Sunday, July 22, 2018

Lessons from Anne Blair Brown


           In my last blog I told you how much I value the demonstrations given in Anne Blair Brown's video. In the interim I have been putting into practice the lessons she presented.

     I set up a watercolor paper journal with 4"X4" thumbnail squares drawn to follow Brown's process:

1. Gesture drawing of the subject
2. Notan of only two values
3. Value drawing with 3-4 values.
4. A color note painting using gouache ( Brown is an oil painter).
    This helps determine the colors from a double primary palette
   that would look most pleasing.
5. Using the limited palette mix up all the colors that you think you will need for the painting. This is probably my biggest weakness.

6. Paint a small version of the painting that you wish to do. After all these steps Brown says an artist will know the subject better. The prep work will enhance the design, colors and values of the paintings.  She states that taking the time to do the preliminary work will greatly reduce problems in the final product.

     I always wanted to just dive in and hope for the best. The greater percentage of the time I do not like the paintings that I produce so maybe I need to step back, slow down and really learn my trade.

A Painter's Journey makes me feel that I can really become the painter I want to be  if I put in the hours of painting.
The creative hope of being able to put on canvas that which is in my mind's eye is an energizing feeling.

Mary Ellen

 Examples of 4 value mini paintings.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


I am enamored with the Anne Blair Brown’s  video; 
“A Painter’s Journey”. This is the painter I want to be when I grow up so I’d better get cracking.

The best thing is that I am identifying the things I am doing wrong. These things have been pointed out in other artist’s videos but I guess I am now inspired enough to make changes out of my comfort zone. 

  • Anne places her palette in front of her easel so she does not get up nose close to the canvas.

  • Anne prefers to paint from live room interior designs. She looks for the play of light and shadow to inspire her. ( She does photograph her subjects as well)

*To my surprise she does not put a background color on the white canvas to begin with. She uses a large brush with yellow ochre to paint in the large shapes and that serves as her background color. 

  • Anne uses dots (notes) of color whose sole purpose is to add sparkle or interest to an area. I had always over done these colors as if I painting the barn door. Good to know.

  • Get out some of my equipment that I never got around to using; red view finder, value chart, big brushes and a little courage.

  • I always  touted myself as an “a la prima” painter which was a kind way of saying that I was lazy and lacked the discipline to pre mix my limited palette for the color combinations that would be used in each specific painting. Thought you could mix a little of this and that if it all came from the limited palette. Wrong!

*Spend more time preparing the design by making a simple value study or notan of the subject.

  • Anne has the colors relate to each other in harmony by using a “mother” color then pushing it warm or cool as needed. I need to pay more attention to warm and cool paints.

  • Step back, then turn the painting up side down. I do step back but I always forget to turn it up side down and when I do I don’t know what I am looking for. Learning a new trick is a good thing.

*Only bring the focal point into detail and let the rest be more ambiguous.

Three plus hours of Brown’s quiet understated demonstrating and teaching.  Even her voice soothes me.

Mary Ellen

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cultural Art Village Fundraiser

    I mostly spend my time goofing off with artist friends but on my days off I work with the Cultural Council Leadership Team to further the community project of turning a  neighborhood into an Art Village right here in Vero Beach.

   On July 17th there will be a fundraiser to raise money to bring this blighted neighborhood to a better place. I help spread the word that we are looking for art donations to be used in a silent auction for the cause. As good luck would have it I met a lady in my Friday painting circle who has a professional artist brother who showers her with more art work than she knows what to do with. is where I come in. "Carla, would you be willing to donate some of your brother's art work to our fundraiser?", Well yes I would".  Little did I know who her brother is: Glen River and let me show you some of his work.               



                   Wow and Wow! The Leadership Team is so pleased and I am puffed up like a peacock.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Technical Confusion

                                                        Anne Blair Brown

It all started in April when a dear friend gave me a birthday gift to put toward purchasing supplies for painting.  I treasure my DVD collection of artist instructional videos so I immediately went on a search for contemporary impressionistic art teachers. I came up with two candidates; Peggi Kroll-Roberts and Anne Blair Brown.

Step 1:  The art teacher search was done.

Step 2: Power up Amazon prime and off I go. Well, not so fast smarty pants! I came face to face with this information just prior to pushing the order button.

        "A Painter's Journey is available through Vimeo On Demand. Through Vimeo you can watch the
      video series on any of your devices through the Vimeo app or simply download them to your 

The underlined words are things that I know nothing about.

With the higher cost of Brown's series I was not about to do my usual just push more buttons. Then tI read; money is non refundable!! I didn't want to download this cyber thing and not be able to store it so I can watch it over and over. Where is it stored?
This isn't going to be easy, is it?

Step 3: I spent hours over many days on U-Tube researching every angle that I could think of. It was very frustrating but I learned a new little fact with each on line video. I always ask friends and even my hair dresser about my conundrum. The hair dresser said I only needed a Streaming Stick and not the whole Apple TV equipment and one needs a smart TV to make this work.

