Monday, March 19, 2018

Exhibition: Edgar Degas / About the Line

Some thoughts from the Degas show...
The Denver Art Museum is the only venue for this show and it is certainly worth the trip.

Edgar Degas, Passion for Perfection
Through May 20, 2018

While I was taking in this great exhibit, I began to notice the strength of Degas' lines and his use of darks to create more interesting works. He pushes those dark values to great effect. 

A great artist like Degas is notable for many things and it is typically the color that receives all the  attention. These works have a lot of presence when viewed in person and part of that success is his use of accenting lines and darker notes.

Degas' work has so many great qualities, but for now, here is a selection of works from the exhibit along that theme.

Also note that many of these works were completed over a span of years. Even for the great Degas, he didn't create the best possible artwork straight through every time.

Female Nude Drying Her Hair
Charcoal on tracing paper, 1903 

Four Ballet Dancers
Pastel  1885-90 

Nude Standing Beside a Chair
Charcoal with touches of blue on tracing paper  1990

Standing Woman Fastening Her Corset,
Seen From the Front
Oil  1883

Degas' Studio replicated

The Conversation
Oil  1885-95

The Milliners
Oil  1898

Race Horses at Longchamp
Oil 1871-74

Race Horses at Longchamp  (close up)
Oil 1871-74

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Exhibit: PACE Center, Hand-Pulled: Mark Lunning's Open Press

It's a great honor to be in this show with other remarkable artists. I have 5 monotypes in the exhibit and they look great on the PACE Center steel walls.

Perhaps you can take a look and tour the incredible public space for the arts that has been created in Parker, CO.

Here are the details:

Hand-Pulled: Mark Lunning's Open Press
Artist's reception, Friday March 2, 6pm
PACE Center, Parker, CO
20000 Pikes Peak Ave. Parker, CO 80138 map
Through April 30

A group show highlighting a selection of print makers who have worked with Master Printer and artist Mark Lunning at Open Press:
Patricia Branstead, Dale Chisman, Brian Comber, Patti Cramer, Joellyn Duesberry, Ken Elliott, Joe Higgins, Homare Ikeda, Viviane LeCoutois, Chuck McCoy, Janice McCullaugh, Geoffrey Ridge, and Daniel Teitelbaum. Also featuring recent works by Mark Lunning.

The exhibit was curated by Rose Fredrick, Denver.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Video: Green Dream, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

Green Dream, oil on panel, 24 x 24   $2150 unframed
Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
More about this oil on Ken's blog, For the Color

In this video Ken explains what is behind his 24 x 24 inch oil on panel, Green Dream and the small details that brought it to life.

Video: 2 minutes

Video: At the Ponds Edge, Emerging Spring, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

At the Ponds Edge, Emerging Spring, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Ken describes how the 4' x 5' oil, At the Ponds Edge, Emerging Spring evolved. This work took about a year to make as it went through a number of changes.

Video: 2 minutes

New Works at the Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

These five oils just arrived at the Sorelle Gallery in New Canaan, CT.

I want to thank everyone at the gallery for their enthusiasm and the many kindness they have showed me as a new artist there. Thank you!

....hope you will take the time to tour this remarkable gallery online.

Oil on canvas, 36 X 48 inches     $6950 framed
Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Video: Blue Skyscape, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

Blue Skyscape, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches  $7500 framed
Exhibiting: Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY

In this video Ken describes what makes this predominately blue sunset a success without the usual setting sun effects and offers a strategy to keep this large painting compelling in all directions.  2 minutes

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Work: Light Effects reworked. Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Version II / Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches  $6950 framed

Version I / Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches  from 2017
February 2018:
Reworking a painting by using a a couple of strategies to create improvements.
Here I took a perfectly good oil and reworked it to create a more subtle and elegant effect.

Video:  Ken describes how he transformed an existing oil into a better one by reducing the number of elements in the painting.  4 minutes
Written in August 2017:
I began this oil (Version I) as a demo for the workshop that Casey Klahn and I put on in 2017. The dark trees in the upper left are just as they were painted in that day. For the demonstration, I wanted to offer the example of a very direct and strong start.

The background was also laid in with strong colors but as the painting progressed over the last few months, what remained was the strong lighting at the top as the the strong colors in the background were toned down, causing them to recede.

