered, we have compiled a list of the most asked questions from the night.
Q: Why do you use a mirror when painting?
A: By looking at my paintings in the mirror, I am able to see the image in reverse. This helps me see the shapes more clearly and give me a fresh eye, since after about 30 minutes, my eyes start to think everything is correct on my painting. It also helps me see the model in a new way, in reverse.
Q: Where did you study?
A: I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, then the Charles H. Cecil Studio in Florence, Italy. Since my return from Italy in 2005, I have attended multiple workshops, including one given by Joseph Todorovich.
Q: What type of paints are you using?
A: I use all types of brands for oil paints, including Windsor & Newton, Rembrandt, and Gamblin.
Q: What are you painting on?
A: I am painting on a handmade wooden panel available locally in Chattanooga, TN. It is a birch panel, with a poplar cradle, that has been primed with high quality gesso and a layer of oil.
Q: How old are you?
A: A lady never tells her age!
Q: How did you choose your composition?
A: This is a great question. I believe that the most important element of a painting is design, and that the most beautifully painted image falls flat without it. (One could even argue that with strong design technique becomes secondary, but that’s a separate conversation.) Luckily for all of us, the moment Jen sat down in that blue kimono and turned her head, she became a painting. Every once in a great while a painting seems to paint itself, the composition is obvious and you just have to color it in. Jen emoted such elegance and that she really made it easy for me. In terms of composition, what struck me immediately was the lovely curve created by the slight tilt of her head, leading down to the kimono, then traveling down the swoop of her arm, through the curve of her wrist and down to her fingertips. Abstractly, that hand then draws you back into the picture, back to her profile. My goal was to create an image that evoked a similar response to the one I felt by looking at her. I wanted to capture her GRACE.
Q: Is it hard painting in front of an audience?
A: A bit. I was totally fine during the first 20-minute session because I was concentrating so hard I was completely unaware of how many people had snuck in. When the first break was called, I stood and turned around, and was like WHOA! Where’d you guys come from? I noticed my hands shaking a bit during the second session, but once I really started concentrating again, I was able to relax and get back into the zone. It helped immensely that everyone was talking and having a good time. Whispered conversations would have been very unsettling.
Q: Why do you have all your colors pre-mixed on your palette?
A: I mix strings of value and color ahead of time in order to simplify the painting process. I mix my palette the same way every time I paint a portrait, so just like a pianist develops muscle memory to know where the piano keys are, I know exactly where each color is on my palette without having to hunt for it, or having to mix a color on the fly. This allows me to concentrate on what I see in front of me and what’s happening on my canvas.
Q: Why are you looking in a mirror?
A: Because Mia does it! Not really but I did leave that trick from Mia. At home I always use a mirror. I actually haul my paintings into the bathroom so I can see the entire thing in reverse to see them with a fresh eye.
Q: Is that a wood panel?
A: Ampersand Gessobord stained with Rembrandt Burnt Umber.
Q: Is that really Lois Lane in your Fast Lane painting?
A: Yes. See her in the photo in the Superman (Call of Duty) painting?!
Q: What is your palette hooked to?
A: A contraption my husband Dan made that hooks to my easel. I like to see the paint in the same light as the painting. (When one of the ladies saw this she said “I want a Dan!”)
Terry and her palette contraption!
Thank you again to our wonderful artists, who gave their all Friday night, and a big thank you to everyone who came out to support them! Two of the paintings have already found wonderful homes and we hope the other two find homes soon!
All four finished pieces, left to right: Terry, Mia, Cindy, Rachel.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to pose your questions to the artists! Thank you again!