At the 2015 Los Angeles Fine Arts Show, I was smitten by the authentic and beautiful work of Russian trained artist, Regina Lyubovnaya. What set her apart from the other artists at the show was her painting a still life in oils right there at her booth. I introduced myself and thanked her for showing the attendees how *real* art is accomplished. She appreciated the compliment and autographed one of her catalogs for me. Such a warm, genuine person, I thought.
When visiting this year’s Los Angeles Fine Arts Show, I was thrilled to see Regina back at her booth, this time without the demo. One of her students visiting her booth, spoke to me about studying with Regina. I didn’t realize this master painter also taught and immediately asked if she would consider hosting a demo or workshop at my studio. She agreed! I was ecstatic.
Sunday, April 5, 2016 Regina Lyubovnaya kicked off Pastimes for a Lifetime ‘s very first Guest Artist program with a fascinating and inspiring Demo + Workshop in still life oil painting in the style of Abstract Realism.
The sold out attendees were riveted, witnessing a master painter at work.
As Regina was setting up the still life props, she reminded us,
She thinks of herself as an art director and the objects to be painted as actors. The set up follows or is modified by the concept she already has in mind for the color palette and direction of light. The panel is her window in which she decides the percentage of positive and negative space, keeping in mind the image is meant to be viewed from the back of a room. She reminded us that the “middle” of a painting is where the viewer looks; therefore the height of the easel needs to be determined and adjusted accordingly for correct viewing of the subject matter and sketching. The size relationships of the objects to the edges of the canvas are also considered when setting up her still life.
She began with the simplicity and importance of the proper way to loosely hold a brush and explained how the brush stroke should come from the arm and shoulder, rather than the wrist. Tips on how to use the three plains of the brush to achieve specific results, were appreciated by both new and seasoned painters.
Regina shared her palette with guests. Fresh paint is placed on glass. She prefers Old Holland brand oil paints. To receive the list of colors on Regina’s palette, email Pastimes for a Lifetime. Her go-to painting medium is Old Masters Flemish Maroger instead of linseed oil. Regina prefers to paint on Innerglow® Archival Prepared Painting Panels, not canvas. As for brushes, synthetic filberts are her choice.
Before putting brush to canvas, Regina cleverly sketches a layout on plastic.
For today’s demo, Regina chose a mixture of transparent red oxide and thalo blue to create a rich olive green base coat applied with a No. 8 filbert brush.
After applying a base coat, Regina paints a rough layout.
Blocking in the forms, shadows and patterns is the next step, followed by the highlights. She added that keeping the sketch loose gives her flexibility to make changes.
We also learned when to apply sharp and soft edges to objects and shadow shapes and discussed the importance of having the light flow throughout the painting. She knows when to stop adding detail and “leave the rest for the brain”. Having studied privately with American artist, David Leffel since 1989, Regina often referenced his techniques and philosophies throughout the demo.
After 4 hours of studying Regina at work, it was now the students’ turn to take the challenge.
While the students painted their own still life set-up, Regina glided from student to student, giving guidance along the way.
Shadows and secondary light in shadows played a major role throughout the painting process. Depending on what type of object you painted, the shadows would shift from cool to warm and from soft to hard edges. For example, when painting translucent object (leaves, grapes, glass, marble, etc.) the end of the object is brighter and warmer, but where the light touches is cooler and darker. When light goes through a translucent object, it exits on the opposite side; therefore the light extends outside the object and should be painted accordingly. Metal, on the other hand absorbs surrounding colors and tones, reflecting everything around it.
Regina’s paintings were placed on display to demonstrate the concepts.
Time flew by and the workshop was over before we knew it. Students were excited by what they accomplished and eager to return for more. Pastimes will definitely have Regina back for more workshops in the future. Stay tuned!
Special thanks to office manager, Jessica Lee Sanders for her editorial contributions to this blog and to student Gayle Levant for sharing her photos.
To learn more about artist Regina Lyubovnaya, visit her website.
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