Monday, September 29, 2014

"Eiffel Tower Night" (oil on linen; 12" x 12") sold


The Eiffel Tower, the iconic image of the most beautiful city in the world, becomes a dreamlike, sparkling jewel every evening.  Ah, the magic of Paris!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Central Park in Fall Colors" (oil on linen; 9" x 12") sold


I have often painted the famous Pond at the New York Central Park with a sliver of the Manhattan skyline.  It is such a picturesque scene.  It is always beautiful, but is most spectacular in fall colors!

Friday, September 26, 2014

"London South Bank" (oil on linen; 9" x 12")

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This breathtaking view of London South Bank with its ultra modern glass towers against the dark evening sky is worth the visit to the United Kingdom!  When I lived in London in 1990 for my doctoral dissertation research, it didn't look like this at all.  South London, south of the Thames River, was generally dowdy and, in some places, run down.  If you wanted excitement and elegant city life, you went to Chelsea or Kensington, and that's exactly what I did by moving from Southwark in South London to Chelsea on the other side of the river.

Through the massive redevelopment over the past three decades, London has become ultra modern and chic, without forsaking its old, world-famous grandeur.  It's a city that wears age and modernity with an equal panache.  I love London!

The glass "Shard" (which you can see in my painting) and the medieval Southwark Cathedral side by side!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Big Ben Night" (oil on linen; 9" x 12") sold


Last year during the family vacation to the United Kingdom, I wanted to see the Parliament Buildings and Big Ben on the Thames River at night, although it was cold and we were tired. Boy, I was glad.  These iconic buildings truly glowed like jewels at night!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Hydrangea Garden" (oil on linen; 10" x 8") sold


I realized that I haven't painted hydrangeas at all this year.  That's won't do!  I pulled out a picture I took last year and went to work.  Fresh as the morning dew, white hydrangeas bloom against a white picket fence.  Ah, the glory of hydrangeas!

I quickly established the value pattern with transparent paints.

I started laying down opaque paints on the background, flowers, and leaves.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Winter Leaves" (oil on stretched canvas; 14" x 18") sold


"Winter Leaves" is a "micro" snowscape.  I zoomed in on a snow-laden tree branches with some leaves still hanging on.  The white snow looks purer than anything I have ever seen, against the russet orange leaves and blue purple snowy background.  The painting is framed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Snow Creek" (oil on linen; 8" x 10")

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Down the street on which I live, there is a park along a small creek, called Holmes Run. When my daughter was little, we spent many hours there, launching paper boats, throwing rocks, and hopping on stepping stones across the creek and back.

These days, I usually go down to the creek by myself after a snowfall to admire the crisp winter beauty.  "Snow Creek" was based on a photo I took last year on a bitingly-cold morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Interview with Alison's Animals

Here is my interview with Alison's Animals.

Hooray! A new interview, today with Kim Stenberg, an Alexandria, Virginia based artist who favors an impressionistic style. After retiring from a long career as a history professor, Kim decided to follow her passion and is now a full-time painter.
Kim’s paintings are dazzling; they are alive, capturing what seems like many seconds of space and time, similar to time-exposure photography in my opinion. Not only does Kim produce beautiful work, but she is very productive; for example, she completed 20 new paintings last month! I’m inspired by her in so many ways. What I most respect about Kim, though, is her confidence. On her Facebook page, she isn’t afraid to let people know when she is proud of a piece she’s working on. It’s a quality I’d like to cultivate in myself.
Kim loves what she does, works hard, and is positive and self assured - keep reading to learn more about this fascinating painter!
"Stargazer in the Sun"

Alison: What are three interesting or little-known facts about yourself?

Kim: I don't know how many people know from my married name that I am originally from Seoul, Korea.

I am what they call a self-taught artist, as I don't have any art degrees.  I do, however, have three advanced degrees in history.  I received a PhD degree in British history from the University of Minnesota in 1993 and has taught history at a college level for 20 years until my early retirement.

These days I usually paint in oil, but I used to be a watercolorist for a long time.  I've had some success in that medium as numerous awards and publications would testify.

Alison: How much of your artistic skill would you attribute to self-teaching vs. formal training?  Would you recommend a similar path to other aspiring artists?

Kim: My late mother used to say that I should have gone to art school for college.  I don't know if that would have done much good because the abstract expressionism was all the rage in the 70's and 80's in Korea.  Besides, I haven't quite found myself or my passion when I was young. Would I recommend the path that I took to other artists?  I believe every person should find his or her own path.

"Winter Woods"

Alison: What is it about your subjects that attracts your attention and inspires your work?

Kim: One of my "problems" is that I like to paint pretty much everything!  I paint figure, animal, landscape, floral, and occasionally still life.  I paint in two very different mediums of oil and watercolor in quite different styles.  I find beauty in so many things that I want to try to render them in paint, to see if I can make them come alive by capturing light striking them.  That's right.  I paint light, the source of life.

Alison: I am always intrigued when you showcase your transparent underpainting in the initial stages of your works.  How does this step contribute to the success of the final painting?

Kim: I learned the method during the workshop of Dreama Tolle Perry in April, 2013.  She starts with a minimum drawing and dark transparent underpainting, then she layers with opaque paints.  I don't paint anything like her, but what I walked away from her workshop with elevated my work to a much higher level.

