Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Sound / The Glass Harmonica

Here is one of my favorite Christmas sounds (besides laughter) the Glass Harmonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin. Mozart and Bach composed music for the instrument. For me it is a magical and etherial sound. I hope you enjoy these selections. Happy Holidays!

Scherzo No.1 in B minor, Op. 20 by Frédéric Chopin - with Polish Christmas Carol.
Performance - GlassDuo

Bach's most famous organ piece and angelic organ (that's the first XVIII century name of this glass instrument). Now it's called a glass harp. GlassDuo's instrument is the biggest professional one

Street Performer Playing Mozart on Water Glasses

Invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Music by Wolfgang A. Mozart. Played by French artist Thomas Bloch, exhibiting the glass harmonica in the Paris Music Museum, Nov. 29, 2007.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Museum 2013 calendar on sale

I just saw that my favorite calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been discounted down to eight dollars apiece. Thought you might be interested. :-)Ken

Take a private year long tour of the rich and varied collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our Page-A-Day® Art Gallery Calendar 2013 offers 365 days of art— right on your desk. It features some of the Museum's finest and most beloved pieces and represents many media, from painting and sculpture to furniture and armor. As you unveil a new, beautifully reproduced image each day, you'll find old favorites and make fresh discoveries. The plastic packaging ingeniously converts to become an easel.

160 pages with 315 illustrations (295 in full color). Includes a reusable plexi frame. 6'' x 7''.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Giclee: 20% off sale through Dec 24, 2012

First ever 20% off Giclee Print Sale!

I'm celebrating a good year in advance. Pick any of my limited edition giclees, any size, on paper or canvas and take 20% off through Dec. 24.

In some cities, participating dealers are also offering 20% off on the custom framing with your purchase. Contact me by phone or email to select your image and make framing arrangements. You can see all of the images and prices here. 

(Custom sizes and images on canvas / prices are not listed on the website - please contact me for pricing)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exhibition: Artist talk at The Madden Museum of Art 10-27-12

Here's a photo from The Madden Museum of Art yesterday. All of the participating artists gave a short introduction and talk to a visiting art group from Boulder, Colorado.  That's me in the back and my paintings going down the left wall.  It was a great day and it was good to be back in the space with my co-exhibitors: Janice McDonald, Victoria Eubanks, Karen Scharer and Carol Ann Waugh

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Exhibitions: The Madden Museum of Art opening exhibit

We had a great opening at the Madden Museum! It was exciting to show with my fellow artists in this incredible space. The show continues through Nov 23, 2010.

The to Expand artists left to right:
Janice McDonald, Victoria Eubanks, Karen Scharer, Ken Elliott, Hillary Reed Museum Director, and seated Mary Williams.  Not pictured, Carol Ann Waugh

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Exhibition: The Madden Museum of Art Oct-Nov 2012

I am honored to be in a group exhibit at the Madden Museum of Art, Denver that just opened. The six of us will have an Artist's Reception Thursday October 25, 5-7pm.  The public is invited and the admission is free.  I hope you can make it.

Artists: Ken Elliott, Victoria Eubanks, Janice McDonald, Karen Scharer, Carol Ann Waugh, and Mary Williams. Out exhibit runs from Oct 4 -Nov 25.

Group show "to expand." Six non-conventional Colorado artists respond to The Madden Museum space with an exhibition of important new works. I have 21 works on exhibit and available for sale there.   more info   View all of Ken's works in the exhibit

 Six oils in the main gallery.  The center square is 5 x 5 feet.  This is a really large exhibition space!

Side gallery room with a number of my pastels and some oils, collage and prints on display.

Selected works from the exhibit:

 All Over Sunset oil on canvas 48 x 60

 Bright Encounter oil on canvas 60 x 60

 Hayfield Palette                     pastel                                      16 x 16

Heat on Snow pastel 15 1/4 x 19 1/8

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Video: Matisse Documentary by Alastair Sooke

click to view Matisse Documentary by Alastair Sooke   Part 1
This 60 minute video is quite good, very informative with a lot of new material and well worth your time.  I'm archiving it for future inspiration.

Here is Part 2 the Matisse video documentary, A Visit to Chapelle du Rosaire, Vence (near Nice), France.  When I saw photos of the Chapelle in books, I was a bit underwhelmed.  Seeing his stained glass backlit by the sun in this simple church quickly changed my mind. Enjoy these six pleasurable minutes of video.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Oil and Giclee: Golden Moment Against the Reds

Here is a new oil I'm very happy with, GOLDEN MOMENT AGAINST THE REDS, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches.  It is currently exhibiting at Atherton Fine Art, Atherton, CA. This image is also available as a giclee on paper or canvas.

