Annie Lapin “Strange Little Beasts” Shulamit Nazarian

Artist Exhibitions
First Person Artist video series features exhibitions and studio visits of contemporary artists with artist/writer Kimberly Brooks

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The Amazing Thing About Skin

The amazing thing about skin is that there are so many different ways to depict it.⁠ Like a religion, there are many different sects and belief systems.

You can either attempt to replicate skin tone exactly, as if you’re sculpting flesh from scratch.
You can capture the ways it reflects light, against a pool and sun.

Or you can go completely off the reservation and paint it with, say, Indigo Blue, Old Holland Gold Green and white over a wash of Rose Madder:

⁠Or you can punch up the peachy reds to make the flesh aflame with golden light.  It often looks more real without the natural color.

If not Grissaille, the technique whereby Verdaccio, the method of creating a green underpainting to create shadows that complement the peachy colors above. ⁠

Nor could one neglect the importance of glazing, where one applies thin transparent layers of paint above a molded form to capture the nature of skin’s translucence.

For portion of the lecture where I discuss another curious aspect of depicting skin, not mentioned here, and a recipe to help you achieve it go to the link below:

Getting to the Ribbons of Color Faster

Painters all have a fantasy that the images in our head will flow from our fingers, brushes and minds in ribbons of color onto a surface; that we don’t pause or hesitate too much. It just comes.

We’re all angling and positioning ourselves for that moment.

Gathering knowledge and scuba diving into organic chemistry and history for my little black book about materials and safe practices, while painting, exhibiting and teaching collided.

The more I learned, the more I realized what so many artists didn’t know.

When I teach a class, It gets to the point where I wanted to just stand at the door and shoot laser beams of knowledge and concepts into people’s heads like a science fiction movie or a really cool ASMR video.

But I couldn’t figure out how to make that happen.

So I decided to create this awesome comprehensive program instead, writing and recording over seventy one videos this summer. Of course, I cover the history and differences between inorganic and organic pigments, how to paint without solvents, and how to mix colors, etc. but I also draw from art history and contemporary art in the process. From Gerhardt Richter to DeKooning, Jenny Saville to Cecily Brown. No artist escapes.

My students, from all over the world, were gracious enough to write feedback after each of the eight modules and their favorite lectures had titles like Painting Architecture, Painting is a Castle, The Nudist and the Chemist, Copyright & Naked Ladies, Deconstructing Weird Picassos to name a few.

I’m not going to sugar coat how complicated it was to figure out how I was going to do it, or the cameras I put all over my studio to capture demonstrations, or the software I learned to edit video, or the gimbal I learned to operate in order to and live streaming studio visits. But man has it been fun.

Painting is a universe and a religion and an archeological dig. Followers need proper gear and space stations to navigate. Zoom conferencing people in from all over the world, Australia, Bali, Michigan, Utah, New York made it intimate and bonding. We are a family now. The experience is entirely next level compared to any class I’ve ever taught before.

I never felt like I taught conventionally anyway. I always felt as though I exploded. My students loved the energy but my fantasy of transmitting the information by shooting laser beams into people’s heads as they walked through the door so they could get to the ribbons of color faster never dissipated.

But I am definitely closer.

My Hebrew name is Keren which means “Ray of light”. So fitting! If I can paint with pigments, I can surely add light and photons into the mix, which is exactly what this program is.

Keren in Hebrew means "Ray of Light" but can also means "horns" which is why Michelango put them on his statue of Moses.
Kerenim also means “horns” which is why Michelango put them on his statue of Moses.

Oil Painting Fluency & Flow opens for enrollment again next week, Sept 9 and starts September 23rd. Space is limited.

If you would love to go scuba diving/ space traveling in the color painting universe with other artists from around the world, I would love to have you join.


Book Announcement

I remember the first time I ever painted in oil as if it were yesterday.  I was initially hesitant to use the medium for 2 reasons:​  ​First​ly​, I put it on a pedestal, as if one needed a right or permission. ​ ​Second​ly​, I knew it involved materials that were somehow dangerous.

But I did it anyway. I knew then that I would be using this medium for the rest of my life.


Ten years in, I started to feel funny from the solvents.​ ​At the end of every painting session, I would have a weird taste on my tongue. I moved to “Odorless Mineral Spirits”, but barely felt better.​ ​If only I knew then what I’ve since learned during the illuminating journey of writing a book about the subject of everything I wish I knew at the start, the wonder of the history of pigments and particularly how to paint without solvents.

The dearth of knowledge about materials and craft among painters is an unnecessary epidemic. Either instructors assume the students learned it in a previous foundational class that no longer exists or were never taught themselves.

I’m so excited to announce that I created something I wished for my younger artist self: a little black book just for oil painting of all the materials I would need and why.

Oil Painting Safe Practices, Materials, & Supplies: The Essential Guide is a culmination of knowledge I’ve gathered over twenty-five years of painting with the last decade focused on how to paint in the safest way possible. It is a perfect shorthand for me to teach about materials and enabling anyone to mix their own mediums, reduce toxins, save time, live longer, and create more art.

Thanks to Chronicle Books, it will be widely available to painters worldwide soon. For now, I’m making it available and use it as a text book for my students

Oil Painting Safe Practices Materials & Supplies: The Essential Guide
by Kimberly Brooks
An overview of every facet one needs to know for an oil painting practice, including pigments, mediums, surfaces, brushes and how to paint solvent-free.

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The Creative Process in Eight Stages

I made a great big canvas. For three weeks it sat in the center of the studio like Jack’s massive desk in The Shining. No matter how many “painting miles” I’ve earned, there’s really nothing more terrifying. Of course, I have some ideas, a subject, a palette in my mind. Several in fact. But I’ve encircled it, ignored it, worked on smaller paintings instead. Finally, today, I took six different shades of pink. Some cadmium red light, rose and violet, and I just attacked it. It’s okay, I wasn’t totally committed because I knew it was just the ground of probably ten layers that will live above it. But it was a start.

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