Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Landscape Painting Class- Taught by a Great Guy

I will be starting up my Spring Landscape Class very soon. If you have taken classes with me, you are gonna want to sign up again. If you have not taken this class, then you definitely should do so now.

Great Guy painting in Eden Park
The Class will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. It will start April 22 - June 10th.
8 weeks for $180.00 (that is an amazing deal) -supplies are the student's responsibility.

The class is great for beginners or any working painter who would like to be introduced to the ideas of the Boston School method- which are the most awesome of ideas. I am very hands on and teach to each individual's level of experience.

We will meet at various  scenic parks around Cincinnati to learn to sketch and to paint with oils. Drawing on the ideas of impressionism, you will practice the techniques needed to complete painted sketches, including basic composition, value, pattern, color spotting, and covering the canvas. Then, building on those skills, you will complete a larger fully realized landscape painting that will capture the impression of light and color of the Cincinnati landscape. In case of rain, we will arrange in parks with overhead cover. Details and directions to the various locations will be given in class. A supply list will be sent when you sign up.

If you would like to learn how to not paint yourself in a corner like this guy, then you should talk to me. 

 Email me at for more information and to grab a spot. Or call 513-479-3322.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

There Is No Try

"Only Do", oil on linen, 11x14, © copyright Richard Luschek 2017
private collection
This year I'd love to post one blog post a week. So far not so good, as this is my first post this year, on the very last day of January. Get off my back.
I completed this painting a while a while ago. It now has a wonderful home in Brooklyn, NY. I had so much fun doing the painting and making the frame that I thought this would be a great topic to ramble on about.

This picture started out as a demo I painted for a group of kids in Ripley, Ohio. I did a talk and demonstration at the library before helping the kids set up and paint their own still lifes.
I have painted something very similar once before, as I am a Star Wars "kid" it is a recurring theme that I have no problem revisiting.
The idea was to have Yoda using the force to lift the toy plane- or at least appear to lift the plane.  You barely notice the coffee cup, right?

Demonstrations are fun- but challenging. I like to talk during demos and I've found I can either talk well, or paint well.  I tend to choose the former so I don't sound like an idiot. Honestly, I thought it turned out OK considering the circumstances.
In a demo you have limited time, limited concentration and in this case an audience of limited attention span. So I stopped when I could tell I was losing their interest- about 35 minutes. Often I will just wipe a demo canvas down and paint something else but I like this one and I decided to set it up in the studio and spend some time finishing it.

Once I got it back in the studio, I tried to set it up similarly to what I had in Ripley. The lighting was very different but it was a better looking composition.
Here are a few shots of the painting in process- each panel representing roughly a day of work. The first panel shows me making sure the drawing and the layout worked. I was painting over the demo painting so I worked a bit more bold then I normally do. Day two I spent time pushing it back, losing edges and getting breadth of treatment.

With the painting complete it was time to consider the frame. I wanted something unique and different. I love playing around and experimenting with frames. Lately I have been trying to spend more time painting and less time framing. That's what frame shops are for.
I had a cheap gold frame that was the right size. I thought this time I would go really crazy and make the frame look like a space station.
First thing I wanted to do was replace the corner flourish with Storm Trooper heads. I mean, this decision was obvious, right?
I made press molds in non-hardening clay and then cast the head by mixing up some Durhams Rock Hard Putty. Its wonderful stuff. I highly recommend it for frame repair, home repair, or any Martha Stewart crafty ideas you may have. Once it hardened they were popped out of the mold and sanded. I had to cast quite a few to get 4 good casts.

I had recently found a part off an old Star Wars toy in the bottom of a junk drawer. Back in the day (mid to late 70's), Star Wars toys came with assembly instructions, a list of parts, and an order form. If something broke you could send the form with proof of purchase into Kenner  and they would mail you a replacement part. The door on my Millennium Falcon broke (probably during an intense battle) so I had ordered a new one. This old broken toy part was perfect for the corners of my frame. I cut it on the band saw to so it fit and laid in on a bed of clay in a Tupperware container so I could make a mold. The piece I cut off was used on another part of the frame.
The first mold was a disaster. I used water based alginate casting material and it did not go well. I was mushy and crumbling as I used it. I tried again with a recipe I found online, using a tube of 100% silicone caulk thinned with mineral spirits, corn starch, a few drops of glycerine and acrylic paint. The next mold, while a bit stinky, was smooth and durable. Again using Durhams, I was able to cast 4 detailed corner pieces. I still have the mold, so this part may appear on more frames in the future.

Next on the list was to make the flat areas look like panels on a space vehicle. I tend to save all the cardboard from the backs of drawing pads. I comes in very handy. I cut panels to fill the areas between the corners, sketched out the designs and then cut them all with bevels. in a random pattern.
They were all numbered, laid out so I didnt get lost and later glued into place.

I used some left over model car parts (I recently have been building a model car for another still life I'm working on), strips of balsa wood, metal thumb tacks, and a piece of a plastic zip tie to decorate the frame.
I spray on automotive primer to seal it. I filled and sanded as needed.

A few coats and it was starting to look unified and smooth. For the final coat I went with a automotive flat gray. Space ship paint from NASA was just too costly.
After I got a few coat, I used brown and blue acrylic washes to tone the frame. I dry brushed raised areas with a light grey to highlight the edges and give it some dimension. Before a final clear coat I dusted it with various powdered pigments to get some age on the frame.

A close-up shot after the weathering and toning.

The frame took at least as long as the painting, but it was worth the effort.