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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Want to know the best gift ever, Rosemary Brushes! I purchased these awhile ago and I love them.  These are the long Ivory Flats from Rosemary & Co  The only complaint I have with them is that I wish I had bought more!

So, seeing as it is Christmas and all, I have ordered more brushes and I can hardly wait for them to arrive! I got hooked on these brushes at a plein air workshop I took during the summer taught by Michael King & Lalita Hamill.

I had brought several brushes and was not happy with them as they were too soft for plein air painting.  Michael casually dangled his Rosemary Brushes in front of my nose..."do you want to try them?" he said every so casually.  I had heard about these brushes from several artists over the years and was afraid to try them as of course if they last forever and come from the UK they must cost a fortune.   What if I get hooked!!?!?

I wavered....maybe just one...well, the damage was done, I was hooked.  Luckily they are not at all unreasonably priced and the shipping was very reasonable and duty was negligible. 

I have been painting off & on with these brushes through several sketches and paintings and they are no worse for wear and handle beautifully.  They may not make my paintings any better, but they sure make painting more fun!

I hope Santa slides some of these, or really any art supplies, into your stocking as well.  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sea Shell Study from Life

Sea Shell Study - 8x10" Oil on Panel
This is a little study I have been working on.  If you would like to see the process, please visit my Fine Art Blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Treasures Exhibit - November 20 Opening Reception from 6-8pm

I have several pieces on display at the Winter Treasures Exhibit at the Port Moody Art Center.  It is a cash & carry show so if you are looking for Christmas gifts go sooner than later as items may not last long ;)

Lots of great artisans will be displaying their work and there will be wine and nibblies tomorrow night with most artists in attendance.

See you there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What I have been up to lately

I started a new blog for my life drawing and painting.  If you would like to see what I have been up to check it out at http://tcostescu.blogspot.ca/

Life Drawing of Francoise
Oil Underpainting from Life

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Acrylic Abstraction Classes - Sep 16 - Nov 4, 2014

Euphoria - Acrylic on Canvas
I was getting prepared for my upcoming Acrylic Abstraction Classes at Port Moody Art Center and came across a piece that I had tucked away and forgotten about, Euphoria.

This is piece I created last year I believe and was exploring how using four pigments or paint colors, two blue and two reds. 

When I do abstract work, I love exploring how each pigment interacts with another and what type of interesting effects can be created by just working with the paint rather than trying to control it so that it does what I expect or want it to do. 

This seems to help me let go of my control issues when I work with other mediums or more realistically.  Now if I can just find a way to do this in my everyday life.....well back to my preparations!

If you are interested in this workshop, you can register directly online  or call 604-931-2008.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

New Workshop....New Studio.....and a dilemma...

 All set up for the first session of Absolute Beginner Watercolor classes in the beautiful Appleyard Parlour at Port Moody Arts Center. 

We are the first class to be held in the new space and was so nice.  The lighting is fully adjustable so each student has a "spotlight" on their work and there is tons of room to spread out.

I really had a lot of fun last night and always enjoy sharing my obsession, I mean passion, for art with new students.

Now I have a dilemma, I have my Acrylic Abstraction classes starting on September 16th and need to decide, do I stay in this beautiful room or "break in" another new room....hmm.

There are still spots available at for the Acrylic classes the Port Moody Arts Center or call 604-931-2008  if you would like to join me.   

We will create several paintings using a variety of surfaces and different techniques to create interesting effects using acrylic washes, glazes, texture and layering.  This class will be a fun exploration for beginners and more experienced students.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Acrylic Abstraction - Sep 16 from 12-2pm until Nov 4, 2014 - Port Moody Art Center

There are still spots left for my upcoming workshop Acrylic Abstraction. I have several cool projects planned as well as some practical color theory exercises to help build confidence while having fun.

This course is suitable for beginner and intermediate artist.  All supplies other the supports (4 canvas or boards 11x14" to 16x20") Bring any supplies you have that you would like to use as well as four supports (pre-gessoed canvas or panel) in sizes you feel comfortable with up to 16x20”.

If you are interested in this workshop, you can register directly online  or call 604-931-2008.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Upcoming Watercolor Workshops - Starting Sept 8 & 10, 2014 from 7-9pm

Wicked Winds - 16x20" Watercolor on Arches
$460 Matted & Framed

There are still a few spots left for my upcoming workshops, Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner  and No More Muddy Watercolors.

Artists will learn to create realistic watercolour paintings full of detail, form and rich colours.

We will focus on different techniques including layering transparent glazes, using opaque and transparent colours, colour mixing, dry brush techniques, wet on wet texture tips and more.

This beginners class will focus more on techniques and creating simplified paintings while the intermediate workshop will focus on using the techqniques to create more complex paitnings. All supplies included in the cost of the workshop.

Both classes are offered at:

Port Moody Art Center
2425 St Johns St., Port Moody
Please register at online using the links above or call (604) 931-2008 for more information.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Graydon Parrish Workshop - Munsell Color System Intermediate

This year I realized that 5 days is just not enough so I pulled every last string I could with my "real life" responsibilities and was lucky enough to get to spend 10 full days learning from Graydon Parrish.