The upper part of this oil has a lot of paint application.  I was all about making the red and oranges sing, but at the same time, I wanted a poetic, delicate feel.  When I first started this oil, the foreground was dashed in with fairly thin yellow paint and it set the tone for a poetic work.  Only after the top portion was essentially done, did I add the reds into the lower foreground.  I wanted to keep that foreground delicate against the thicker paint application in the trees above.  Adding the yellow foliage at the top left was necessary to give more depth, appeal, and to balance the large amount of red forest. Afterward, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall effect of the glowing reds and golds.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New oil: Fall Remnants 48 x 60 inches

Here is a new oil, completed today, "Fall Remnants," oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches.

In the course of doing this oil, I found that as I was approaching the finish, I had limited my options in depth, color and contrasts.  With all my efforts, is was less than.... something.

This was a successful oil until I decided that it could be much better somehow. It all happened in the last painting session. I added a light aqua to the upper right, then heightened the golds in the sky.  I pushed off hard on the purple area in the trees and that in turn, made me want to shift the blues from left to right. So, to counter the purple and add more drama, I made the blues on the left much brighter, making more depth and much more interest.  I reduced the purples a bit for balance.

With all of that in the background, I heightened the oranges and added more greens to the sparse foliage.  Then finally, I repainted the entire foreground enriching the overall effect.

It all happened so very fast and all in response to the painting going to the higher level. All it took from me was the willingness and some risk-taking.  The end result is a richly colored and textured scene that I was happy to put into the world. I'm so glad I went along for the ride. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Catalog: The Artful Home, Fall 2012

Happily, my oil "At the Meadows Edge" has been included in the Artful Home Fall Preview catalog, 2012. The oil is 40 x 40 inches, $5600 unframed. This image is also available as a limited edition giclee in three sizes, $300 - $790. You can contact them at 877-223-4600.

I've been working with Artful Home for over 10 years now and they have brought me success and great exposure. This catalog will be mailed out to over 300,000 households!

Details on the Artful Home site
Sign up for their catalog my mail or email or view it on your ipad.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book: My book is now available electronically for $9.99

At last! My 94 page book is now available electronically in Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch only versions for $9.99  preview / purchase / download book

Hardback versions are available with or without a giclee print for $115 and $150.  complete information

This is a compilation of the best of my works from the last twenty years...check it out in preview.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

For fun: Costumes at the Denver Art Museum

Somewhere in the Denver Art Museum, there is a cabinet with costumes and hats.  We had a ball playing around with this as a break from our looking at some serious artworks.  Here is artist Lee McVey from Albuquerque, myself and Ed Ruotolo from NY putting our headgear together.

Find the cabinet - send me your dress-up photos.  We've set the bar pretty low here, so better poses are expected!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In the Studio: August 19, 2012

There are a lot of works in progress in my studio today.  On the easel is a 4x6 foot oil that I'm working up from the pastel on the right.  To the left are two 3x5 foot oils in progress.  I'm steadily making new works for my museum show with 5 other artists at the Madden Museum of Art, Denver in early August 2012.  You can follow the progress of our show here  I hope to see you at our opening Thursday, October 4!

Also announcing:
Making it Fine Art Workshop

Two-day workshops forming in Houston and Denver, late Fall 2012. Possible dates are for any weekend in Oct and the 2nd or 3rd weekends on November.  complete info

Please inquire by email or 303-995-1611
Workshops for 2013 in Cape Cod, Atlanta and New York are forming. Please inquire by email or 303-995-1611

Workshops: Denver and Houston late Fall, 2012

Workshop announcement

Late Sun  pastel, 13 1/2 x 18 inches
Making it Fine Art
2-day workshops forming in Houston and Denver, late Fall 2012. 

Possible dates are for any weekend in Oct and the 2nd or 3rd weekends on November.
Please inquire by email or 303-995-1611

Workshops for 2013 in Cape Cod, Atlanta and New York are forming.   Please inquire.

Two-day workshop: $225. per person
Ken is available for group Workshops in your area or individually.  Complete info

Total Arts Gallery exhibition, Taos NM 2012
He comes from a background of working in the art gallery and ancillary art businesses for over 40 years. As an artist for 25 of those years, he can speak to the business and creative aspects of being a professional artist.

Ken studied with Wolf Kahn for a month at the Santa Fe Art Institute Master Class program. He came away with enough information for a lifetime. For decades he has been associated with a number of wonderful and successful artists. As a former gallery dealer, he has a great deal of experience and knowledge about past and present artists and their reasons for success. Having grown up in the arts with framing, gallery management and as an artist, he has much to offer to the hobbyist and professional artist.

