Tag Archives: still life

Thursday, 4/21/11: Joanne Licardo

Thanks to guest writer Cameron Hawkey for today’s post.

While I set up to talk to Joanne Licardo, she tsk-tsks as she paints. “I’m trying to keep this still life simple,” she comments. “Last year, I brought in a leopard print backdrop. Why would I do that?” she chuckles, and I take a few moments to consider her still life. It consists of a short stack of books, a ripe red pear, a vase with a blooming Protea and some leafy greens, and a rock slyly placed in the corner. The rock piques my curiosity, and I ask her about it. “I’ve never painted a rock before!” exclaims Joanne. “All these years of painting, and I haven’t painted a rock. So I brought a rock to paint.” It’s hard to argue her sensibility and sense of humor, and proves a point, too: there is always something new to paint.

Joanne is painting on a sturdy cradled wooden panel, which she has gessoed and sanded down to make smooth. The objects of her still life have already been blocked in with a Burnt Sienna base, which gives warmth to the thinner layer of color she has painted over it. Painted with M.Graham oils, the layers are thinned with Gamsol to speed the drying time that the walnut oil in M.Graham normally extends.

She remembers that when she was 12 years old, Joanne tells me, she wanted to paint like the Old Masters. She started her formal training when she was 21, and apprenticed under a Norwegian master.

Now she’s the teacher, which fuels the passion. Her students teach her, she says, as much as she teaches them. They always come in with discoveries that are just as new to her as they are to her students. “One of my students brought in a ‘wisp’ brush a while ago, which is like a fan brush, but cut carefully, which produces a more varied effect.” Apparently, it makes for lovely grass and hair.

She moved to Portland from LA, and loves it here. “I love the rainy weather here. Who wants to paint on a sunny day? I’ve been here three and a half years and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet.” Suddenly she stops, and says, “I need a Mahl stick. Where’s a Mahl stick? Where?” She disappears and comes back with a mophandle, which she braces against the easel, propping it up with her leg. In this position, she was able to rest her hand against the stick and paint in detail, without having the strain of holding her arm out in front of her in a long pose. As she adds delicate yellow strokes for the petals of the Protea, she thinks out loud. “I think when I take this home, I’ll add some things from my garden in the vase.”

There’s a break in the rain, and it’s time for me to go. It’s unfortunate, because she has just started to paint in a new layer, a lovely shadow tone of Alizarin Crimson and Payne’s Gray with a little bit of Ultramarine and Rose. It gives a nice penumbra to the pear and the books, and brings in a lot of depth. I wasn’t able to see the finished state of the painting due to the slow, careful nature of the classical style, but if she has the patience to paint it, then I have the patience to wait.

The last picture show’s Joannes’ oil painting at the end of the day Thursday.  We’ll post an update with a picture of her finished piece.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

Sunday, 4/10/11: Jolie Guillebeau

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Jolie Guillebeau is as interested in you as much as she is in painting. She told me that she is doing a painting a day right now and trying to focus on faces and getting to know the people she is painting. “I had a teacher that told me to stick to still lifes,” she said, but now she is starting to learn faces. It goes along with her belief that anyone can draw. “It’s all about training your eye,” she told me.

Today Jolie was painting a Mr. Potato Head toy “facing off” against a Happy Apple toy. She wanted to stick to her theme of faces while painting one of her favorite subjects: toys. Jolie paints with oils and tries to touch into nostalgia and the concept of play. She doesn’t want people to think that artists have to be angst-ridden and upset to make art. It was obvious through her perky attitude that she lived true to her beliefs. To stick with the theme of nostalgia, she says that she often puts on shows from the seventies while she paints toys.

To begin her painting, Jolie started out with a layer of burnt umber paint and a value sketch of her still life on top of it. She slowly builds up forms and values with her paint as the piece progresses. A wise artist, Jolie said that when she works at home she sets a time for an hour. After the timer goes off, she takes a break from her work, stretches, and comes back to the painting with fresh eyes. This process helps keep her from burning out on painting and getting too obsessed with a particular part. She told me that she focuses on keeping her paint and edges smooth; she doesn’t want the brush strokes to distract from the image itself. However, in her daily paintings she tries not to focus on smoothness as much as getting the painting down.

