Saturday, June 4, 2016

Featuring Texas Members of the Portrait Society of America

Texas Delegation, Portrait Society of America Conference 2016

The annual Portrait Society of America Conference was a wonderful experience with so much knowledge, beauty, and expertise under one roof!  I must say it ran like a well-oiled machine. Every event started and ended on schedule, no small feat for an event of this size, and each presentation and demo was of the highest quality. My hat is off to all who organized the Conference and who run this organization day in and day out. I am very proud to be a member and to serve as the Texas Ambassador.

I invite you to take a look at our blog, the Texas Portrait Network,  which is dedicated to Texas Members of the Portrait Society of America. We have many world class artists in our midst, many of whom offer classes and workshops, and you will find them featured here.  You will also find announcements for shows, demos and exhibitions. Enjoy!

Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 The Art of the Portrait Conference, Daniel Gerhartz

The final day of the Art of the Portrait Conference featured Daniel Gerhartz painting the beautiful Grace Arnold, daughter of artist, Carol Arnold. Notice Grace is able to hold her pose for this 3 hour demonstration. What a pro! Most of these photos were taken from the big screen, which is why the color and photos are askew. Still, I think you can see Dan's progress and get a good idea at the beauty of the final painting,

The Start


Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 The Art of the Portrait Conference, Everett Raymond Kinstler

Saturday morning began with an excellent presentation by Everett Raymond Kinstler entitled: Yesterday is Tomorrow. 
Everett Raymond Kinstler

Sunday afternoon we visited the National Portrait Gallery and Mr. Kinstler's painting of President Gerald R. Ford. 
President Gerald R. Ford

Friday, April 22, 2016

2016 The Art of the Portrait Conference, Rose Frantzen and Quang Ho

What a treat to watch Rose Frantzen and Quang Ho Paint the same model in their segment entitled Style/Personality: The Connection

Their Starts


The Images Emerge

Almost Done!

Quang Ho's Painting

Rose Frantzen's Painting

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016 The Art of the Portrait Conference, Artist-to-Artist Face-Off

The Face-Off is one of the most exciting events at Conference. There are usually three artists painting one model and this is going on all throughout the room. Where else can you see so many of your favorite artists at work? 

Michelle Dunaway

Max Ginsburg

Quang Ho

Robert Liberace

Judith Carducci
To see more, please go to the Portrait Society of America Facebook Page

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 The Art of the Portrait Conference, Shout-Out to My Fellow Texas Artists

I have just returned from the 18th Annual Art of the Portrait Conference in Washington, D.C. There is so much to share, I hardly know where to begin.The next several posts will be dedicated to this event.  All four days were simply amazing! Hat's off to all who coordinated such a gigantic event. You did a wonderful job!

I would like to start by giving a big shout-out to my fellow Texas artists. It was so good to see all of you. My apologies to those I couldn't round up for the group photo. 
Our Texas Delegation

Friday, April 15, 2016

On My Easel

Here is another piece, a pastel,  currently on my easel. It is a 9"x 12" on Kitty Wallis Belgian Mist. This is the first time I have used Kitty Wallis paper and find it a coarser grit than I am used to. An advantage is it can take a lot of layering and would probably hold up quite well to underpainting with watercolor. I will look at it a little longer but am just about ready to call it done.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

On My Easel

Now that I have the room to spread out, I have several paintings in the works. This one is a 5"x 7" pastel on primed gatorboard. I am pleased with how it is coming along. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Introducing Jocelyn Mendez, Writer and Poet

I have been wanting to brag on my niece for a long time. Her talent and passion for writing began to emerge at quite an early age. She is a keen observer of the most minute of details and her ability to translate them into words...well, yes, she is an artist. I have some of her early poems and have them stashed away for safe keeping. They are treasures, as is she. I proudly introduce to you Jocelyn Mendez, Writer and Poet. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Kim Roberti, Portrait and Figurative Artist

I would like to introduce you to a dear friend and very talented artist, Kim Roberti. Kim was born in Viet Nam and came to America when she was 19. The following interview gives only a glimpse into her life. I encourage you to look through her blog and website in order to learn more about this very prolific artist. 

