Thursday, January 15, 2015

As Promised

On The Dance Floor (in progress) 2005 & 2015 oil on canvas 38 x 24 in.
Apologies for my first entry of 2015 being two weeks late, on the 15th of the month! To make it up to you I will try to write twice a month from now on:  on the 1st and the Ides.
As promised, here is one of the paintings I have spent time reworking. Like the recent movie Boyhood, some paintings could be 12-year projects! It's still not completely finished, but you can play Spot the Difference.
I always liked the two central faces. The long-haired man is loosely painted, which best portrays a body in motion, so I left him mostly as-is. The red-haired woman, with her eye contact with the viewer, is the strongest feature of the image so I only dialed up the contrast and color (I can't say enough about the impact of red lipstick)! I wanted these two figures to look like they were caught in a spotlight panning across the dance floor, so the peripheral people would become more of a vignette.
This previously mostly blue, green and yellow painting looked watery to me. I went back in adding warmer colors - red, purple and rich, velvety black - with the intention of catching the drama of a night scene. I made the hair colors more realistic, added a dancing hand or two, and am playing with skin tones and clothing colors until the painting feels real, special and harmonious. It would be nice to add the colored lights and flashes of a club, but it can't be gratuitous:  the photo was taken from the balcony of a night club looking down at the dance floor with a flash camera, and there was no fancy lighting. We are almost there.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Celebration in the Woods

Celebration in the Woods oil on canvas 16 x 20 in.
Thank you to everyone who came to our open studio. It was great.
This new painting is in the Berkeley Art Center's annual members' show called Here, open through December 14.
With the days being shorter and colder and some rain finally coming through California, this isn't a time of year when I get much painting done.  I have restocked at my beloved Arch and Flax art supply stores, and had a short trip to a strange, magical little town on the straits northeast of here. The trees and lights, trains passing through, Victorian hotel, delicious restaurant and the creative souls there have inspired me.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Right now I'm in the middle of this

Sean, Mark and I each have a piece in ArtSpan's Open Studios exhibition, which will be open through Nov. 9 if you'd like to see a sampling of 450+ SF artists' work.

I will also have a painting in Modern Eden's Open Studios "hub" show, 12 x 12 which will be on view Nov. 4 - 9 and can be previewed here. Modern Eden is a North Beach gem of realist and surrealist art.

And I intend to submit a piece to Berkeley Art Center's annual members' show, Here, running Nov. 15 - Dec. 14 because it's an unmissable array.

Finally, fabulous news! Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art is publishing a catalog of the summer's juried national, Postglamism: Glam Art in the 21st Century. You can order it here and preview the book too.
From the juror Michael Sweney's remarks: "The most traditional painter in the show, Hadley Northrop, depicts people from an apparent post-glam world, party-goers and scene-sters. The works are deftly-painted realism, but not literal, like an absinthe-fueled dreamscape."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New work

The Accordionist oil on canvas 28 x 16 in.
I'm posting new work daily to my website,, and getting my ArtSpan page up to date in preparation for Open Studios in one month. Probably all the paintings I'll be showing at Open Studios will be previewed on the ArtSpan website.
Also have been taking a community college sewing class - I love to sew, it makes a great counterpoint to painting because you follow a series of steps and don't have to make decisions with every move! Then again some paintings - the big, complicated ones - are like making a quilt, and the only way to finish them is stitch by stitch. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The oil paint equivalent of glitter

Brand new paintings in my studio
These are new:  two in the aforementioned tree series, a tiny trailer and, from a photo by Sean Vallely, fires on Ocean Beach. All are pretty much true to their photographic sources, except that I felt the one on the left, the tree with Victorians, needed a little something extra. On Castro Street there is a tree that looks positively magical when you are walking down the hill towards the Castro in the evening and the lights shining through from ahead seem to twinkle in its branches.  So I gave my tree some tiny lights, a little sparkle from the streetlight. Then I turned a house into a car in the tree with the moon - magic! Then  I stretched a big preprimed canvas and it was all  floppy, until I sprayed water on the back and it's now like a drum - I'm easily pleased!
Our open studio is two months away, and because we travelled so much this year, I feel like I just have to catch up. I've also spent quite a bit of time reworking old paintings but really only because I enjoy it. Once the figures are in place, which they are in these two larger-scaled works, it's just a matter of changing the colors to give the painting more dimension and mood. Remember how much fun coloring books were? It's like that. Almost a year ago I started reworking. I will post images when they are done so you can see what I was talking about.
Sorry for the crappy photo this month - I couldn't seem to save changes to the image and I want to get out and enjoy this beautiful Labor Day.
If  you'd like to get on my mailing list for the Open Studios postcard, I suggest sending me a message via my Contact form. Also visit me on ArtSpan and find out all about San Francisco Open Studios. November 1 and 2.

Friday, August 1, 2014


My paintings with video installation by Vin Hill in "Postglamism: Glam Art in the 21st Century" at CoCA
Went to Seattle and attended July 3rd Thursdays at the Seattle Design Center, getting to visit Postglamism:  Glam Art in the 21st Century at the Center on Contemporary Art. Participating artists Vin Hill, Christian French, Lindsay McCoy and Matthew D. Rowe were there, and Michael Sweney gave a talk about his curatorial process. It was an honor to be included in this exciting exhibition and to hear that Sweney appreciated my traditional technique in a show that also represents a lot of conceptual and hi-tech work.
Today is the last day of Postglamism, and also the international Larroque Arts Festival in France, curated by Ken Hay, has just ended. I was able to upload images to Dropbox, and they were printed and mounted there at Galerie La Vieille Poste. Isn't that amazing? I hope to attend someday:  Larroque is a commune of Tarn, near Toulouse (which I loved when I went there once, as well as the artist bearing that name) and it looks like they have an absolutely beautiful time there.
From now until the beginning of November I will just be working on paintings for ArtSpan open studios.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mid Century Madness

Blue Line Arts
Went to the reception at Blue Line Arts in Roseville, and Mid Century Madness is a wonderfully put together show of everything from that era - furniture, housewares, and even a 1957 Nash Metropolitan - and current art and lamps inspired by that style. My two matted & framed oil paintings "Fire Place" and "Star Light" can be seen near the center of this photo on the wall between the car and a door, and in my previous post Places and Times. The show's last day is July 12th.

We had a brief stay in Sacramento while there and were able to take in the Railroad Museum, State Capitol, and also the Crocker Museum with my friend and fellow artist Marianne Bland. She recently gave me a shout out on her blog Marianne Bland's Art Blog! Her night time city scenes in acrylic on canvas are definitely in the same vein as mine and she's a great painter so I recommend you check her out.