Monday, November 16, 2015

A 14 Step Apology to my Class

I know what you're thinking, 14 steps? Seriously? I have to wade through 14 steps?  I promise it's not going to be that painful.  If you want, you can just look at the pictures.

Worst painting demo ever.

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful group of students in my Thursday painting class.  They are very tolerant of my foibles and fumbles.

Almost every class starts with a demonstration that has a little lesson attached to it. Such as color mixing, composition, brush work, etc.

Last week's lesson was about painting over an old painting and I got so lost, the demo was a train wreck.  Now to be honest, the demonstration part of any of my classes isn't my strong suite.  I'm not one of those painters who has an almost finished painting in 30 minutes.  My painting style is to build up layers of paint and color.  Constantly painting over and re-working is what develops some very rich layers of paint for me.

Now to give my class credit they paid very polite attention to  my floundering.  But maybe it was like one of those horrors you can't take your eyes off.  Think NASCAR or the Real Housewives, you just can't wait to see what idiot thing they'll do next.

So, to make amends, the next day I went to work on the painting and took a pic every 10 to 15 minutes.  To show them how the painting developed from the point where I left off.

This is what my painting looked like at the end of my demo plus some work on it during the class.

I've started to lighten the area around the moon and I've decided to add a small cloud on the right edge, you can just see a vague purple shape there. And I've added some purple to the left sides of the clouds.

Now I'm working on my darks.

I've set some dark areas on the bottom corners to anchor them and I've started to add some wispy whites to the clouds.

Still working on the clouds.

Still working on the clouds and I totally over do it.  The clouds are way too white.  Thank goodness the timer went off and stopped me.

I decide I don't like the shape of the clouds so while I'm changing their color I  change the shape. I start to lighten the sky under the moon. I also work on the sand dunes, adding some green to them.

Still working on cloud shapes and highlights.

Adding more turquoise into the sky.

I'm working on the beach and surf area and the moonlight on the water. I have also added darks to the dune areas.  I wanted more of a silhouette against the night sky.

Still working on the beach and moonlight.

I add some movement and line with my rigger brush and add a sailboat for a story line.
I give the moon a face (more story line) and add the stars.  I'm careful to make the stars different sizes.  I make them by dipping a pencil point into thinned down white paint and then pressing the pencil point on the canvas.

Moonlight Sail
acrylic, 20" x 24"
©Maggie Ruley 2015

The Key West Film Festival, November 18 - 22

The Key West Film Festival, click HERE, starts soon.  It looks like they have some wonderful events planned.

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Maggie Ruley is a studio artist living in Key West, Florida. 
Her colorful paintings and tropical pottery are collected world wide and can be found in many island homes. She has been featured in the Key West Citizen,
the New York Daily News , and other publications.
Her handmade ceramic flip flops have been sold in gift shops all along the east coast and in California and Hawaii.
 Her studio and gallery is located in the historic Seaport area of Old Town Key West.
Maggie Ruley~Island Inspirations
933b Fleming St.
Key West Florida 33042


  1. I always find demos fascinating and love your finished piece!
    Thank for posting!

    1. I like demos too. It's great to see how other artists approach things. I'm glad you liked it.


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