Through stain glass doors

Sunday morning, after giving my pups a smooch and handing the keys off to their sitter, I packed my paints and pochade box into my VW wagon and drove south. I arrived in LA just in time to catch the last hour of the California Art Clubs Annual Gold Metal Exhibition before closing for the night. After geeking out on the fabulous collection of representational paintings, I hit the street to explore the town and find dinner. I settled on sushi and was not disappointed.

Artist Michelle Dunaway during a figure demo

Artist Michelle Dunaway during a figure demo

I found my way to Judson Studios Monday morning and was enchanted with the early 1900 architecture. The sun glowed through the stain glass windows of the glass studio, but they weren't the only thing glowing that day. Students and I huddled around luminary Michelle Dunaway, an artist of rare perception, soaking in her rays of painting knowledge.  

Michelle Dunaway showing us how she starts portraits - working from the eyes (focal point) out. Very interesting approach!

Michelle Dunaway showing us how she starts portraits - working from the eyes (focal point) out. Very interesting approach!

Not only did I find a spring of knowledge from Michelle, but also from my peers. I practiced new painting approaches, paint colors, brushwork and techniques. A fellow contemporary, Natalie Lundeen and I struck a friendship and explored the city outside of class. Sharing a passion for art and similarity in age, we enjoyed swapping artist names, shows, and finding inspiration while exploring Los Feliz and Silver Lake. I even had the pleasure of seeing a life size "David" replica. 

As if my trip couldn't get any cooler, it did. My longest friend (I'm talking 20+ years folks!) and I spend the day in Santa Monica. We ate a leisure lunch at Blue Plate Taco while looking out onto the ocean shoreline. I fell in love with the coast when I moved to CA over 4 years ago. Getting to stroll along the boardwalk, stick my bare feet in the sand, and soak up the rays in addition to the previous day highlights, made it an epic trip.