January 27, 2009

figure drawing/painting

two or three times a month I attend a figure drawing session. Most of the time I draw with charcoal, but last session I worked in oil on gessoed art board. The panel is toned with raw umber to put it at mid value. Before I start painting I mix a range of values from dark to light in about five or six steps with the raw umber and titanium white. First step is to block in the basic figure then work up the darks. From there it's a matter or building the form in value using the pre-mixed range.

January 22, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

Sadly the world has lost a master of art this month, Andrew Wyeth. There is a sense of mystery and solitude in his work, which reminds me of the pacific NW in winter. Muted colors, dark, gnarled, and brooding nature. There is a book out titled, Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life by Richard Meryman, if you get a chance pick it up and read it. Such an interesting man.

January 21, 2009

Completed paintings...

These two paintings are completed. The final two layers are usually very satisfying. Such a treat to see the paintings come together at the end. The frosting on the cake is getting to start a new painting!

January 19, 2009

Row of Pears

This particular series is a good example of finding the basic forms in planes of value and color. The pear on the left has been divided up to show the light as it wraps around the pear. Once the basic shapes are defined it's a process of finding the more subtle transitions then blending to soften them. I'll post the finished painting as soon as it's finished.

You'll notice that I don't post finished paintings very quickly, that's because there are usually three to five paintings in progress at the same time and occasionally they are being finished simultaneously.

January 18, 2009

My first solo show!

time to crank it up and work like a fiend. I have six weeks to pull a show together!!! Thank God for a supportive family and fantastic friends.

January 14, 2009

Hmm... How do I paint text...

The last image shows the text but also show the difference in the studio light when it's a sunny day, the incandescent bulbs definitely put out a yellow light and the natural light is much cooler.
This painting is at about 70% finished. There will be another two or three passes with an emphasis on bringing up the lights and putting in the text on the page. The question is how do I paint the text on the open page.

January 13, 2009

Shadow patterns and beginning new painting

I wanted to post images of the first few steps in my painting process. My landscapes begin with a visit to some destination where I spend quite a bit of time if not sketching, at least observing and photographing the scene. Once I chose a an image for painting I do some compositional sketches in my notebook. Next comes a charcoal drawing on the canvas. Charcoal is particularly useful because it can easily be wiped off and reapplied as needed . Once a basic drawing is down the umber layer comes next. I like using raw umber for this monochromatic stage. It's a great neutral and dries quickly. When this layer is dry I can begin to build up color. I'll post images of this as they are ready.

This painting has been in progress for a number of months now. I have numerous canvas going at one time to keep my interest fresh and my eyes! Shadow shapes describe the surface of the forms they fall on. In other words if the shadow falls across a bumpy dirt road then the edges of the shadow should not be straight but bumpy. So I am going to look at all of the shadow shapes in this painting and make sure they do this. This painting is at about 2/3rds of the way to finish. I'm satisfied with the progress so far and am anxious to see how it turns out.

January 11, 2009

hyacinth in progress

This is a still life in progress on my easel at the moment. As I mentioned in the previous post, color tends to be overdone in many of my paintings so I am concentrating on getting values worked out first. I'm on the second pass and see that the green of the leaves is too saturated so I'll correct it with some glazes of burnt sienna to neutralize the green with its opposite, red. After that the pot needs more work and the flowers edges are too sharp in areas so those will be softened. So far I've managed to keep the dark background transparent which is good.
I've posted a photo of the subject to illustrate the process for the blog. I only paint still life from actual objects, painting from a photo is very frustrating.

January 6, 2009

Color struggles

Coming from a background in children's illustration I have a tendency to go for saturated color. My goal is to create paintings where there is a balance between the neutrals and color. So far I still overdo it with the color. For my next landscape I intend to spend more time on an umber monochromatic under painting then add color conservatively.

January 1, 2009

Inspiration Book

The first thing I recommend for beginning art students is to take the time to identify your personal aesthetic. What your interests are and what your goal is as an artist. For example, when I became serious about being a painter I needed to decide what I would focus on for subject matter and style. So I began an inspiration book, or scrap book. Clipping and pasting images from magazines and downloaded stuff from the web, with the idea that I would go off of instinct and not think too hard about what it was I chose, allowing my initial reaction of attraction to be the only criteria. The purpose of the book was to allow me to see trends in palette, subject matter, style, values, etc. This worked very well. After filling about 1/3 of the first book it became obvious that I am very attracted to strong value patterns and classic subject matter. Having a sense of direction in the beginning will save you time and materials.
A side note; images created by other artists in my idea book are used for educational and inspirational purposes only. Copying other artists work is useful for learning technique and handling of materials but should never be used for commercial purposes. It's our responsibility as artists create original work communicating in our own voice.