Friday, October 11, 2013

Tin Teapot with Eggs

"Tea for One" Oil on Linen Mounted on Board, 11" x 14"

My friend Anne, routed out her lovely kitchen looking for pieces that I could add to still life and I settled on this little tin teapot.  One of my students is a farmer and has been bringing me these wonderful brown eggs. Actually, of late, they are many different colors, but these just happened to be creamed coffee color and so that's what ended up in the painting. Some days, I decide which ones I'll eat by how many I have left of a certain color.

I'm happy with this piece. I find that since I left the atelier, I have internalized my teacher's voice. Drives me crazy. But it also keeps me honest with myself. I don't settle anymore. And if it's not my best effort, it doesn't leave the easel. Hope you like it too.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Floral Still Life, Oil on Paper Mounted on Board

"Asian Influence"Oil on paper mounted on panel

I've been heavily involved heading up a local event here in Port Angeles for the last five months. The event, "Paint the Peninsula", was a plein air competition which lasted five days and included a barbecue kickoff, a wonderful cocktail party at Camaraderie Winery and a Gala black tie event and show, all culminating in a Quick Draw competition and mini festival. That, in turn, was followed by a three day workshop offered by Ned Mueller, our judge. It was grueling as I not only helped to run and coordinate the event, but hosted two house guests and participated as well. Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been a problem. Currently with a fresh back injury, it was like running two marathons back to back. I'm done. Stick a fork in me. 

Anyway, with all this work on my plate (no pun intended), this weekend was the first time in a few months I've actually had to get in my studio, turn out the overhead lights and just paint. No phone ringing, no other work to do and no students. Just me and the set up and the quiet. This photo doesn't begin to capture the light in the painting. It has a bit more contrast in this photo too than is in the painting which I've tried to fix on Photoshop, but then I lose other stuff. Darn. The camera is still new to me and I'm a poor student of photography. Well, I'm going to have to cave and take some lessons. I did better with my Canon, but the Nikon is a little trickier. 

I work under north light from a large cathedral style window which brings in soft, cool light. It's more noticeable when you see it live, but there's some broken 
orangey color in the background peeking through that helps to give the painting an airy feeling. Still working toward achieving that special quality of light that evokes a soft moodiness.  I'm coming more and more to the point where I copy less of what I see and add more to the painting of what it needs. I'd like to get to that place with portraits as well. All good things in their time. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Female Nude, Charcoal

Short Pose

We had a new model today for short pose. Beautiful girl with great lines. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Oil Painting of Reclining Nude


18" x 12", Oil on Paper

I've been painting small nudes lately. I think there's an intimacy about them that you can't get with larger paintings. Also the the size allows me to do more of them and experiment with abstracted backgrounds. Abstraction is something I'm deeply interested in. Don't get me wrong - I'm very much entrenched in representational work and have no intention of changing that. But any artist who has trained, knows that a good abstract design lies at the heart of every successful painting. For a long time I've been scribbling in sketch books ideas that I have for combining these two genre's. Yes, I know there are other artists out there who have done this quite successfully. There probably isn't anything new under the sun and I'm not out to reinvent the wheel. But I have to go where my muse leads or my work will get stale. 

I think the exploration of  new horizons is a call that many artists hear but don't follow out of fear of losing sales. What I've found is that when I paint something I love, others love it too. So. Onward into the new frontier. Er, somewhat. I think you'll still see a lot of my traditional stuff here as I continue to forge new paths. As it goes with many experiments, sometimes the lab blows up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Measure of Success

"Just a Little Tin"

Oil on Board, 5" x 7"
Well, this was fun.  This started out to be a small exercise in value and temperature - my favorite subject for exploration, and ended up taking more than a few hours to get right. Still, it was a lot of fun and the results were worth it. What's really surprising to a lot of my students, though, is that it took me as long as it did. They've seen me whip out larger pieces in half the time. But these days I'm taking a bit more time with my work in tweaking things.

I think the lesson here is that we are our own worst or hardest critic. I'd like to think that I'm learning to be a hard critic of my own work. Sure I can find a lot wrong with my work, but more importantly, I'm better able to answer the question; "did I achieved what I was after?" Starting a painting without a concept in mind is a lot like taking a road trip without a map. Sure, you may get to a lot of interesting places, but you won't necessarily get anywhere you started out wanting to go. So these days, before sitting down to paint even a small thing like this little ditty, I try to have a clear goal in mind. That way, I can answer the question, "was the trip worth the goal?" If I've actually learned what I was after to find out, then even if the painting is a dud, I've been a success. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Oil Painting of Tin and Pewter

"On the Edge", Oil on Board, 9" x 12"

Not having a clue what I wanted to paint the other day, but knowing I needed to paint, I grabbed these items off the shelf and plopped them down on my still life shadow box. Sometimes when I'm in that place between inspiration and the need to just push some paint around, I'll try to make the most of my time by giving myself just an exercise to do. Something with a goal in mind that will focus my attention and give me a lesson at the same time. 

I knew I wanted to do something that wasn't high contrast but that was in cool light and would challenge me with subtle temperature shifts. The background of my wood shadow box is painted a kind of Naples Yellow Light and generally I drape fabric or colored paper over it. But this time I decided to try something with just the creamy yellow background. Yellow can be a challenge when it becomes shadow because it can go in a couple of different directions -  from orangy to brown and often green. Finding the right relationships can be a challenge so I was pleased when this worked out. Pulling the yellow into the pewter and tin pieces brought the painting together. This is easy when there are reflective objects present as they'll do this anyway. I liked the negative space formed by the balanced tin cup and the lost edges too.  How do you like the brushed surface of the pitcher?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Still Life, Red Cherry Pitcher

"The Cherry Pitcher"Oil on Linen

I purchased this pitcher mainly because I liked it's color and wanted to challenge myself to paint it. Red is a particularly difficult color to do well. Too much background color in it and it looks dull or muddy, too much Naples Yellow or White on the lit side leads to pasty looking pink. Although it's not so much the exact color/temperature that gets you there, it's the color/temperature relationship. Either color used in isolation will look off. It's when they're juxtaposed to each other that they come alive and it all sings. I was happy overall with the way this painting turned out, I felt my edges were working for me and the shadows on the lace were just right. What do you think?


Monday, April 29, 2013

Male Nude Study

A Study of  Carlton

I run a life drawing group on Mondays at my studio. I have about seven loyal friends and students who enjoy this time with me.

Carlton is one of my favorite models and I particularly enjoyed this pose because of the warm and cool contrasts.

For the past few months, I worked strictly in graphite to get back in practice but since we have switched to longer poses I'm back into paint. I'm a bit out of practice with painting directly from the model as I haven't done it since last June when I was in atelier, but I hope to whip these out a bit faster and more accurately as I get back in the swing of things. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still Life of Chocolate Pot

"The Chocolate Pot"
Oil on Linen on Board

I recently assisted a student in setting up a still life for a graphite drawing she will be working on. I liked the set up and decided it would be a good exercise for me to work on. 

I've just finished a five month project for a client and was eager to get back into painting smaller projects of my choice. This was a good one to get started on. It's monochromatic appearance and subtle half tones appealed to me. I'm still playing with how to crop it. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Practice and all that Jazz

Here's a little portrait I did for practice the other day. Her name is Bridgette. She's a friend and former student and has perfect bone structure. I enjoy doing these little portraits because I can get them done quickly. I took a break from a very large project I've been working on for five months. Haven't gotten much else done but I'm almost finished and it will be good to get back to smaller projects that are more speedily completed.