See You at the Weekly Art Lesson!

January 16, 2011

Creating the Virtual Art Salon was one of the highlights of the past year for me.  In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to start a new blog:  started on 1/1/11.  It is designed to be an on-line Oasis where you can go to refresh your spirit with fearless drawing and painting.

It is guaranteed to be a  supportive environment for your creativity.

Every week I post a FREE ART LESSON / EXPERIENCE.  You can do some, none, or all the lessons, and you can engage with others through the comment sections that go with each lesson.  As it builds there will be opportunities to show your work in the site’s Gallery and  hang out in the Lounge.  There will be video interviews with other artists and more,  but, in the meantime, there is plenty enough fun to be had in the weekly lessons.

This  is my last post for  the Virtual Art Salon.  I’ve kept the domain name and may  incorporate it into the Weekly Art Lesson at some time as a magazine of sorts.

Please go over to and subscribe to the new blog so that you don’t miss any posts.  Thanks, and see you there, Lillian Kennedy


Rembrandt Yard Art Show

November 21, 2010
Lillian Kennedy, acrylic landscape painting, Menaggio, Lake Como, Italy

Yet another painting of Lake Como in Italy. this time it's Menaggio near the Youth Hostel that I love. Sigh.

Lillian Kennedy, Rocky Mountain Shiva, Acrylic, Landscape with Shiva 

"Loading the Ferry" Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy - embellished giclee - Lillian Kennedy

"Loading the Ferry" Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy - embellished giclee - Lillian Kennedy

Top:”Rocky Mountain Shiva” inspired by a walk in the Caribou Open Space.   Shiva insisted on being in the painting thus  following through on his reputation of dancing things into creation — right before my eyes.  Lillian Kennedy — Acrylic

Lillian Kennedy - 9"x12"  acrylic plein air painting of Boulder Creek

9"x12" acrylic plein air painting of Boulder Creek in Colorado. There is a private nook by the creek here. I have done pieces up to 36" x 48" of this scene. Lillian Kennedy

Rembrandt Yard, in downtown Boulder, is home to the offices of Open Arts (parent to Boulder’s Open Studios) and Southwest Art Magazine.  Although the current show has been up since September, the opening was just last week.  It will hang until January 10, 2011.  This Landscape show features  Gretchen Acharya , Buff Elting, Jean WatsonMary Hey, and me, Lillian Kennedy.

Shown are some of my acrylic landscape paintings that are in the show.  Please let me know how you like them!  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Lillian Kennedy, Rembrandt Yard, acrylic landscape paintings

The acrylic landscape paintings that are now at Rembrandt Yard - this photo was taken before delivery. L Kennedy

L Kennedy, Lake Como with Sailboat, Italy, acrylic landscape painting

Hummm - guess where this is?

Lillian Kennedy, Barletts Falls in Bristol, Vt. (hometown), acrylic landscape

Barlett's Falls in Bristol, Vt. (my childhood hometown). This is the perfect swimming hole! acrylic landscape Lillian Kennedy

Making the Cut in Painting

September 11, 2010

click on images to enlarge

Chicken critiquing painting

Chicken critiquing painting

A red hen house, lacy white  chairs with chickens on them, a serene and mysterious creek edged by cottonwoods, and the not to be ignored sunflowers; so many potential stars all vying to be a focal point.

It all seemed to fit into one long composition of flowing  curves, so I  gobbled up the whole thing and served it on a 10 x 20″ canvas board.

Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air

"Chicken Chairs" 5"x10" Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air

Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air

"The Red Hen House" Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air

As you can see, even the chickens couldn’t wait to critique it.

Back in the studio,  the curves that I had loved became lassos that I was heaving over the two sides in an attempt to tie them together.  There is always “composition by scissors”, so I simply cut the sections apart and tossed the creek part that had been on the left.  Can you see how these two pieces were once on the same canvas?

I have used this composing technique all my career and consider it valid.  Cutting fits perfectly with my “Go With Your Flow” style of working and teaching.  The smaller, often vertical, pieces pieces become members in my “Slice of Life” series. It is a bit like cutting / editing out chunks of a story or blog post.

What do you think?  Would you be comfortable discovering a diamond in the rough and cutting it out? To join the conversation, click on comments below.

This Sunday, Sept 12, you are invited to the Lyons Farmette to enjoy the gardens and beautiful paintings by over 40 Boulder county artists.

These plein air artists have been painting rural scenes of Boulder county all summer and the paintings will be for sale to benefit the Boulder County Arts Alliance.

For more information, click on this link to see an article from the Daily Camera:

Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air

Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air 10"x20" - These three pieces will be at the show.

