Thursday, April 28, 2016


PAINT OUT LOUD is an "artumentary" of my new works from beginning to framed.

This is #2 in this series. I will be sharing  secrets and insights about my creative process.

I love to capture people enjoying great food and libations in little cafes.  I found this little coffee
shop on one of my photo adventures.

Deciding on the substrate and size of the piece, not only determines the foundation of a painting, but also
the tempo. I decided on an archival square panel, 12" x 12". I coated the panel with a two layers of yellow ochre, giving it
a warm base.  I then sketched the layout and some details directly with oil paint using
filbert brushes and flats.

I worked directly in oil for the initial sketch.

The coffee shop had a warm welcoming vibe.  The yellow base helped set the tone for this piece.
I kept the strokes very impressionistic and moved throughout the piece adding red
accents to maintain color continuity. I let some of the background color
show through the figures and the background.

I added more and more strokes to the figures and background and added
reflections to the floor.

The painting progressed easily. I kept changing the characters 
as I painted.  I lightened his hair color and changed his face. I  like to make my characters lovable. 
Each has a unique narrative lending to the paintings' story.

I continued honing each section of the painting and re-visiting the
characters until I felt they really spoke to each other and to me.   
When the painting is finished, the story is told by the viewer and his/her  personal interaction 
with the characters.

I used a lot of vertical impressionistic strokes on the background, varied the strokes
on the people and tables and used mostly horizontal strokes on the floor and reflections
with a variety of brushes. I softened some areas with Q-tips and my fingers!

Close up of cafe chairs.

I really wanted to express the beauty of these cafe chairs.  I did embellish
the colors and added in the sugar bowl - of course!

I emphasized the coffee cup poster in the frame above his head
to set the scene and make it fun. I changed his appearance and then 
  re-worked his chair. I was able to get the nice rounded effect of the chair back
with an American liner #1 brush .  I added the reflections on the floor with a shader brush. 
I love to use so many different brushes.  It gives variety to the strokes and always adds
some very interesting  results.

With thick strokes I re-painted the cups and glass on the table using very expressive strokes.
I added more highlights on her shirt and accentuated the light on the table behind her.

I added some details throughout the painting and as I have learned
it was time to put down the brushes and sign the painting.

"The Coffee Shoppe"
oil on archival panel, 12" x 12"

This painting is now available through my studio.

Hope you enjoyed this painting process.
I would love to hear from you.  Let me know your thoughts
insights and comments.

Thank you.


September McGee

Friday, March 11, 2016


Welcome to my 2016 blog - PAINT OUT LOUD!

PAINT OUT LOUD is an "artumentary" of my new works from beginning to framed.

In this blog series I will be revealing insights and secrets I have learned over the years that help me create my unique impressionistic style I am known for today.

After spraining my ankle early Fall, I was forced to sit at my easel to paint. I generally stand up to paint. Standing helps me stay looser and keep my brushstrokes spirited. I get to dance, pet the cat and stay open to the intuitive promptings that arise as the creative process evolves. Sitting down is definitely a slower process. I generally sit to do fine detailed work. My studio is small and my left ankle had to be propped on a little foot stool that sits to the left of my easel and under the computer stand. My easel is in the center and my tabouret is on my right. A little tricky arrangement, but manageable. When you gotta paint, you find a way. My healing coach JoHanna suggested that sitting down might result in a new style of painting. I do believe everything happens for a reason.

It has been a long process getting my ankle to heal (over four months) and yes, I have been painting sitting down, and yes a newer style has been evolving. I began 2016 painting several pastels, mainly because I hadn't completed a pastel in almost a year. I was pleased with the results. Liking results fuels confidence and encourages more immediate works.

I flipped my studio back to oils. Sometimes I do a painting in both oil and pastel, which is always fun. Over the years, I have learned immeasurable amounts of information about creating art by working in different mediums from oils, pastels, watercolors, mixed media, sculpture, pencil, charcoal, mono prints and sculpture.

I keep file folders in my computer of photos I have taken in hope that some day these photos will become a painting. There are many waiting their turn to become a masterpiece. The photo I used for today's blog was taken on a freezing night in Times Square, NY. This photo has been on my mind for several years and I was finally ready and energized to paint this piece. If I start a painting and the energy is wrong, the painting will never happen, or it will give me so much grief, 
it's not worth it.

I have learned to listen. When I listen I am guided to the right subject matter at the right time. Often I work on several paintings at the same time. This keeps the energy flowing. I have also learned, when I get stuck, or just can't seem to get it right, to stop and take a break. If that doesn't work, it's time to move on to another piece, or go play with the cats. You can't fight your way through a painting. Deep breaths, listen for guidance and trust. It's amazing what happens when you get in the place where you leave the critic, judge, jury and doubter out of the mix.

