Artist Residency Completed

Ann Hart Marquis-Chalk Hill Russian River-artist residency

Chalk Hill Russian River, acrylic on birch panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I spent the last three weeks at an artist residency in Healdsburg, CA. The Chalk Hill Artist Residency is located in the rolling hills of Sonoma County on 250 acres of vineyard. It was a beautiful location and what made it especially lovely for me was that it is about 12 miles from where I grew up.

I stayed in an old 5-bedroom farm house complete with a covered front porch with spectacular views. I also had a large studio that looked out over a nearby pond. Since I was there alone, I had nothing to do but create, walk along the Russian River, read art books look for wildlife and meditate.

My only responsibility was to paint whatever I wanted. I choose to paint the landscape that surrounded me. I had never painted grape vines before or California Oaks. It was enjoyable for me to try to capture them both.

Ann Hart Marquis-Chalk Hill Oak-artist residency

Chalk Hill Oak, acrylic on birch panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

There are many artist residency programs available both nationally and internationally. If you ever decide to pursue one, I hope that yours is as meaningful as mine.

Upcoming Artist Residency

In three days I will be leaving for my artist’s residency at Chalk Hill Artist Residency in Healdsburg, CA. The residency is housed on a 250 acre ranch and winery in Sonoma County, 15 miles from where I grew up.

Sonoma County

Sonoma County

Sonoma County is in a beautiful part of the state. It is grape growing country with rolling hills and miles of vineyards. I have very fond memories about the landscape, the feel of the atmosphere and the fragrance of the air.

Chalk Hill

Chalk Hill

My only obligation during the three-week residency is to paint what I want, when I want. I am taking eight medium-sized birch panels and four small canvases. I may finish all of those.

I am already starting to fantasize about what I will be seeing. In this recent painting, I was thinking about what the area may hold for me. I was envisioning green hills, manicured fields and golden poppies.

Ann Hart Marquis-California Deaming-artist residency

California Dreaming, acrylic on canvas, 14x18x.34 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

It will be interesting to see what I will paint first when I get there.

Abstract Landscapes Fix

Last summer in France I painted a series of abstract landscapes that were influenced by the panorama around me. Since the paintings were abstract, I took liberties with the landscape and terrain that I was observing.

When I am in the south of France, I have the good fortune to have one of my mentors Suzanne L’Hoste Snadecki available for critiques. When she saw my finished series she commented that she like them all except one.

Here is the one in which she found a problem.

Waiting in for Harvest-original

Waiting in for Harvest-original

Suzanne found the horizontal V lines in the middle of the painting too sharp. I said that I appreciated her opinion, but I like the painting the way it was.

A few weeks ago, after looking at that painting for some time, I found that it was making me uncomfortable and that Suzanne was right.

Ann hart Marquis-Waiting for Harvest-abstract landscape

Waiting for Harvest, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 14 x 1.5 inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I took out the harsh red lines in the middle of the painting, added more violet and added to the texture of the grass in the middle ground. I am now happy with it and I hope that Suzanne is too.

Warm/Cool Palette

My friend Sylvia is attracted to violets and yellow greens when she paints. I frequently paint with yellow/green, but rarely paint with violets. I decided to experiment.

I thought that I would do a painting based on the warm/cool palette of color theory. As you can see from this color wheel, colors can be divided into warm and cool.



I chose to use yellow/green and red/violet because they are complementary colors on the color wheel. They are opposite each other and therefore when used together they make for a vibrant and interesting painting.

Ann Hart Marquis-warm cool palette

Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 x.75 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I started with tints, tones and shades of yellow/green and red/violet. This gave me a rather cool painting. I then added the warm yellow and a touch of red/orange to warm the scene.

Here is the finished painting. It does not have a title yet. Any suggestions?

Beginning Painting

My class at the University of New Mexico, Continuing Education, Painting for the Complete Beginner ended last week. Here are a few examples of the work that was done in class. All of the paintings were done in acrylic. Although this was a beginning painting class, you can see the work is quite imaginative and well done.

