Sketchbook Project

Excuse my mess…

Last year I participated in the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. It was an elevating experience. I stretched my creative muscles, met the deadline, and grew as an artist. The book is a narrative based on the women’s studies, the momentum of the the Me Too movement, my experience working with high school age students, and figures/natural forms. You can view the 2017 sketchbook here .

This year I signed up to complete a sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library again. When I began conceptualizing the book I settled on the idea of disconnection. I began formulating sketches and ideas about living in a digital world fully connected to via social media while highlighting the analogous disconnection associated with the natural world.

In brainstorming sessions about disconnection The imagery that come to mind felt depressed and alone. My painting work is more focused on stillness and calm felling. I just could not create a book all about disconnection without feeling sad. When I abandoned the idea of disconnection, my thought process changed and I decided to tell a visual story using only abstraction. Because I have primary concentrated on realism and illustration in the past, this year’s sketchbook challenge is a delightful and terrifying experience.

Please enjoy some of the previews of the pages.

Below is an example of how I normally paint. Notice a difference?

Pin Cushion

This iconic pin cushion represents femininity to me. One popular design—a tomato with a strawberry attached—was possibly introduced during the Victorian Era. According to folklore, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose—a place to store pins. The strawberry contains sand to clean and sharpen needles. It is a universal symbol of womanhood.


My best,
Emily Warren

Oil in a natural wood frame

Water- 12×12, oil on wood

I finally got around to ordering and framing this painting. I think it looks lovely. I am not pleased with where it currently hangs. It is safe in this location for now.

This Painting has a calming affect on me. I have always loved the water. I love to hear the waves breaking. This painting is silent but it invokes the feelings I love about being on the beach.

My best,
Emily Warren

Selling art online

I sold two paintings last week! This is a record number for me. I have one packaged according to Saatchi’s policy: completely wrapped in acid free tissue, bubble wrap, and cardboard. The other painting is to a local person so no bubblewrap. I have printed a lovely certificate of authentication for each.

I must admit it feels great to sell a painting to a total stranger. I wish I could sell more. My inventory is heaped. I want to poll the buyer and ask why and how? Why did she choose the work? What about the piece spoke to her? Is it wrong to ask for data? And what should I ask? I think I will try to come up with an online poll to send to buyers. Not that the results will change my art process but It might change my selling process.

LOOK! It sold.

Thank you for your feedback.

My best,
Emily Warren

Painting upside down

Do you do this? Turn your paintings upside down? I do. I also check my drawings by looking at them in a mirror. I learned this from an Illustration prof at SVA.

Also I am quickly running out of space to store my work. It takes weeks for the oils to dry. I think I will try to find a better solution than storing them on the piano and mantelpiece. I have every intention of painting this weekend but as you can see, my work space is absolutely filled with drying work.

Thank you for reading and following me.

My best,
Emily Warren

Painting Rain

It has been raining here for days. The ground is saturated, schools are closed, and still it rains. What better time to list a painting of water for sale. Please check out this small painting I have listed for sale on eBay. Link

This is a small abstract painting of water. Painted in the summer of 2018. It is a nonrealistic work characterized by the calm and still feeling evoked by water. It was painted using Old Holland oils on panel 6×6 inches.

Water, 6×6 inches, oil on panel

I love painting water, but it’s been raining cats and dogs around here. I think I will paint something dry next…Send me comments of what you would like to see me paint.

My best,
Emily Warren

Oiling out and varnishing

I am still struggling to paint orange. In my procrastination, I found myself cleaning paintings. Then I decided to oil-out some paintings that looked wonky. It felt great to clean up the work. I don’t have a show for a couple weeks. Hopefully, these will be dry by then. I also varnished some pieces.

I am using a matte varnish. I love the glossiness of traditional Damar varnish but it is difficult to get good pictures. The glossy finish causes problems getting the studio lighting to accurately reflect the light. I will continue to finish them with matte varnish. Mostly yo protect the paintings from dust and dirt. If any of you have a better solution please, please share.

Meanwhile, continuing on with the saffron theme I painted this English muffin with marmalade and knife.

Marmalade,  12×12, oil on panel (work in progress)

Thank you for reading.

My best,
Emily Warren

Painting form and color

I didn’t paint anything last weekend. I am still working on the ‘saffron’ portion of my series, painting orange objects. My love brought me some salmon roses. The buds bursting with rosey goodness, but try as I might, I could not paint them.

Meanwhile, the online class in form and color from The School of Visual Arts started. It was so fun. I got to listen to a lecture and was given a design assignment. Visual problems to be solved! Fun, Fun.

Today, I finally decided on a composition for one of my lovely roses.

Passion with bowl, 12×12 oil on panel

It doesn’t read as orange in this rendering as it should. Perhaps I should add a yellow glaze. I am not 100% satisfied with the leaves or the bowl. I must press on. I will never finish the series with perfection in the way.

I also toned some boards today.

12×12 boards gessoed, sanded, and toned

I look forward to posting my class assignments when I finish them…

My best,
Emily Warren

Painting details

Details can separate a realistic render from an impressionistic one, but how much is too much? Should the brush strokes be visible? These questions are surfacing in my recent painting practice.

I have been on a mission, since October, to simplify my painting process. My hope is to produce a cohesive series following the color spectrum. I started with red. Now I am on orange. I am learning about my practice and encountering new challenges.

My most recent challenge: how many details should I include? How does a cross hatch suffice instead of a hyper realistic depiction? Should my brushstrokes be visible? How will I answer these questions?

Squeaky Clean, 12 x 12 oil on panel (work in progress)

The bath poof / soap painting is not complete but much like the pencil painting I distanced myself from the work. I don’t love orange but I want to continue my series. My hope is that by using the powers of distancing and perseverance I can grow in my practice. Isn’t stretching yourself fun!

My best,
Emily Warren

Painting distance

As I start the third painting in my quest to paint orange I can report that my painting practice is starting to feel different. I don’t love orange. I have written about this mild contempt before. I hold this color at a distance, thus, I can look on my practice differently. I can distance myself from the product. How freeing! What an accomplishment!

Painting distance isn’t about architectural 3 pt perspective. It is about the space I have mentally created to distance myself from the work. I don’t think the mood of my practice has changed as I am still extremely motivated and excited to be painting. I love painting and I love learning new things in my practice.

Work in progress, Left-handed, Right-brained 12 x 12 oil on panel

My best,
Emily Warren

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