All of these moves were done to improve the painting rather than create a more realistic scene. This is what makes painting enjoyable for me - trying to get more out of the artwork with a variety of strategies.

During the last painting session today the lighter areas began to take the lead. I made the sky brighter and insured that the glow travelled down into the background. Once more light and shadow variations were added to the grasses below, the entire painting fell into place. After a lot of patient trials, this forest came to life with color, atmosphere and in a somewhat abstract way.

I really like those original dark trees with their high contrast and the motion they give to this work.

Forward to Feb 2018:
After seeing the painting in the studio for a time, I decided that I wanted the oil to have more simplicity and a softer light. Trees were eliminated and the light is more subtle throughout the painting. Some of the colors were grayed down a bit and it actually enhanced the effect of the glow. It was a surprising outcome but it was just the effect I was looking for. Greys are very important at times!

As the painting progressed, a path began to form. It is nice to have it there, pointing the way to more good things to come.

The original dark trees in the upper left remain from that good start at the workshop that day and after removing unnecessary trees, the composition is simplified and has more sophistication.

More information about my Workshops

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Workshops: Casey Klahn - Ken Elliott April 12-15 and Ken Elliott May 5-6

Ken Elliott  Green Dream  oil on canvas

Casey Klahn  pastel on paper

Announcing New Workshops:

Castle Rock, CO  2018
Thurs - Sun, April 12-15

Casey Klahn and Ken Elliott 4-day Mentoring / Intensive Art Workshop

Limited to 9 artists / 2 spots open
$750 ever person
Register via PayPal on the Workshop page
Workshop flyer and more information

Open to artists in all media. This is a two-instructor workshop for artists wanting to make advancements in their techniques and strategies. Casey and Ken will have ample time to give very focused attention to individuals and offer a number of provoking ideas to the group. Also, Ken will present simple Photoshop techniques for taking your works to the next level and creating better pathways for finishing your artworks. You will be given a Photoshop instruction guide and have access to Ken's personal photo file of over 1500 inspiring images by various artists.

Ken Elliott  Trees in Half Shade  oil on canvas

Castle Rock, CO 2018

Sat - Sun, May 5-6

Making it Fine Art / Advanced Strategies
2 1/2-Day Workshop with Ken Elliott in his Castle Rock home/studio

$390 per person
Register via PayPal on the Workshop page
Workshop flyer and more information

Sat - Sun, 9am-4 pm
Sun evening after break, 4:30 -6, Photoshop Tools

Open to artists in all media.
This is a new, advanced version of Ken's Making it Fine Art Workshop. We will be going deeper into making better and more appealing artworks with a variety of strategies and with Photoshop insights made easy.

Limited to 6 artists
Contact Ken

Comments from some of the workshop attendees:

"I can't thank you enough for coming to Boulder! Thank you for your clear eye, your hard work, your beautiful color and your careful feedback. I'm now a different Painter...maybe a different person? I loved the weekend. And I can't wait until we get to soak up your love for the work, for Wolf Kahn, for COLOR -- yet again (note that I'm greedy). You are an amazing addition to our lives. M

Just a quick note to let you know how much I learned, enjoyed and benefited from your art workshop at Jacque Michele’s studio Jan. 16-17. It was a groundbreaking eye opener for me in so many respects. At the end of the two days I felt like you had given me the tools to truly free up my art work and go wild with color and strokes. A very liberating experience indeed. It was such a pleasure to meet you and study under you. Hope we will be seeing more of you in Boulder

Private lessons by appointment.
Please inquire

About the Workshops and Private Lessons:
These are indoor, two-day workshops open to artists at all skill levels and in all media. It is a full-day, art immersion that is very informative, casual and fun. Private lessons by request. more info

In these Workshops new artistic paths are offered and strategies for making fine art. It is an inspirational weekend with information that will last you for a lifetime.

The feedback from the "Making it Fine Art" Workshops has been very positive. People are saying they are getting much more than they expected and for many, a real boost to their careers. Some have experienced tremendous breakthroughs.

If you don't see a workshop convenient to you, please give me a call to arrange one close by with your group and friends. 303-995-1611.