                              Website       Blog:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art?When I turned 50, I realized life was too short to stay at an unrewarding, but high paying job and be in drudgery.

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in?At first I tried learning from books. I worked in all mediums: Acrylic, WC, Pastels and Oil,
learning how to handle each medium in different set ups, various landscapes,  both contemporary and chiaroscuro,  still life and  figures and portraits.

3) What do you try to express in your work?Personally, I found working with Figures and Portraits more suitable for me. This genre provided endless challenges in not just painting pretty pictures.  I want more than that. I want to create a sense that there's a dialog between my subjects and the viewers

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences?David Leffel and Sherrie McGraw nurtured my patient and diligent work ethic. They are also who taught me the art of mastery and the subtle beauty in simplicity.In Milt Kobayashi,  I learned the dynamic of shapes and colors, the ease, and pleasure in painting what I want to see.Through John Asaro, I learned to see the world in beautiful shade of greys with exciting, bold brush work.And Tasha Tudor (who wrote and illustrated children books) from whom I learned determination and independent spirit. Quoted from Bernard Shaw she said " I can't quoted it exactly but the idea is that so many people complain about their circumstances, but those who get ahead made their own circumstances" Tasha Tudor has no studio, just a small corner "like a chipmunk's nest" in the kitchen where she sit beside the north facing window, balancing her work on her lap...wrote Richard Brown in The Private World of Tasha Tudor.

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?Often I found inspiration in books, music, and often take refuge in my garden..

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now?Maintain the same level of passion for creativity.

7) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?I don't have any particular goal, except  to stay hungry (for knowledge) and curiosity (of all things) and the need to paint everyday.

8) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently?I don't see my work is a job. It is  life, a part of living, it's like taking a's not a conscious decision to make. AS IS LIFE, ART IS A GIFT & I'M GRATEFUL.

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share?Being an introvert, I favor being with my books and my garden. and then I love to share a margarita and or some cheap wine with a few that are dear to me.

10) Best piece of advice for other artists?I want to share the sound advice I got from Oleg Starvowsky (western artist from Lago Vista TX)earlier in my career "Shut your door and paint" which I took to heart.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clearing the Clutter

There is a lot to be said for clearing out clutter. What is clutter? Clutter is often unmade decisions... unanswered where should this go? I still want/need that?...could someone else get more use out of it? Passing things along that one no longer uses makes space for moving forward. It also brings a new energy, not only to you, but to your space.

How do I know? Because I've done it. I had a space I hadn't used in years. It was my former pottery studio. An injury led to my having to quit making pottery and deciding what to do with everything was, well, depressing and overwhelming. The building sat idle for years, gathering dust and mud dabber nests. I was outgrowing the bedroom I had converted into an art studio and the solution was just outside the backdoor.

Late last fall my husband and I took a deep breath and began the task of clearing and cleaning out the building. We sold some equipment, donated items, threw some away and organized what we wanted to keep. Once that was done, we cleaned the building from top to bottom, while discussing what changes needed to be made to convert it into an art studio. We added insulation, paneling, lighting, and a new sink. Once it was painted, it was time for more practical shelving and climate control. By the middle of January, my husband, who was the designer, builder, plumber and contractor, handed me the key. (Yes, I DO know how blessed I am!)

A force was set in motion the day we determined to clear out that space. With the clutter gone and things clean and organized, I felt my creativity begin to expand. An added benefit is that it spilled over to my husband, too! It began with making a decision not to hang on to things no longer needed and made room for untold possibilities.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Encaustic Exploration

I have long been a fan of the uber-talented Lyn Belisle. She is a woman who exudes creativity and, yesterday, I was finally able to take a workshop with her. These are two pieces created in the workshop.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

My Adventure in Acrylics Continues

Portrait Study #2, 8"x 8", Acrylic

I am having a blast painting portraits in acrylics! This is the second one I did. The next three didn't fall off  my brush like the first two. Glad it wasn't the other way around or I may not have wanted to pursue acrylics any further.  I know what happened with the ones I did after the first two...I switched to a smaller brush, and a filbert at that. It wasn't THAT much smaller, but I've never much cared for filberts and that combination is what I blame. That's my story and I am sticking to it! Back to flats for me, and a BIG one. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Acrylic Workshop, First Assignment