Step 4: Luck was on my side when the very very old TV finally died so off we go to Best Buy to purchase a new smart TV.  Done.

Step 5: Another trip back to Best Buy for a Roku Streaming Stick. The salesman said it is very easy to put in and use. Big smile and a thank you very much.

Step 6: I need to open a free Vimeo and Roku account. I handled that like a pro.

Step 7: I now must program my smart TV to my Wifi so they can communicate. That did not work until my husband and I got the Roku purchased and plugged in. The remote would not work so after a few words and time he discover that the batteries to the remote were not put in correctly. All of this is so frustrating. At last the TV is talking to my Wifi!

Step 8: I dash back to Amazon Prime to order a test run art video. I chose Limited Strokes by Peggi Kroll Roberts but nothing shows up on the TV, did I just throw money into cyber space? I now have three remotes and I do not know when to use what.

Step 9: No one told me that Roku has to talk to Vimeo so while I just happen to be pushing buttons I saw the logo for Vimeo and pushed it. Voila, the TV gives me a code so I rush back to my computer in another room to punch the code into my new Vimeo account.  All was functioning.

Step 10: See the big smile on my face? I learned how to stream videos from my Mac to my TV so I can watch them from the comfort on the couch which I then used to "rest my eyes" after all of this learning curve.

Step 11: As a by product I learned how to use On Demand that has been on the smart TV the whole time. I can go back and watch the missed shows of Genius-Picasso that I missed.

Step 12: Let me revel in my glory!!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

My New Peggi Kroll Roberts Video

     My first ever Peggi Kroll Roberts video has arrived, thanks Amazon Prime. I chose the  lesson on high key painting which I aspire to master. The actual painting demo was a lot shorter than I would have liked but she did include a supply section and good introduction section. I was hoping for 2-3 small paintings so that I could watch her process more.

     I did enjoy the video and will try to emulate her very loose painterly style. I need to pre load my paints onto the palette and to do a value scale mixing that does not go above the 5 mark on the value scale. Somehow when I  start painting I fall back into my comfort zone of put a little of this and a little of that colors on the palette and then wonder why I struggle.

Look at the lack of detail and the pure use of warm and cool tone used by Peggi only the 1-5 value scale.

I am going to assign myself the homework of producing a high key painting showing you the preliminary  drawing, set of the palette with a value scale, blocking in large shapes and then maybe stop before I noodle it to death.

Yea team, I did set up the limit color palette and added a touch of white to see the high key range. I will concentrate of warm/ cool differences with value in mind.
                    It is not as easy as it looks! I caught myself wanting to put in more darks and to begin some shading. Maybe my next one will be worthy of showing the world.

Mary Ellen

Saturday, May 12, 2018


 Anne Blair Brown

    By now  you know that I have a passion for painting. I dream art, talk art with friends, paint almost every day and I frustratedly pull my hair out for the darn painting. Well I need reinforcement in the form of a new instructor input via artist's videos. DVD's always refill my creative well.

     This birthday a dear friend gave me a gift to put toward some art supplies maybe Rosemary brushes but I chose to buy videos from artists that I want to emulate. First I have to define what I am....decision made, I am a HIGH KEY EXPRESSIONISTIC COLORIST, no wait I am a CONTEMPORARY IMPRESSIONIST. Both of these titles sort of summarize my creative style.

     Next I was on a search for an artist with whom I can relate. Fortunately I have kept a running list of artists that I admire; Mary Gilkerson, Angus Wilson, Carol Marine, Lisa Daria, Claire Harrigan, Polly Hammitt, Carla O'Connor, etc. Top of my list is Anne O'Brien Gonzales, Peggi Kroll Roberts and ANNE BLAIR BROWN.

Her style is all that I want to be and more so I found her on line with the intention of purchasing her video. It seems the sales platform she used is Vimeo and I have no clue what I am getting into. Add to that, I want to watch the video on my Samsung smart TV which involves connecting to the wifi and streaming from my I Mac to the TV!

I have been U Tubing my heart out but still no bells of understanding are going off. Guess I am afraid of screwing up the TV, my computer and the video so off to search for a young person to show me how it is done.  What fun??

Sunday, May 6, 2018


I have many 6"x 6" canvas's that need a new life so I have been repurposing them as mixed media paintings. My inspiration of a colorist/ expressionistic style comes from Anne O'Brien Gonzales.

Everyone has a bucket list and one of my "to do's" is to see the southwest of our beautiful country and to take a workshop from one of my favorite artists; Anne O'Brien Gonzales. I have her books and DVD's which I rewatch when I am feeling artistically running on empty.  I will pop in one of her DVD's and off I go again.

This story get even better. I found out about one of Anne's workshops: EXPERIENCE O'KEEFE COUNTRY.  Holly cow, my favorite artist giving a workshop at my bucket list location! It took a lot of thought but I finally did it; I registered for the class, booked a room and booked a flight.  I'm sure I will have stories to share about my adventure.

Mary Ellen