Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Cherry Blossoms Cascading" (oil on stretched linen; 30" x 20")

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Reference photo

I painted "Cherry Blossoms Cascading" in Diane Tesler's class last year.  Diane is one of my favorite art teachers who taught me many things from how to stretch canvas to how to paint practically everything.  She would come to the four-and-a-half-hour class before it stated, stayed through the lunch break (she didn't eat lunch herself to find more time for students), and never left until everybody cleared out.  I must say that she was the most dedicated teacher at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.  Alas, she decided to retire and moved to Indiana this summer.  I will miss her.

Diane (in the center) at reception for her solo show in June

Diane is the kind of artists who see beauty in beat-up trucks and abandoned houses.  She paints soulful, gritty stuff, not fluffy pretty things like cherry blossoms.  I had to wait for another teacher to show me how to paint cherry blossoms.  It was Bobbi Pratte who told me to find darks to bring out lights in cherry blossoms.  "Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin" was done without her help, but the idea of keeping dark the blossoms in the shadow at the top of the picture was straight from her lesson.  The painting got sold right away at a gallery, so I must have done something right.

"Cherry Blossom Festival at Tidal Basin"
(oil, 14 "x 11")

This week I brought down "Cherry Blossoms Cascading" that had been languishing in my office upstairs to give it a major makeover.  Can you tell what I did?  I strengthened the sky first, then went to work to make cherry blossoms come to life.  Now the painting hangs in the family room so that all who come to my house can see it!

I am grateful to all my art teachers.  They may have different painting styles and teaching methods, but I learn valuable lessons from every single one of them.

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