Wendy Peterson, 2015

Wendy Peterson, 2015

Don Koepke, 2015

Don Koepke, 2015

Don Koepke, 2105

Don Koepke, 2105

All of these paintings were done with the greatest care and diligence. It was such a pleasure to see students learn beginning techniques and then to watch them create such interesting and inspiring pieces. I hope that they all continue with their painting experience. They should. There certainly was talent in the group.

Joni Lebens , 2015

Joni Lebens, 2015

Corinne Armijo, 2015

Corinne Armijo, 2015









My next class starts in June, 2015, and I get to experience the fun of playing with color all over again. I hope you enjoy these images, as much as I have.

Joni Lebens, 2015

Joni Lebens, 2015

Abbey Ibrahim, 2015

Abbey Ibrahim, 2015

Under-Layer Painting

The concept of layers is something that I often think about. For example, people have many layers.  We are complicated. It is what makes us unique and interesting. Layers give each person their own individuality. I also like to think about the layers in my paintings which gives them more depth. I paint landscapes and when I think about them, I focus on the layers such as the earth, hills, rocks, trees and sky. It’s all these layers that give a landscape character and a story.

Under-Layer Painting

It always takes time to build layers regardless of where they originate. In painting, I like to begin with a particular color all over my white canvas. That layer will influence an added layer either directly or indirectly. I frequently can let the under-layer influence the color on top of it or I can let it actually come through the paint.

If I use a blue green tint for the sky, I may use that color other places in the painting, frequently covering most of it with more color. My paintings proceed in this manner.

I take time with my paintings, building up the layers allowing the colors to interact with each other. It gives the work depth and makes it unique. The underlying layers have a chance to come through and influence the scene.

By using the back-end of my brush, I can scratch out one layer to reveal another. These are like the scars in the painting which also tell a story. Or I can incorporate charcoal into an area and then use paint to set it, adding interesting darks to the composition.

Ann Hart Marquis-Vie Une Reve-under-layer painting

Vie-un Rêve (Life-a Dream), acrylic on canvas, 14 x 14 x 1.5, 2012. ©Ann Hart Marquis

My painting,  Vie-un Rêve, is an example of using many layers. It would be very difficult for me to recreate this painting because the individual layers make the painting and help to tell a story.

Value in Painting

In art, value is the lightness or darkness that can be distinguished in a painting. It is thought that value is more important than color to the design and success of a painting or drawing. As a matter of fact, value has nothing to do with color. It has only to do with how light or dark the color is.

Without value variations we could not even see the subject. In the dark or intense light or even grey fog, for example, nothing can be discerned.

Additionally, it is though that if we get the value right, the color can be off and the painting will still work. This may not always be the case, but most frequently it is.

Characteristics of Value

Value in painting is important because it describes the scene in ways that colors cannot. In a representational painting, value plays the role of describing three important characteristics of the subject:

  1. Whether the subject has dimensions or is flat.
  2. What kind of smoothness or roughness the surface of the subject has.
  3. Where the light source is coming from and how bright it is.

Paintings do not need color to play these different roles.

Ann Hart Marquis-Through the Window-value in painting

Through the Window, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 x 1.5, 2010. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Now look at the same painting, without the color:

Ann Hart Marquis-Through the Window-value in painting

Through the Window-black and white

Notice that without the color we still read the shape and form of the interior of the room and the tree. We still understand the texture of the drapes, flowers and leaves. We know that the sun is located high in the sky and off to the left.

Value, then, makes it possible for us to know what we’re looking at. Without clear values in a painting, objects will appear flat, lifeless, and uninteresting.

Horizontal Composition

When I start a painting I spend a little time thinking about the layout and composition that I want to create. I don’t get too left brain about what I am doing. Often my imagination takes over. However, composition is one of those important painting ideas that I like to investigate.

