Model in the Studio, wip

Newberry, Model in the Studio, wip, detail

Today’s Update: Model in Studio, I made a naughty schoolboy prank and a very bad Easter pun on a different meaning of risen. I cleaned up the upper left quadrant of the composition removing all the shapes that did not accent the symbolic verticals. Now they compete better for attention. I think that makes her even happier, the model said “yes.” Actually it took discipline to keep working the background until it worked for me, but there is no finer feeling for an artist to get that internal greenlighting saying “it’s working!” Hope this lightens your day.

Rebirth: Death and Life through Art

Mary Woodul, Espíritu Ascendente, charcoal on Rives BFK, 13x19"
Mary Woodul, Espíritu Ascendente, charcoal on Rives BFK, 13x19"
Mary Woodul, Espíritu Ascendente, charcoal on Rives BFK, 13×19″

Years ago a grandchild of a friend and student of mine died. The little girl wasn’t born right and was not destined to live past childhood. At that time Mary wanted to do a special project based on the little girl’s passing. I recall the concept started with a soft cloth with lace embroidery, and quickly a flower, an iris, was added. Mary drew 20 or so thumbnail sketches, tweaking each composition until she found the one that pleased her most.

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A Little Greek Pastel Painting Trip by Michael Newberry

newberry-next-door-1988-pastel-on-paper-18x24

Years ago I took a pastel painting trip of a lifetime, for three months I traveled from Athens, Greece to many islands, eventually to Istanbul, and slowly back again to Athens. My first island was Tinos, from the harbor I rented a scooter, booked a tiny house outside of town for 15 dollars a night. The porch had a sloping view over gray-green olive groves down to the dark and brilliant ultramarine blue Mediterranean, about 300 ft to the left was a small, room-sized luminous white-plastered Byzantine church. 

My first day I loaded my backpack with my 200 piece pastel set, and packed several sheets of full-size pastel paper in my large portfolio bag, swung the bulky bags over my shoulder. Weighed down, I then swung my right leg over the scooter and the momentum carried me, the bags, and the scooter to crash to pavement. Laying painfully on my side, the pastels scattered on the ground, and with the scooter pinning me down I couldn’t get up. An elderly Greek woman dressed in black tending the church next door witnessed it all. And she kindly helped me get up through my blushing burn of embarrassment. Once I was upright she helped me collect the pastels. Not speaking any English, she took my arm to follow her to her favorite view of the church, and through hand gestures suggested that I draw it. 

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5th Through 12th in the Animal Lifted Embargo Series by Michael Newberry

Newberry, Retriever, 2020, oil on panel, 9x12"

I worked till 6 am getting these ready to be signed. So far this week the series has 12 little paintings, the recent 7 here. The Animal Lifted Embargo Series has significantly changed my opinion about including animals in my paintings. They really help set off the scale and atmosphere of the landscapes. I am surprised that just two tiny marks, in the case of the sandpipers, can reset the landscapes dramatically.

If you click on the images in will take you to each painting’s page on my archive including the pricing. If you love one of them be sure to let me know and we can make owning it happen.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 3/9/2020

Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12×16″

Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12x16"

Just signed, 2nd in my Animal Lifted Embargo Series

Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12x16"
Newberry, Seagull at Picnic Island, 2020, oil on panel, 12×16″

hahah, I am enjoying the animal lifted embargo. I can’t stand painting little people in landscapes, makes my skin crawl when I see other painters do it. I love plein air painting being outdoors in a beautiful place just painting what I see, it feels like channeling the universe’s energy. But all landscapes have abundant life seen and unseen. For instance, while painting this there was behind me a pelican ferociously nose-diving into the water to pinch fish. Its only this last week I lifted the embargo on painting animals–I kept thinking of those horrible paintings of animals dressed as humans playing billiards or smoking cigars around the poker table. Can you imagine the psychology of the person that sees themselves that way? “Don’t mind me I am just a pug dressed as a human.”

There is an exciting tension in placing an animal just right, it seems to set off the landscape and definitely twerks the composition, like a zigzag incorporating the direction of the light, the bird’s flight path, the feeling of “lift,” setting off the formal composition of the water and land masses. Delightfully fun.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 3/5/2020