Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Highway 11, another roadside attraction

The painting on my easel is currently a local landmark located just beyond Lake Bowen Spartanburg, SC I painted a small "thumbnail" version of this a few yars ago and now I'm tackling this 24" x 36".

My overhead bank of natural lights create a faux skylight so I wear the visor to block out the glare. A painting this size so of "takes me in" and I feel like I'm right on the side of the road on Highway 11. This is beautiful country! In high school we'd cruise out 11 and feel like we were in another world.

When I moved back to Spartanburg after being away for 30 years I was shocked to discover the Boiling Springs area (just down the street from this gas station) had turned into a megatropolis! Gone are the farms and acres and acres of peach fields. I was completely disoriented.

Part of my goal for 2011 is to get out and create plein air paintings to bring back to my studio to paint larger paintings of the many "roadside attractions" that are in danger of disappearing.

Happy drawing & painting!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Postcards from Charleston

My last post was about my "Postcards" project. I've decided to expand on this idea and I have created some "Postcards from Charleston". Both of these series are available at the galleries that represent me in Charleston & Sullivan's Island. In fact both Edward Dare Gallery at Charleston, SC and and Sandpiper Gallery at Sullivan's Island, SC are currently hosting a show for the holidays called "Postcards from Charleston" and "Postcards from Sullivan's Island" through January.

I really am enjoying creating these small works (all of these paintings are 6"x8") in between the larger studio paintings I create. The process of being able to create something in one studio setting and the challenge of keeping things simple keep me on my toes.

© Isabel Forbes 2010
6"x8" oil on canvas, Window Box
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Basket Weaver
© Isabel Forbes 2010
6"x8" oil on canvas, Market
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Charleston Porch
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Carriage Ride
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, St Philips Steeple
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Sweetgrass Rose
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Rx King Street
© Isabel Forbes 2010
8"x6" oil on canvas, Sweetgrass Artist
© Isabel Forbes 2010
6"x8" oil on canvas, Artist's Hands

Several of these paintings have already sold, but if you are interested in any of them contact the galleries listed.
Happy drawing & painting!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Postcards from Sullivan's Island

I recently decided to create a series of small, 6"x8" oil painting and call them "Postcards from Sullivan's Island". When I paint these small paintings they act like my thumbnail sketches only done in oil paint. While painting these paintings I can decide which paintings I would like to create a larger version of. It is always a challenge to paint small. I use bruches that are about 1/2 inch in width so I won't get too picky.

Hope you enjoy the journey to Sullivan's Island, SC.
These paintings are now at Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island, SC
Happy drawing & painting!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Berlin's, Downtown Charleston, SC

This is an abbreviated step by step of a recent oil painting. The easel shots were taken with my iphone so the color cast is a tad bluer than in reality but this gives an overall idea of how a painting is developed.
Block in: I paint over the entire canvas to get a feel for where my colors and values are.

Big to small shapes: Once I'm comfortable with the overall composition I begin to develop areas of the painting. I usually start with the focal area and work out from there.
I continue to bring areas in to focus...

This is the finished painting. Berlin's, 18"x24" oil on canvas.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Charleston County Public Library Features the Artwork of Isabel Forbes

The Charleston County Public Library in Charleston, SC, will present the exhibit, Make Your Life a Work of Art: Paintings by Isabel Forbes, on view in the Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery at its main branch, on view from July 1 - 31, 2010.

Forbes, an artist from the Upstate, will offer oil paintings in this one-person exhibition. The title of Forbes’ exhibit, Make Your Life a Work of Art, is a reference to the artist's use of scenes from her life as she travels between the SC Upstate and the Lowcountry.

An award winning artist, Forbes is a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. She worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for over 27 years before making the transition into fine art full time. Inspired by her surroundings, she paints the everyday scenes of her life. "After moving back home to Spartanburg, SC, having been away for over 30 years, I saw things with a new eye. Now when I travel back to the Lowcountry, I'm able to rediscover things I previously took for granted."

Forbes' is a founding member of the Charleston Outdoor Painters Association (COPA), an exhibiting member of the Charleston Artist’s Guild, a board member of the Artists Guild of Spartanburg and is represented by Sandpiper Gallery in Sullivan’s Island, SC and Edward Dare Gallery in Charleston, SC.

The Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery is located in the Charleston County Public Library’s main branch, 68 Calhoun Street. For further information about the exhibit call 843-805-6930. Further information about Isabel Forbes is available on her website at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Painting NC - Plein Air Invitational Event

Flower Girl - Plein-Air Painting 10"x8"

I participated again in the "Painting NC Plein -Air Invitational" hosted by Germanton Gallery in Germanton NC. The way this event works is artists from around the country come to NC and begin painting from April 3 - 8th. We deliver up to 4 of the paintings we painted that week, framed and ready to hang, to Germanton Gallery for a show and reception Friday, April 9th. The show hangs through the month of April.

This year I made day trips to Tryon, NC then traveled to Germanton, NC (near Winston Salem, NC) to paint until Sunday. This year I stayed with a wonderful art patron in Midway, NC with two other artists, Doug Martin from Colorada and Bernard Martin (no relation to Doug) from Florida. I really enjoyed getting to know them and talk art shop.

I was a tad rusty with my plein-air skills because I'm not much of a winter plein-air painter. The wonderful Spring weather was an inspiration and it felt great to get out and paint again. There is no substitute for painting from life. The "Flower Girl" painting was the last painting of the week for me. The model, Maya, is a pro at 14 years old!

Happy Spring and happy painting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Corner- The Skillet

Here is another oil painting from my favorite diner here in Spartanburg, SC. Best grits in the world.
The inspiration for this painting came while I was waiting on someone to meet me for breakfast. The morning sun was coming through the window and I was struck by the sight. This is something I've probably seen many times but because I wasn't in a rush I noticed the simple beauty of light and venetian blinds!

I'm finally able to veralize what I'm after when I choose subjects to paint. My goal as a painter is to help people see the beauty of the mediocre and hopefully evoke a sense of wonder at something they have seen a million times - me included.

Happy drawing and painting!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poe's Summer Night by Isabel Forbes

Hope you enjoy my first attempt at creating a video with a little narrative. Poe's is one of my favorite restaurants so I enjoy the process of painting it - I can almost taste their delicious hamburgers and blue cheese cole slaw as I paint this.

As I state in the video, I start out with a value block in then continue to define my shapes until the painting feels complete.

Happy drawing & painting!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sullivan's Island Cottage - Ion Street

Thumbnail drawing
Block in
Refining the block in...
more refining...
The finished painting.

I love visiting Sullivan's Island, SC. The town has done a great job of keeping big development under control. If you walk or ride a bicycle around the neighborhoods you can see lots of quaint cottages/bungalows. I'm looking forward to the Spring so I can actually be there to paint some of the great scenes on the spot (en plain air).

Above you can see the process of this new painting, "Sullivan's Island Cottage. I start out with my "Thumbnail Drawing". This small sketch works like a road map. I've hear many an artist say, getting value right is more important that getting colors right. Colors are more of a personal decision - values are needed in order for a painting to "read".

This painting can be seen at the Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island.
Happy drawing & painting!