Pricing: (depending on the location, a minimum number of students will apply to cover travel expenses)

Two-day workshop: $225. per person

In his workshop:
Ken will discuss strategies for creating better artworks with a variety of common and creative tools. The workshop will focus the strategies for making better paintings, going to new places in your work and how to make fine art. Much attention will be given to improving your own artworks and career.

Ken will demonstrate painting using oil and pastel. He will discuss the idea of making strong starts and keeping the way open for more interesting and dramatic finishes.

In addition to making art works, Ken will talk about business and promotion, which are necessary to be a successful artist in the marketplace.

There will be serious discussions, laughs, and your questions.   We will all come away with new tools to take your art to the next level.

Attendees are invited to bring whatever they wish to paint with and work on.  Bring works to start, works in progress, and finished works to evaluate.  There will be a lot of conversation about the mental aspects of making good art by design and experiment.  The mental aspect is the quickest way to get the breakthroughs to the next big success in your art.

 Ken will bring some finished works to share with the group.

Video: Piet Mondrian, A Journey Through Modern Art


Piet Mondrian, A Journey Through Modern Art    YouTube
Here is an intriguing video about the evolution of Piet Mondrian. Music by Philip Glass. The first two images, Amaryllis and Molen Mill are not in the video, but are included here to further demonstrate Mondiran's skill and development.

Molen Mill, Mill in Sunlight

Avond (Evening): Red Tree
Piet Mondrian was born in the Netherlands in 1872. He is best known for abstracted paintings of colored squares and black lines. His  creative journey took him through realist works and in the end, he became an icon of a clean, minimalist style known throughout the world.


Composition with Grey and Light Brown

His last painting, Broadway Boogie Woogie
Trafalgar Square

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Workshop: Denver, July 2012

Here is a photo from my Denver workshop, "Making Fine Art." We are working it...there are oils, acrylics and pastels in small to large sizes being tamed and bent to our will !

Most of the attendees were from the Denver Metro but Suzanne was from Alaska, bearing fresh salmon and amazing stories for everyone.  We had a marvelous time, everyone brought their unique experiences, efforts and their were kudos all around. Some very good works were created by everyone to take back home.  It's quite the honor working with artists that have truly focused their minds and hearts to the creation of fine art.    ...and yes, we celebrated with champagne afterwards.  It was a great weekend.

In late October or early November, I'll be doing a formal painting and pastel workshop in the Houston metro.  The class is forming up now.

Also, there are tentative plans for Workshops in Cape Cod, Atlanta and New York, 2013.  complete info  In the Workshop, we will be discussing the strategies for making fine art and taking your art to the next level.  The two-day workshop is $225.  Please let me know if your are interested  email me about workshops  complete workshop info

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Workshop video: making the perfect semi-gloss varnish for your oils

Being varnished:
"Golden Moment Against the Reds"
oil on canvas,  48 x 48 inches

Here is a foolproof method to varnish your oil paintings with a semi-gloss finish.  They will be ready for transport the next day and will be virtually odorless after drying.

Note that Ken is applying the varnish in his garage and they will dry there overnight and without the fumes in your home or studio.  There are more formal ways to do the final varnish to oil paintings, but since my oils are recently created, they are not ready for a final varnish, so I'm using retouch varnish here. The end result is a perfect, semi-gloss finish that is ready to hang in 24 hours.

Thank you, Forrest Moses for showing me this valuable technique.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Video: Gerhard Richter painting

click to view video: Gerhard Richter Painting

I just saw this documentary yesterday of Gerhard Richter, the very famous Cologne, Germany artist.  It was a very good look at the man, his latest methods and the inside game at the very highest levels of the art world.  I hope you get to see it.  Click on the link to see a preview from the full-length documentary film.

What you are seeing here is a very large squeegee loaded with green paint being drawn across this large canvas, completely remaking its appearance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Workshop video: Creating the oil Yellows Across the Lake, 40 x 40 inches

Here is a video of me creating an 40 x 40 inch oil on canvas from start to finish.  I'm narrating as I paint, describing my methods as the painting develops. I enjoyed the process of creating the oil and this video.  I hope you find it entertaining and educational.

"Yellows Across the Lake"
oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

Available at the Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM. 

