Phil Starke Studio Newsletter

September 2015  ✦

The Rockies in Autumn - oil - 30 x 40 - Available Through "Traveling The West Art Show" - Dallas, TX.

The Rockies in Autumn - oil - 30 x 40 - Available Through "Traveling The West Art Show" - Dallas, TX.


I just returned from New York City where my wife and I visited our son John and his family. He is a pastor in a small church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you live near by, stop in and say hi.

I had a great Plein Air Workshop in Central Park. I want to thank everyone who participated. We spent the first day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art studying studio and plein air paintings from the European and American section. It's a real advantage to be able to see the way different artists handle value, color and brushwork. 


"The Parc Monceau" by Monet - click image to enlarge

Detail of Sargent painting - click image to enlarge


We were also fortunate enough to schedule the workshop at the same time that the John Singer Sargent Exhibition was showing at the Met. It was an exhibit of some formal, but mostly informal portraits of friends, painted both indoors and out.  It included watercolors as well, which were amazing.

The next 3 days we were painting in Central Park.  The varity of subject matter there is unbelievable. It's a great place to study trees and atmosphere. We had a really good group, everyone worked hard and are now in the process of doing 100 small paintings (6x8s).

Workshop demo by Phil Starke - click to enlarge

The Central Park Workshop group - Sept. 2015 - click to enlarge

In another week I'm off to Cody, WY for the Buffalo Bill Show, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and visiting the Big Horn Gallery, as well as doing some painting between Tucson and Cody.

Phil Starke
Phil Starke Studio

Practice Makes Pretty Good!

click to enlarge

When I was at the Metropolitan looking at the Sargent exhibit of informal portraits of friends, which he painted at picnics, dinning rooms, living rooms, restaurants, boat rides, backyards and vacations, it struck me that he painted all the time. He must have been a real bore at parties, “here comes John again with his easel..”. He put a real exclamation point on the idea that practice makes perfect. When you love to paint, practice isn't work, it's what you want to do. Like anything else we work at, there are frustrations and failures. But these failures are what make us better, there is no improvement without messing up. There aren’t any good paintings without painting bad ones first.

Now Sargent wasn't married, didn't have 3 kids and 8 grandkids (that's my excuse, but I wouldn't change it). So he didn't have the distractions that most of us do, but he made “practice” a part of his everyday life and you can see the results.

I don't want painting to be the #1 thing in my life, in fact it's maybe #4, but to improve I have to be serious about practice and set goals and schedules on practicing the different aspects of painting.

Richard E Miller - American Impressionist

Richard E. Miller was a native of St. Louis, Missouri, where he first studied at the local School of Fine Arts and served as a staff illustrator for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He continued his studies at the Académie Julian from 1898 to 1901 and remained a resident of France until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 prompted his return to America.

One of the many Americans who worked at Giverny during these years, he became a familiar of Frederick Frieseke and together they often met at Monet's home to paint, critique, and socialize. Miller readily adopted an aesthetic similar to that of Frieseke: wistful maidens relaxing in sun-flecked gardens painted with broken strokes in impressionist colors. Repeated diagonals of figures and furniture generally characterize the patterning of his canvases, a dynamic that strengthens their inherent introspection.

When he came back to the States he taught for a while in Pasadena, California, strongly influencing the impressionist movement just emerging there. After the war he purchased a home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he remained until his death in 1943. It was his avowed intent to please with his canvases, painting them, he said, "not for the staid environment of museums, but for the comfortable intimacy of people's homes." "Art's mission," he asserted, "is not literary, the telling of a story, but decorative, the conveying of a pleasant optical sensation." 

The Tubac, AZ Golf Resort Plein Air Workshop Is Filling Fast

January 25, - 29, 2016

There are many aspects to plein air painting, but two of the most important are creating a strong, expressive design and understanding how to interpret color outdoors.  This workshop will focus on developing a sense of design and rhythm, learning to take what the landscape gives you and improve upon it. Focus will also be on how to understand the thought process of mixing color outside, using colors that will give the painting the effect of light not just copying what the student sees.  Students will also work on understanding the painting process in the studio and the importance of setting and achieving goals in their work.  The workshop will take place in Tubac, Arizona’s oldest settlement. Tubac is backed up against the Santa Rita Mountains and is surrounded by cottonwoods, streams and canyons. Old adobe street scenes, as well as theTumacacori Mission, are excellent examples of the old Spanish architecture that will be explored.

The workshop is more than half full at this point, so if you're wanting to join us you should register soon.

Registration is Now Open.  Contact Scottsdale Artists' School at 1-800-33-5707 or click this link:

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My FREE e-book "Working With Color" guide is now available.  Download here.

The Plein Air Tip Guide Package. Click here to see all the new options.

The Plein Air Tip Guide Package.
Click here to see all the new options.

Exhibitions & Gallery Shows

Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale
September 21 - 28, 2015
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Cody, WY

Traveling The West Art Show
October 22 - 24, 2015
Southwest Gallery
Dallas, TX

Great American West Show
Nov. 21, 2015
Settlers West Gallery
Tucson, AZ

Mountain Oyster Club Contemporary Western
Art Show & Sale
Nov. 22, 2015
Mountain Oyster Club
Tucson, AZ

American Miniature Art Show
Feb. 2016
Settlers West Gallery
Tucson, AZ

Settlers West Summer Show
May 2016
Settlers West Gallery
Tucson, AZ


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