Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Trish McKinney
Joan O’Leary, Program Coordinator, introduced our Guest Presenter, Trish McKinney.  

We were impressed with Trish’s lengthy list of work and accomplishments.  Trish came all the way from New Carlisle, Ohio to speak on Inspirations for Paintings.  Trish sees herself as a Teacher, Painter, Dreamer, Believer, and an Artist.  First of all, she loves Color, emotional color.  She likes to “capture moments”.  She likes unpredictability and surprises.  She surprised us when she told that she had been in the U.S.Army. 
Trish brought some of her books, canvases and plaques for sale.

Trish’s main goal for her visit is to “Inspire us”, because that makes her happy.  She thinks it is more important to tell a story through your eyes than to have perfect technical skills.  One can paint a beautiful, realistic apple, and that is very nice.  Or, one could paint an apple with a bite out of it, and a little hand reaching into the picture.  How much more interesting.

Trish has been inspired mostly by books and words, particularly a book by Ann Boskamp, “One Thousand Gifts”, and a poet, Mary Oliver.  She loves fonts, and letters, and sentences, and partial sentences – which she has been using in her latest paintings.  One of the paintings she brought to show us had a part of a French love poem on the wall behind the people.  She very effectively captured a “moment” in this painting.  She asked for ideas for scenarios that the painting  seemed to capture, and was rewarded with four or five different thoughts.

Trish uses “journals” – which are usually large books that she buys for small prices, to paint in over the actual words, and captures feelings and colors and ideas, particularly when she travels.  She can then use these as inspiration for a large painting when she is in her studio.  Many times she takes a period of time in quiet, and goes through some pages, sometimes backwards, not reading the text, but letting her eyes pick up some of the words.  She says that we will see the words that mean something to us now.  Just let it happen; let it inspire us!  She brought some of her inspirational canvases for purchase.

Trish showed us some of her journals.
Trish prepares the surface in a special manner before she starts painting.  Sometimes she uses a new product, Hi-Flow, sometimes Gesso, to coat the paper or canvas.  She sometimes paints with all watercolor, sometimes with acrylics, and sometimes mixed.  For the demo, she was using Robert Doak (one-man operation) watercolors, which are very pigmented, on 140 lb cold press Arches paper.   If she is putting words “behind” the subject, she prints them out on a piece of tissue paper, then covers them with mat media because she can “lift up” from that.  She also sometimes uses Gesso to cover up some of the words.  She also loves Yupo.

She had already drawn her two women subjects at a table.  She started her painting with seemingly broad, random strokes.  She loves painting people’s hair, coming from a background of hair stylists.  She talked about how brushstrokes are important, and can make a difference in how a painting turns out.  She used a lot of water; she likes to let the paint mix on the page.  Trish feels a freedom with the backgrounds because she doesn’t care if it’s perfect.  She is most interested in getting faces and expressions on faces like she wants them – to “capture the moment”.
This unfinished painting is of Trish's two daughters "sharing a moment".

Trish worked on her painting upside down - she felt it needed more work in the upper left hand corner (lower right here)
Once she turned the painting right side up, Trish was much happier with it.
When Trish is almost finished with her painting, she turns it upside to see if it is “balanced”, that is, her darks and lights, her shapes and colors, etc.  She has a theory – that one either instinctively “gets” color or value, but has to learn the other.  She believes that she “got” color, but had to learn how to balance values.

Above are two of Trish's works - note the use of words in each.
From one of her Instructors, Trish learned; “Oh, would you look at this!”.   What she would like for us to take away from her Presentation is;  “Pay Attention;  Be Astonished;  Tell About It!”

Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary, GCWS, July, 2014

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