Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Pincushion

 The Pincushion
6'"x 8" oil on canvas panel $150.  SOLD

Artist Note
This was a fun guild project.
The pincushion lesson wrapped up 
a busy month of reviewing
Shapes, Values and the Principles of Light.

We started with SEEING the simple 
base shapes in everything  
For a mushroom it would be 
the shape of
half a ball, ellipse, and cylinder stem.

Everything painted from life.

Drawing first on gray paper 
with white and black charcoal pencils.

Finding how the light gives it the 
volume and values.

Next we did the white tulip.
A rectangle or cylinder -
both worked.

The emphasis was also on
the principle of how...

White in the Shadow 
moves into a middle value
Black in the Light 
moves to a middle value.

This was a black container
set on middle value gray paper.
The light hitting the top
was a similar value to the 
middle gray behind it.
(I deliberately made the area between
the bottom handle lighter to show
how light white would go.)

I find this is the hardest principle for
most artists I teach to grasp.
It is very hard for ME
 to get it exactly correct.
I have to " intellectually" do it because 
I am looking... 
my mind says 
black is black!
White is white
LOL. they sure ain't!
Like an apple is not always RED!

Anyway, after having 3 weeks of  that 
it was fun to going into bright color. 
Same simple shapes...ball 
(a bit squished) and cylinder.
plus single light source.

Everyone did a great job and I have 
several of these demos to enjoy finishing.

Enjoy a peaceful time in your studio...
or happy place!


  1. Extraordinary works Julie, sometimes from the simplest things beautiful works come out, it is a lesson they gave me a long time ago, you just have to look up to see reasons to paint.

    1. so true, Jose, look up...look anywhere and see what your art heart responds to. Thank you for the visit.

  2. Love the pincushion. I have a similar one of my pincushion I’ve used since I was 8. Love the shape and value lesson. It’s funny how you have to talk your way through it.

    1. I demo AND talk. Either one on its own would not work LOL. Not as good teacher as you.

  3. I'm struggling with value-have for a long time. I'm still working at it though. Your painting and demos are really nice.

    1. Your post on the line work you have done is very interesting. I noticed lots of little wonderful details so I was VERY impressed Debra.

  4. Who knew a pincushion could look so good!!! Beautifully painted Julie!! A very good lesson on values and shapes.... the box as well. I still have my pincushion from my Mom that looks exactly like this!!
    I hope you and hubby are well.

    1. I only just found out that the little attached pink thing I thought was a strawberry, is a needle sharpener. LOL.
      My mother's pin cushion was a dark hunter green.

  5. You are a natural born teacher (even if you're a trained teacher). Your way of explaining things is blissfully easy to understand. I loved seeing this pincushion. What a great subject!

    1. Nope - not a trained teacher by any stretch of the imagination. I went to an art school for illustration and not a UNI for the teaching creds. Sooo..dear friend, your comment meant a lot to me.

  6. Good morning, teacher! What a good lesson, and so well illustrated. Love the cunning little pincushion. I have one just like it. (My mum did too!) Your wee mushrooms are delightful as well, and really demonstrate your point!

    1. Thanks dear Helene. The mushrooms kept turning color so I had to keep getting fresh ones until all the classes were done.
      I have same theme each month for all the classes. You would not believe how many pincushions I did. LOL.

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you Stelios.
      I enjoyed seeing your little chapel painting

  8. love the vibrant red shade :)

    yep i tell people all the time that white is not just white, it reflects the colours around it, making the white all kinds of colours :)

    1. Useful knowledge for you with the digital work you do Jennifer.
      The contest you did with half digital and half photo was fun and creative

  9. Nice product & great review. I think you have great imagination. I followed your blog now. Thx

    1. Thank you. I could not get my translator to work so did not know which of your blogs related to painting.

  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Ashok. Your poem about the well was extra meaningful to me. Thank you.

  11. Julie - it is so generous of you to share your knowledge of values. That is the most difficult thing for me to see. Your pincushion is a lovely painting. I hope you have a lovely week and get to spend time doing what you love. Hugs!

    1. Happy you like the painting and thank YOU for the beautiful hope affirming words on your blog. You are a treasure.

  12. Looks like a great lesson for your students. Your pincushion made me smile. I have the same pincushion and have had it for eons. It is worn and has about a million more pins in it. It always reminds me of my mom teaching me to sew by hand. She had the same pincushion. :)

    1. Hello Dear Joan. Thank you for taking the time to comment with such a lovely story. Hope your husband continues to improve. You are wonderful how you have survived all the life threatening moments with such good grace. AN inspiration!

  13. Thank you for the lesson and your insights, Julie - I always learn so much from you! And even with all the technical information, your magic brush transforms that little pin cushion into a thing of beauty and wonder! Extraordinary!

    1. I am tickled you like the pin cushion painting, Susan. Thank you! Your work is so good that I am sure you knew everything else on my post. I really do appreciate your lovely comment.

  14. I seem to enjoy painting in B & W guess that comes from the Pen & Ink background.How good of you to stop by my boat blog, Julie. In the 12 months since her operation Patsy has gone from strength to strength - all is well! I hope to have the boat finished and in the water in time for summer. Then I
    will be able to rejoin 'our' art community where I have many good friends!! Hope the weather is better in New Mexico than it is here!

  15. A fun subject, and so much light and life into the bobines , how I would love to take part in your lessons !

  16. I love the pin cushion painting. And I always learn something when I visit your blog. Thank you, Julie.


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