Monday, August 7, 2017

Unveiling, Official Portrait of Ernest J Moniz, Secretary, US Department of Energy 2013-2017

So pleased to share this news - on August 2, the Department of Energy and current Secretary Rick Perry hosted the official unveiling ceremony for my portrait of Dr. Ernest Moniz.

Having the chance to meet and work with Secretary Moniz on this portrait has been one of the highlights in my 27 year painting career. A theoretical physicist, Dr. Moniz has clearly been a working scientist in the years that he served as a cabinet member, and is perhaps most widely known for his role in negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement. 

Dr. Moniz spent a great deal of time with me, particularly in selecting the background elements for the portrait. Everything in the painting is there because it represents something meaningful to either his tenure or to him as an individual. The books on the table include the Quadrennial Technology Review, the Quadrennial Energy Review, MIT's Future of Natural Gas, and of course, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which is the small blue book on top of the others; the small photo on the bookcase was taken at the breakfast table in Lausanne, as Dr Moniz prepared for the final negotiation for the framework agreement by doing calculations on a napkin, which, according to Dr. Moniz,  is what physicists are supposed to do :) 

The flag was flown over 22 Department of Energy sites all across the country, including all seventeen national laboratories. during the time Dr. Moniz served as Secretary. The fossil atop the bookcase is from Dr Moniz's collection. There wasn't room to include some of the art that is near and dear to his heart, Indigenous peoples' paintings and sculptures, and his particular interest in Inuit art. However, I was able to work with Montgomery Frames in Tempe, AZ to craft a frame whose corners include a stylistic representation of Inuit design. I would be badly remiss if I did not thank Pat Kofahl and his staff at Esprit D'Ecor in Phoenix for stretching the Artfix canvas for me. They cried over the process so I didn't have to.

When I walked into Dr Moniz's office on an icy December morning, I was struck right away by his desk, which was loaded to the gills with stacks of folders and papers. He is a working physicist, and I was delighted he agreed to be presented in that manner. 

I learned a greet deal about the critical role the Department has played over the years. For example, I had no idea that the Human Genome Project originated with the DoE.

This article from Vanity Fair's Hive is long but a worthwhile read, and gives a great deal of background into the history of the Department.

To see what Dr. Moniz has been up to since his return to MIT this past January, check out the Nuclear Threat Initiative , a project designed to continue and broaden collaborative work to make our world a better and safer place.

If you are interested, you can see the unveiling event in full here; the actual unveiling begins at about 57 minutes.

My heartfelt thanks to Jean Daniel, JDaniel Portraiture, for her work in bringing this commission to fruition, and for her diligence in attending to every little detail. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Just released: "Beautiful Portrait Painting in Oils" expanded edition

I'm pleased to announce that "Beautiful Portrait Painting in Oils" has just been released by North Light Books. Almost a  year in the making, this is an updated, expanded edition of "Painting Classic Portraits in Oils", and includes 32 additional pages focusing on painting commission portraits, and painting portraits in series.

You can find it here on Amazon, at North Light Books,  or at fine booksellers nationwide. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this new publication:)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Excellent Tennessee Adventure: Memphis to Chattanooga

What a whirlwind and fun trip - beginning with a visit to one of my very favorite humans, artist Jamie Lee McMahan, who hosted me for three fabulous days. I traveled to Memphis for a commission at the Memphis University School, where I'll be painting this year's distinguished scholar (you'll see more on that in future blog posts, as the painting proceeds).

Among the highlights were hanging around in Jamie's studio where we both found ways for each other to spend more $$$$ on art related toys, since evidently we still need newer and fancier "stuff" in our work lives. Jamie is an artist whom I'll be paintings as part of my American Artist series, so I had a chance to rephotograph him in his own environs.

Below, view from the sitter's chair, as Jamie showed me how he begins a portrait:)

On to Chattanooga Wednesday, for an evening demo preceding a four day workshop hosted by the Townsend Atelier, which is really a spectacular studio space. Peggy and Stan Townsend have created a beautifully designed and functional area, serving workshops and learning of all kinds, including a small but VERY select art supply shop, flexible lighting, space arrangements and best of all, their incredibly gracious presence as workshop hosts. I fell very honored to have been selected to be one of their instructors as the teaching roster is filled with artist who (IMO) are for the most part, superstars. For my artist readers, if you get the chance to attend the Townsend Atelier, you will have a wonderful experience. We had a great group of artists in attendance, all focused and hard-working.

Above, awaiting class arrival!
Below, Wednesday night demo in monochrome oil.

Below, with Chattanooga artists Jim Aplin, who dropped in to have lunch with Stan and me,  and Vrushali Dhond.

Below are some pictures of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where I stayed. The history is so interesting, and the lobby is the original train terminal - cars and locomotives are on the grounds, and it is a very cool setting. While I couldn't recommend staying there, numerous good restaurants are nearby and the grounds are beautiful.

Here'a pic of the adjacent Stir Restaurant, which was excellent, and I thought had such an amazing bar- the bartenders scamper up and down the ladder, attached to the shelving on a rail, just like you'd see in old libraries.

The whole visit was capped off with lunch and a visit to artist Cindy Procious's studio - treat yourself to a visit to her website here. She is as warm and funny as she is talented - Cindy teaches regularly at the Townsend Atelier.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cuties, oil 12 x 16

Practicing some of the composition techniques from my workshop with Jeff Legg:)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

April 7- 10, Chattanooga, at the Townsend Atelier

Just few spots open! Registration deadline
March 15!

April 7-10 | 9 am-4 pm

This four-day workshop will focus on painting from a model and on technical "labs" that will cover invaluable information on the art of the portrait including proper lighting, photographing the model, marketing, pricing your work, and professional development.

