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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A year to think about it.

This year's Golden Triangle Museum District paint out starts September 5. I started this painting during last years event. My daughter graciously posed for me so I could try to do a figure plein air. I liked the composition but just could not get it where I wanted it to go. I started another painting last weekend (see below) of my daughter from another photograph from the same setup. Blocking in that larger piece (16x20) that is cropped up close helped me figure out how to finish this one. I think I was struggling with the graphic versus impressionistic even back then.

French Construction Workers-break time

I started this piece in late June and finished it (or not) a few weeks ago. I have had trouble getting a good photo of it so that has delayed it getting posted. I keep changing my set up around which means I then must readjust my lighting. What works for photography may not work best for when I am painting. I was influenced by a show I saw in June at Gallery 1261 that showcased Mark Nelson and Kevin Weckbach. Seeing Mark's strong graphic, almost abstract work, reminded me of my background in graphic design. I started out painting very similar to Mark and then was chastised by an instructor to "move on" and develop as a painter. So all these years I have been trying to paint more painterly, and I am as close to that as I ever have been. Yet when I saw this show all that just doesn't matter anymore. I really want to paint more graphic. It has been a mind bender, though.
And I feel like I want to focus on the figure; this coming after I have said more than once that I am a landscape painter. The best laid plans of mice and men.

Working on this piece led me to another

Sunday, August 23, 2009

another behind the scenes

This painting on the right is also from my "plant portrait" time. I had joined the Denver Orchid Society to have access to the expertise available in trying to grow orchids and also to see what the orchid world had to offer me for subject matter. Here is a mini phal that I borrowed from one of the members who was very generous in allowing me access to his plants and greenhouse. It is 12x9 and painted in 2003. I have always liked this little piece, butI decided to play with it just the same. since I liked the compostion, I just did a reworking using color and value.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More productive than is evident

I have been negligent about posting; but not because I have been idle. I have been busy in and out of the studio. Above is a study (8x6) I did a few weeks ago in my garden. Trying to do a quick study without too much attention to exactness. Very hard for me. I wanted to focus on the thing that gives me the biggest problem which is value, and to get motion/movement in the flowers.

I painted these Monarda before I painted the black-eyed susans. Painting red flowers is still a real challenge for me. Especially a cool red flower. Even though I saw pink in the highlighted petals, when I painted them in, it read weird to me. I do not think this is a successful piece, and in trying too hard to get it right, I think I overdid it. There is actually an older painting underneath it that I painted over but loosely used the original placement of flowers. I called them "floral portraits" at the time (2002). I have come a long way. It is not similar enough to call it a before and after.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Musings on a Saturday

Last night, Richard and I went to see the new movie "Julia and Julie." I was interested in this movie on many levels. One, I spent 5 years in France in the 60's and I knew of Julia Child because my mother was also interested in food and especially, French Cuisine. Second, because I am a blogger writing about my passion, painting and art. I related to Julie because I have found out how hard it is to write something often when there are a myriad of other things going on in your life. Julie was almost half my age when she did her blog on cooking all of the recipes in Julia's "Mastering the art of French Cuisine" in one year. It about did her in. But she did it.

Tuesday night, I watched a few hours of an instructional video with my painting buddy, Drew. The video is by Quang Ho and is on Painting the Still Life. I admire Quang and he is an amazing artist. I did get a few things out of what we watched. I also know I don't want to paint like Quang, and so one has to listen for the tidbits that form the foundation of all good paintings, and not focus on his personal style. I always find it fascination to see how an artist works, though, and for that, it was enlightening. I do have a conundrum, though, that I wish someone could answer for me. I will also endeavor to figure it out. In the still life Quang set up, he had north light coming in. He said he paints with natural light as much as possible, both on his still life setups and his easel. Fine. So the light is coming in from his north window and he is painting at his easel, perpendicular to the setup. Got it. BUT, the landscape painting gurus all say the same thing. NOT to paint perpendicular to a scene that is lit like that, but to either paint towards the sun (light source), where you will get a silhouette situation, or to paint with your back to the sun, and then the scene is front lit. I have been paying attention to this for quite awhile, because I know that I often set up for landscape in the field perpendicular to the light. But for the life of me, I cannot remember the reasoning behind it. In still life situations, you want a directional light source, so why not in the landscape?

Quang did talk about having only one light source on your setup, and I do understand that reasoning. I still like having multiple light sources when I am wanting to play with shapes that the shadows create. As in the painting I did this past spring of red tulips. I am sure he would ding me big time on this painting, but I still like it. And it is not a manipulated set up.