Friday, February 27, 2015

"Helping" All Drawn Out and Ready to Go

22 x 30, Fabriano Artistico Rough paper

There was no way I was going to draw out all those flowers and stuff, so effort concentrated on the 3 subjects and some of the shadow shapes so I don't forget about them.  This and the next stage are my favorite parts of painting, where all potential lies ahead and no screw-ups have yet occurred.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Helping" - Color Study

8 x 6 wc study

The purpose of this is to try out colors in a small format, see if anything bugs me, and to warm up with the paint and the image.  Where will edges be hard, soft, rough or removed altogether?  Is there too much white that should be tinted back?   And so on.... The hospital chose to commission a 22 x 30 full sheet watercolor  based on this study (remember, guidelines were Norman Rockwell, Americana, nostalgia). 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Helping" - A Watercolor in Progress

Visual thinking in the sketchbook


Sometimes while at work I have time to work out my ideas
for a painting.  On the left are notes and possible formats, movement, where to put the forms and how big.  On the right sketchbook page I dinked around with wc pencils and whiteout.  Next came the value sketch, just to check the shapes; although this usually happens before the color thinking.  I like to simplify it into a notan (Japanese word meaning black and white design) and then see if I can get to as few shapes as possible.  Counting just the large shapes, there are 5; putting in a few of the smaller shapes brought the count to 8, which is well under the goal of no more than 13.  So, this looks like it will work. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Waiting for the Parade" Completed

     Oil on canvas, 24 x 36

All done and varnished - finally!-- but now I can't take a decent picture of it because of glare....  oh well, on to the next (commissioned by same hospital in SD).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

End in Sight, Yet Far Away

Missed my self-imposed deadline of Sunday, so I'll be at it again next weekend. So many little things to attend to!  The front five kids are pretty complete, except for maybe putting a bomb pop in the hand of the kid on the left and de-activating some of the stripes on the romper on the right, and adding folds.  Pavement needs to be scumbled over this dark layer, and then figure out what color shadows ought to be.  I like the shadow colors on the curb.  All of the other people, their clothing and skin and well -- everything-- needs attention.  Hopefully, whatever that ends up being will not require much change to the front five.  Now I guess I know why you're not supposed to take isolated parts to completion ahead of other stuff.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Moving Along to Ugly Adolescence

Block-in completed.  This is an enjoyable process even if some things are dead wrong, because nothing is permanent and all feels possible.  Still dealing with chunkier shapes of flat color and exaggerated value.  It's the next stage where things start to get.... well, like an ugly adolescent.

Because you start paying attention to how you think it ought to be, you start pulling punches, fearful of making mistakes and wasting time and paint and canvas.  Bits and pieces move along at varying rates and out of synch, and you despair of ever getting through this stage and having things turn out.  You avoid some areas altogether (shadows) and completely overwork others (skin).  You have no clue what to do about the pavement. But, you are committed to finishing this weekend (and getting past using 2nd person narrative; first person feels like too much ownership at this stage).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Waiting for the Parade" -- and hoping to make art again.

 I see that it s been just about a year since I last posted here.  So much for accountability.  Truth is that I have painted very, very little; maybe lost my mojo, and giving serious thought to giving up my studio.  The day job takes 3 days of the week, leaving the other 4 available for chores, errands, R & R, family stuff -- and then maybe time for art. My son and I have talked at length about how frustrating and demoralizing it is to try to do something you love, but do it poorly.  Here's to hoping the slump has schlepped.
Happy to have a project on the easel again and a deadline to meet, and while engaged with this new ideas and plans beginning to bubble up again.

 Received an RFP (request for proposal) for artwork for a new hospital being built in SD, asking for americana/nostalgia themes for a "Main Street" commons area.  I submitted photos of existing work, samples and  proposed commission ideas.  The committee  commissioned two paintings, a 24 x 36 oil and a 30 x 22 watercolor.  The oil will have to dry a spell before it can be shipped in the beginning of March, so that one has to be tackled first. It will be based on the little painting above (9 x 13 oil of the kids at the 4th of July parade). 

Here's the underpainting (24 x 36)...

And here's the initial block in, trying out some colors and values, changing a few things around.  What works in a small painting doesn't always fly when you blow it up three times bigger.