Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

I have continued my custom of painting my own Christmas cards.  They usually feature my 'Little Crab' and their version of a tree decorated for the holidays.  This year I have highlighted the 'Four Calling Birds'.  If you have ever heard gulls call out to each other along the shore, you can appreciate how appropriate they are for this scene.  Little Crab knows they are looking for a holiday nibble so hiding behind the tree is safe!

I wish you wonderful holidays and a year full of great things!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

SAG Member's Show

From Oct 3-18th at the SAG Gallery at Market Common on Nevers St here in Myrtle Beach.  Reception Saturday 10/8 from 5-7 pm, when awards are given out.

I have two pieces in the show.  'Spinning in the Wind' and 'A Different Point of View"

It's a great show.  Gallery is open from 10-6 daily except Sundays 12-6.
Come see it!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Horse For A Friend

I did a project outside of my usual work as a favor for a good friend.  She had a basket in the shape of a horse's head.  I flipped it over and painted the horse for her.  It is similar to her sister's favorite horse.  I kept the basket natural.  

We both think it turned out very well.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Black & White

"Behind You"  Oils  12"x12"

"SILENCE!"  Oils  12"x12"

These two new paintings will be part of the "Black & White" show at the William H. Miller Gallery & Studio on Main St here in Myrtle Beach.

These are the first in my Body Language series that I have done in strictly black and white.  They are very textural.  I love color and usually have very strong colors in my paintings.  Since I was limited I did more knife work to create the texture.  I used warm and cool grays as well as the black and white.

"Behind You" represents those who are behind you in life.  Not only while waiting in line, but also those that have your back.  Family, friends, authority figures, sometimes even strangers support you.  You may not always realize how much they do so, but they do.  This support allows you to do so many things in life that would be harder if not impossible to do with them there.

"SILENCE!"  represents the times when we have no voice.  Whether silenced by people or culture or religion there are times where we find we cannot speak out.  We need to break that lock and find our voice and speak what we must say.

Reception is Friday 8/26 6-9 pm and will run through 9/3 1-5 pm  Gallery is open daily 1-5

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Revision and Another Revision

Ensnared In The Lives Of Others has been brought back to life.  I did the original painting back in 2014.  I was never really happy about the results.  I studied it over the past 2 years and asked others for their thoughts.  

Finally I thought I had a plan and made some revisions.  It was better.  

I am taking a class with Alex Powers and as part of that class is a critique and on Tuesday one of the paintings I took in was this one.  I really like what I heard - not that it was great, but there were issues and a suggestion on how to fix it.

I took it to heart, picked up my paintbrush (again) and made more changes.  

This time I am very happy with the results.  Now I am done - really.  I have found a good place to stop.

first version

first revision

final version

Black & White - The Beginnings

William H Miller Studios is holding a show "Works In Black & White' from 8/24 to 9/3 on 714 Main St here in Myrtle Beach.

I have been toying with a couple of my 'Body Language' paintings in b&w so this is a good reason to get them out of my mind and onto the canvas.  

I had these 2 12x12' gallery wrapped canvases in my studio with abandoned paintings on them and really like the size and shape.  So I gave them a good cover of black and white.  Could not remember if I had done the earlier paintings in acrylic or oils - so I am using oils this time, safe to put over either base.

I used a knife and covered the front and all sides.  No real plan, but I like the what I have so far.

Back to work!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ensnared In the Lives of Others

Another painting in my Body Language series.  'Ensnared In The Lives Of Others' (30"H x 40"W, acrylics) shows the way our lives are woven together with our family, friends and perhaps others in ways we can never really get away from.

I had originally designed and painted this in 2014 but was never very happy with it.  So after many many hours thinking about it, I finally reworked it and am much happier with the painting.

It has been on my to-do list for a long time.  I am glad its ready to go into the gallery.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Six Steps To An Abstract Painting

An abstract painting is like an instrumental song, even though there are no words the music still conveys mood and rhythm.  There is still structure to the song.  The same is true with an abstract painting - the principles of composition still apply to create a 'good' painting.

There is more than one way to create an abstract painting.  One way is to take an everyday object and remove the distinguishing features to use the composition, lines and colors to create an abstract painting.  You can use as many steps as you need to get to the end.  Back in school one project required ten steps using a chair as a beginning.