Drawing a Fine Line in Court

August 26, 2010

Lillian Kennedy; court drawings

Witnesses giving testimony. Sharpie on paper - Lillian Kennedy

“Is it okay if I draw?”  Before filing in to the jury box, I double checked permission.   I assessed the best viewing position before selecting a seat; Free Models!

I hadn’t expected to be spending the week in court, but -Whew! – I had my sketchbook.

Lillian Kennedy; court drawings

sharpie drawings (during deliberations)

The witnesses stayed relatively still which made it easy to “work”.

There have been studies showing that “doodling” can improve  concentration during meetings.  Some of the jurors were struggling to stay awake and aware.   I found it easy to keep alert when I was drawing , but I was still surprised that it was permitted.  I didn’t press it by asking to bring an easel – and I never told anyone to “please put their hands back the way they were.”

The questions: Do you think that it helps or hurts your concentration to be drawing during a conversation / meeting?  Often, in situations that might be less than fully engaging for my brain, I find that drawing during a conversation helps me to stay  happy and engaged.  Do you find it awkward or rude?  To answer, click on comments.

Club Tuesday in Vermont

August 12, 2010

Club Tuesday in Vermont

Janet Munt, Doris Tillotson, and Jeanette Baker paint during Club Tuesday in Vermont

Held in the camp studio on the shores of Lake Champlain, the Vermont  painting class has been a treat for all of us.  As usual, it is a time when former strangers bond through  mutual support of each individual’s creative process.  We celebrated creating in acrylics and watercolor, each in our own way.

I called the Vermont drop-in class Club Tuesday .   I have had a  class by that name (in Boulder, Colorado) for years and have always liked that the name  implies a close camaraderie and the pursuit of a mutual goal.  I certainly got a reframe when Janet thought that the  Club was  a stick used as a weapon!  She must have had trepidations about coming to class?  I’ve been known to use some sly tricks to get people back into their painting, but, honestly, I’ve never clubbed anyone.

Lt. Hannah Feuerstein catches a class before her flight

Lt. Hannah Feuerstein catches a class before her flight

two heads are better than one

Sometimes two heads are better than one

Peurto Rico on Lake Champlain

Concentrating on the painting

Gerri Bloomberg paints Puerto Rico on the shores of Lake Champlain

Art Camp in Charlotte, Vermont

August 5, 2010

Double click on photos to enlarge.

Art camp Vermont

Art camp Vermont

Alice Trageser, my friend since the 1970s, runs an amazing art camp for children here in Charlotte, Vermont.  I joined her and her Creative Campers last week during her International Art program.  (She also does programs in Nature Art.)

By combining her old barn,  teaching skills, ingenuity, love of nature, and infatuation with the world’s cultures, she has created something so special that I am still trying to get over wanting to attend.

Students  come year after year because the fascinating projects don’t repeat!  What they had accomplished  in one week was awe inspiring – I started to write a list of the cultures that they had worked with and the projects that they had created, but the list got too long.  They had made loom woven purses, Hawaiian quilt patterns, Chinese brush drawings, Native American carrying bags, Indonesian… Vietnamese…etc.  Such all lot of creating!

art camp - showing african mask

Alice Trageser (l) with Lydia Clemmons (r) who visited the camp to show pieces from her extensive African art collection.

I fist met Alice when I was teaching at Burlington College.  I remember the day she came into my studio;  I thought at the time that it was a wonderful job getting to meet and work with such beautiful Souls.

It has been impressive to see how she has been able to support herself through her creativity and teaching (both through the schools and on her own).

How much would you have liked to attend such a camp? Leave comments for Alice by clicking on COMMENTS below.

making an African doll

A camper puts the final touches on an African doll (project from the Ndebele of S. Africa)

Lillian Kennedy plein air garden - acrylic

I was a "visiting artist" at the camp and sat by the back fence to do this 8x10 acrylic so that the students could follow the progress during their breaks. acrylic

Ports of Call, Part II

July 16, 2010

RePORTed from Vermont.  As always, click on any image to see more detail.

Lillian Kennedy acrylic painting St Barts

St Barts in progress

It has taken some fiddling to get the studio set up to flow well for working on the Ports of Call commissions.  In the end, I purchased a 4’ x 8’ homosote board (it’s durable and you can use push pins in it).  The lumberyard cut it into three pieces – one section for each painting.  Homosote comes in an uninspiring wet concrete color, so I sanded the edges and painted the surfaces a pale buttery yellow. The unstretched canvases can now be repositioned easily.

The gel sealed  drawing shows through the wash of thin acrylic paint.

The gel sealed drawing shows through the wash of thin acrylic paint.

Once the surface is covered with color washes, some textural interest is added with a palette knife.

Once the surface is covered with color washes, some textural interest is added with a palette knife.