 The decision of which substrate to use is critical. I use only the best.  Each surface will net a different result and technique. I decided to use a new oil primed archival linen stretched onto kiln dried stretcher bars. I love linen. I used a Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencil to sketch in the composition. Utilizing water moistened Q-tips, fingers, brushes and paper towels, I blend and soften the pastel image. When I felt I had the sketch in a place I began adding thin washes of oil paint using both raw and burnt umber, ivory black and a little Titanium white to set the tone for the underpainting.

Pastel block in

I added additional thin layers of oil using raw umber, burnt umber, ivory black and white. Notice I changed the composition by moving the figure on the far left foreground over to the right. I believe it gave the painting better symmetry. I kept the strokes loose and expressionistic. 

I use my iPhone camera to record my progress as I go. How lucky we are to live in an age with all our "techy" tools!
I paint from my laptop making it easy to access all my images. I compare each sessions progress side by side to decide how the painting is progressing.  Sometimes a wipe out here and there is in order. Wipe outs are not going backward.
Often what remains works out perfectly. 

It's time to add some color! Using walnut oil to keep it fluid, I begin to add elements of color to set the tone and palette.

  Beginning of color (1st photo)             Adding more color (photo #2)

I use a lot of spirited brushstrokes and rich textures when I paint. I decided to keep the paint thin until I was certain of the placement of all the components. This is New York at night. The neon signs banners, colors and buildings are so "in your face".  I wanted to stay true to this energy and keep it colorful, fun and impressionistic.

 I enhanced the color overall, deepened the foreground figures and developed details. I painted the umbrella and added reflections onto the street. I added color to the signs, banners and lights. You can still see the untouched white linen on the left of the painting. I am editing as I go and placing my reds (my favorite color) throughout the piece 
to maintain color continuity. 

Thicker and more impressionistic strokes have been added with bristle filberts, various brushes and Q-Tips. I removed the blue horizontal stripes above his hat and replace this area with red lights. I adjusted the shapes in the upper left corner. I spent time on the details to the sidewalk sign, which gave me the idea for the name of this painting. 

At this point I printed out a color photo on 24 lb. white paper which gives me a new vantage point to see where I am, and decide where I am going. I paint directly onto this print with a small flat brush using medium thick oils of various hues, most of which are left over from my last painting session. The paper grabs the oil nicely and allows me to easily develop ideas and make any other changes on top of the print without messing with the original. 
This process helps re-charge my energies and becomes a guide to help me navigate forward. 

Having worked out my issues on the color print, I return to the original on linen.

I modified the shapes in the upper left and added a red banner to the middle ground on the far left. I used impressionistic daubs to denote the tail lights and street lamps. I re-designed the color and shapes of several signs on the left. I darkened the left foreground figure and strengthened the reflections on the street. I used linear strokes to define the lamp post, some of the banners and signs. 

Close Up

I added some turquoise blue lights to the buildings in the back, complementing the reds, yellows and blues throughout. 
I simplified some of the shapes on the left. Additional hues and shapes are modified as I near completion
and thick textured strokes are added with bristle filberts to make some areas pop.

"Chanel In The City" 24" x 18" oil on linen

Voila! the painting is finished. I would love to tell you which stroke was my last, but unfortunately I can't remember. There comes a time when the brushes need to be put down. I like to let my paintings sit in the studio for several days. 
Oils take their own time drying and often hues change by virtue of the medium. 
Of course the original is so much richer than this photo indicates. 

The painting is now photographed, signed and framed.

"Chanel in the City", oil on archival linen, 18" x 14" framed in Gallery Black
Available from my Studio

PAINT OUT LOUD is my way of sharing my creative process with you. 
I hope you enjoyed my insights and progressions as this painting evolved. 

I am contemplating showing pictures of my painting setup, brushes, paints and special tools on my next 
PAINT OUT LOUD blog. The next painting from start to finish will surprise you! 
Let me know your thoughts.

If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please add your comments to this blog
or email me directly.


 and stay in touch!



P.S.  Sign up for my 2016 Newsletter!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Happy Holidays from September McGee

Happy Holidays from September McGee
happy holidays 1
At the Met Series - Love In The City
At the Met Series - Love In The City, Oil on Senso Linen 28" x 22"
The Yellow Hat
  • The Yellow Hat - oil on linen panel , 14" x 11" - SOLD
  • Laguna Beach #5
    Laguna Beach #5, 12" x 16" oil on panel - SOLD
    Maestro II, 16" x 20" pastel on panel
    Maestro II

    I wanted to take this moment and wish you the most wondrous holiday season, filled with much joy, heartfelt laughter and wonderful
    memories that will last throughout the year.

    Thank you for being one of my cherished collectors. You inspire me to continue to create great works.

    September McGee

    Art makes the best holiday gift.
    It's the gift that lasts a lifetime!

    Rainy Day Series - Red and Blue Umbrella
    Rainy Day Series - Red & Blue Umbrella, oil on Bristol, archival mat
    Rainy Day Series = Red Purse #3
    Rainy Day Series = Red Purse #3, oil on Bristol in archival mat

    There are only a few of the little Rainy Day original oils remaining. Originally 95.00, the holiday special price is 85.00 including shipping.

    email me to reserve yours:

    I also have some exciting
    new works!
    NOW is the time to add to your collection.