Once again I learned so, so much!  I honestly can not say enough about what a wonderful, inspiring, knowledgeable, patient and just darn nice person Graydon is.  If you ever get the chance to take a workshop with him, run don't walk to sign up.  This year we applied the color knowledge that we learned in the first session by painting high chroma spheres. 

Red Sphere Ebauche
We started with the red sphere, or 5R4/12 in munsell notation.  We mixed up our paints and then did a quick (well it should be quick but I am SO slow) ebauche.  I struggled a bit (well a lot) mixing up the correct string as I seem to have a really hard time "seeing" red for what it really is.  I see the value as much higher than it really is due to the high chroma.  As I recall, I struggled on my color chart as well with red and yellow.
Red Sphere - Second Pass
Once the ebauche was dry I then painted a second pass, trying to get closer to the actual value and chroma shifts that I observed on the actual sphere.  Spheres are deceptively hard to paint or draw realistically as every little flaw sticks out like a sore thumb.  That being said, I was very surprised at how easily the red sphere took shape, I must be getting better ;)  This is where I left the sphere but it still needs at least one more pass.  Even though I no longer have the sphere, I can paint up my own at home to a perfect match (thanks munsell chips) and set it up in my studio to get the same lighting set up.

Yellow Sphere - Oil on Panel
While my red sphere was drying I started on my yellow sphere, 5Y8/12 in munsell speak.  The dreaded yellow sphere!  I do not paint yellow much in any medium so I did not realize how difficult a color yellow is to match correctly.  I forgot to get a photo of the ebauche and 2nd pass so here is the finished sphere.  Yellow is tricky because every time you put a stroke of paint down, the stroke next to it looks too green or too orange in comparison.  Plus it is just darn hard on the eye to look at such an intense color. Short sessions are a must!
Palette at the end of a session
I took a photo of my palette at the end of one of my sessions to show how neat, clean & tidy it is :)  Above my pallet are a couple of the tubes of paint I mixed up and tubed last year for my neutral paints.  Before when I would end a painting session my palette would be in a complete state of chaos as I would be trying to mix what I was seeing in my subject on the fly.

While I do enjoy working that way at times, when trying to really accurately depict the color you are seeing it is really hard as each brush stroke is relative to the stroke that came before it and I tend to end up chasing the values and chromas rather than stepping back, taking a deep breath and painting what I know, not what I think I am seeing. 

Yes I could just paint spheres focusing on value and hue and get an ok looking sphere but to paint a sphere while maintaining the correct hue, value & chroma all along the full form of the sphere is so much more challenging....and so much more rewarding.

Graydon Parrish Workshop - Munsell Color System for Beginners

Last year I took the beginner's Munsell Color Theory workshop.  We spent 5 full days delving into all the colors on our palette to see where they live in color space and created a top notch color wheel.

The munsell color system looks at color based on Hue (colorant or color), Value (light to dark) & Chroma (intensity or how far a color is from neutral gray).  We used munsell color chips to mix and match the exact colors we wanted, in this case the highest chroma hues that can be mixed in paint.

Each Hue has a different value of chroma that can be reached and mixing high chroma colors is no easy task! Graydon is such a patient & amazing teacher that he made 5 days of mixing color actually fun and quite exciting.
Add caption
Check out Wikipedia for a full explanation of Munsell.

Munsell Color Chart
This is how my color chart looked at the end of the workshop.  I had initially only signed up for 5 days but was lucky to be able to sneak back for an extra two days to finish up my wheel.  It may seem like a long time to make a color chart but I learned so much from mixing each high chroma color on the wheel and plotting all of my tubes of paint on the chart to see where they are in the color space. 

Learning this system has made me much more mindful when mixing my colors and painting.  It has saved me a great deal of time and paint as I am able to mix more accurately the correct value and chroma that I am after before I start painting so I can just paint and have fun rather than mixing on the fly.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Painting the Grisaille with Non-Toxic Oil Paints Classes
Sep 4 - Oct 23, 2014 --- Thur 10 - 12 pm

Egg Study Grisaille - Oil on Panel
The Grisailles is a method in which the artist renders the form in shades of grey. It simplifies the process of painting before moving on to colour and may also be used as an under painting before colour is applied. This class is perfect for beginners.

You will learn how to create and transfer your drawings to the canvas, create an open grisaille, mix correct value strings in oil, create a closed grisaille focusing on hard/soft edges, maintaining value structures and create smooth transitions through proper placement of values and blending, model form to create luminous 3D paintings.  Instructor demonstrations, individual one-on-one demos along with critiques will solidify concepts discussed in class. Although the concepts in this class are advanced, they are simplified and broken down into manageable pieces sop even beginners will feel confident and achieve amazing results. All materials provided.

Please register through the Port Moody Art Center at online registration or call (604) 931-2008 for more information.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monochromatic Watercolor Portrait Commission - Elizabeth Completed

Monochromatic Watercolor Portrait Commission
 I will see if my client has any edits needed but other than that I think she is complete!  I have been giving her "the eye" all morning from different angles and nothing has popped out at me so far.  Since the last update I spent a fair bit of time strengthening the shadow areas and refininh her features, softening edges along the way.  For this painting I used Daniel Smith Sepia watercolor pigment on Arches paper.  I often use Winsor Newton Sepia as well as it is great for cool dark areas but I really like the warmth of Daniel Smith's sepia for portraits.