Credit: Hand-held iphone video by social networking expert Marianne Pestana and narration by the artist.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Workshop: Matisse makes a Big Move

Henri Matisse  "The Red Studio" 1911   Museum of Modern Art, NY

I've always wondered about this oil.  Did Matisse begin a painting with all of these objects painted normally in the room in only to find that he didn't like where the oil was going?  I recall an oil by Wolf Kahn of his barn in Vermont.  It wasn't working out to his liking, so he add a white variant over the entire painting.  It was a remarkable effect, rendering the entire painting in luminous shades of white - leaving the edges of the objects in relief.  Wolf made a bold move in order to 'save' or bring more life into a troubled painting.  The result was over the top.

So when I went to NY last month, I was glad to see this painting again in person.  It is possible that Matisse sketched this in (tables, chairs) and began to fully paint in a few of the objects (vase, plate, some framed works) before reversing ground and insisting on the overall red effect?  Did he plan the red oil the way we see it all along?  It is possible that Matisse got into a fix and scrambled for a better solution?

For this chest, Matisse outlined the object with yellow and green, with some pencil lines or grey paint.  In other places, there is pink oil and white canvas.  Did he begin to fully paint the chest or just outline it?  Was he blocking in the objects normally or is this evidence that he was planning to cover it in red from the start?

Interesting that you can see sketch lines but there is also work using the yellow again and traces of blue and purple. The yellow appears to be more that just an outline since it's visible under the red.  This yellow intrigues me.  Was he blocking in some of the objects in yellow and starting to add the blues and purples as well?  Was he beginning to fill in the furniture in a normal way using a few colors?

Who knows for sure what he was thinking and where the red comes in, but Matisse got to a point early in this work using a few spare colors and lines to get the painting blocked in without the red.

In this last close up, paint is added in places after the application of the red.  Matisse is now working on top of the red, bringing the oil to completion.

Looking at these close ups, I'd offer that once he got a fresh look at this large oil in the early stages (due to an interruption by an incoming email, no doubt) he began to analyse his options and decided for something more powerful than another interior scene.

Perhaps this composition was weak - lacking and needed more. Or it may be that the painting in progress was just fine, but once he got the idea of the red as an overall concept, the power of it would be too compelling to resist.

Matisse doesn't give any clues.  He said, "Where I got the color red - to be sure, I just don't know."

Nor do we.  At any rate, here is a powerful tool and strategy for making more engaging works. You can make bold moves to the point of possibly ruining your work, but the rewards are great if you handle the power of your Big Move.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Art at Your Door: Bird Nest, June 16

June 26:  The birds successfully took flight.  I didn't see them doing their flight training, but a guest here saw the mom with one of the new babies flying close by.  Success and now I have my front door back...all is well.

June 16: More on the birds nesting on my front door wreath:

 Mom and Dad are doing a great job and the babies are growing up nicely.  Someone did come through the front door the other day, so the nest and chicks swung into the house.  I can't imagine what the kiddos thought about their world moving on hinges like that!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Newsletter, June 2012

Here is my monthly newsletter for June, 2012
For the newsletter this month, I've added two pastels and a large new oil.  These new works are a bit more abstracted and I do like the results.  The two pastels have inspired me to do large oil versions and I hope to have the completed results in next month's newsletter.

July 21-22, I'll be doing a formal painting and pastel workshop in the Denver metro.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Video: Pierre - Auguste Renoir

This is unique, silent footage of the great Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919).  He is seen at home, working on a canvas, smoking, talking and thoroughly enjoying himself.

His hands were severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis.
Uploaded to youtube by Nick Wallace Smith.

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Oil: Golden Moment Against the Reds, 48 x 48 inches

Golden Moment Against the Reds
Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

I worked up this composition from a small oil I did some months ago.  In this large version there is much more depth and power throughout.

After going through a lot of permutations, I came back to this simple arrangement that allows the best interplay of the reds, yellows and contrasts of the trees.  This oil has been in the studio for a couple of months and it underwent a lot of painting sessions, but the work remained fresh and kept its subtle power.

I'm assembling the progressive photos of this oil into a little presentation that illustrates how this painting came together.  I'll post it here in the next few days.

Note:  I'll be teaching my oil and pastel workshop on the Strategies for Making Fine Art in Denver, Sat-Sun, July 21-22  Complete info

Video: Degas on film, early 20th Century

This is unique footage of the great Post Impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917) as an old man walking in a Paris street early in the Twentieth Century.

This footage was uploaded by Nick Wallace Smith on Mar 22, 2011. Nick remarks, "I'm amazed the film was shot - he seems to have been almost ambushed."

At this time, Degas was suffering from eyesight problems and as often the case, he was wary of being photographed.

The music is by the composer Eric of my favorites.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Art at Your Door: Bird Nest, June 10

The chicks have hatched!