    If you haven't received a copy of my new book "LOVE is my favorite COLOR" grab yours today.
    Books make wonderful gifts.
    Shipping is free!

    Holiday specials continue through
    January 5, 2016

    Image 1842837
    View my new works!
    Order BOOK
    September McGee

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

    Happy Thanksgiving from September McGee


    I am so grateful to all my collectors and friends!
    Thank you for enjoying my work your continued support, your friendship and most of all, YOU! 

    YOU complete the circle of creativity -
    idea - art - collector

    You make it possible for me to continue offering
    works that are innovative, timeless and engaging...
    and rising in value.

    May all the good things in life be yours in abundance, 
    not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year.


    September McGee

    Elected Member: Allied Artists, NY
    and Salmagundi Club, NY

    I wish you great health, prosperity and lots of laughter this holiday season!
    The Red Bow
    The Red Bow
    NEW! Oil on panel
    Showcasing at the Juried Thumb-Box exhibition at the Salmagundi Club, NY
    Laguna Beach #5
    Laguna Beach #5
    Oil on panel - NEW!
    At the Met Series - Love In The City
    At the Met Series - Love In The City
    NEW - oil on Senso Linen
    The Yellow Hat
    The Yellow Hat
    NEW oil on panel

    My new book
    LOVE is my favorite COLOR
    is BACK!

    34 illustrations and words of inspiration - hardcover!

    Shipping is FREE for the holidays!
    LOVE is my favorite COLOR


    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Featured artist September McGee with the Pastel Society of the West Coast!

    This article just came out! beautifully written by Jan Thomas.   I painted the Maestro in oil initially and then decided to do it in a pastel.  Let me know what you think!
    I love both mediums and it is often fun to create the same painting in pastel and oil!

    September McGee

    PSWC Banner 
    September McGee
    Elected Member: Allied Artists, NY
    Salmagundi Club, NY
    Maestro-by September McGee
    Maestro II, pastel by September McGee

    Talking with September McGee is a bit like being on a whirling carnival ride. She exudes all the energy one sees in her colorful, expressionistic paintings. A self-described American impressionist, her unique and readily recognizable style has developed through many years of confident exploration and experimentation and continues to evolve.  An early memory is of a painting done in the third grade. Daring to paint outside the lines, she created a painting from her imagination of a conductor leading a choir of singers for which she won her first award. This experience fueled her lifetime commitment to being innovative in her paintings.

    As a young, single mother, September was unable to attend classes or workshops to develop her skills. So, true to her independent nature, she taught herself by visiting art museums and shows and analyzing the work of other artists, particularly the early French and American Impressionists. She fearlessly continued painting, always willing to try something new and challenging. Now an artist with impressive credentials, she confided that one motivation for entering shows, winning awards and applying for membership in such prestigious organizations as the Salmagundi Club and Allied Artists of America, is to challenge herself, to raise the bar.  She does not want to be a formula painter, but one whose paintings reflect her fresh, vibrant attitude.
    When asked how she developed the unique linear strokes seen in both her oil and pastel paintings she says she learned early on to remind herself every day to "let go and get out of the way." "I let the energy come through me," she says. The expressive quality of her strokes evolved over time as she allowed herself to experiment and have fun. She admits it is not always easy to stay loose. When she catches herself over-thinking a painting she will step back from it, or put it aside for a while until she can approach it again intuitively. She feeds her passion for innovation in her work by trying new materials: new pastel brands, new colors, new substrates. Each change or addition creates a different result in her work, which then serves as inspiration for her next painting.

    Despite her energetic, positive nature, September admits that she is emerging from a time of doubt and dissatisfaction with her work. She now recognizes this as a time of transition, causing her to stop and listen to her intuition. It was a break-though which is fueling her current creativity.

    September's pastels start out as very loose underpaintings on toned paper. She uses a large brush to apply Charvin Pastel Painting Sticks, and various pastels, mixed with water to the paper, much like paint. She says this produces "something magical, a creamy, dreamy" surface on which to start layering other pastels. The substrate has to be substantial enough to take her "aggressive" application of pastel, and she prefers Art Spectrum Colourfix , Richeson and Ampersand Pastel boardsFavored pastels are Terry Ludwig, Great American, Schminke and Sennelier half sticks. Derwent and CarbOthello pastel pencils are used for finishing details. September says she starts a painting without a specific idea about what it will look like, always reminding herself to keep it loose. Always happy to help other artists and share what she knows,September invites questions about her materials, resources or processes.

    She encourages other artists to define themselves in their work. "Classes and workshops are great, but it is important to find your own voice."

    Always challenging herself, she says her goal this year is to do "bigger, important work." Time will tell how that desire will manifest, but it will undoubtedly be an exciting ride---for her and for her followers.

    Symphony,  pastel by September McGee



    "Maestro" oil on linen by September McGee