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Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

What I have been working on and planning in the early parts of 2015

I am in the process of developing a new online portrait class as well as a local monthly class at Donna Downey Studio in Huntersville, NC. The portrait continues to interest me and still so much more to learn. I have had my Asaro head sitting in my studio the past year or so. It was one of those tools I must have but I soon forgot about it and then one day I saw it staring at me and realized maybe just maybe I should figure out how to use this in my work. I mean I didn't want to draw a robot machine looking heads so how could I adapt this to something more realistic? I have worked up a couple of drawings leaving out some of the planes that I didn't think were really necessary. I started looking at photographs of faces and started breaking down the face using this Asaro head as my template. I still feel like I need some work to do before I present it as a course so there is still more to do but I can see already that my portrait work is benefiting from this sometimes tedious process.

I am also starting to paint with more and more color. Not necessarily using alot of colors but sticking to about 6-7 colors and mixing those colors to get different shades and tones. I seem to be getting more loose with my work. I no longer want to get super realistic except for maybe the eyes. I like creating deep three dimensional eyes so that is where I go in with my tiny brushes and retarder to make smooth glassy looking eyes. I am also working on some larger pieces with more perspective backgrounds. I have been using my iphone as a tool. I started to take some pictures of my backyard and surroundings and incorporating figure work in them through a layering process. Here are some of my Iphonegraphy and following that are some painting ideas in the very beginning stages.

I continue to grow and change as an artist. I feel the work I am doing now is starting to represent who I am more than ever but I still have a long way to go. I am looking to go more and more towards the abstract but with the experience of a draftsman. To really understand and illustrate what is around me. That is one of the reasons I love drawing so much. It is in the drawing that I become a better draftsman and to create 3  dimensional and realistic. It is through the painting that I can then push beyond that to something more mysterious and not so easy to identify. I am still in the baby stages of my work so I will be busy the rest of my life continuing to be the student. As I go I love to share some of my experiences and that is where the teaching and the love of teaching comes in. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I will be back here soon.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kate and Kelly's Mixed Media Portrait Workshop

I am very excited to teach with Kelly Berkey at her brand new studio in Kansas City, MO July 13-17 2015. Here is the link to get more information.

It is going to be 5 days of intensive portrait painting. Even though Kelly and I have different styles (and that's a good thing) we both approach art and teaching in the same type of manner. It is not about coming away from a class with alot of finished beautiful pieces, although that can indeed happen, but rather to stretch yourself creatively and be willing to have some set backs. Learning something new takes time and practice and it is often the struggle that will bring you the most satisfaction if you just keep at it.
I went to a workshop in Scotland in October. I got really, really sick and I was out of my comfort zone. Gillian had us sketching outside and my lack of perspective skills showed up very very clearly in my "sketches". I threw all that work out, but that experience made me want to do better. The only way to get better is to practice. I hated drawing buildings because I wasn't good at it but Gillian gave me enough information for me to think about and apply when I got home to my studio. Even the other work I did in the workshop I wasn't happy with. I had all these high expectations of what I should create and I was somewhat disappointed, not in the workshop but with myself! When I got back from the trip all the new information, techniques and philosophy of creating came pouring out of me and I did a couple of pieces that made me realize I had made a jump in my work. I felt these were pieces I could be proud to hang in a gallery, in fact create a body of work. This was profound and more importantly helped me understand what a good workshop will do. It helped me as a teacher as well. I always want my students to come away happy and with beautiful art they are proud of and when I see a student struggle, I feel bad, but now I realize that is a good place to be. It will make you want to go home and try again and again and again and then the beautiful art will happen.
Kelly and I both have a passion for creating and learning and it is very serious business for us but we do like to have fun and laugh so I think this week will be a delightful experience but be prepared to work!!
Here are some samples of some of my portraits:

Now here are some examples of Kelly Berkey's work. Wouldn't you want to learn some of her techniques? I sure can't wait!  Check out her website to view more.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I am teaching at 21 Secrets Art Journaling Spring 2015 online class

I am thrilled to be a part of the Spring 2015 teacher line-up. Here are a couple of examples of my journaling style.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scotland and other adventures

I just got back from Scotland a couple of weeks ago. I attended Gillian Cox's week long workshop. If you aren't familiar with Gillian Cox (Gillian Lee Smith), well then please visit her website. I can't even explain the impact that it had on me. I went there, and because I teach, I felt like I should impress the other students at the workshop. We started out with sketching outside (oh no, my biggest fear)! I never got how artists could just go outside and sketch the most mundane images and make them look interesting. I couldn't even understand sketching something spectacular, especially when it comes to buildings (the dreaded perspective). So any ideas of impressing anyone went right out the window. It was then that I decided to be the student and learn; learn the things I didn't think I could learn. I wanted to leave this workshop with something new that I could use in my own art, not just a bunch of "my" work.
So here is my feeble attempt of trying to draw a landscape with some buildings.
Believe me this is one of the better ones! Yuck, so much to learn and could I learn it? Gillian helped me by explaining more about background , foreground, and midground and how to create that illusion. I got what she was talking about, but still couldn't apply it. When I got home I tried some more,

Not perfect but I was starting to get it. I have been wanting to create environments in my paintings so that my figures would be somewhere. I was so focused on the portrait and figure that the background was of no importance to me, but to create atmosphere, they need to be some where. I have a ways to go to understand perspective, but now I have the desire to draw what I see around me. I actually enjoyed drawing my patio, and will now start including drawing my environment as part of my artistic practice.
Here is some of the work I created in the workshop

I started this landscape with a figure during this workshop. It went through many stages of development

Now when I got home, I really changed it and find my style changing and developing even more

 I have worked on another piece that I like. Here it is.

One of the most important aspects of being an artist is to be a student. I will never stop growing; this will consume for the rest of my life!

I have a new online workshop that will be starting Nov. 24, 2014

I ALSO HAVE CREATED STENCILS!! My stencils can be purchased at Stencil Girl
Here is the link