"Drea", 8"x 8", Acrylic
I am currently taking an online acrylic workshop, offered by Chantel Lynn Barber. I have long been an admirer of her work and an online workshop fit right into my schedule. Acrylics are a new medium for me and one in which I have never had instruction. With guidance on which materials were needed and tips on using the Masterson Palette, I launched on a new adventure.  I have to admit that this is the best time I've ever had making art and that says a lot! Anyone within earshot of my studio would have overheard  a very joyous declaration of FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmases Past and Present

A news program earlier this morning reported that the average American family spends $800 per person at Christmas. Did I hear that correctly? I must have because I heard my husband's voice from the other room scoffing, "Not in THIS house". We have never been big spenders at Christmas or otherwise. This report reminded me of Christmases past......

My husband and I  are both children of farmers and come from large families. It was also a time when relatives all  lived nearby. My childhood Christmas would begin with falling asleep at Midnight Mass and awakening to a stocking filled with goodies laid across the foot of the bed. Instead of the traditional red and white Christmas stockings, my mother used her support hose. I know that sounds odd, but they stretched and were filled with goodies! There was always an apple or orange in the toe and a Roman Candle sticking out of the top. In between were little games, assorted nuts and all kinds of little things. After we  went through the stockings, it was straight to the Christmas tree. Every year mother would build a Christmas village, which was set atop a mountain made of brown paper sprayed with snow. The village was hardly visible on Christmas morning. We were a big family and she liked to do it up with gifts. It's also possible that I couldn't see the village because I was a little kid, however it seemed the tree was surrounded by mountains of gifts. Before long, there was torn gift wrapping all over the place and we were ready to go to Grandma's. After all, there would be more presents there!

After visiting and having our fill of special holiday food, it was the kid's favorite time of the evening-PRESENTS! Now both grandmothers also had big families so there were plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins and the cousins increased yearly. My maternal grandmother always gave us a book of Lifesaver candies. I could go for that. After all, it was candy! My paternal grandmother, without fail, gave us underwear or socks. What kind of Christmas gift was THAT? She never commented that she wished she could have given more. We were just handed the undies, all wrapped up like a real gift.

And that brings me to what inspired this post. As I reflect back, those gift of socks or undies were gifts spun into gold. They weren't gifts that were to be played with and tossed aside as most gifts were. They were gifts given with love, intended to be used daily and helped keep us clean and warm. They were practical gifts bought with hard earned money. They were gifts that turned into life lessons. I wonder if she ever considered they would be more appreciated 50+ years after they were given and many years after she would be gone. 

We now have three daughters and five grandchildren of our own and while our gifts may not be socks or underwear, they are simple and practical. And we are content to think that maybe 50 years from now, they will realize that a true gift was given.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mary A. Johnson, A Time for Giving Thanks

. We all have people who have touched our lives in such a way as to change them forever. Mary Johnson is one of those people. She graciously agreed to be interviewed. 
It is my great honor to introduce you to 
Mary A. Johnson, Artist and Friend

Mary A. Johnson

When and how did you first become seriously interested in art?

 I've always been seriously interested in art. From the earliest age, I found great joy in whatever creative outlet I could find. In high school I worked on sets making scenery for plays, posters, the yearbook, you name, I was there. My parents always made sure I had art supplies and encouraged me.

 What mediums/subject matter do you work in?

 I began my career studying oils. Once I started my formal art education at TCU in Fort Worth, I was introduced to pastels and I fell in love! My favorite subject is portraits.

 What do you express in your work?

I try to express the personal connection. The eyes are so important. They are the first things you look at when viewing a portrait. They tell so much, they truly capture the soul.

: What artists/professionals have been your biggest influence?

Daniel Greene, Kathleen Cook, Richard Schmid but, there are so many.

 What do you do to gain new inspiration in your work?

I find inspiration anywhere. Visiting art museums, galleries and attending workshops. Expose yourself to work of artists you admire and consider greater than yourself so you can learn.

Do you set goals for yourself?