For her palette, Jolie likes to stick to warm foregrounds and cool backgrounds with bright colors – such a playful subject matter requires it. Jolie says that she has been using the same color palette for years and is so familiar with where she places her paints that she barely has to look when grabbing a color on her brush.

It is obvious through her stories and through interviewing her that Jolie has lived a full, interesting life. She’s been painting since 2001 and spent a few years teaching in Africa. Now she paints professionally and teaches classes and private lessons. Her charisma is contagious and you can see a lot of it in her website, artbyjolie.com.

Click on thumbnails  for larger pictures.



5/3/10: two more finished pieces

Two more works, both oil paintings, are finished and ready for your bids — a colorful landscape by Virginia Church and a textured still life by Suzy Kitman.  View images at the end of previous posts by clicking the artist names above. . .

Friday, 4/30/10: Marcus Gannuscio

For our final day of live painting, our guest artist was oil painter Marcus Gannuscio.  Marcus (also our resident oil painting expert who you will often see behind the counter at Muse Art and Design) has studied painting at PNCA and at the Art Center in Pasadena.  Originally from Southern California, Marcus first came to Portland to study illustration at PNCA, but ended up specializing in oil painting.  Marcus is never far from his sketch book and diligently puts in daily sketching time to keep his drawing skills sharp.  He stays busy painting as well, usually creating large portraits, many of which are commissioned works.  He brought a recently finished portrait today to display while he worked (seen in the background of one of the photos below).

Marcus’ work is realistic and representational and can look almost photographic when seen at a distance or when scaled down for websites or printed photos.  When seen up close and in person, though, his works show a lot of expressive, economical brushwork, accomplished with large brushes and thick application of paint.  Although he focuses primarily on portraits, Marcus also paints landscapes and still lifes.  His piece today was a still life of a scale and wooden blocks found at an antique mall.

Last December, Marcus saw an exhibit of works in oils on glass by Pasadena painter Ray Turner.  He was fascinated by the look of the paintings on glass backed by brightly colored panels.  Marcus decided to experiment with this technique today for his still life.  He found that it was tricky to keep from wiping paint off the glass as he applied new brushstrokes over previous layers, but he was able to adapt his technique as he went so that he could blend colors and create details effectively.

Although our 30 days of artists working live at Muse Art and Design are over for this year, An Artist a Day will continue through May 13 as artists continue to bring in finished works.  You can place bids to purchase the works created throughout the month by calling Muse at 503-231-8704.  You are also invited to attend the final reception on Thursday, May 13 from 6-8pm at Muse Art and Design, 4224 SE Hawthorne Boulevard.  We will continue to post updates to this blog in coming days as artists bring completed works in.


One day to go, two more artists, and finished art still coming in!

The last day in April will feature oil painter Marcus Gannuscio as our guest artist.  This is a change to the schedule as Vanessa Crouch is out of town for a family emergency.  Vanessa will still contribute a piece to the exhibit and auction.  We’ll post images of her work next week.

Today  (Thursday 4/29) three more beautiful finished pieces came in from Corrine Loomis-Dietz, Joanne Licardo, and Anna Magruder. Updates to each blog posting show pictures of their final work. (click on names in previous sentence to go directly to blog postings.)

Remember that all finished works are on display at Muse Art and Design, 4224 SE Hawthorne Blvd through Thursday, May 13.  You are also invited to attend the artists’ reception on the evening of  May 13 from 6-8pm, when the auction will come to an end and the lucky high bidders will go home with new works of art by this talented and generous group of artists.  Finished pieces can also be viewed at AnArtistADay.com.

Friday, 4/23/10: Joanne Licardo

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Among an era of new and contemporary art, the painting methods of the old masters still stand out as an important and influential style. Artist Joanne Licardo trained in this style under Norwegian painter Jan Saether to learn her precise painting technique.

