Monday, April 18, 2016

Who Is John Reigart?

One of the more interesting projects I've worked on is an upcoming art exhibition called "John Reigart". It is part visual art and part performance art. Curated by artist Brett Yasko, the exhibition will include works by over 200 artists asked to create a portrait, in any medium or style, of the same person, John Reigart. Why John? That's what viewers will find out at the exhibition. John will be the docent for the exhibition, telling viewers about the artwork and about himself. My painting for the exhibition is below. To follow the project on Tumblr, click here.

SPACE Gallery
June 24 - Sept 4, 2016
Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl: July 8, 5:30 - 10 (free)

Hello, My Name is John, watercolor, 26 x 30"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Commissioned Dancer Drawing

This drawing was a commission for a dear friend. The challenge was to create an artwork featuring her two dancer daughters that was not a smiley, traditional portrait. This bird's-eye view made it necessary to add enough detail to their bodies so that the viewer would recognize the girls without seeing their faces.

The client was also interested in showing the mirror in the background. To keep the mirror image from distracting from the focal point, I kept the values close together; the lights and darks are not as contrasting as the lights and darks of the figures in the foreground. I also kept the edges of the mirror image less sharp and defined.

This is one of my favorite commissions.

The Sisters, 26 x 20, charcoal on paper

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pet Portrait Commission

I recently created a pet portrait for a former client. The initial idea was to only paint the dog. However, Eloise is very fearful and would not pose by herself. With her owner sitting nearby, she was much more calm. We decided it might be nice to include the owner in the portrait, but to keep the dog as the focal point. To do this, I had to keep most of the contrast and detail on Eloise and keep the values closer together and less defined on the owner. You can see that there are no real value extremes of light and dark on the owner, as there are on the dog.

Color study 1, brown neutrals
Color study 2, blue neutrals

The client wanted a very netural palette, so  I showed her two color studies with slight variations and we chose the neutral blue palette.

We were all very happy with the end result!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Calling All Pittsburgh Artists - Design Art for a Historic Community Garden

The Olde Allegheny Community Garden, located in the Mexican War Streets neighborhood of Pittsburgh's Northside, is seeking to commission a new, or buy an existing, artwork for the garden. Below are the details and deadlines. 


Project Description
Olde Allegheny Community Garden is seeking to commission an artist or artist team to create a new work of art or place an existing work of art in the Olde Allegheny Community Garden, located between Sherman Avenue and Veto Street, just north of Gentry Way, in the Mexican War Streets neighborhood of Pittsburgh's Northside. Specifically, the artwork will be installed in an island rock garden in the main path. The island measures 4 feet by 5 feet, and the art must fit completely within the island. The artwork will be a focal point for pedestrians and garden visitors and will serve a functional purpose of slowing bike traffic and defining the thoroughfare for pedestrians. Aesthetically, it will complement the surrounding natural beauty and provide interest during winter months.

The artwork must be secure and stable and should be safe for pedestrians, with no sharp protrusions. Height is encouraged, though the design should respect the adjacent garden plots by not creating excessive shade. Materials may vary, but should be suitable for year-round outdoor installation and non-leaching. Use of recycled materials is encouraged. Artwork allowing for light planting around the base in the rock garden is also encouraged.

About the Site
The Olde Allegheny Community Garden was started in 1982 in the historic district of the Mexican War Streets.  Recently expanded from 40 to 50 plots, the garden is full and maintains a waiting list. Gardeners have chosen to grow organically. The site is open to the public, and the central path is used regularly as a pedestrian through way between two contiguous city blocks.

Deadline for applications                                         May 30, 2016
Selected artist notification                                       June 30, 2016
Artist deadline for proposal and timeline              July 31, 2016
Installation deadline                                                 Oct 30, 2016

The budget for the completed artwork is not to exceed $1500. The selected artist or artist team will receive 30% of the estimated cost upon approval of the proposal, with the remaining balance paid upon approval, completion, and installation of the project. This fee is for all costs related to the project, including supplies and materials, installation, and fabrication of the artwork.

