Friday, April 30, 2010

Learning The Basics

There is magnificence in all of us -- some of us are musicians, cooks, engineers, actors, doctors, scientists and some of us are artists -- In his book, "Double Your Income Doing What You Love", Raymond Aaron states: “we all have the capacity to be superstars”!  Finding what you love to do is what your life is all about -- and once you do discover that part of you -- that’s when the superstar inside us shines!!!!
If you have watched the movie “Julie and Julia” , you will see that Julia Childs didn’t know how to dice onions when she started taking lessons at Cordon Blue in Paris -- she had tried other avenues and then finally found cooking -- in fact, she wanted to cook so bad that in the scene where she practiced dicing onions and is standing in front of a mountain of diced onions -- she was determined to learn how to be a great “cook”!  And she went beyond her own expectations!
Art, like every endeavor, has many basic techniques to learn to create the magic on a canvas -- learning to see the values of light and color are basics that one must master.  You can learn more about painting techniques and impressionist techniques from my new videos coming out next month.  And once you have learned the basics, then you can create your own style.
Cooking is like painting -- you have to use your imagination.  And that is when you find yourself in your art!

"Summer" (study) 12 x 12 Oil on Board

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Going Green

Are you “Green”????  With all that is going on today on this planet -- oil spills being the worst disaster for our oceans, 42,000 gallons per day spilling into our seas -- air pollution, mining disasters -- we have to make sure that our paints and solvents used in the studio are disposed of properly (each city has special days when they collect the solvents).   It is important to have   good ventilation or a door or window open to keep the air that you are breathing as clean as could be!
I just heard yesterday that Phoenix is the most polluted city -- yikes -- and I live here -- not happy with that!  However, my studio and I are as “green” as green could be -- I use Walnut Oil made by Graham for blocking in my paintings.  This oil is a natural product and I love how it makes my paints flow and I also know that I am using a “green” product.  For years I have been using a select-a-size paper towel to make sure that I am only using a small portion of the towel each time I reach for them.  Now I am using the Viva select-a-size paper towels that are also very soft -- my twin sister turned me on to this product! 
And I do put green paint on my canvases -- of course, mixed with other colors -- I love colors!  
We all need to contribute to keeping our planet healthy!  Please pray that they can figure out a way to save our ocean and the Gulf Coast from this oil spill!  And what about the fish and other sea creatures?

This is a small study entitled "Twilight" 8 x 10 Oil on Ampersand Board.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finding Yourself In Your Art

Sometimes you have to go back and look at some of your earlier paintings to see what you were doing then and to see where you are growing.  When you hear Beyonce sing, you recognize her voice -- when people see you paintings, they should recognize you -- the you that has evolved into your own style.  It is great to learn from others, and then take all of the things that you have learned and create your own “style”.  
Certainly we all recognize a Vincent painting -- he developed his own style by simply painting -- every day.  
Learn from others -- go to the galleries and check out what is happening and take home what you love and find yourself in your art!
What is your favorite style of painting?
"Time With My Sister"  12 x 12 Oil on Canvas    

This painting was done about five years ago and you can still see my style!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Impressionist Magic

Every painting starts out on a blank canvas  -- and the masterpieces are the ones that are painted from your heart!
I think that this is true for everything we do in life -- the joy and magic comes when we let go and let our inner beings perform.   When Susan Boyle  sang the first stanza of her song on British Television, no one ever expected those incredible notes that came out of her -- she had all of those songs in her for so long -- she was just singing from her heart -- and that opened the door for her to shine -- big time! 
We all have that voice inside us that is yearning to sing - paint - dance -- create --- and when we find that part of us, that’s when our magic shines.

Here’s to all of the magic that is within us.
"Summer In New York"  40 x 40 Oil on Linen

Monday, April 26, 2010

Marvelous Mondays

Magnificent Monday!  The days that are the most magnificent are those when we are grateful for everything we have -- our health, our eyes, arms, legs, our homes, our friends and family, and our creative talents -- whatever they may be -- and then finding the joy in all that we have.
It’s a great way to start the week and create new works of art!  I’m ready to have a fantastic week -- et tu?
Smile and the world smiles back.