A transplant from California, Joanne moved to Portland two and a half years ago and loves it. Since moving, she has a lot more time to focus on painting. Joanne also teaches at the Multnomah Arts Center and her SE Portland studio. She says that she has a great time teaching, especially when working with people that have wanted to learn for a long time. Breakthroughs in a new painter’s work excites and inspires Joanne, who loves to share her work and techniques. She has been teaching for twenty years.

The piece Joanne was working on today was similar to her other works in method. She sanded the primed canvas down so that she could create her own texture with the paint, rather than the predetermined canvas texture. Aside from canvas, she likes to work on wood panels or linen, in particular oil primed linen. After sanding, she puts turpentine down on the canvas and freepaints the basic shapes of her subject. Today she was painting a still life of lilacs, shoes and fabric. Next, she lays down blocks of color and continues to build up layers of paint. The turpentine helps the paint dry faster so she doesn’t have to worry about on-canvas colors mixing. Her strokes are gentle and knowing, starting with a wet brush and sometimes following with a dry brush to smooth out the paint. “I don’t like to use colors out of the tube,” Joanne says, “mixing the colors makes it your own… makes it more mature.”

In front of her still life painting sat a breathtaking portrait of Joanne’s daughter, who also moved to Portland. Joanne says that she likes to do portraits, often of people she knows or for commissions. However, she also did a large series of Mandala paintings. Different than her usual earthy palette, the Mandala paintings are bright and gemlike. “Mandalas are healing,” Joanne says, going on to explain that she thinks anything that will help heal people and the earth is good.

Several of Joanne’s friends from the Portland Painter’s Social Guild stopped by to say hello and check on her progress. They told me that Joanne is always a pleasure to be around and that her work delights them.


Thursday, 4/22/10: Suzy Kitman

Thanks to guest writer Sally Murdoch for today’s post

Suzy Kitman is as fascinating to watch as she is to listen to. She seems very at ease talking and creating art simultaneously, so you’d never know this isn’t something she does everyday. You’d also never know her paintings can take 6 months to finish because she seems to whisk through the details so swiftly and effortlessly, adding a palette knife at time to color the canvas quickly. She drew a constant crowd in the store as she created a thickly textured painting of three dolls, which she affectionately called a girl party (two Raggedy Anns and another larger girl doll but no Raggedy Andy). Suzy is a still-life and portrait artist who also teaches acrylics classes, and she says she was an impatient person until her late 20’s when she learned to paint with oils. It was her love of color and its magical infinite qualities that got her into painting. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of the American Indian.

It was at the latter museum where the curator asked her to draw some Kachina dolls and she really began to focus in on a subject she never envisioned herself painting—dolls. The more she drew these Kachina dolls, the more dialogue was created between herself and the dolls, and she found herself connected to the incredible powerful effect dolls have on people. “Dolls can be a conduit to very primal feelings and childhood memories,” she says. “They all start out as sculptures, then humans spend energy on crafting them into something” they think kids will play with. She says she has “scouts” who find unusual dolls for her collection. The dolls’ expressions make her stop and ask questions like “Who thought this was a happy face? Or “Who thought a kid would want to play with that?”

Suzy sees metaphor in dolls and often uses them as subjects to explore human relationships in her art. The dolls Suzy collects are unusual and her artwork around them is based on their character or personality. Today’s still life assembly of three dolls includes a Raggedy Ann belonging to friend KC Cowan of OPB’s ArtBeat fame. Another is a mid-century hooded doll whose condition and expression reached out to Suzy when one of her scouts texted her with the image in a store before buying it.

Suzy was excited to experiment with some new colors.  She used M. Graham oils today and was happy with their feel. After getting umber outlines down, Suzy began adding background color with a palette knife, and added dried paint for some variance in textures. She works quickly to cover the canvas, she explained to her seated listeners, because white can be disturbing to the eye. As well as still life dolls, she also paints portraits and “big fruits”. In assembling a still life, she says, “I allow my present life and my past to surface.”

With her paintings fetching upwards of $2,800, this fundraiser with a starting bid of $75 marks one of the best deals in An Artist A Day!

The last image shows Suzy’s painting at the end of the day Thursday.  We will post an update with a picture of the finished piece