What transparent underpainting does, as far as I am concerned, is to help the artist to see the values and color temperatures of the project.  One also gets to approach it as mass, not lineally. Besides, when an underpainting is well done, the painting goes fast because much of the problems have already been solved.

"Beach Boy"

Alison: How did your style develop and has it changed over the years?

Kim: used to be very tight when I painted in watercolor.  I felt hemmed in by lines.  So I moved away to oils and freer ways of painting.  I worship John Singer Sargent.  Someday I hope I will be able to paint like him.  In the meanwhile, I have taken many classes and workshops with my favorite artists to learn from their knowledge.  I keep experimenting new ways of applying paint to canvas toward a more expressive style.  My current preoccupation is pointillism.  This "dotted style" captures effectively the sensation of light sparkling and pulsating throughout the picture plane in my landscapes.

Alison: Do you have a specific creative process from start to finish?

Kim: I paint quickly, generally on a small scale.  Painting is an exciting, yet meditative act, which carries me through the tough spots.  I insist on finishing a painting and move on to the next.  It doesn't mean that I don't dwell on the yesterday's painting.  I have thrown away quite a few unsatisfactory paintings and reworked many an old painting.  But my maxim is keep painting. Thinking about painting is about as useful as piles of cookbooks with recipes never tried. Growth comes from the act of painting.

"Dupont Circle Fountain" 

Alison: As someone who has always been passionate about art, I've frequently been told that the only artist is a starving one.  Have you heard such a comment throughout your career, and how do you deal with this seemingly culturally pervasive notion about professional artists?

Kim: One yoga acquaintance of mine asked me what I did for a living.  When I told her I was an artist, she asked me again: "Seriously, what do you do for a living?"  Is that what you are talking about?  The trouble with being an artist is that anybody can call herself or himself an artist.  There are as many artists as grains of sand on a beach.

I do have a faith that it is possible to make a living as an artist.  I have seen successful artists and know a few in person.  As long as one is good at what she is doing and works hard, anything is possible.  What the world thinks of me doesn't bother me much.  They are probably jealous, because I am living a creative life, seeing beauty in mundane things that they walk by and having the ability to transform them into a work of art!

Alison: How did you know you were ready to begin selling your paintings?

Kim: Turning 50 was the reason.  I was delusional about selling my paintings like hotcakes though.  But quitting my job and committing myself to what I always wanted to do made all the difference.  I have been working prodigiously hard for the last four years and, boy, my paintings have improved a great deal.  Dreams do not come true, just because you dream fervently!  Because of higher quality, I am able to sell my paintings at higher prices and sell more of them than before.


Alison: Have you found social media such as Facebook and Twitter to be helpful in promoting your work?

Kim: Yes and no.  I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook because you cannot ignore the digital world in which we live.  If the artist gets into the social media business with the sole aim of selling art, she is bound to be disappointed.  To be sure, there are occasional sales that come from the exposure on Facebook.  What is more important, I think, is the instant feedback one gets from fans from all over the world.  I can tell whether a painting has "a mass appeal" or falls flat.  It is also good to be connected to the world, however "virtually" it may be.  Being an artist is a lonely business; Facebook alleviates some of the cabin fever.

Alison: Do you have a favorite painting tip or other creative advice you could share?

Km: Bring the painting you are working on to the mirror often, or take a snapshot with a smart phone every now and then.  You will be able to see right away the problems you didn't see before.

"French River" (watercolor sketch)
Like Kim’s Facebook page and follow her blog to stay up to date on what’s happening in her studio and learn more about her process. Visit her website to see an extensive portfolio of her pet portraits, figures, landscapes, watercolors, and more. And, of course, check out her Etsy store to order a favorite work or commission a painting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Quill and Tilly" (oil on linen; 6" x 8") sold


"Quill and Tilly" is for Tracey, who commissioned me to paint this sweet double portrait as a gift.  Her neighbor's dog, Quill, on the left, passed away last week.  She had adopted Quill from the Big, Black and Beautiful adoption agency because, as she says, no one adopts middle-aged big black dogs.  She gave him a wonderful life despite his many issues (eating carpet, socks, many trips to the vet, etc.).  She never wavered in her love and devotion for Quill.  Tilly, on the right, is her other dog.

I was touched by Tracey's kind thoughtfulness.  I have no doubt that her neighbor will appreciate the gift.  The people and pets we loved never go away; they always live in our hearts.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Autumn Glory" (oil on stretched canvas; 14" x 18")

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Take a walk wit me in the country on a fine autumn day.  Leaves have turned colors.  The world is a festival of gold and rust.  Ah, it's good to be alive!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Winter Sun" (oil on linen; 9" x 12")

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It has been very hot lately.  That is perhaps why I am in the mood for snow paintings.  The sun breaks through the gap in the forest, turning the scene with a row of evergreen saplings into a winter wonderland.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Collage of my August Paintings

Collage of My August 2014 Paintings

I was very productive last month.  Painting almost everyday, I created 20 paintings!  I feel a great sense of achievement.  Now tell me, which is your favorite painting?