This painting will be used on a book cover for a series of books that I have been fortunate enough to be commissioned for. 

Realistic Watercolor Workshop -
April 5 & 6, 2014

Wicked Winds - 16x20" Watercolor on Arches
$460 Matted & Framed

The Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner class is sold out but there are still spots available for my upcoming Realistic Watercolor Painting Workshop.

Artists will learn to create realistic watercolour paintings full of detail, form and rich colours.

We will focus on different techniques including layering transparent glazes, using opaque and transparent colours, colour mixing, dry brush techniques, wet on wet texture tips and more. This class is for beginners to intermediate artists. All supplies included in the cost of the workshop.

Apr 5, 2014 from 10 - 5pm and Apr 6, 2014 from 12-4pm

Port Moody Art Center
2425 St Johns St., Port Moody
Please register at online registration or call (604) 931-2008 for more information.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monochromatic Watercolor Portrait - Elizabeth

Watercolor Portrait Commission - Elizabeth
Well I thought the portrait had not progressed much from the last update until I went to post the update on line.  I guess all those hours in the studio did pay off ;)

There are lines around her lips and jaw that need to be softened so that they will settle in and not look so harsh.  Her neck is getting  there but still needs to be darkened especially along the nape of the neck which will really help balance things out.  Her hair is pretty much as dark as it will get but I may add a few highlights and wisps here and there as well as make the lower portion more subtle around the highlighted area.

Her facial features and skin tone are getting pretty close to completion and now it is about softening any harsh lines, refining her features, darkening her cheek area, lashes and trying to push the forms as far as I can to create a more three dimensional look.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Monochromatic Watercolor Portrait - Elizabeth
Initial Skin Tone Layers in Watercolor

Graphite Pencil Portrait Sketch

Watercolor Portrait Initial Washes
This is my latest commission that I am working on of Elizabeth.  The portrait commission will be a monochromatic watercolor which I love to do.  I really enjoy how the watercolor pigment builds up to create a glow from the white paper underneath.  I am using my favorite paper, Arches 140lb Hot Pressed that I stretch before starting.  Stretching your paper is the ONLY way to go as far as I am concerned! I have tried working on paper that is un-stretched and always find it such a pain as things just start getting good and then the paper buckles and how the heck can you judge proportions and accuracy with buckled paper?!!?

Her features are being built up quite loosely to start and will become more refined and the portrait progresses.  Her neck looks quite strange right now as at the nape of her neck it will become one of the darkest areas so I should address that this session to better determine the range of values.  Edges that have dried hard in some areas will also be softened before building up more form.  I love this part of the process as it is just so relaxing and enjoyable.  I have missed watercolor!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Realistic Flowers in Watercolor Workshop - Jan 25, 2014
Still a Few Spots Left!

Watercolor Flowers & Landscape Miniatures
If you are looking for something fun to do this Saturday why not come down and paint some flowers?  I am hosting a one day workshop at Leigh Square this Saturday from 10-4pm.  We will be focusing on flowers but will cover many of the basics of watercolor painting such as color theory, brush handling, modeling form and most of all, not letting the watercolor control you!

For registration info check out online registration or call 604-931-2008 for more information. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Painting Realistic Flowers with Watercolor Workshop
Jan 25, 2014 from 10 to 4pm, Saturday $75

Not Quite White
Still time to register for my one day workshop Painting Realistic Flowers with Watercolor at Leigh Square.

This workshop will provide you with the skills needed for creating realistic, watercolor paintings full of detail, form and rich colors, not mud. We will focus on several different techniques including: layering transparent glazes, when to use opaque vs. transparent colors, color mixing to create rich colors, not mud, dry brush techniques, wet on wet texture tips and much more.

You may work from their own reference photos or use a photo provided and no previous experience required.

For registration info check out online registration or contact me for more information.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Port Moody Arts Centre Instructors Exhibition
January 16 - February 13, 2014

I hope you can join me on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 6 - 8pm for my the opening reception of my first exhibit of 2014.

This will also mark my first year teaching art at the Port Moody Arts Centre and I am super stoked!  

The courses I am offering can be viewed at http://register.asapconnected.com/courses.aspx?coursegroupid=9898 Some are filling up fast so if you are interested in taking a watercolor, drawing, acrylic or blog building class please check it out.
The exhibition will showcase the artwork of many of the talented instructors at the Arts Centre.

Below is a list of featured artist:

3D Modelling Artist: Ghazal Farjoo
Clay Artists: Pauline Doyle; Otto Kamensek; Dan Severance
Glass Artist: Rick Mercer
Illustration Artist: Maria Centola
Visual Artists (painting, drawing, photography): Mark Anthony; Kimberly Blackstock; Joyelle Brandt; Tracey Costescu; Gabriela DiaconuJoy Ann Kirkwood; Lili Masbough; Dylan Moore; Agata Teodorowicz; Frank Townsley