For, example when I do a landscape of hills, open space or vistas, I frequently use a horizontal composition. The horizontal direction is associated with serenity and peacefulness in nature. I like the idea of creating or capturing peacefulness.

Ann Hart Marquis-Grassland-horizontal composition

Grassland, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 14 x 1.5 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Occasionally I like to read about different definitions and examples of making art. Jean Vincent has a very interesting blog in which she defines many artistic concepts. Here is some of what she suggests about a horizontal composition.

“In nature most if not all things will eventually become horizontal in one way or another or a combination of ways. They may, for example, fall over or be knocked down, or blown apart, or squashed by something heavy from above, or attacked and eaten away chemically and/or washed away by water, and eventually become horizontal or disappear altogether. The damage done to formerly vertical things does not in itself make them become horizontal. It’s gravity that does that, pulling down the parts that become loosened.”

Not all of my landscapes are horizontal in orientation, but I do like the feeling of painting shapes across the canvas rather than always coming from a vertical perspective. Here is one that is primarily vertical.

Ann Hart Marquis-Coming from the Deep II-vertical compositon

Coming from the Deep II, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 x 1.5 inches, 2012. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Do you have a preference?

Gallery Wrapped Canvas

With the exception of my works on paper, I prefer to paint on canvas that is gallery wrapped. A gallery wrapped canvas is simply a canvas that doesn’t have any visible staples or nails holding the canvas to the bars on the sides. Quite often with a gallery-wrap canvas, the edges are painted and the painting hung unframed.

There is no rule when it comes to dealing with the edges of a canvas. It’s a matter of personal preference. I like to continue the painting onto the sides, frequently in as much detail as on the front of the canvas.

Ann Hart Marquis-gallery wrapped canvas

Gallery wrapped canvas, Ann Hart Marquis

Some artists think it’s enough to just paint the edges a single color, or perhaps two. I think that leaving the edges white makes them stand out too much, as does painting them black, unless the painting is dominated by very dark colors.

I like the look of an extended painting. When the sides are part of the painting it adds dimension so that the viewer is seeing part of the painting before facing it.

When I’m painting I try to remember to do the edges at the same time as the initial blocking-in of shapes. The sides then become an important part of the painting. Also, that way I don’t have to be careful when I do it, trying to match paint colors and texture. It’s also a way to use up excess paint on my brush when I’m about to use another color. Then when I’ve finished the painting, I touch up the edges if needed.

Ann Hart Marquis-Endeavor-gallery wrapped canvas

Endeavor, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 x 1.5 inches, 2010. ©Ann Hart Marquis-

All of my paintings on canvas are gallery wrapped. Are you partial to gallery wrapped canvas or do you prefer a frame?

Acrylic Painting Fix

Sometimes when I have finished a painting there is a little annoying doubt that says “are you sure this is finished? Are you sure it needs no revision?” I recently had such an experience with a painting that I completed in the spring of last year. In the process of organizing my studio I came across this painting. I really knew it had problems when I hung it on the wall. I just didn’t want to admit it.

It is called “Patches of Paradise,” and in reviewing the piece I decided that was an appropriate title because it seemed very patchy to me.  Also, the bottom half did not seem to be as integrated as the top half of the painting. And what were those trees doing in the foreground? It needed an entire acrylic painting fix.

Before applying paint to this canvas I had applied light molding paste which gives the surface a very textured terrain. My problem was that I let the terrain dictate the composition on the lower half of the painting. Not a good idea. I had also used colors that were too intense for almost all of the painting.

Original Patches of Paradise

Original Patches of Paradise, 2014

This week I decided to tackle the painting and see if I could remedy the problem. I covered the unattractive terrain with thick paint then applied a more toned down palette to the necessary areas. I also made subtle changes to some of the upper half of the painting. I removed the trees.

Ann Hart Marquis-Patches of Paradise-acrylic painting fix

Patches of Paradise, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 x 1.5 inches, 2014/2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I would like feedback on my changes or any comment about the painting itself. Am I finished this time? Does it now need a name change?