 Yes, it is very important to set goals that challenge you. Whether it is a painting a day, a new subject or study of prospective. Anything that keeps you changing and growing.

 Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently?

 A true artist has no choice in this career, they are driven. It is a passion and joy to create. It may not always be financially rewarding but, it cannot be your driving force. Do what you love and the universe will provide.

 What is your best piece of advice for other artists?

You cannot play in the symphony unless you practice!

 Even with your long and productive career, you still attend workshops. One might assume you have already learned all there is to know. Why do you still attend workshop?

 I still attend workshop because there is always something new to learn. You go home and take the time to filter out what new information you can apply in your own work and practice.

 Is there any more advice you would like to share with upcoming artists?

 When you have a painting you are proud of, remember that how it is framed is as important as the painting itself. I would also like to tell up and coming artists to paint what YOU want to paint.

 Lastly, how would you like to be remembered?

 I would like to be remembered as a friend.

Mary has been active in the art community throughout her life. She has been the focus of One-Woman Shows in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas and has been the recipient of countless awards. Mary is highly respected among her peers and has been a generous mentor to many up and coming artists.
Mary Johnson

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chantel Barber, Tennessee Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America

"Sunshine" by Chantel Barber

I have been following Chantel Barber and her beautiful art for quite some time. I love impressionistic portraits and she does them masterfully. She and I have been appointed  State Ambassadors for Portrait Society of America, she representing the state of Tennessee and I, Texas. I really wanted to get to know her better so, I gave her a call.  As we spoke, it occurred to me that others would also be inspired by her journey and she graciously agreed to an interview. So without further adieu, it is my honor to introduce you to Chantel Barber.

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art?
My earliest memories are full of art - my own that is - I was drawing before I even realized what I was doing. It was a way to express myself. My parents did not know much about the art world and really were unsure of how to hone my talent. I loved the Walt Disney animated features and by the time I was 6 had decided I wanted to work in their studios when I was older. I do remember a teacher once asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up - my answer “I am already an artist.”

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in?
When I was ten years old my family moved to San Diego CA. For the first time in my life I visited an art museum - The San Diego Museum of Art. My world had suddenly changed. I wanted to create art like those pieces in the museum. My drawings had always been of people and even with this new desire I never wavered from wanting to capture the human soul. It just so happened that our 70 year old neighbor was an artist. She offered to give me art lessons at a very affordable price (which was a blessing since I am the oldest of four children). I was introduced to oil paint and amazing artists that I did not even know existed. She encouraged me to subscribe to an artist magazine and I looked forward to each and every issue. Even now I still remember the excitement as I devoured each page.
My training has never been formal. Circumstances kept me from attending art school, and though I did get a two year degree from the University of Maryland it was only in general arts. In 1990, my husband and I moved to the east coast. He was an officer in the Navy and the movers flat out refused to pack my oil paints. We boxed them up and took them in our car, which unfortunately was broken into and the paints were stolen. This was another pivotal moment in my life. I had enrolled in a art class through a community college and it was in this class that a fellow student introduced me to acrylic. Knowing that I had at least twenty years of moves ahead, beginning to work in acrylic seemed like the ideal choice. Boy was I in for a surprise. It dried so fast and I had no idea how to control it. My teacher had great advice if I wanted to be an abstract artist but none to give on how to use this medium to capture the subject that I loved the most - portraits. I guess I have a stubborn streak in me because I determined then and there that I would master this medium. I spent the next decade and a half learning from oil painters through workshops. The problem was that they were teaching how to achieve their results in oil and I was working in acrylic. There weren’t any acrylic artists that I admired and could learn from - or in all fairness - none that I knew about who worked in the style I dreamed of working in. So I figured out how to translate all that I learned from the oil painters into techniques that worked with acrylic. It required a lot of hard work and patience.

3. What do you try to express in your work?
I absolutely love working in acrylic. There is no doubt in my mind that my style is perfectly suited to it. Although I love painting plein air and still life it truly is in capturing the human soul that I have come home. I have often felt that my words are inadequate but my paintbrush captures exactly what I want to say. My goal is to “enrich hearts and lives through art” and especially art that showcases the human spirit. I want my art to lift people up, not bring them down in a world where there is already enough sorrow and struggles.

