Friday, June 29, 2012

My life in iPhone photos...

My Jack painting in the studio.  It was an underwater scene, complete with a striped fish and a tornado frog.  

Taking our neighbor's dog for a walk

Picking tomatoes from our neighbor's yard.

Latest painting from the Woodstock series.

Male nude with rope - charcoal drawing from Wednesday's figure drawing group.

Super Girl eats dinner with us whenever she flies through town :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sepia Toned Paintings

I've been using a lot of brown paint lately...mostly burnt sienna (although I will warn you - it could be raw sienna.  I'm having one of those moments where I just can't remember which is which!)

I just shipped out this adorable portrait based on a 1950's photo of a couple on the beach.  The client commissioned it just before the birth of her first child, who is named for his Great Grandpa in the photo.

The original photo was in black and white, and showed some age.  I decided to stick with a warm palette, and painted this on a prepared birch panel.  In many places, there is just a stain of brown paint, allowing the wood grain to show through.

During our figure drawing group last night I used just burnt sienna and thinner as I blocked in this long lounging pose on a 12" x 24" canvas.

As I tell my students - keep it soft, work on the whole image at once.  At first I had the figure about an inch lower, but I wanted more of the drapery (which is patterned and will be painted in eventually) and less negative space above her body.  So I raised the entire figure.

I used a little bit of dark brown mixed into the sepia to define more of the folds and cast shadows on her body.

I'll have to take a better photo, but this does show the value range I locked in towards the end of our time with the model (a total of about 80 minutes from the live model)  Towards the end, maybe about 10 minutes left, I took a few steps back from my work and realized her head was too small, and painted it in again.  

The model was gracious enough to allow a reference photo, so I am looking forward to finishing up this painting.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stay the Course

A friend of mine shared this picture containing a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on her FB wall, and there was something remarkable about the timing when I saw it...

Because I had just received another rejection letter from another show, this only a few days after losing out on another opportunity as well.  When that happens several times in a course of only a few days, you not only question the work you've done in the past, but the plans you have for the future.

I have a series of paintings that I have started, based on the Main Street in Woodstock where my studio is located.  I love the scenes, I love taking the photos, seeking out interesting environments and cool people to capture in everyday settings.  I think it could be a great series of paintings, and I'd like to turn them into a book.

So here's where the courage will have to come in: can I stay the course, even if people are negative about the series or don't see what I see in the paintings?  It's a project that could take over a year.  I' haven't work on a series that long since Grad school.  And I'm going to need funding and support to buy the supplies, the studio time, and the first run of books.   I will have to believe in this series enough to ask for the monetary help to support it for a year AND I will have to have the courage to follow it through.

I posted on my FB wall not too long back that I was getting frustrated by the fact that the "right" set of eyes has not set on the "right" painting yet.  Whether it was a juror for a magazine contest, and on-line competition, or even a local juried show.  But the responses that so many people gave me really changed my mind, and my attitude: so many Eyes have seen the right Painting, and it means something TO THEM.  The Art connects with them, brings them Joy, and Inspiration.  Those are the Right Eyes.

And, I came across this quote while reading a book the other day:

"When I say I hate time, Paul says
how else could we find depth
of character, or grow souls?"

Mark Doty

(As seen in "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith)

and I had to meditate on the fact that Time is probably what I need: Time to find depth in my character, in myself and in my paintings.  My Soul needs to be nourished, and therefor, my paintings will be nourished as well.

I may think that my paintings NOW need to be seen, rewarded, lauded and printed.  But with Time - what new depths will I achieve?  I am going to try and enter fewer shows, focus less on winning accolades, and focus more on pushing my work.  It will take Time.  It will take Courage.  I hope to have enough of both.