Saturday, May 9, 2015

Announcing my upcoming One-Day Watercolor Workshop in June!

If you are going to be anywhere close to Durango in June, come and join me for a fun one-day workshop on the 3rd, here at my house/studio . . .

All skill/experience levels welcome!


Please e-mail me, if you'd like to sign up:


Or, you can leave a comment below.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

WOMEN ARTISTS: Jessie Marion King

The foremost Scottish book designer and illustrator of the 20th century, is the featured artist for May, in my Woman Artist Series --


Here are 10 things to know about Jessie M. King, along with examples of her beautiful work, plus images of Jessie, too:

1.  Jessie Marion King was one of the artists known as the Glasgow Girls, who brought influences to both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Movements, arising from the Glasgow Style.  

King was known for her beautiful illustrated children's books, with pen & ink illustrations that follow the Art Nouveau concepts, but she was also a muralist, jewelry designer, costume and fabric designer, and ceramics designer.

2.  King was born in Bearsden, Scotland, near Glasgow, in 1875 -- the youngest daughter of Rev. James Waters King, a minister with the church of Scotland, and Mary Anne Anderson, a banker's daughter.  

She received a strict religious education and was discouraged from becoming an artist.  All of her early signs of creativity were promptly squashed by her father.  When King was very young, she enjoyed drawing at school, but would hide her drawings in the bushes on her way home, for fear that her mother would find them and tear them up.

3.  Despite her family's disapproval, Jessie entered the Glasgow School of Art in 1892.  The Glasgow School became the center of the uniquely Scottish form of the Art Nouveau movement.  Europe called it the "Glasgow Style".

GSA was one of the few art institutions at the time that admitted women.  The headmaster there, Francis Newberry, assigned her independent study, which allowed Jessie to develop her own style.

As a student there, she received a number of awards, including her first silver medal, for her "Light of Asia" drawings, from the National Competition in South Kensington, in 1898.

4.  Jessie found success, right out of school in 1899, as a book illustrator, through a series of commissions for a German publisher.  Her long and varied professional career began, when a Berlin department store owner and publisher commissioned her to design a range of items, requesting that they be done in the new "Scottish style".

These were her first published designs -- and some believe her finest.  They included book covers and illustrations published by a subsidiary company of the great Berlin department store, Wertheim's.

5.  In 1902, the 1st International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art was held in Turin.  King's binding for L'Evangile de L'Enfance took the Gold Medal, and established herself as the preeminent book illustrator in the Glasgow Movement.

She made a grand tour of Germany, France, and Italy, in 1902, and in Florence, was introduced to and influenced by the works of Botticelli.  

Her popularity brought more commissions for cover designs, illustrations, and exhibitions, as well as work in jewelry, ceramic, and fabric design.

6.  King taught Book Design & Illustration at the Glasgow School of Arts, from 1902-1908, while also embarking on her illustration career.  It was there, at GSA, that she met and married her fellow teacher and artist, E. A. Taylor.  

She chose, against the grain, to keep her maiden name.  Their only daughter, Merle, was born in 1909.

7.  In 1910, King and Taylor moved to Paris, where they ran an art school, The Shearling Atelier for Fine & Applied Arts.  They spent their summers on the Isle of Arran, where they also ran a summer sketching school.

King's works in Paris are considered to have been influential to the creation of the Art Deco movement.

The family remained in Paris, running both art schools, until the outbreak of the First World War.  

8.  The "Glasgow Style" shaped King's approach to her art -- the consummation of the Arts & Crafts Movement (William Morris) and Art Nouveau (Charles Rennie Mackintosh), with a Scottish bias.  King molded these ideas into her own personal statement, adding romantic overtones to her medieval fantasy illustrations.

Her work, rooted in folklore and fairy tales, was born out of an intensely personal vision.  She was inspired to create unique designs where she did not literally translate the real world.  

She played a major part in shaping both the Art Nouveau movement, and later on, the Art Deco movement.

9.  When WWI forced King and Taylor to return home to Scotland, they settled down in the artist community/ fishing village of Kirkcudbright, in 1920.

There, they established Green Gate Close, which soon became an important center for women artists -- with King supporting and inspiring them, while also producing an astonishing amount of beautiful work herself.  

It's possible to visit King & Taylor's old home in Kirkcudbright -- which is now The Greengate B&B.

