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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shenzhen International Watercolour Biennial

Woke up to exciting news! My painting "Disconnect" was selected for the Shenzhen Watercolour Biennial in China. 282 paintings were selected from 3,779 works entered, representing 72 countries and regions from around the world.
Thank you, thank you, to all the jurors, including Janine Gallizia,
Joseph Zbukvic,and Maureen Bloomfield.

The exhibition runs December 5 through January 10, 2015 at the Luohu Cultural Center in Shenzhen, China.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Encore! A Closing Art Reception

The closing reception for "upStage: An Exploratory of Dance""  will be Friday, August 28, from 5-8 pm at the Mansions on Fifth. Dancers from the PBT School will be back and the artists will be drawing them from life.(Lucky us!) There will be a few new artworks to see and a music program arranged by the extraordinary Tania Grubbs. $10 entry fee includes art, music, and appetizers. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Dance Painting

"Flow", mixed media, 32 x 21"

"Flow" is a little different style than my previous paintings. Using a limited palette and few details, I focused more on the movement of the gesture than on detail and description. I started with a large 2" flat brush for the sweeping movement of the background. I left the white of the paper for areas of the figure and added features and clothing with smaller brushes while the painting was still wet. Although it looks as though it was done quickly, the painting took several days to complete.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Photos from "Upstage"

I finally snapped a few photos of "Upstage" at the Mansions on Fifth. Thanks to everyone who attended the opening and visited the show afterwards. I appreciate all the wonderful comments.
The exhibition includes my paintings and drawings as well as paintings from Jeannie McGuire, Christine Swann, and Claire Hardy.
The exhibition runs through the summer. Stop by the Mansions, have a drink in their beautiful bar, enjoy the ambiance, and head upstairs to the 2nd floor gallery.

The main wall

The main hallway
Left, my painting "Four Twenty Two" and Jeannie's "Fine Line"
Three of my watercolor paintings
Christine Swann's "Jaded"
My drawing "Hommage" on the easel 
with Claire Hardy's "Moment".

The private chapel on the second floor
Detail of the chapel window