For this example, I am using a painting of a Teapot by Paula Zima as my start.  She has a strong composition, colors and lines in her painting.  By attacking one color at a time, I took her image and converted it to an abstract painting in six steps.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Busy April - Show Season

There seems to be a season for art shows in the Spring, mostly in April.  I was involved with three this year.  That was keeping me busy and I did not post as often as I should have :(  but I will try to be better now.

First was the SAG Photography show at the Seacoast Artists Gallery.  I do not focus on photography, but I actually took photography classes before I began painting.  I do have an eye and I take most of my photos when I am on vacation.  Since I wanted to support the show - first time SAG has held a photography only show, I entered the max of three photos.  I dug through my photos from my last couple of vacations and found a few favorites that I thought would show well.

'Grumpy' is a hummingbird in Costa Rica who sat with an attitude while most of the hummingbirds were flittering around.

'Pulling It In'  was taken on a catamaran tour in the Dominican Republic.  The crew was taking down the main sail when the wind picked up.  It was a quick snap, but I like the design elements in the photo.

'Rooted In The Sand' was also taken in the DR near the coast.  I love the gnarly roots and the echo of the peachy color in the bark, roots, leaves and building in the background.

Immediately after that show was the SAG Spring Show where I entered the max of 3 paintings, all from my Body Language series.

'Looking Up'  is from the viewpoint of someone on their back.  Whether a child, someone bedridden or just someone laying on the floor...  I wanted to capture the dizzying view while looking up.

'Joy Celebrates' illustrates the wave of exhilaration that accompanies the joy that is shared by a group.  It could be a family, a group of friends, a team...  Our joy is enhanced when it is shared and celebrated.

'Joy Creates' illustrates the feeling of creation that accompanies joy.  It can be a shared joy between a couple, a group or a whole family.  Joy allows us to forge new bonds, expand our horizons, bring newness into our universe...

After that show I had a display of my work at 'Art Burgers & Sushi' on the boardwalk here in Myrtle Beach.  Local artists are given an opportunity to display their work for 4 weeks.  Patrons have the opportunity to purchase.  I sold three in April.  

The end of April also saw the beginning the WACG Spring Juried Show held at The Art Museum of Myrtle Beach.  I had two paintings accepted into the show.  Its quite the honor.

'Spinning In The Wind'  reflects the feelings when life is spinning out of control.  But the figure is in a dancer's pose, it is possible to have some control even when spinning.  The whirly-gig emphasizes the fact that outside forces are usually what causes us to feel out of control.

'Prisoner Of Past Mistakes'  illustrates the feeling we have when we are held captive by the guilt we have from mistakes we have made.  The 'bars' are made of ribbon - not steel, so we have the ability to break free from them if we so choose.

While still holding class, working on illustrations, writing my newsletter and life in general.  I can let out a sigh of relief while life gets back to just normal busy.  Until the autumn show season that is :)

Next New Paintings

I started working on the design for the next two paintings in my Body Language series.  I start sometimes with just a thumbnail sketch, sometimes larger.  I then get them to the same proportions that will match the canvases that I will use.  I used my new ink pencils from Derwent to play with the colors and come up with a beginning color scheme.  Next step will be to transfer the images to the canvases and start blocking in.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Palm Tree in Pastels

Class demo this week was working in pastels.  I use the same palm tree composition for many demos so students can focus on the application of the medium and not necessarily the subject of the painting.  Plus I have painting so many palm trees over the years that I do not have to think too hard to  create one and can focus on the explanation of the technique.

Pastels are not my favorite but I do know that basics.  What I did:

  •   work on paper designed for pastels
  •   attach the paper to a firm background so it cannot bend easily
  •   use low tack tape to attach it so you will not damage the paper.
  •   working on a color paper will speed up the process.  Here I used blue.
  •   This paper was 9 x 6" and I decided my finished painting will be 5x7" so I gave myself guidelines
  •   Start distant to near.  I first worked the sky lightly with a couple shades of blue plus white.  I blended them and brushed off the excess.
  •   I used a ruler to give me guide for the horizon and worked the water.  Blending a little then leaving the waves more pronounced,
  •   Work the sand with a base of yellow ochre and an assortment of other colors.
  •   Placed the tree trunk with a dark brown and made the highlights a pale gray.
  •   The fronds have darker value in the shadow areas and lighter values on the top.  I used several shades of green plus yellow and peach highlights on the fronds and on the trunk.
  •   After each application I brushed off or shook off the excess pastels so the painting would not be muddied.  
  •   very thin gulls in the sky finished off the painting.  I rolled the edge of the dark blue pastel to achieve the fine line.
  • pastels must be matted to the gap between the image and the glass or acrylic is far enough that it does not mess up the image.  Mats may be stacked if needed to create a deep enough gap.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Looking Up - Almost done