The bird parents are not bird brains after all.  Four days ago, we had a major hail storm with 3-4 inches of sustained hail for an hour.  There was 3-4 inches of hail here! Since this nest is the the front door wreath and under the protected front door porch, the parents and chicks were undisturbed, short of the crazy lighting show.

Looks like these chicks will all be named Einstein after their parents.  More photos soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In the studio: June 6, 2012

In the studio June 6, 2012

On the easel is a 3x5 foot canvas coming from the pastel at the right. I'm two sessions in and this oil is coming along nicely. I say nicely because I'm not getting fussy, so I'm not bogged down and overly concerned about small, frustrating details. My concerns right now are the overall shapes, color and contrasts of the oil.  I'm going to continue to add power by any means and go for a dramatic painting that simply expresses the flow of color and light across the canvas.

At the bottom left on the floor is a 2x4 oil of red trees. Behind that are two finished canvases in frames. It's the red zone back there.

Little did I know that after this photo was taken, the lovely rain outside turned into an hour long hailstorm, leaving 3-4 inches on hail everywhere.  What an amazing racket!

By the way, for those of you following the birds nesting on my front door wreath, they are fine and looking like bird geniuses for nesting under the front door overhang.  Baby bird photos will be coming when the eggs hatch.

Perhaps you would like to attend my upcoming oil and pastel workshop:
Making it Fine Art
A two-day workshop in Denver, Sat-Sun, July 21-22.
Two-day workshop: $225. per person  Complete info
Also, there are plans for a 2012 Summer or Fall Houston, TX workshop as well.  Please inquire

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Workshop: Matisse and a technique problem

 Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) The Piano Lesson. 1916 Oil on canvas. 96 ½ x 83 ¾.  Collection MOMA, NYC

Here's more from my recent visit to NY.  
Matisse had been under some pretty intense criticism with the critics of the day and it had been going on for years. This oil was done after his trip to Morocco and it continues Matisse's exploration into more geometrical shapes and a very new visual presentation. The palette is more reserved for Matisse but the large amounts of grey heighten all the colors, even the off-white tones at the upper right. Black is a color too and it is used for outlines, shadows and dark areas.  This is a large work done in the studio and Matisse has made a number of painterly and intellectual decisions to produce a challenging and thoughtful work of art.

Here is a detail of the green vertical panel, left side. It appears that Matisse overpainted this area preferring the green shown here. This is a great color selection and it is one of the many components that make this work sing. Note that Matisse didn't get the black scroll work right on the first try, nor  was he concerned about how evenly the black lines were put down. You can see where he corrected some of the line work but he allowed the earlier marks to show through. This approach, coupled with the irregular line work, made for a more complex visual effect. It's one of the subtle hallmarks of Matisse's work and it creates more visual sophistication and appeal.  The rule is fat over lean: thinned paint under paint out of the tube or with medium added.

Also... don't paint thinned-out oil paint on top of thicker (fatter) paint. Even the master got a little too thin with the green overpainting and it cracked. Well, it does make another interesting surface effect but I'll bet it gave the museum restorers extra work.

I'll be teaching my oil and pastel workshop on the Strategies for Making Fine Art in Denver, Sat-Sun, July 21-22  Complete info

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Workshop: Art materials, don't let them get in the way

Paul Gauguin  Washerwomen 1888  Museum of Modern Art, NY

For Gauguin, funds were tight and sometimes he used burlap rather than finer canvases.  He did a very nice job of adapting to either canvas and made paintings of a lasting impact.  The quality of the art materials didn't interfere with his vision.  The point here is not that you should use inferior materials, just use what you can and get your vision out to the world by any means possible.

Detail showing the oil applied to the burlap
Jasper Johns Flag 1954  Encaustic, oil and collage on fabric mounted on plywood, 42 1/4 x 60 5/8 inches
Museum of Modern Art, NY

John's woke up one morning after dreaming about doing a large American flag. Note the 48 stars of 1954.  He went out an bought the materials that day.  It's not an extravagant surface to work from.  Note that the canvas doesn't even cover the edges in some places and it is tacked rather than stapled to wrap it over the plywood.  He got the work done and down the road, this work became the most expensive American artwork ever purchased at auction.  It's now an icon of contemporary American painting.

detail showing the encaustic and newsprint underneath

I'll be commenting on some other works from my recent trip to NY.  The Modern and MOMA now have new photo policies allowing photography as long as you don't use a flash.  I've got some great photos and close up to share.

I'll be teaching my oil and pastel workshop on the Strategies for Making Fine Art in Denver, Sat-Sun, July 21-22  Complete info