Thursday, February 28, 2013

Miniatures and Why to Copy from a Master

I am in the process of moving my studio from the basement to the upstairs. We are remodeling the basement and it will be a better space with more options if I am not there, I also need better lighting. My new room is small, but it does have excellent lighting and I kind of need a more confined space. I am one of those people who take over as much space is available so I think the trade off will be a more organized life. Maybe I will get the business taxes figured out EARLY this year for a change instead of waiting until the last moment.

I'm not sure if I am responding to my new space by painting smaller but this is what I painted yesterday, A 6" x 6" piece based on a much larger portrait by Nelson Shanks, a well-known portrait artist who has painted presidents and tons of famous people.

It was a challenge to paint this small. Errors are much easier to make because if you're off by a fraction of an inch it looks bad, unlike painting life size where there is a bit of leeway. I did a large portion of this painting with a size 2 round, a much smaller brush than my normal size 6 flat.

So it doesn't look like Nelson's version-- it looks like a person and I learned a bit about mixing skin tones and how to use blues and greens for depth. It's never a bad thing to copy a master's work. And Nelson Shanks is certainly one of the top in his field.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 how we see things

My friend Dave Rolestone from the U.K. was nice enough to send a portrait he started of me along with the one he completed for our Christmas Portrait Exchange. I had told him I would like to fix it. When he was working on it I tried to offer some advice but sometimes- especially when it comes to fine art-- a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here's the video I made to document the changes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lemonade Stand

On my way to work last summer I spotted this lemonade stand. Not particularly thirsty, but very enamored of theit sheer "cuteness", I had to stop and buy a cup. Ten cents was just not enough for quality hand-squeezed lemonade, so I generously (right) gave them a quarter. I also asked their mom if I could take a few pictures and I told her WHY.... Here it is February and I am longing for the summer sun so I pulled out my summer picture files. There they were... as nostalgic and cute as I remembered.

6" x 6"
Lemonade Stand

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Young Model from Saturday's Session

Tryna-- I think that is her name, modeled for our portrait group Saturday. This is my painting from that session. My studio is having some work done so I may not be painting much this month. It's a matter of reconfiguring space and repairing some block walls, so it could be a long time until I'm back in business.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

I love art pottery

I buy "objets d'art" because they are beautiful and when I purchase them I am thinking about how wonderful they will look in my paintings too. Well, I am hoping anyway. I like original best. I like to pair them with organic objects like fruit. Complementary color schemes, analogous, doesn't matter.I like to paint and it's mostly about the process. If the painting looks nice when I'm done that's just a plus. The real reason I paint is because I enjoy it so much. It's almost like solving a puzzle- trying to get the pieces in the right place.

Avocado Dreams
12" x 16"

I love avocados... and avocado dip, so I always have them on hand.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Acrylic Painting Class in Bryan

I'm doing a four week painting class in Bryan and we started off all painting the same thing. I did a Powerpoint presentation showing the painting step-by-step and gave them some info on color and how to block in and we were off an running. Next week they get to choose from flowers or a landscape. I like to have them all do the same thing the first night so I can get an idea of how much experience they have. The subject was a rowboat with Ocracoke Lighthouse int he background. Everyone did quite well!

My version of the painting we did is below.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Style Changes Over the Years

I was stuck in the house yesterday so I baked some chocolate chip cookie and this morning I decided to paint a couple of them. This was more difficult than you might think. It reminds me of painting rocks: there is light and there are shadows and there is an inherent unevenness. Still, a fun exercise.

I remembered painting a similar piece a few years ago so I did a search of my archived photos and sure enough, in 2007 I painted almost the exact composition. I was doing a lot of paintings on my sun porch at that time so the lighting is quite different. I think I even used the same glass for the milk! It is interesting to see how my approach differs today. I still go for the L shaped composition and I chose two cookies for some reason. Is that because this is the amount I usually eat or is it because I want three objects in my painting? I'm not sure. I kept the darks grouped together in this newer version and it seems as if the paint is applied a bit more liberally.

I like the 2013 painting better. It seems fresher and less stilted but then again my preferences could be changing as I grow older too. I've included the other painting in this shot too.

8" x 10"
Cookies and Milk

Friday, February 01, 2013

This is the Vase I bought in Patagonia

I buy lots of art pottery, always with the idea in the back of my mind that I will put them in a painting. I look for earthy organic colored vases and pots. Handmade is better. The irregularities of hand-thrown pots and vases are charming. Plus I like the idea that I am supporting another artist.

I purchased this lovely vase in Patagonia, AZ. I love the unique design and the muted glaze. There are hints of rusty orange in the glaze so I paired it with an orange and a Bosc pear, setting up a split complementary color scheme.

The lighting is simple. No drama necessary when the color is my focus.

Orange with Green Vase and Pear
10" x 8"