Proposals from artists or artist teams living in Pittsburgh will receive priority over non-Pittsburgh residents.

Submission Materials
Interested artists should e-mail Jana Thompson at tailsonhigh@earthlink.net with the subject line “Community Garden Art” by May 30, 2016. Please include:
·         Name, address, phone
·         Up to 5 images of previous 3D artwork (images should not be larger than 1MB each)
·         Current CV, resume, artist statement, and/or biography.  No more than 2 pages
·         One or two paragraphs about why your style, aesthetics, and/or vision would be a good fit for this project

Selection Process
The Olde Allegheny Garden Art Committee will choose an artist whose work, style, aesthetics, and vision best fits the scope of the project.

The selected artist will have four weeks to submit a proposal and timeline of the artwork, including sketches or images. The committee will present the proposal to gardeners for approval or revisions.

·         All art and proposals must be the original work and concept of the artist and should not conflict with copyright laws
·         Artwork should be durable for long-term, outdoor use
·         Artist must adhere to timeline deadlines and budget. Failure to do so could result in termination of the project without compensation

Additional Information
A photographs of the installation site is shown below.  For any additional information or to visit the site, please contact Jana Thompson at tailsonhigh@earthlink.net.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Demo and Artist Talk at Gallerie Chiz

This past Saturday was a fun afternoon at Gallerie Chiz where I gave an artist talk and painting demo. I enjoyed showing my latest artwork and talking about my painting process, from beginning conception to finished painting. A Happy Hour followed and it was great to get to chat with so many of the attendees. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Here are a few photos:
It was great to see so many people show up for the event.

Demonstrating a watercolor portrait

Monday, January 11, 2016

Painting Demo at Gallerie Chiz

I will be giving an artist talk and painting demo at Gallerie Chiz on Saturday, Jan 30 from 2-4 pm. A cocktail hour will follow at 4. This event is free and open to everyone so please stop by and join in the fun. RSVP to galleriechiz@gmail.com.

Here are a few color studies for a new painting that I may be working on at the demo.What do you think? Which one should I use for my larger painting?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Recent Watercolor Portrait Commision

Although commission work is not my primary focus these days, I completed several recently that were quite fun. "The Cellist" was one of them. 

My client was a graceful woman who had recently retired from the symphony. On a late afternoon, she played her cello while I took photos. I was inspired by how beautiful the scene was--the music, the lighting, her swift movements and fingering, her complete immersion while she played.

She wasn't sure if she wanted a descriptive background or something more obscured, so I prepared several color studies with different color schemes and backgrounds. In the end, we decided on a warm, neutral color scheme and an abstract background that suggested movement and music. 

Here are the color studies for her portrait:

The finished portrait, 

The Cellist, 26 x 20", watercolor

Monday, December 28, 2015

Creating A Painting

When creating a figurative painting, I often work with reference photos that I take myself. I never know when I will encounter a something that peaks my interest, so I always try to have a camera handy. (Easy to do now with cell phones.)

At the mall one day, I encountered these two playing chess. I stopped and watched for a while, intrigued by their deep immersion in the game. I was also intrigued by the age difference, making them unlikely pals. Here is the progression of the design and composition of the painting.

I liked the older man's pose in this photo,
but I liked the younger boy's pose in this one.

I combined the two, removed the color and posterized 
the image so that I could easily see the simple value shapes.

The background was problematic and detracting. I needed to create a space that was theirs; a place where they meet to share their love of the game. I created two value sketches to try out different backgrounds.

The first sketch shows the two players oblivious to the busy 
sidewalk setting but it wasn't quite what I had in mind.

Better. A quiet, early morning match, just the two
of them...and some pigeons.

Now to explore color options; a small color study will give me a roadmap to follow while I am painting. I knew I wanted a muted, neutral palette and I knew I wanted blues and violets as the dominant colors, so it wasn't hard to come up with an Analagous Blue Violet + Complementary Yellow color scheme. 

