Thursday, April 30, 2009


I started another 11"x14" painting. I'm not sure what radicchio is but I liked the color of it and I plan to paint it, not eat it. Hopefully it'll last for a while. I like to keep the drawing schematic so that I can discover the subtleties of the contours as I paint. It might be a few days, as I have a half marathon race this weekend.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Portraits

Re-worked sections of my wifes portrait and finished up the Capri girl. I can probably finish my wifes painting with one more sesssion. The hardest part about not finishing in a single session is getting the exact same color mixtures. The next portrait that I do I'm definitely going to mix and tube the colors. I tried doing it this time but the tubes I had were too large and I didn't have enough paint in there to keep them from air drying. Still, the efforts are paying off and eventually I'll put it all together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Capri Girl

Started work on my Sargent study. There's a lot of nuance in Sargents painting and he seemed to be up on everything that I'm reading and learning about in terms of connecting forms, shaping the light, compressed values etc;. I guess a lot of the things that are being re-invented in modern day ateliers were just standard practice in the academic training of an artist during Sargent's lifetime. And of course it helps that he was extraordinarily gifted and probably was able to intuit a lot of things that might have taken a lesser artist half a lifetime to figure out. Anyway, I'm having a blast painting her. She never complains, poses as long as I need, and only takes a break when I do, and best of all; no modeling fee.

Friday, April 17, 2009

" And Now For Something..."

I've always loved the little "Capri Girl" portrait by Sargent, so I decided to make a copy. I started with a pencil block-in, and then a transfer and a wipe-out underpainting. It's a very subtle painting and I had to squint way down to find the value separations, or bed bug line. The model reminds me a little bit of my wife when she was younger and she has this look of confident pleasure. Pleased that the artist is painting her and pleased that she's so beautiful that the artist desired to paint her. It's different from anything else he had done up until that time or would ever do again. It's got a bit of the "academie" about it but also the confidence of a young artist who knows he's "arrived". I'm looking forward to painting it and hopefully it'll extend my learning curve.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Tried something a little different. Coated the canvas with thinned raw umber, wiped it off, and then drew in composition with a brush and more raw umber. Than I just went for it. Paint went on a little differently with the wet imprimatura. It's a small 8"x10" canvas so my goal was to finish it alla prima in one session. I used an Ott light off to the side to simulate daylight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Poms to Pears"

I went to the store to pick up some pomegranates and low and behold, they didn't have any. Maybe they're out of season. Theres a lesson to be learned here somewhere. "Don't draw your fruit before it's bought?". I don't know. Anyway, the closest thing that I could find that sort of matched my original concept was these red pears. They were a bit of a challenge where little sections around the stems would turn into an olive gray green. I also repainted quite a bit of the bowl, hard to say why, I just wasn't feeling it. Now I'll have to wait until the whole painting dries before I oil it out and go back in for a few lat touches.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Poms

Worked on the white cloth last two days. I played around with warm and cool variations and I worked hard at threading and weaving the light in and out of the forms. I want to give the effect of the right side of that cloth blazing in the light and then gradually tapering off into the darkness. I may have to walk the light over to the right with just a few more touches. I'm really striving to get that Jacob Collins white sheet brilliance. If I ever take a class with him I'm going to say, "Yo Jake, How do you get those sheets to glow so brightly?" And the answer will probably be something simple like "I place the lights next to the right values and subtle color changes, It's that easy dude!" Anyways, I guess I'm in a silly mood. I can't wait to drop in the pomegranates and get this painting cranking.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Bowl of Poms"

Heres the poster study and a little bit done on the table and bowl. My goal is to lay down the paint and leave about 80 percent of it untouched. I probably ended up with more like 50 percent, but I'm getting closer. I've been using flake white with some of my mixtures. The bowl is flake white and raw umber which creates some really rich earth tones. It has to be lead white, not flake white substitute. Some of the painters at the GCA have sworn off of titanium white altogether, I don't see myself ever doing that, I like the cooler light tones. The bowl was a bit tricky because the reflected light from the white cloth has pretty much washed out the core shadow area, so I had to squint way down to get some of it and still get that intense reflected light that will add to the brightness of the cloth. I also painted the background first before the object. Usually my approach is to hit the center of interest and then some of the background color. I've noticed a lot of artists, Tony Ryder being one, prefer to get the background in first, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm working my way up the light and color scale to the pomegranates.