Nationally recognized portrait painter, Chris Saper has completed almost 400 commissioned portraits, authored four books and filmed four DVDs on portraiture.  We are happy to have her teach a four-day workshop at Townsend Atelier where she will cover lots of ground including lighting, photographing the model, color, materials, capturing a likeness, professional development, marketing and more.
For those traveling to Chattanooga, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help recommend lodging.

About the Instructor:
Since beginning her commission portrait painting practice in 1991, Saper has completed almost 400 commissioned portraits nationally, authored four books and filmed four DVDs on portraiture. "I love the discipline of working with clients in a shared vision of the portrait to be painted.  There's a satisfying result when I can achieve beautiful skin tones, accurate likenesses, and yet still paint a lovely piece of art."
Her books include:  Classic Portrait Painting in Oils: Keys to Mastering Diverse Skin Tones,  Painting Beautiful Skin Tones in Color and Light, For Love or Money: a Business Handbook for Portrait Painters and Mostly Monochrome.  Saper has been published in The Best of Portrait Painting, Artist's Magazine, American Artist, International Artist Magazine, Pastel Artist International, and the Pastel Journal. Her work is also included in North Light Books' Strokes of Genius: The Best of Portrait Drawing; Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Light and Shadow; and Drawing & Painting People: The Essential Guide, also published by North Light Books.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Workshop with Jeff Legg

I recently took a four day workshop with Jeff Legg at the Scottsdale Artists' School, and I am pleased to say that I got out of it what I had hoped - mainly a  new focus on designing and composing still life.

Here are the two paintings I made during the class, each using one of Jeff's signature elements: Eucalyptus leaves and canteloupes.

It was a good week, and I think everyone enjoyed Jeff and the things he showed us:)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Portraits Inc Workshop, Birmingham, AL

My thanks to everyone at Portraits Inc, and especially to workshop coordinator Laura Murphey for making the experience so great for us all!

We had the chance to try out my new workshop syllabus, which involved a Day One morning monchrome oil demo, with students painting their portraits from life in monochrome oil and Torrit Grey, if they chose. Wonderful samples again provided courtesy of the Gamblin folks - thanks Dave and Scott:)

I liked this format quite a lot, warming up with an oil monochrome, then painting from the live model again the second day, but in color. There were eleven students (one had to drop out at the last moment) and plenty of room in the portrait gallery for 11 easels and two live model set-ups.

You can tell they are focused by their stance!

The workshop was followed by the "Down South" Portraits Inc meeting, with artists and sales associates, coinciding with a terrific show and a packed house at the adjacent Beverly McNeil Gallery.

If you are in Birmingham, be sure to stop by to see the portrait and fine art galleries, pick up a "tiny treasure" painting, or commission a portrait!

And remember:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Webinar now available! Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light

If you missed the webinar with ArtistsNetwork, you can view it here...I thought it would be edited to a short version but the whole thing is available, which will be great if you are ever having trouble falling asleep:) It's about an hour.

Monday, September 21, 2015

My daily palette, to accompany Artists Network's free online webinar Tuesday Sept. 22, at 1 pm eastern daylight time

There isn't enough time available during the webinar to go through the palette colors in detail,so I am providing it here for anyone who would like:)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Samantha, life study, monochrome oil with Torrit Grey

At the Portrait Artists of Arizona open studio yesterday our model Samantha held a STANDING pose all day! In order to try out some methods that I'll be incorporating into future workshops, I came with an oil-primed linen panel, already primed opaquely with Gamblin's Portland Gray Medium (PGM). Materials were white, black PGM, and Torrit Grey.

At each step, the toned ground offers the option to cover up mistakes, either by lifting marks out with mineral spirits or just painting over them with another coat of PGM, which will match the background perfectly.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Apologies! I posted the incorrect dates ---Just scheduled: Workshop November 15-19 Birmingham AL, hosted by Portraits Inc

Please contact:  to register.
This workshop is open to all artists - please contact me if you have any questions about whether this is the right workshop for you!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Janet Napolitano, Preliminary Study, oil 20 x 16

This small study is one of several I am doing to prepare for next month's opening of "Women Making Faces", an exhibition of the Chandler Center for the Arts's Vision Gallery.

Janet Napolitano is one of three subjects I've selected for my entry into this inaugural event, showcasing the work of ten women portrait artists who live in Arizona.

The show opens with an reception from 7-9 pm on August 14, 2015 and will run through October 24, 2015, with an Artists' Meet and Greet, along with live painting demonstrations from 7- 9 pm on September 18 - stay tuned for more details!!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tumbling Roses, oil on linen, 18 x 14

With this still life, I decided to experiment with non-lighting- diffuse, non directional light. I thi8nk this makes for a more difficult approach since it doesn't allow for strong light and shadow patterns to created form and design. The plus side is that the light and colors are so soft, they seem to melt into the atmosphere.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dori and Rachel Double Charcoal Portrait from Life

This morning we were in for such a treat - our open studio coordinator, artist Dorothy Ray, arranged for two models, a mother and daughter, to sit at the Mountain Artists' Guild in Prescott.

I wish I could remember what kind of paper I used - some type of pastel paper that's been in my closet for way too many years- mainly because I don't like the surface and would never buy it again, sigh. But I did like the color:)

Dori and Rachel, charcoal on something, 16 x 20.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Harley Brown: American Artist oil study, 20 x 16 - accepted into the OPA Western Regional Competition, August 7 - September 7, 2015

Harley Brown has been one of my closest mentors and has also become a very dear friend since I first studied with him over twenty years ago. I am really honored to be included in this Oil Painters of America competition, and wish I could attend! 

Wild Horse Gallery
802 Lincoln Avenue
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
(970) 879-5515