St. Barts start

Dusty Drawings and Doodles

July 12, 2010


Marion Guild art show

Everyone enjoyed the show

If you double click on these illustrations, they will pop up much larger and you will be able to study them in more detail!  And speaking of Pop-Ups, Marion even had her pop-up book, Rudolf, on display at the opening.

How did I know about this show, Dusty Drawings and Doodles?  The artist was my Mom’s college roommate at UVM in 1935!  If you do the math, you will be impressed indeed.

Marion Guild and Marion Kennedy

Marion Kennedy, a.k.a. Mom (l) with her college roommate, artist Marion Guild (r).

Hundreds of  delightful period illustrations by Marion Guild are currently displayed here in the Charlotte, VT  Senior Center.    Marion could place a figure, give it form and expression, and make you understand the action  – all with a masterly line.  Look at the strength of application and joy in  mark making.  You will have fun if you let your own hand mimic the movement and varying speeds with which these lines were created.

If you want to leave a comment for Marion, please click on comments below.

A self portrait from the 1930s.

Marion Guild self portrait from the 1930s. Her show includes similar drawings of the other women at the summer camp.

Marion Guild illustration

Marion makes anatomy seem easy - its not.

Marion Guild illustration

Marion's humor is often evident.

Marion Guild illustration

Don't these curves make you want to draw with such confidence?

Take a Walk / Sketch on the Wild Side

June 23, 2010

Lillian Kennedy sketchbook from a single sheet of paper

8.5" x 11" computer paper can be folded to create a pocket sketchbook that gives you 16 pages for notes and drawings

Lillian Kennedy one page sketchbook

The one page folded sketch book can be used as a double wide giving you a 4.25" x 5.5" spread

This tantalizing blurb was in our newspaper last week:

A Write & Sketch Hike – Volunteer naturalist Ellen Orleans will introduce sketching and writing techniques that anyone can do, and then we will take off for a sensory walk through the wetland ecosystem sketching cattails, clouds, birds or anything else that catches our eyes, noting sounds, smells, and textures we encounter. All ages are welcome.

Lillian Kennedy one page sketchbook

You can keep the pen moving even as you move: this sketch (4.25" x 2.75") was made as I walked along with the group.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, folded it up, and set out to join the  adventure /respite.  Ellen shared lots of ideas for keeping a Nature Journal such as:

  • become aware of all your senses by writing comments on the non-visuals (smells, sounds, textures).
  • take notes on the weather, time of day, and date.
  • write down questions about what is observed.

We did 5 second sketches and 15 minute drawings.  We looked into the micro and observed the panorama.  What fun!

With hearty thanks to Ellen Orleans and  Boulder County Parks and Recreation.

Keep a folded paper in your pocket and share with all of us your experiences by clicking on COMMENTS.

Ports of Call #1

June 18, 2010
Boats, harbors, and exotic locations will be my subject as I work on seven commissioned paintings of Ports of Call.

I invite you to come along with me this summer as I work on the first three of these acrylic paintings: Monaco and San Tropez in Southern France and St. Barts in the Caribbean.  The client has provided the reference photos – we don’t need to pack our bags.

As the images are to be portraits of specific locations that are highly architectural, I chose to use an Artograph to project the reference photo onto the canvas.  Generally I begin paintings – even large scale murals – without doing a grid or tight plan, but when a piece involves complicated architecture, a projection will save much time and allow for a clean play of light and color.

Lillian Kennedy drawing for commissioned painting

St. Barts - figuring out the composition

Lillian Kennedy St. Moritz commissioned painting (start)

Monaco - commissioned painting started unstretched so that it can be rolled

Out of storage comes my large and heavy projector and everything gets scaled and positioned without sweat.  Long before Artographs or even cameras, some artists were using various devises to accomplish this ease in rendering architecture.  Canaletto’s exquisite scenes of Venice were often drawn  using a portable optical chamber (a camera obscura).   He was freed from painstaking measuring and was able to dance in his lines (look at his figures up close!) and let loose with his always awe inspiring skies and sparkling light.

As I will be working in Charlotte, Vt. this summer,  I have rolled the three canvases and put them in a telescoping tube that can be carried on board on the airlines.

When they are unrolled and underway, I will share the next steps.

Lillian Kennedy commissioned painting stage 1 St. Tropez

San Tropez - drawing on canvas sealed with gel and the tube to carry it on the airlines

Is there anything is particular that you would like to know about the process?  Please click on COMMENTS to join the conversation.

Gifts of the Garden – Apple Blossom Season

May 30, 2010

The quiet slow motion displays that rotate through nature keep me in touch with the cycles of life.  On returning from England at the beginning of the month, I was delighted to be back on my own garden where the apple trees were covered with swollen buds.