Looking Up  - Oils

Almost completed.  It will need a little touch up and I still need to paint the sides of the canvas, but yes, this one is just about done.  I like the color combinations that I wound up with.  There is a good energy, plenty of visual interest, good balance of values and colors and it works for my initial focus of the content of the painting.  If one is laying on the ground, looking up, disorientated, head spinning...  this is what the world looks like when you first open your eyes.

It will be part of the SAG Spring Show at the gallery at Market Common from 4/15-4/25/16.

If it doesn't sell during the show, I will probably use it in my gallery display beginning in May.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Looking Up 3

Looking Up 3

Worked hard on the background for the figures.  Even though the sketch showed bands of color, I always had in the back of my mind to make the background more of a smooth area of blended color.  These areas turned into circles or orbs of color.  I have a yellowish one at the top, a greenish one on the bottom and a bluish one on the middle left.  I changed the color of the bluish one from the purple.  I felt I needed more visual weight on the bottom so I made the greens the deeper values.  Once I get the figures in the colors will change again.  I like the way the figure on the middle right seems to be created from the overlapping circles.  As well as the upper red figure from the blue and yellow.

What looks good on a 3"x4" rough sketch does not always translate well onto a 30"x40" canvas.  The sketch is a guide - not a contract.  I almost always modify, adjust and downright change things as I go.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Looking Up - blocked in


Looking Up - Blocked In

Earlier in this blog I posted a sketch of my idea for this painting.  It is on a 40" H by 30" W canvas.  I used a block by block transfer of the image onto the canvas.  Next I block in the painting with thin acrylic paints.  I have added, removed and changed some things already.

I do this to audition the colors, values and placement of the design.  I mostly like it.  It will change.  I already decided to bring the blue figure in the lower left corner into the green more.  I think it will balance the upper right area better.

I will do more blending, different colors when I switch to oils.  The acrylics dry faster and are easier to quickly slap onto the canvas.  At this stage I do not want to spend too much time on applying the layer of color.  I think of this as just another step of transferring the idea from paper to canvas.  Only with the next step do I consider myself creating the painting.  However, if for some reason a small portion of this layer does show through, it will just blend in to the finish product.  

Now for the fun part!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Prisoner Of Past Mistakes - Completed

"Prisoner Of Past Mistakes"  Oils  2016

I have completed this painting.  Mostly happy with it.  I have increased the texture and colors of the ribbons holding them prisoner.  I wanted more focus on the figure so by toning down the ribbons, it brought it more to the center of interest.

The mistakes we make in the past can hold us back and/or keep us trapped.  But the bonds are made of ribbon, easily broken if an effort is made.  Some break with time, some break with effort.  The limitations they cause are ones that can be overcome, but we do not always recognize that.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Spinning In The Wind - Completed

Not the very best photo, but I have completed my latest painting in my Body Language series.  "Spinning In The Wind" is done in oils.  Although the figure is spinning, it is a sort-of a controlled spin in the way that dancers do.  I want to represent that: yes, even when we feel out of control, there may be some aspects of our lives that we can hang on to.  Is the figure freeing themselves from the pole or hanging on?  Are the threads that are unraveling around their head creating a halo or a cage?  I wanted movement, but still a feel of quiet.  The contrasts represent the pull of many things in our lives, sometimes in different directions.  Are we stopping the spin?  Or making things spin faster?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Umbrella On The Beach - Class Project

Umbrella On The Beach – Acrylics
Project by Artist Jackie Stacharowski  ©2016

Supply List:  8x10” canvas, acrylic paints:  permanent yellow, permanent red, permanent blue, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, white.  Flat brushes ½”, ¼” and a small round brush.  Water container, paper towels, ruler, chalk, blue painter’s tape, paper plate for palette.

This composition is done in a vertical or portrait orientation.  Measure 4” up from the bottom and use the blue tape under the mark to preserve the horizon line.

