Tuesday, August 12, 2008



This is not my first blog post (I've been posting on my website http://www.shawnsullivanpaintings.com/ for over a year now) but it is my first posting on this forum. I am a high school art teacher and a professional artist. I love teaching and it does give me enough time to paint every day and all day on the weekends. I mainly focus on still life paintings but i also do quite a few landscapes and interiors and the occasional portrait.

The summer is usually the time when I can get a leg up on my work and this summer I've been pushing ahead on a few different areas. Usually I paint my setups using a spotlight but I recently started experimenting with daylight. I've found it to be quite a challenge. The forms turn slower and more subtly. The shadows tend to melt into each other and theres more "paysage" in general. The warm and cool color relationships are different as well. Anyways, this is an example of one of my recent daylight paintings "Soup Tureen and Onions" 16"x20". I have it setup right next to a window with a white window shade drawn down. It does diffuse the light somewhat but it keeps it constant, allowing me to paint longer than if the shade was up. With this painting I used a burnt umber wipeout and then began to paint "window shade" style painting each object to completion.(well sort of, I went back and repainted each area several times to get the effect of daylight rolling across the forms.)
Another area that I've been concentrating on is my drawing. Usually I draw directly on the canvas with charcoal, but lately I've been making pencil drawings on paper and then transferring them to the canvas. I don't know if it makes a noticable difference but it does give you a last minute reprieve because you can shift the composition slightly when making the transfer.
Usually, I take a workshop over the summer because the classes that I'm taking at the Grand Central Academy of Art go on a summer break and it gives me a chance to try something new. I recently completed a week long drawing class with Jon DeMartin www.jondemartin.net called "short and long pose figure drawing". I highly reccommend it. Having been trained in the straight line drawing and block in method, I found Jon's emphasis on gesture and inner curve lines very refreshing. He doesn't disavow the Bargue method but shows how gesture drawing can be a great tool to use along with the block in.
Well, I'm about to go in the studio so heres the end of my first post, Ciao.

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