Monday, April 27, 2015

A Gift for Dad on Father's Day-- A House Painting

This house painting was commissioned as a surprise gift for Father's Day. The client sent me several photos of her house and a few pictures of her and the family.

The key to putting people into a house painting is to keep them "in the background". That doesn't mean you have to put them behind the house; you just need to keep the values fairly close and don't add much detail. I blocked in the shapes in raw umber, then allowed it to dry and colored in the limbs and clothing loosely with paint very similar in value.

The painting is about the house and if we don't lose sight of that it's a better painting. Resist the temptation to put in features, bows, shoes etc. The house is the subject and the family is secondary.

16" x 20"

Alexa's House

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Do You Do with Really Bad Photos?

This happens a lot. Someone dies and their brother (or mother, or cousin, or son etc.) realizes there are no good photos of them. Not one! They might be going through albums or cell phone pictures searching for photos to put up on the slide show that has recently become obligatory at most funerals.

"Omigosh!" They exclaim. "There is not one good photo of Uncle Fred."

Then Fred's daughter decides she wants a good photo or something to hang on her wall to keep his memory alive. She finds a bad photo and brings it to me and asks if I might be able to create a good painting using it as a reference.

At this point I should offer a firm "NO!"

But I don't. I tell the relative I can create a painting, but it will not be much better that the photo. However, I can make it impressionistic. For some reason an impressionistic portrait is better than a blurry photo when you hang them side by side on the wall. Or so they tell me.

8" x 10" oil on canvas

Mr. Evans

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Painting form the Live Model

This is the lovely Jessica again; this time I used my standard medium, oil paint. It's from the same angle as the pastel I did last week, but the lighting is a little more defined in this version.

11" x 14"

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Using Pastel as a Medium

This is a pastel PAINTING. It was created with hard and soft pastels, which are sticks made of pure pigment, calcium carbonate (chalk) and just enough water to bind them together. All pastels are not created equal. Some pastels are hand made, like Terry Ludwig Pastels, others are machine made and resemble crayons.

The difference between a pastel painting and a pastel drawing is the level of coverage. If the pastel was layered to create colors (as this one was), it's a painting. If the artist used the pastel like a piece of charcoal or a pencil and didn't cover much of the paper, it is a drawing.

That's your mini art lesson for today. This is Jessica, one of our regular models, who manages to look different in every painting I create of her. She is like a gorgeous chameleon, able to take on exotic colors and become someone altogether different at will. She's also a very nice girl who always goes the extra mile our group. I love the hat she is wearing here. It reminds me of a Renoir prop.

Soft Pastel on Gray Paper

Monday, April 06, 2015

Palm Tree and Beach Umbrella

This is a group of people hwo took a painting class with me at the senior center. We painted a beach scene to warm us up a bit. Everyone did an amazing job with this project, which involved combining two photos to create one.

Above is my finished piece. We worked on complementary color theory. In other words, if the shadows are blue-violet, what color is the light shining on the white umbrella?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Marblehead Lighthouse from Another View

This is a view of Marblehead Lighthouse from the rocks below it on the north side. It's an angle that eliminates a lot of the distractions you see from above. It's also an angle that would be almost impossible to paint en plein air so I used a photograph.

The last few years I have had a few paintings in a gallery at Lakeside, Ohio. I haven't had much success with mainstream art; the only thing they sell of mine are paintings of Marblehead and cottages. It's a tourist area so that 's probably why. You don't go on vacation and buy a still life painting.

Although I am tempted to try a sail boat this year.

9"x 12"
Marblehead Lighthouse, Spring