Lillian Kennedy 14" x 11" acrylic on canvas board

Lillian Kennedy 14" x 11" acrylic on canvas board

If you have the patience, you can watch as they open before your eyes. If you carry a pencil or your paints outside, you can participate in the drama.  I climbed a ladder to sit on the roof of my shed in order to be closer to the action.

Snipped twigs adorned the studio and my classes  practiced gazing quietly while we “bonded” with these glorious puffs of light and life.

Juliette Cross - pencil on paper

Juliette Cross - pencil on paper

Ann Hayes - pencil on paper

Ann Hayes - pencil on paper

In the autumn, we will go out into the garden to gaze at the branches pulled earthward by the weight of these very blossoms transformed into robust red apples.

Life – you’ve got to love it!

Do you enjoy the intimacy of of painting  / drawing details in nature?  Do you prefer panoramas?  To answer click on COMMENTS. Let your words and ideas drift out into cyberspace like  seeds that float though the spring air – you never know when they will land on fertile ground.

Rare Welsh Bit

May 3, 2010
 lane at Ysgubor Hen, Wales, Lillian Kennedy, snowdonia

One of the views from Ysgubor Hen

The Lane at Ysgubor Hen

Staying in a beautiful Welsh cottage up a narrow lane, mossy and deep, was the fulfillment of a fantasy.

From the Lane

We all know what the term “comfort food” means, but we rarely think of what constitutes our comfort sights and experiences.

From the Lane

It was so deeply relaxing that I felt in a trance; it was as if an ancient Celtic priestess had hypnotized me: “You are getting very sheepy.  Sheepier and sheepier.”

The Welsh Llandscape has been inspiring artists and poets for centuries. Turner made five sketching and painting tours of Wales. While he is remembered more for the unified emotional whole of his canvases, he is certainly a master of the bits.  Loose and tiny details enliven subjects with such close value changes that they never destroy the whole swirl and energy of his work.

Copying a Turner in the Tate

In the Tate you are encouraged to copy original Turners

With my deepest appreciation to Myfanwy Lloyd-Tabb, mystical artist of Boulder, Colorado.

Question: What are your “comfort places” that provide a feeling of ancient deep satisfaction and “coming home”.  To join the conversation, please leave a comment.

Drawing in England

April 21, 2010
Lillian Kennedy, pencil drawing, boats, Woodbridge waterfront, Suffolk, England

Lillian Kennedy, pencil study, Ye Ole Bell and Steelyard,  Woodbridge

Pencil study - Woodbridge, Suffolk

Pencil drawing of the Woodbridge waterfront

My brief fling is drawing to a close (good pun?).  I will have my pencil out for one last afternoon here in Woodbridge, and then it is back to London.

There are plenty of scenes away from the waterfront, but the FORM of the boats and the concept of buoyancy have me in a spell.

It has been too windy for acrylics, but just fine for watercolor and gouache.  It is always fine for drawing.  In fact, with a sketch pad, studies can be made just about anywhere, and even if the subject isn’t fascinating, the PRACTICE is valuable. Getting the connections and relationships right / beautiful is a skill that can always be improved / tuned up.

Question: Do you bring your oils or acrylics with you on travels with the intention of making “paintings”, or are you content with more portable media and with the result being”studies”. I am always having heated debates with myself about this. To join the conversation, click on Leave a comment below.  Thanks.

On the Estuary

April 15, 2010

Lillian Kennedy, painting sketches an studies, Woodbridge, England

Some of the studies from my first two days in Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK

When the Waters of the Deben pass Woodbridge, they are already mingled with the sea.  The Ocean is inhaled and the water swells to fill the basin.  On the  exhalation, the boats along the edge sink into the muddy lining of this great wet lung.  I watch the light and tide with calm fascination.

If you love the element of WATER, share your favorite wet places – click on Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

London for an Afternoon

April 14, 2010

Following an all-night non-stop flight from Denver to London, I was in the mood to stretch my legs and mind again.  Walking through Hyde Park to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I stopped for a  cappuccino and tiny drawing by the Serpentine as my jet lagged head gently bobbled in the breeze.

Constable's field sketchbook (copy) at the Victoria and Albert

Constable's field sketchbook (copy) at the Victoria and Albert

Pencil, watercolor and gouache sketch.  Hyde Park, London

Lillian Kennedy, sketch, plein air, Hyde Park, London

Elegant and peaceful (compared to the dense crowds at nearby Harrods), the Victoria and Albert was enchanting.   Seeing just a bit of it provided a great deal of nourishment.

Question: Do you have strategies for your first day abroad to cope with the strange effects of the time change?

To leave your advice or opinion, just click at the bottom of this post where it says Leave a Comment. What do you think of Constable’s tree study?