4. What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences?
Dawn Whitelaw has had a big influence on my art. There have been times when I felt like being an acrylic portrait artist was not possible in a field where oil is king. Dawn has encouraged me to stay true to the cause and not give up. I have been given an opportunity to be a pioneer for the acrylic medium. It can be lonely being a pioneer but it is also extremely rewarding. There are so many positives working as an acrylic artist. I love the soap and water cleanup. The quick drying time has become one of my favorite aspects of the medium. It keeps me from over working paintings - if the strokes I have just laid down are not correct, they are easily removed with a damp paper towel. The underneath layer remains completely intact since it is already dry. I can immediately see how values have dried and make any necessary changes. I am able to varnish dry paintings days after finishing. There is no doubt in my mind that working in acrylic has strengthened my artistic abilities. Interesting edges, value, composition, and subtle transitions are just as attainable for the acrylic artist as they are for the artist working in oil. Acrylic can be applied thinly or thickly allowing for wonderful contrast in a painting.

5. What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now?
Along with continuing to strive for excellence in my own work, I look forward to expanding my teaching horizons even further and encouraging artists to explore the possibilities of acrylic. I want to do whatever I can to carve out a niche for the acrylic artist at events such as the PSA annual conference. It would be fabulous to see acrylic vendors and artist demos readily available at these functions.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wasted Time

Would've, could've, should've. All past tense. All unchangeable. Wasted time on regrets. Self-flogging, berating, belittling oneself on what one could've, should've would've done if ____, fill in the blank. If the assessment leads to an improvement in behavior, that is a good thing. If it leads to a perpetual, condemning black cloud overhead, it has caused paralysis. What if, instead of condemnation, one declared, “ I have done what I could with what I had/knew/believed at the time”? What if you forgave yourself as you would forgive a small child who was just learning? Aren't we all still just learning? Always learning? Forever learning?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Double Rainbows

Double Rainbow,  Northern Arizona

Normally, my blog is reserved for posts about art. This morning's post will be different. Sometimes I just have to write and this morning is one of those times. 

This has been a year that I cannot yet summarize. It has at once been fantastic and sad. There have been so many deaths, so many dire diagnoses but, I cannot help but notice that this year has been a year of double rainbows. 
Everywhere I have gone, from New Mexico to Arizona and back to Texas, there have been double rainbows. All the more poignant because they have been in the desert Southwest. People have been posting double rainbows photos from everywhere! Every time I see one, I feel it is the reassurance that everything is under control, in spite of how it looks on the outside, and that everything will be all right.
 Life, situations, events, everything is in a constant state of flux. Noticing the beauty in every fleeting moment keep things in perspective and keeps us on balance. 
 I wish you all double rainbows. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Setting Goals as the Seasons Change

I love this time of year when there is the slightest hint of autumn in the air. The egrets always know when fall is on the way. We live in the country and watching them fly over every morning, wave after wave, always signals the change of seasons.

It's around this time of year that my thoughts turn to goals for the upcoming year with the usual number is five. S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals. This is something I have been doing every fall for several years and it has made all the difference. Something else I usually do is keep them to myself. Why? Because they are personal and I guard them zealously. Some people are more successful when making themselves accountable to others, either a close friend or members of their tribe. Perhaps because I am an introvert, keeping them to myself works best for me. I came across the following article by Philip Pape while writing mine. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fall Classes

Oil Painting for the Beginning Student
Time: Monday, 9am-Noon
Cost: $110, per 4-Week Session, studio fee included
Oil painting class for beginner students or those wanting a refresher. This class is designed to give a good foundation with plenty of personal instruction.
1 Slot Remaining

Oils Painting Class, Intermediate to Advanced (all 2-D Media Welcome*)
Time: Mondays,1pm-4pm
Cost: $110, per 4-Week Session, studio fee included
2 Slots Remaining
*Primary focus will be on oils, but the principles of art apply to all media.

The Art Gallery
239 W San Antonio St
New Braunfels, TX 78130

For more information, please email:

Facebook: Sekula Studio