Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Koi and Parrot" (acrylic on stretched linen; 22" x 28")

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To shake things up a bit, this spring I am taking an abstract painting class with Deanna Schwartzberg at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. Creativity and play are the key to the class. I am having so much fun!

During the second class, I painted "Koi and Parrot". Koi and a parrot? Why not? Believe it or not, at the beginning I had a musical theme in mind with a drum, violin, and flutes! Somehow koi shapes began to emerge. Someone found the parrot during the critique session and it became my favorite part of the whole colorful painting. I love the stare of the parrot and the swimming movement of the koi!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Venice Scuola Grande di San Marco" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14")

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Venice is beautiful wherever you look. One of my favorite places in this serenely beautiful city is the Scuola Grande di San Marco. It originally was the home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city. Of course, the square is always packed with people, whom I made disappear magically!

The edifice was built by the Confraternity of San Marco in 1260 to act as its seat. In 1485, however, it was destroyed by a large fire, and rebuilt in the following twenty years. The façade is a masterwork of delicately decorated niches and pilasters and white or polychrome marble statues. It is now a civic hospital.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"Detail from Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" (oil on linen; 12" x 12')

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" (c 1657–59) by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. The well-preserved painting is on display at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden. For many years, the attribution of the painting was lost, with first Rembrandt and then Pieter de Hooch being credited for the work before it was properly identified in 1880. After World War II, the painting was briefly in possession of the Soviet Union.

A pretty intimidating painting to copy, don't you think? Look at the girl's ringlets, intricate dress, and her reflection on the window panes. I am learning much through these copying efforts.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Athena the Aussie" (oil on linen; 8" x 6") gift


"Athena the Aussie" is for Roseline. Athena is a happy Australian shepherd who loves to wear bandanas. Roseline won the portrait in my second Instagram pet portrait giveaways. Congratulations! If you are on Instagram and owns a pet, please follow me (#kimstenbergart) for a chance to win a free pet portrait!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Detail from Sargent's Mrs George Swinton" (oil on stretched canvas; 16" x 12")

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Mrs George Swinton" (1897) by the master portraitist John Singer Sargent. The original hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mrs. George Swinton epitomizes the painterly virtuosity that made John Singer Sargent one of the most favored portraitists of fashionable Europeans and Americans in the late 19th century. Extravagant color and brushwork were central to Sargent's success, as was his ability to present an image of his sitter that adhered to social standards.

In Elizabeth Swinton's case, he accentuated her regal bearing and feminine satin dress. She was also known for her musical talents; at the time her portrait was executed, she was recognized as an amateur singer and later began performing professionally. Swinton's pose indicates both the poise of a performer and the countenance of a fashionable socialite.

As it happens, Sargent is one of my favorite artists. When Danni Dawson gave her portrait painting class an assignment to copy a portion of his portrait with the emphasis on how he handled satin fabrics, I picked this painting. Look at Mrs Swinton's gorgeous dress and the arm chair her right hand holds on to so elegantly!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Hearts and Roses" (oil on stretched linen; 10" x 10")

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How would you like to receive from your sweetheart a heart-shaped chocolate cake frosted with three colors of rosy swirls of icing on a golden plate? That is what happened to me on my birthday in February. Aren't I lucky? I would like to add that eating the cake was A LOT EASIER than painting it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Penny" (oil on linen; 8" x 10") sold


"Penny" is for Samantha, who commissioned the portrait for her friend as a surprise gift. Her aging cat loves being in the sun, so Samantha thought a portrait of the cat lying in the sun would be particularly fitting. I chose such a reference photo, but curled the tail so that it would fit in the picture and, at the same time, wouldn't lead the viewer's eye out of it. I love the way light plays on the plush leather seat on which Penny is lounging!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Irish Lass" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 9")

Sarah with a resolute expression is of Irish descent. Can't you tell by her fair complextion, reddish brown hair, and green jacket? I had fun painting her in one-week session in Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Hannah and Jackson" (oil on stretched linen; 24" x 30") sold


The mother of two gorgeous kids found my portraiture on the internet and commissioned me to paint a large double portrait to hang over her mantle. I felt honored and worked on the painting for a couple of months to get it just right. She seems pleased and so am I!

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Iris Season at Monet's Garden" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14")

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Walk around the front garden with the Grande Allee at Giverny, France. The impressionist master Claude Monet designed and cultivated his garden with a great passion for decades toward the end of his long productive life. It is a slice of heaven on earth. My favorite time is when the irises are in full bloom. I can almost smell the heady perfume of these gorgeous flowers!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Copy of Detail from Sir Peter Paul Rubens's "The Straw Hat" (oil on linen; 12" x 9")

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Portrait of Susanna Lunden or The Straw Hat" by the Baroque master Sir Peter Paul Rubens. It is now in the National Gallery, London. It was done as a homework for Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. The assignment was glazing: start the painting with a grisaille in burnt umber, cobalt blue, and white; let the grisaille dry, then build up the colors with layers of thin paints slowly over the period of several weeks.

The title "Le Chapeau de Paille" (meaning The Straw Hat) was first used in the 18th century. In fact, the hat is not straw; "paille" may be an error for "poil", which is the French word for felt. The hat, which shades the beautiful face of the sitter, is the most prominent feature of the painting. Her fabulous, asymmetrical dress and cleavage are not shabby either!

The portrait's subject is Susanna Lunden (née Fourment), elder sister of Rubens' future second wife Helena Fourment. The portrait probably dates to the time of Susanna's second marriage in 1622, to Arnold Lunden.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Master of the Hunt" (oil on stretched canvas; 20" x 16")

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Claire, from France, is a sculptor who occasionally models. Here she is dressed as the Master of the Hunt. By the way, she is not the master herself, but hunts nevertheless in Leesburg, VA You can see a bit of her black top hat, but unfortunately her long, slender, ballerina-like legs in black boots are cut off in this half-length portrait. The painting was done from life during Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"Cupid's Choice" (oil on linen; 4" x 5")

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Who can resist this heart-shaped donut with pink icing and heart sprinkles? It is also filled with gooey Bavarian cream. Not I. Evil Dunkin Donuts. There goes my diet!

"Happy Year of the Rooster" (oil on linen; 8" x 8")

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A few days ago was the New Year's Day on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Do you know it is now the Year of the Rooster? Happy Year of the Rooster! By the way, I was channeling Matisse while I was working on this small painting. I hope the colorful painting evokes his work!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Winter Central Park Nocturne" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14")

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This is my favorite view of Manhattan: with the stone bridge of the Central Park in front. If it is a winter evening with snow on the ground, it is even more magical!