Portrait Studio tips

One of the highlights of my week is painting at the Portrait Studio at Mountain Artist Guild. Every Friday morning a group of artists is arranging their easels, oil paints, watercolors, or charcoal pads around a live model, who will sit on the lighted pedestal for some hours. There’s some classical music in the background, coffee brewing in the kitchen, some jokes and chuckles, and concentrated silence. What could be more beautiful? I always feel like a young art student, and everyday worries are blended out while the timer is ticking down the twenty minute intervals we have to capture the likeliness.

Some artists are a bit hesitant to join a live model painting group – partly because it’s a challenge to transfer a 3D Model into a 2D medium (as opposed tp painting from an already 2-dimensional photograph). And then there’s the ten minutes coffee breaks in between, where everybody talks and looks at all the different interpretations at various stages.
When I first walked into the portrait studio I was quite nervous, knowing there would be several established and very gifted artists present. I had actually never tried painting a face from a live person, and had just started taking portrait lessons a few months ago – what if the poor model turned out like shrek on my panel?!!

The reality turned out so much more relaxed than I had feared. Not only were all the artists exceedingly friendly and graceful to everyone, regardless of their skill level. But they were there to do the same things as me – face a new challenge, gage proportions and light, train, experiment, learn. It’s an atmosphere of a shared passion, not of competition or even judging.

If you’ve never been at a portrait studio, I would highly recommend it. Local artist guilds are a good address, and I know there’s ‘Dr. Sketchy’s’ in many cities.
I wanted to share two little tips in case you decide to give it a try. The first time I was standing at my easel staring at the model on the brightly lit pedestal I was a bit confused trying to find the right colors in the dim light of the room. I’m all for expressionist colors, so I didnt mind the slightly exuberant result in daylight :D But I have since learned to come with my usual base skin tones already pre-mixed on my palette (I have a range from naples yellow to several flesh tone shades using green and umber,  alizarin or even purple additions). This allows me to find or adjust the right tones more quickly and get more done as well.
The other adjustment that really helped me in a setting where time is limited was to start using pre-toned canvas panels. You might be doing this already. I had until recently mainly painted with watercolors most of my life – traveling with the military to several states and two new continents (from my home Germany), the wrong type of paint tended to get thrown out of the household good shipments. So the practice to use paint thinner and a little bit of umber or sienna to get rid of the shining white cotton was news to me! But during the time sensitive model sessions it proved to be a big help to start on a mid-toned ground with less distractions to the eye. I always have a couple prepared and dried cotton panels at home, to grab them on the way out to portrait studio!

I hope you have become curious about painting from a live model in a group of like minded Peeps! Give me your thoughts about your experiences if you have tried it :)


Behind the scenes – Would you like to know more about my art?

Hi there,


after burrowing in to paint the beginning of a new body of work, I am now ready to share more with you: more about the how and why and which tools and techniques, and maybe about the where and what for (yes I’m pretty proud of my new studio space and yes there will be more art floating around on display and available as prints).

If you are following me on instagram (@anstaylorart) you might have already seen a few work-in-process shots or a story on my timeline. (By the way, if you prefer facebook you can follow the same feed on my Ans Taylor Art Business site, or if you are tired of ads and algorithms deciding what you get to see: I’m also on the brand new app VERO.)

I really recommend following me on either of those three social media outlets if you are interested in not only the scanned-and-for-sale paintings, but also sketches, work in progress, videos….

But additionally I plan to share a few more things with you here in my blog. There will be some giveaways as well! :)  Please join my mailing list to stay updated (besides, hey, I’m so proud I got that welcome letter going).
Let me know if you are interested in anything specific!

Other than that, see you in a few days :).

oil paint palette

Becoming an ‘Oil Painter of America’! ;)

Did you make a number of plans for the new year? I certainly oil paint palettehave a huge (and pretty detailed!) list of accomplishments I am aiming for this year. It will be a busy and exciting year, and you will be able to follow the progress on this blog (sign up for my newsletter!).
The first good news to reach me, just a few days into the new year, came from Oil Painters of America,  informing me that my submitted paintings had been reviewed and accepted! I am honored and delighted to be part of the prestigious association dedicated to preserving and promoting excellence in representational art. This will motivate me to give my best to my progress in oils, and I’m looking forward to connect to other artists throughout the US.

There are some other news I will be able to share after a short trip to Washington state this week. Also, the shop function will be set up again in a couple weeks and you will be able to obtain high quality giclee prints of your favorite paintings as well as the original artwork (in urgent cases just email me).
Don’t forget to follow my instagram – anstaylorart – to see new paintings and art, work in progress shots and videos, which I am constantly uploading. Give me your feedback! :) and talk to you soon!


Oil portrait painting studies

It’s all about oil!

Hey there again, if you have been following me on instagram (@anstaylorart), you might have noticed that there’s a lot of oil painting going on lately. I have been taking oil portrait classes since fall, and have recently visited a figurative oil painting studio group (painting live from a model), which I plan to be frequenting on a regular base now. What challenge, and also fun, to try to capture the features of a model in the short intervals between the breaks! Not to mention the exchange with the other artists.

All of this has enforced my love for oils… which had already been my favorite medium this last year: finally I’m able to keep paints and canvases in my own little space (moving from continent to continent with the military did not provide many opportunities, e.g. since oil paints are classified as hazardous materials and won’t ship overseas…). There’s another workshop coming up, and I have been able to increase my hours reserved for painting. So… I hope you like oil as much as I do. Give me your feedback in the comments! And follow me on instagram at anstaylorart, if you haven’t done it yet.Oil portrait painting studies

Kids art at the Prescott gateway mall

Kid’s art this Saturday at BLOOM boutique

Sat Dec 2nd, 11-4 pm: Join us for our Art Saturday at the BLOOM family Boutique in the Prescott mall! I’ll bring my local Prescott Xmas cards, kid‘s cards, prints and some original art, along with my easel and an oil-painting in process :) Watch and ask questions, and get yourself some unique Christmas gifts  :)Kids art at the Prescott gateway mall

I have been excited about this event: it gave me an excuse to prepare and paint some colorful children’s illustrations. Sometimes there’s just not enough cute and quirky in my daily art :D Please come by and say Hi. Use the opportunity to snatch some of my local Christmas cards, if you haven’t made it to the Ian Russel gallery on the square yet, get your custom animal portrait order in before christmas, admire and shop the amazing selection of kid’s clothes and things at the BLOOM boutique. Support your local artist, and see you at the Gateway mall, Saturday Dec 2nd 11-4pm!

#prescott #bloomboutique #localartist #prescottaz #prescottvalley #prescottevents #childrensboutique #buylocal #prescottkids