Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blocked-in Bride

   30" x 40" Oil

     Still in the mood to paint in oil; maybe it's the fall weather.  This is a first stage monochromatic block in, done right on the toned canvas. One of the benefits of oil is that I can make as many rub-outs and alterations as I want.  Do-over heaven, which is good because the head is too big, and there's some odd stuff happening at her back.  I can continue to refine shapes and sizes of things all through the next stage, the local color block-in, which will happen after this has had a chance to dry a bit.  Might be a demo for the Studio Crawl.  
      Couple of content issues:  what's outside the window, and what's that stuff in the lower left corner?  A car stuck in snow and a bouquet of calla lilies, but I really don't want to be messing with this kind of stuff, so I think all that may disappear in favor of vague and indistinct shapes.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is NOT a portrait, and I need to let go of my photo references.
     I am having fun thinking up titles, though:  Waiting, Stood Up and Sitting Down, All About the Dress, Second Thoughts.  Taking suggestions.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumped to Paint

     I wonder if other people have to trick themselves into doing things they really want to do (but are afraid to do because they usually screw it up).  I am always on the lookout for ways to wind up my painting courage.
     Today I read an article by an oil painter who talked about the classic atelier way to build a painting.  Step 1 was to apply an "imprimatura" to the canvas, to tone and seal the canvas.  Being a sucker for all things Italian, I decided to give this a whirl when I got to the studio today. Applied the imprimatura over a life size painting of oldest son Austin that I had barely begun and set aside over a year ago.  They say the sense of smell can evoke strong memories, and this seemed to be the case.The smell of the turpentine and oil paint immediately reminded me of my very first paint set and the fresh wonder of all things art.
     And just like that, I was pumped to paint.  So I dragged out a bunch of half finished things and set them out for further consideration.  I didn't have time to do more  (the Mosaic class was here -- fun group) but I hope the lingering smell of turpentine will do its thing for me when I get here tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sarah Somebody?

Here's a sequence of shots of a watercolor in development.  This young woman was a local college student and the daughter of a Red River Watercolor Society member; she agreed to pose for one of our meetings.  Unfortunately, I think I must have messed it up or overworked it because it ended up being cut up for a collage experiment -- which also went bad.  I think the paper was haunted.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Flowers in a Mug

14" x 11" watercolor

Whenever I get scattered and unsettled about painting, I choose florals as a subject.   Flowers are my least favorite thing to paint because of all the little busy forms and because I never seem to compose the rectangle in an interesting way.  Painting something to which I have little attachment seems a better idea than painting something important while I am feeling this discombobulated.   I can be crabby and distracted, say to myself "WTH" and not care about results.  The painting muscle gets exercised, regardless, because really it is all the same thing: shape, color, value, edges.

Sooner or later most (figurative) painters will do florals, but IMHO it takes a master to do them well.  So having few expectations about my own floral endeavors can be liberating.  I just hope I get out of this funk soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wild Roses

11" x 14" watercolor study on gessoed paper

I remember now why I don't like painting on gesso:  it wrecks your good brushes if you don't sand it smooth, and the paint lifts.  Why I like it?  The paint lifts.  Double-edged sword.   I am getting behind in posting, so once again digging into the don't-know-what-to-do-with-it-pile.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Couch Potato 1, Couch Potato 2

14" x 11" watercolor

14" x 11" watercolor

Two different treatments; one aims for mood and the other for freshness.  The trick would be to land on both.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Adding Color

These appear in reverse order.  #1 below was a simple attempt to redo the simplest of the value studies in color, #2 expands on the values and the color, and #3 (above) is another version with some added details.  All of these were done as demonstrations for an exercise I learned from plein air oil painter extraordinaire, Marc Hanson.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Values Are Our Friends

A few years back I took workshops from 3 artists whose work I greatly admired.  Andy Evansen, Tom Francesconi, and Alvaro Castagnet each create very unique paintings but all exhibit a confidence and clarity in their paint application. They are superb mark-makers. They could put the right (e.g.,  correct value and color) mark down in the right place and the right time.  How did they do this?  Experience.  I understood this to mean figuring it out and practicing it until it was imbedded.  Hence the two value studies above, trying to gain experience in seeing shapes and designing the rectangle, and then to apply paint in the desired values.  No color at this point, just trying to get it organized.

Monday, September 10, 2012


14" x 11" Watercolor

From the Monument of Pope Gregory in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, the statue is meant to be an allegory for Religion.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Statue Studies: Resting by the River God

14" x 11" Watercolor & Ink

This is a good example of why studies serve a purpose: split focus, color chaos, and a need to resolve awkward areas.  Solutions would be necessary before going further.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Card Shark & Studies

This is a good example of why I often end up liking the studies better than the final paintings.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Study for Venetian Mask Maker

10" x 12" Watercolor

So many complex bits to this image, it quite got away from me.  IF i decide to do a "real" painting from this, I'll have to figure out how to simplify and yet still give the impression of the cluttered chaos of this little Venetian shop.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Warm Nude

15" x 22" Charcoal & Watercolor

This is done from some sketchbook work from a life drawing coop in the past.  I like the hit-and-miss quality of this.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tea & Clementines

11" x 14" watercolor

This is also and older study, done as a class demo about aiming for minimal, fresh application.  Pretty much everything that has been or will be posted this month are studies, meaning that they address one or two concerns only and may be a complete miss in other areas.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Newberry Street

10" x 14" Watercolor

Another Boston pic.  Will be posting 2 x day or so in attempt to get current.  Again, purpose is to imprint the habit of painting every day and thus gain in putting it down and leaving it alone, instead of worrying about straight lines and other descriptive mandates.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cabin Sideyard

8 " x 16" Watercolor

Another scene from the lake.  Not a stellar effort, but posted because I am  such a baby about painting plein air, it is commendable for that alone.  Does it count as plein air if you are two steps away from food, drink, bathroom and tv?  There were bugs...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mill Pond

10" x 14" Watercolor

Going to Start posting again, which means going to have to start cranking out the paintings.... the Studio Crawl is next month and it would behoove me to have some new stuff.  Not to mention, it's got to be a good idea to paint more, and more often, right?  So, the goal is to paint/ post for each of the days of September.   Fitting to start with a few plein air studies done at the lake, since the season is done.