Two-day formal painting and pastel workshops in 2016. If you are interested in joining or want me to teach in your area, please let me know and we'll plan a great event. Two-day workshops, $390. In the Workshops, we will be discussing strategies for making fine art and taking your art to the next level.

I have really enjoyed giving private lessons over the years as well. It is casual, focused and fun. There will be a big result. Give me a call and we'll discuss what works best for you.

Transportation and accommodations are included as space is available for out of town guests in Ken's home / studio. Please inquire by email or 303-995-1611

A private lesson recommendation:
"Ken Elliott is an excellent host and a very accommodating art instructor who helped me clarify my goals and improve my skills. He offered productive review, practical methods and excellent business advice. I benefitted tremendously from our class and feel confident the quality of my work has moved to another level. Thank you Ken."
Rona Lynn Fitzpatrick

Teaching Experience: partial listing

Beatrice Art Guild, NE
Anchorage Art Guild, AK
Colorado Pastel Society, CO
Colorado Springs and Grand Junction Chapters
Madden Museum art class with Casey Klahn, Denver, CO
North River Arts Society, Marshfield, MA
Pikes Peak Pastel Society, CO

More Comments:

"Thank you so much for the wonderful, thought compelling workshop. You rekindled my love for making art. Your enthusiasm is contagious and felt throughout the room. You set up a stimulating environment that provided continuous visual images. Your generosity in sharing your own photos was much appreciated. I found you to be humorous, supportive and kind. I would recommend you as an instructor to anyone who would like to take their art to the next level."

"Yours was exactly the kind of workshop I had hoped it would be to give me the focus I needed. I can't thank you enough for coming all this way for such a small group...but I think you got the students who needed you the most!

"The Workshop was amazing. It made me get out of my way in terms of a different painting method and expanded my vision. Also, the friends I made from that weekend are wonderful. My eyes were opened and I can't go backward from that."

"Thank you for sharing all your stories. I think you have a great way of helping people grasp and put into practice the principles of manifesting. Cheers!"
Anita Mosher

"Thank you so much for lighting up our lives and our paintings at this past weekend’s workshop! I loved hearing about your time with Wolf Kahn, your thoughts on painting, the beautiful demo, and of course the great feedback you provided us on our own paintings. You really reignited my desire to paint freely. I hope to spend another weekend painting with you sometime soon."

"Thank you for our workshop! It was a great two days. You are an amazing host and instructor, (two things that don’t always work together). You pulled something from each of us and it was wonderful to be a part of it. Thanks to the moon and back."

"So, when my friend, Ken Elliott, told me he was co-teaching a workshop on color with Casey Klahn, I immediately said sign me up! Ken's work is simplified impressionist landscape with an emphasis on bold color like reds and yellows. Casey's work is influenced by the cloudy days of the northwestern part of the United States, and his paintings are simplified, abstracted landscapes. Casey uses subdued colors like blues and purples. Both artists' style and color sense are so dramatically different than mine that I knew I would be challenged by this workshop. And indeed I was! I have to smile when I see the work I produced in this workshop. It's so unlike my usual work."
Lee McVey website

I so enjoyed meeting you and being part of the workshop. You got me on fire!!!!!

"Wow! My weekend of private lessons was fabulous! While I was there I stepped into a whole new world that my soul was calling for. Wonderful conversations, a beautiful time with great art everywhere and artistic success!"

"Thank you so much for including me in the wonderful weekend workshop at the Castle Rock Artist "Retreat" :D I found all of you to be a delight and am so happy to meet each of you! Ken, you are a wonderful teacher & inspiring person!! The one day with you in your B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L home & "artist sanctuary" was "exactly" what I needed on so many levels !!! Thank you for your generosity, great color sense, sharing of your artful knowledge & supply resources. I came away with a renewed art spirit and also w/ some new artistic ideas for applying paint to the canvas! Very inspiring indeed!
Jeannie Paty website

"When I signed up for a painting workshop, who knew that it would be so much more. Thank you Ken. For your kindness, generosity of spirit, and sharing your knowledge and skill of painting with us. And thank you to everyone for making our time together a magical weekend which will be cherished. Fortunately the universe provided me with what I needed, whether I knew it or not."

