Women Behaving Badly is moving to the First Baptist Church of Denver! This series by Denver artist Adri Norris celebrates women who were leaders, activists, and innovators in a variety of fields. From worker’s rights to Bluetooth technology, Title 9 to the Nobel Peace Prize, these women and their work profoundly shaped our modern world. This series strives to tell their stories of bravery, determination, and relentless rule breaking. After all, well behaved women seldom make history.
The collection will be hung in the hallway and on display every day from 7:30am to 6pm. This showing also includes two opportunities to meet the artist: Wednesday March 15th at 6:30pm and Sunday March 19th at 12pm. Whether you’ve been following the series from day one or are encountering the work for the first time, you don’t want to miss this!
I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.
It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.
Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.
Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.
I haven’t done a process post in a while, so here goes. This piece is for a client of mine who has commissioned a few paintings over the years. She always sends me high quality photos, which I appreciate. Blurry or low resolution photos always make my job more difficult.
In any case, I started with this photo here. I took it into Photoshop for a little pre-treatment. The first order of business was to crop the photo to the size of the final painting, making sure I was pleased with the placement of the boys within the frame. I then blurred out the background so that they really stood out.
Once I completed this mock up and got approval from my client, I sketched in the figures. Next, I went to work on the background. In order to simulate the blur effect in Photoshop, I utilized the wet on wet technique. With a brush loaded with clean water, I soaked the whole background area. Then I got some pigment on the brush and started dropping in color. Because the paper was already wet, the colors began to run into one another, causing them to blend smoothly.
After I was satisfied with the background, I moved to the foreground. You may have noticed this ugly greenish-grey on the boys’ shirts and hat. That is masking fluid, used to preserve the white of the paper. It also allows me to freely paint large areas of color without having to paint around small details. I built up the folds of the shirts to my satisfaction before removing the fluid.
Although white, there are still some shadows in the numbers and logos on their shirts, so I added these with some bluish-grey. I have also done some significant work on the older boy’s face.
When I got close to done, I sent a photo of the painting to my client. She felt that the legs in the background were distracting, so I got rid of them. I darkened the background while I was at it, using the darkness to cut out the younger boy’s hair. I sent a photo to the client again and she pointed out that I had aged the older boy too much with heavy shadowing on his nose and around his mouth.
Back in Photoshop, I applied a black and white filter to the original photo. This helped me to examine the shapes more closely and discover where I had gone awry. I changed the nose and adjusted the mouth while I was at it and sent it off to the client. This time she loved it.
This is how I work with all my clients. I take pains to make sure they end up with the painting they want. The process is fastest when the reference is clear. If you would like to commission a portrait for the holidays, place your order by December 13th. If you live outside of Denver, allow time for shipping. Click here to order.
Many freelancers like to talk about their nightmare clients, those people who seem not to know exactly what they want but will happily tell you that you’re doing everything wrong. These folks have little respect for the time and effort you are exerting on their behalf. They ask for re-dos and redesigns of work you both approved but balk at the extra fees you charge for that extra time.
That’s one end of the spectrum. The other end is the Dream Client. The Dream Client knows exactly what she wants and communicates it well. She is open to your input, but will not blindly follow or reject your suggestions. If, during the creation process, she sees something she doesn’t like, she lets you know and is specific about her needs. This client has great respect for your time and for your skill. She won’t haggle over the price of your work or drag her feet when it’s time to pay.
Best of all, Dream Clients come back for more. Not only do they purchase from you again and again, they tell their friends and bring you more business. I am so grateful for all of the Dream Clients I have so far. I hope to find many more.
If you are interested in becoming one of my Dream Clients, I am taking orders for the Holidays. Be aware, if you or your loved one lives outside of the state of Colorado, allow for shipping and place your order before December 6th. If you are in the Denver Metro area, you have until the 12th to order.
Good afternoon everyone. My apologies for not writing yesterday. I had to run a BUNCH of errands which kept me out of the studio for half the day. I want to talk to you a little about Inktober.
This is actually the first time I’m participating and I’m kind of excited about it. Inktober is basically a challenge for the month of October in which participants have to do one drawing, in ink, a day for 31 days. Since starting to paint more seriously a few years back, I had stopped using my pens. I miss them, though. SO, I’m taking this challenge as an opportunity to hone those skills again.
I had already started doing small ink drawings as this month began, so this is perfect timing.
And as a reminder, I’m hosting the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point, featuring Women in the Arts. It starts tonight at 6. I’ll see you there!
Good morning everyone! This Wednesday night will be the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point. It will not be the last one forever, just the last at this venue. This week also marks the last opportunity to view the Women Behaving Badly series at Coffee at The Point. The next artist’s work will be going up and I will be moving on. Look for me at the Blair Caldwell Library starting October 26th. This will, however be the very last week to view the Sojourner Truth painting. That piece was purchased this summer and will finally go home with its owner.