Using permanent blue and white, paint in the sky area having it darker at the top and gradually get lighter towards the horizon.

Remove the tape.  Mix permanent blue and yellow to make a greenish blue for the ocean.  Paint in a triangular area being careful to not get water color into the sky area.  If you do, it can be touched up but do your best.  The water is lighter towards the horizon and gets a deeper color towards the beach.  The line right where the water touches the sky is darker. 

Mix burnt sienna and white to get a sandy color and paint in the beach area.  Paint the edges of the canvas with the appropriate color all around the sides.  This will give a nice finished looked to the painting.  Touch up the horizon area if it needs it.

Take a break!  Let the canvas dry for about 10-15 minutes.

Mix some white with some clean water and scrub in some clouds along the horizon.  

Scrub in some waves in the water parallel to the beach.  Use a ruler and paint in the pole for the umbrella.

Add interest to the sand by mixing a watery yellow and burnt sienna and glaze them over the sand area.  Use the yellow in the sunny area and the burnt sienna in the area that is shaded by the umbrella.

Use the chalk to sketch in the shape of the umbrella.  I used 4 sections, you can put more or less in if you’d like.  You can paint each section whatever colors you’d like.  It will take several coats to cover the sky area and get good coverage.  Mix white into the colors for the first few coats.  Then if you want a deeper color use the paint out of the tube.  Once the solid color is in, paint a lighter side to each section to the left and the right edge paint it a slightly darker shade of that color.

Add a few birds in the sky.  Sign it.  You’re done!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Small Paintings

The Seacoast Artists Gallery, which is where I have my paintings displayed, raises money for art scholarships for local students by selling small 5x7" paintings.  I donate on a regular basis.  The past couple that I have done are:  "Crab", "Are You Okay?" and "You're Sweet".  Crab was done in acrylics, the other 2 in oils.  The pears and apples I gave them a dialogue with their stems.

These small paintings not only go to a very good cause, they give me a chance to practice my casual realism style.

Crab - acrylics

Are You Okay?  -  oils

You're Sweet  - oils

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Progress On Paintings

I have been working diligently on my two latest paintings.  Still not completed but much further along.

Prisoner of Past Mistakes

Spinning In the Wind

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Paintings - In Progress

OK, I am the first to admit I am not good at keeping up with my blogs.  But its a new year and my resolution is back into the spotlight so I am getting off to a good start for this year.

I have 3 paintings in progress right now.  Hope to get 2 of them completed in time to enter them into the WACG Juried Show.  Entries are due early to mid February.  So I have some time.  I know what I want to do, now it just getting the paint on the canvas.  All of them are in my Body Language series.

Prisoner of Past Mistakes


Current State of Almost Done-ness

As you can see I still need to paint the ribbons that hold my person captive.  I added one across the face, I feels that adds to the prison feel.  The ribbons on the left are there to show the viewer that the ribbons are just that and not iron bars, ribbons that may easily be broken or removed.  There is glare on the right side of the photo, the background is essentially dark blue with a few lighter streaks, but the same across the canvas.  The person and background I believe are done.  I will vary the colors of the ribbons but keep them in the yellow family - I think.

Spinning in the Wind


In Progress

How do you feel when your life seems to be spinning out of control?  In reality you're in the same spot, but that is not how you feel.  I made the painting smaller than I had originally planned, its now large enough but not too large.  I made it feel as if it is outside in a simple landscape to enhance the concept of wind.  I added a couple panels to the whirly-wig.  I laid it out in acrylics but am finishing up with oils.  Only the two panels near the figure are done and the background.  I will adjust the coloration of some of the other panels as I go over them.  The figure will be more realistic in shape but I need the front panels to dry before I can work on them.  Much work to do.

Looking Up


I have the canvas with the drawing sketched onto it, but that is the extent of the physical painting.  The work I have done in addition to the concept and the sketch, has been to decide on the color scheme and to get the feeling that you get if you are laying flat on the floor (or where ever) and am looking up at people looking down at you.  This is the view point of an infant, an invalid, or anyone that feels helpless and off-balanced.  Just getting started.  I need to finish the other two first.

That is my to-do list as far as my paintings go.  Class demo's, newsletters, illustrations, goofing off... they are on the list too.  Keeping up with my blog is way down the list, but I will try to do better this year - really!