NOTE: Analagous colors are 3-5 colors on the color wheel that are right next to each other. In this case it would be Blue Green / Blue / Blue Violet / Violet / Red Violet. I used Raw Sienna for the Yellow Complement.

Small 5x7 color study

Here's the finished painting. I want the viewer to feel as if 
they are rounding a corner and discovering this scene as I did.


"The Challenger"
artwork size 19 x 26"

To view other artworks in this genre, click here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Watercolor Artist Magazine

I was thrilled to find out that my little dancer will be on the cover of the April 2016 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. The painting is called "Spent" and you can see it here. Here's a sneak peak at the cover:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stories Without Words

This painting, "Last Visit", was one that I've always liked.

The story of this painting starts with a glance. I was shooting photos for my book, "Watercolor Made Easy: Portraits" and my model, Ron, was taking a break in between poses. I noticed him looking out the window and snapped this photo. Later, when I saw this image, I thought of someone visiting a person, place, or memory for the last time. I wanted to create a sense of longing, loss, or acceptance, depending on the viewer's own personal way story.

"Last Visit"
22 x 16" artwork size before framing
available at peggihabets.com

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Work: The John Project

"After The Laughter", 24 x 28", watercolor

"After the Laughter"  was created for an exhibition that will take place in 2016 at SPACE Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pa. It involves nearly 250 artists, all creating artwork based on the same person in different styles and media.

The person we are portraying is a man who was introduced to us as John. The artists could find out the backstory of John if we wanted or we could create a painting based solely on our impression of him during the life drawing and photography sessions.

I was told a little bit about John, but I chose to create a fictional story of a man recovering from a tumultuous early life to a more stable adult life. In the painting, the man is looking back on his life and memories with relief and humor. His face tells the viewer that he has survived and has stories of his own to tell.

The twist to the exhibition is that John will be the docent for gallery visitors. Without them knowing who he is, he will give tours of the show, adding his own personal insight to the artwork.

Monday, November 9, 2015

New Painting

"Bend But Don't Break", watercolor, 16 x 20" before framing

I was inspired by the dramatic pose of the dancer and the light from the window. I love the way it created lost and hard edges and a high contrast, so I wanted to play that up in the painting. My color palette is analogous blues/violets with a complement of yellow orange and a touch of red for the discord (accent) color.

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Studio Space

After months of purging, packing, and moving, (whew!) we have finally settled into our new home on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Pa. My studio space is tucked away on the third floor, away from the traffic and noise of the house. It will be much more convenient to clients and galleries as well as hosting studio tours.

Our new address is 1525 Garfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa 15212. Same phone and e-mail.

Here are a few photos of my new workspace:

Idea board with color studies

A view of downtown Pittsburgh

Monday, September 21, 2015

We're Moving!

You haven't heard a peep out of me recently, for good reason. I'm buried in boxes! For the past month we've been painting, spackling, packing, looking for things we just packed, moving, storing, and reassessing our belongings. Nothing makes you realize you've been hanging on to stuff for way too long like moving.

After 23 years of raising kids in the suburbs, we will be moving to a smaller place in the city, closer to downtown Pittsburgh, the stadiums, and plenty of art galleries. I will be back in touch very soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Upcoming Shows

Now that "upStage" is winding down, it's time to turn my focus to upcoming shows. I've spent the week packing and shipping off my little creations to juried exhibitions around the country. Below is where you can see my work.

Willow Wisp at the San Diego Watercolor 

Society's 35th International Exhibition
SDWS Gallery in San Diego, CA
October 2 - 31, 2015


Spinning Plate Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA
October 2 - 31, 2015


The Gallery at Kent Art Association in Kent, CT
Octomber 18 - November 1, 2015


Louhu District People's Culture and Sports Bureau in 
Shenzhen, China
December 5 - January 10, 2016

Conceptualized and curated by Brett Yasko
Space Gallery in Pittsburgh, PASummer 2016

Gallerie Chiz in Shadyside, Pa.
Galerie Werner in Shadyside, Pa.