10.  Around this time, King was introduced to the Javanese art form, batik.  She, then, introduced this technique to Scotland in her classes at Green Gate.

This form inspired her to write and illustrate "How Cinderella Was Able to Go to the Ball", in 1924.

The couple lived and worked in Scotland, for the rest of their lives.  King died on August 3, 1949, at Kirkcudbright.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

MONTHLY RECAP for April - What I've Been Up To

The first full month of Spring was busy and productive -- another portrait commission, an art show reception, a finished painting that I'm happy with -- even a visit from the Easter bunny.

Portrait of Gianna

I was asked to do a portrait, for my friend, Maureen, of another one of her darling grandchildren . . . 

After sending Maureen a photo of the finished painting, and getting her okay -- I matted and framed it, before shipping it to her.

It looked so good propped up on my table, next to the peach dahlias, I wanted to keep it . . . 

Visit from the Easter Bunny, on that Sunday morning . . . 

He was so little, I would have missed him out in our yard, if it hadn't been for his glowing ears . . . 

My recent paintings -- finished and still in progress . . . 

Rainy Day on the Piazza San Michele, 22 x 30, watercolor by Pat Howard

Here are a few photos of this painting, in progress . . . 

and a Floral that I'm working on (working title is "Grapes & Roses") . . . 

EAA Colorado 2015 Spring Art Show

I was excited to have two of my paintings accepted into the Colorado Spring Art Show, in Evergreen, Colorado . . . 

At the Flower Market, watercolor by Pat Howard

Morning at the Farmers Market, watercolor by Pat Howard

My husband, Alan, and I decided to drive to Evergreen to attend the opening reception,on August 24th . . . 

I was in good company -- there were so many beautiful paintings and sculptures -- in many different mediums.

Even my husband (on the right) enjoyed himself.  (He's been to a lot of these . . . )

We spent the rest of our weekend in Denver, visiting our kids and grandkids, before heading back to Durango on Sunday.  It normally takes about 6-1/2 hours, on dry roads.  But, this is what we encountered a few hours into the drive . . . 

The road ahead was closed over Red Hill Pass, so we had to head back northeast towards Denver.  Then, after 30 minutes in that direction, the road was closed on Kennebec Pass. So, we took a detour -- East, then South around the mountains, then finally West to Durango.  After 9 hours, we were home.  

Springtime in the Rockies!  (Today, it's a sunny 74 degrees in Durango.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Painting Portrait Commissions

Painting portraits is the most rewarding work I've ever done -- but, it's also the most intimidating to me and seems to cause me the most anxiety.  This is still true, even after 20 years of painting portraits and about 15 years of painting commissioned portraits for paying clients.

But, I continue to paint portraits for people, because as I said, it is so rewarding for me to see or hear the reactions from the satisfied clients, who are either my friends, or who have become my friends through this process.  I paint many different subjects -- flowers, still lifes, landscapes, cityscapes -- and I show and sell them in galleries and other venues.  But, no one has ever cried over one of my floral paintings, or hugged ME after buying one of my cityscapes.  

I do many portraits of my clients' children and grandchildren.  And, sometimes, like my favorite portrait painter, Cecilia Beaux, who was my featured woman artist for April -- I use my own family and friends as models.

To me, making a portrait is more than just painting a face . . . 

While drawing and painting the portrait, I get to know the person -- even if I've never met her or him.

I work from photos.  If I don't know the person, I work with the client to find the right photo of theirs.

If I do know the person, I take my own photos -- lots of them . . . 

I also really enjoy doing Action Portraits of young athletes:

Occasionally, I am honored to be asked to paint a portrait of someone's deceased loved one -

or a loved one who is still very much alive:

Beginning a portrait is easy . . . but a good drawing is essential.

I work from the general to the specific . . . 

Painting a portrait with more than one subject is challenging . . . 

But, I start them all the same way -- with a drawing, and then some light washes.

Then, I start to develop each subject separately . . . 

Each subsequent step takes more time, thought, and energy. . . 

After sending the photo of the "finished" portrait to my client, I was asked if I could change the color of the hair of the girl on the left.  (There are certain things you just can't do with a watercolor portrait, at this point.  But, luckily, I thought I could adjust it.)

Nailed it!  She was happy!

Getting a good likeness of your subject is THE most important  requirement for a commissioned portrait!  And, when I do, EVERYONE is happy!