"Your workshop changed my whole outlook on what I might be able to do with my art career and gave me the confidence to really go for it. It was also huge from a creative standpoint, helping me focus on color and having that be the lead/primary solution to my paintings as a colorist and abstract artist - but also from the manifesting angle it was my introduction to the whole idea and what set me on my course as a professional artist."
Kirsten McGannon website

"It was a fabulous workshop! I know we all had a lot of fun and really enjoyed having you here. We would love to have you come back again next year!"

"Just wanted to thank you again for a very inspiring, informative, and fun workshop. I worked LARGE today!

"Thank you for all your inspiration!"

"Hey, I DEFINITELY recommend this! SIGN UP for Ken's class! Take your art further than it's ever been!"


"You are a wonderful, vibrant instructor!"

"Thanks SO VERY MUCH, Ken, for such a fun, informative, and energetic workshop. Your enthusiasm is contagious. What a wonderful weekend!!"

"You are so gracious. Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop and ALL that you shared. It was a great weekend."

"Love the class, you are a great teacher!"

"I feel so enriched and on fire to paint big and glowing colors. If you ever get a chance to study with Ken Elliott, I highly recommend him. If you need help getting to his workshops just read his book Manifesting 123"
Francine "

"Great class Ken! Thank you for all the good tips and inspiration. So glad you came to Houston."

A good time was had by all! Thank you!
Barbara, Workshop organizer and attendee

"Thank you Ken for a awesome workshop, picked up some new tools to advance forward. Looking forward to using them tools. I had a great time meeting everyone and working together."

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Work: Jeweled Forest, oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches

Jeweled Forest   oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches  $1575

This is a small work for me and I enjoyed the process. Since I'm typically working in the 4-6 ft range, it is amazing how rapidly things happen in a two foot world!

There was an older oil under this panel that had been sitting around in the studio for about a year. Now that 2018 had begun it felt like a good time to have another go at that image. 

My first thought was to improve the existing oil but as soon as the first brushstroke was applied, I realized that I didn't want to just tweak what was there. Now I had an opportunity to do something much bolder and that's were the orange background came in. 

I'm typically working with 1/2" width brushes and they cover canvases quickly, even at 5 or 6 feet.  In this case, it was like having making an acre of orange forest in minutes with the painting asking, "OK, did that, now what?" 

I was great fun to 'locate' the green trees rather than representing them in detail. The bright greens held their own against the orange background nicely. The yellow foreground in the bottom right is all that remains of the original painting and I used that area as a bright inspiration for everything that followed. 

There are always a lot of options for sky besides blue and that was my plan. First I put down a bit of blue and purposely left remnants of the original oil in the sky. My intention was to bring in another color over the blue creating something different. Hmmmmm, those remnants are nice with those random bits of yellow mingling with the blue... an unexpected surprise that made a common blue sky a lot more interesting. OK then, add another, brighter blue to the mix and create a glowing sky - push the blue.

From there I added more dark, contrasting areas in the trees and it was done. to figure out those other 4-6 foot canvases waiting for their solutions.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Work: Renewal, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

New Work: Renewal, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

This oil is all about putting paint down to create patterns and surfaces. The color is a big part but I was more focused on keeping things fresh and letting the brushwork show.

As soon the painting began to develop I became enamored of the delicacy in the foreground trees. I began to build a painting around them, using simple bands of color elsewhere. all of the other elements were in place, it became apparent that each required a light touch of their own. That's not to say that I lightly painted everything in and it just worked on the first try. There are a lot of paint layers here from good intentions, false starts and some dead ends.

Regardless, each attempt had merit and I have learned to allow a little bit of those trials to show through. Rather than paint completely over the sky, water or band of trees, I used the previous work as an underpainting. Those remnants of color and edges provided more complexity and interest.

Of course that requires a lot of back and forth, but that is how the painting gets better. This oil was finished three times, or so I kept thinking. When I viewed the 'finished' oil the next day in the studio, my memory of the painting collided with the real thing on the easel and not in a good way, but that's ok. The time away from the oil allowed me to see it more objectively so I could clearly identify what was lacking and consider different solutions to make it better.

Now that this oil is finished, I miss the challenge this painting presented but there are other starts in the studio with delightful potential, patiently waiting their turn.

This is my first work of the new year and as I was putting on the final touches, the name Renewal came to mind. It implies a lot of things and the thought of it keeps us flexible.