Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Loose in Carmel, Indiana

Leslie Saeta may be The Queen of Loose Painting with a palette knife. After falling in love with palette knife painting myself, I began looking for others whose work I could learn from, and she was top on this list. The only problem for me was that she lives in California, and that was a little too far for me to travel ($$$), so my hopes were put on hold.

Then one day, while uploading some of my paintings to her site (, I learned that she was offering a workshop in Indianapolis! And would you believe, all of the stars aligned--my teacher husband had spring break, my mom would watch our boys, I had sold many paintings in the month of February to cover all costs, and managed to fill a spot in the class! I wrote it on the calendar and began preparing while I counted the days!

Now I don't know about you, but my right and left brains are constantly doing battle. Knowing this about myself, I decided there were things I had to do to prepare for this workshop. I decided that if I'm going to learn from someone, I needed to leave my own ways behind. I started using oils again, but this time on panel boards. Not just any panel boards, but tiny boards. I later learned at the class, of the three knife sizes we were to bring, I had been practicing with the smallest, but Leslie used the largest one.

This was THE BEST thing I learned because if one wants to get loose--my number one goal--then using a knife 1/3 the size of the board was definitely the way to do it! I loved it. Seriously loved it. It felt like me. It was what I have loved about painting huge (mostly elephants) on huge canvases; it made me looser. I have loved the way those huge paintings felt to paint because it felt free to me. I couldn't be happier with this discovery.

Another thing I noticed at the workshop was that my colors tended to be a bit brighter. Perhaps I'm not experienced enough to know that toning my art to make things more "life like" is the way to go... I'm just not into it. I love bright colors. I see things brighter and like the way it looks. You don't see me painting too many gray elephants on brown grass! Instead you're more likely to find a blue elephant with a bright background. Perhaps you'd rather have the life-like art in your home (but I hope not, because you're probably not going to buy a piece of my art)!

The verdict of self-discovery has been huge for me. I've honed in on what makes me feel happy. I've come closer to my true self as an artist. I can only hope it reflects in what I do and that you enjoy what you see. Thanks for reading and for sharing in on an experience that I will never forget. I have included a few photos of the journey to Carmel, Indiana--which truly is a beautiful art district full of amazing galleries and things to do.

Leslie giving us our first demonstration--painting a round apple with a knife bigger than my thumb! Yikes!

Here we are set up in the amazing studio space with two walls of windows called Renaissance Fine Art & Design.

Here are our apples (mine is on the bottom, third from the left).

Next we painted roosters--some of the people in this class had never painted with a knife! Aren't they awesome??

Here is my completed rooster, which of course I will keep FOREVER.

Here is a close-up of Leslie and her completed painting. Boats are her specialty and she does them well.

Here we are working hard! You can see my easel on the far left--still working to complete this one.

These awesome statues adorn nearly every block in Carmel--they look unbelievably life-like!

My amazing husband could relate to this man, being so relaxed and all! He spent two whole days working on his own art--writing and playing music! Check him out at (plug!)

One of the beautiful galleries we visited in Carmel--I could live there!

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