Wednesday’s panel discussion is about Women in the Arts. On deck, I have a visual artist, a comedian, and a spoken word artist. Each will tell you about herself, what she does and why she does it. Lelija Roy wants people who see her paintings to fall in love with nature. Debbie Scheer uses her comedy to talk about things we don’t like to talk about and makes us more comfortable in the process. Lady Speech is challenging, yet nurturing in her activism, using her poetry to talk about sexual freedom, women’s rights, and everything in between.
These panel discussions have been some of the best conversations I have had the privilege to participate in. I am the kind of person to download as much information into her brain as possible through books, documentaries and podcasts, but these talks are on a different level. I get to see the passion in each woman’s eyes as she talks about her vocation. I get to participate and be more than just an information sponge. And, best of all, I get to know more about old friends and make some new ones.
Bring yourself and bring your friends.
Coffee at The Point
710 26th Ave
Hi Guys. I was at a bit of a loss for what to talk to you guys about, so I just started sketching. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Whenever I’m stuck, I just pull out these small 2.5×3.5 in. pieces of scrap paper and start drawing. I have this mirror above my drafting table which I have been using to practice drawing my own facial expressions. This is a new thing for me, so there aren’t many just yet.
As many paintings as I have done over the years, I have actually fallen out of the practice of drawing with structure in mind. When creating a portrait, you can either focus on the light and shade to create the illusion of three dimensionality, or you can focus on the structure. Obviously, you need both to create a realistic rendering, but what I’m saying here has to do with the way the mind sees form while drawing.
I have been focusing on the light, color and shade. That means that I’m good at recreating a specific image. What I am starting to practice again is focusing on the structure. I break each shape down to its basic components so that I understand the underlying structures. This will allow me to draw any face from any angle without needing a specific reference. I have only practiced this off and on since graduating from art school. Consider me in the on again phase now.
I want to take my work from copy to invention. With my Women Behaving Badly series, I have been great about inventing the board shapes as well as the backgrounds, but I could push the envelope much further on the portraits themselves. I’m always working to improve. How are you improving yourselves? I’d love to hear from you.
Good morning Afro Triangle Friends. I hope you have been having a good weekend. Yesterday, I got to do some live portrait drawing at a block party in my neighborhood. It was over at the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-being. It had a great turnout and there were fun activities for adults and kids alike. I didn’t get to partake though, because I was drawing people almost nonstop for about four and a half hours.
I had not realized how exhausting that could be until I hit about hour two. My shoulders were starting to cramp and I had to stop after each portrait to stretch. It was worth it, though. I had a lot of happy customers. I noticed that I only had female customers. Women and girls of all ages came up to have their portraits drawn. No men, no boys. My fellow portrait artists and caricaturists, have you noticed this phenomenon?
The drawings went over so well, a number of people asked if I could do their private parties. Looks like this will be a new addition to my business model. Next time though, I’m bringing a cushion!
Tonight’s the night! I know you’ve been following the progress of this show since April. Now come check out the full exhibit of Women Behaving Badly. I’ll be at Coffee at The Point (710 26th ave) from 7pm to 10pm, or until they kick us out, whichever happens first.
There’s going to be live music, spoken word and a question and answer period about the art itself.
8pm – Marthe Ndongala – Spoken Word
8:20 – Zainab – Live music and vocals
8:40 – Pardees Goshtasb – Live music and hip hop
9:10 – Adri Norris – Q&A
Follow the link below for the map and more details.
I’ve been so busy getting ready for this show, I’ve forgotten to post my last few paintings. Time to rectify that little oversight.
This painting is of Katherine Johnson.
Who is she?
Katherine Johnson was a computer for NASA, back when it was a job description, not a machine. She and a number of other Black women answered the call when NASA was looking for women to work in their fledgling space program.
What did she do?
One of the West Area Computers, Katherine Johnson did the calculations that astronauts relied on for some of America’s earliest space travel. She was so good at her job, even after the electronic computer had been invented, astronaut John Glenn requested that Johnson personally check the machine’s calculations before he took off for his mission on Friendship 7.
Why does that matter?
Katherine Johnson and other pioneers in her field are living proof that women have a place in science and technology. Without her efforts, American astronauts would not have left this planet when they did, and humanity would not know as much about Earth’s place in the universe.
I pushed myself a bit further on this one. I even managed to hunt down a toy space shuttle to indicate Johnson’s importance to the Space Program. I’m enjoying the 3D elements and will definitely be playing with that more in future paintings.
It is official, I no longer have the Jimi Hendrix painting. It sold this week to a good friend of mine. Yay! A big thank you to that lucky guy. I know what you’re thinking… Oh no! I wanted that one! Never fear, you can still have a Jimi Hendrix print in any size you want.
If you have been eyeing any of my paintings over the last couple of years, now is a great time to get one. If you live in the Denver/Boulder area, I’ll hand deliver it myself. If not, I’ll happily mail it out to you. I still have these left, so make some moves!