"Summer Afternoon" 20 x 16 Oil on Board

Friday, April 23, 2010

Impressionist Fridays

Fridays are the special day of the week -- as we are thinking of the fun we will be having all weekend!  
Painting on the Claessens Belgium  double-primed Raymar board brings out the color of the red dress.  There is something quite amazing about painting “red” -- it is the color of power and confidence!  And I love painting on this board.
Let’s all have confidence in ourselves and in our paintings -- it’s being the best that we can be! 
"A Glass of Wine"  8 x 6 Oil on Raymar Board


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Impressionist Times

I am painting my newest series of children enjoying the moments of Spring.  Childhood -- when you spend time just sitting and blowing bubbles, or reading a teen magazine to see what’s “in” and new!
This is a small study done on a Raymar Medium texture canvas board.  It will be included in this year’s Silent Auction at the Sonoran Stars to benefit the Desert Foothills Land Trust.  The event is this Saturday, April 24th,  and always is an amazing evening, including the release of a desert owl that has been rescued!
"Springtime"(study) 6 x 8 Oil on Board


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Impressionist Light

Spring is here and I am so happy to be painting the colors of spring!  This is a hammock in my back yard -- when the late afternoon light shines through the leaves, it creates magic.  And, then adding one of my little models -- voila -- a great painting!
This study is done on a Raymar board --(from the sample pack of 6 x 8 boards). This board has  the smooth cotton finish and it is perfect for creating the luminous light that shines behind the hammock.  I am happy to be discovering the different effects of each Raymar board.
Here’s to magical moments that bring you joy!

"Springtime" (study) 6 x 8 Oil on Raymar Board
DianeLeonard.com


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Impressionist Panels

While searching on the internet for new painting panels,  I  found these incredible boards made by Raymar.    I was so excited to find out that they are  professionally manufactured here in Phoenix, and that they are located close to  my studio.

They have  sample packs available in sizes 8 x 6  in both the canvas and the linens which allow you to experiment with the different textures on the boards.  I purchased the samples and some extra double-primed linen boards so that I could see which ones I liked the best.  I also ordered several custom boards, which were ready in less than two days -- what great service!   I also bought the smooth canvas ones for the ten  students in my painting workshop in the 24 x 20 size.
Now, it was time to try out my new boards.  This painting is done on a 12 x 9  Cotton Medium texture canvas board.   I started my “block-in” with my paint thinned with Walnut Oil by Graham -- it delays the drying of the paint and is a natural product.   I am really working on keeping my studio as “green” as possible.   Yah right, I use cadmium paints -- every little thing we do to be “green” is a plus.   I usually time the block-in part of the painting to be no more than thirty minutes -- this way I am painting as quickly as possible without the fear of overworking the small canvases.
I put the music on and the paint just simply flows across the textured canvas board -- I am having fun!  The beauty of these boards is evident from the first stroke!  I am so excited!


I  let the underpainting dry  for a few days, and now  I am ready to finish the painting with impasto colors on top of the thin underpainting. -- I like to let as much of the underpainting show through to give the painting the dimensions of light and space -- the board proves to be a perfect balance to create this feeling.
As I build up the paint I add lots of grey colors to keep the painting in color harmony.  
As the painting dries, I keep looking at it to see where I want to add more touches -- I usually wait at least a week to put on the final touches -- and when I am finishing a painting, I paint from my memory and feel the painting,  and here it is --
I am excited to be using the Raymar boards and I am learning more of their usage as I am painting with them.   I really work my boards, so  they need to be strong enough to handle all of my different techniques, including:  scraping down with a palette knife, wiping out, sandpaper, paper towels -- you never  know what will happen when I am painting!    And, the important area that I am really seeking is letting the transparent underpainting show through which gives the painting more depth and luscious transparent shadows.  The boards provide the perfect medium to let my impressionistic techniques create their own magic.  The final touches are now placed on the painting !
“Spring’s Magic” 12 x 9, Oil on Raymar Board.  The painting is being shown at The Hearle Gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts!.  

This is the first of many incredible paintings that I will be doing on these magnificent boards.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Impressionist Mondays

Mondays are my special days as I think of all of the paintings that I will be doing for the week.  I am inspired with new ideas to paint, and I have just completed several new photo shoots that are so amazing.
Treat everyone you meet with loving kindness!
"Garden Magic", 8 x 10 Oil on Board   
Sold to a Private Collector

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Impressionist Days

The journey through life is filled with so many surprises -- you never know what is around the corner.  That’s the magic of life.
Believe in yourself with a new found love of who you are.
Soar higher than you ever dreamt possible--
Live each moment with all the energy and vitality housed in your soul --
May each day bring you more happiness than your heart can hold!

"Mondavi Afternoon" (study) 12 x 12 Oil on Board
DianeLeonard.com
Diane@DianeLeonard.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Girls

They found the little girl that has been missing in the swamps for five days -- they found her alive and after lots of bug bites and being hungry, this little autistic child  seems to be  in pretty good shape.  Her family is so happy!  And it is great news for everyone.
Here’s to all of the little girls that make us smile and bring joy to our lives!


"Lanterns" 40 x 40 Oil on Canvas