Monday, June 29, 2009

More "Eggs" and "Satyr"

Finishing up on "Spicy Eggs", will probably need a few last touches. I'll probably want to subdue the right side of the table a little more. I'm pushing the detail a little more than I usually do on small 8"x10"s, no reason, just felt like it. The cast painting is my fourth one at Grand Central Academy of Art. I'm on a summer break until September, so I won't be able to finish it until then. I'm having a lot of fun with this one and I'm looking forward to completing it, the only problem is that they're redoing the lighting system so I may have trouble getting the exact same lighting. I figure that I've got enough done on it that I'll be able to wing it. Most of the top of the head that's left will be compressed light values.Next term I'll be doing cast painting in the morning and figure drawing/painting in the afternoon. That's going to be a long day, but well worth it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spicy Eggs and Small Figure Study

Once, every other Tuesday, I get together with a group of artists to draw or paint the figure with one long 3 hour pose, at the National Art League. The problem has been that the space is also used as a gallery, so there is just too much light and about ten track lights aimed at the figure. Finally after putting up with this for a while, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I brought a spot lamp and a spotlight and a long extension cord. I turned off all the lights except for the back row of overhead flourescents. It definitely made a big difference, but I need to bring a spot that's more intense to burn out all the ambient flourescent lighting. I've been wanting to paint but the lighting has held me back. Everybody had a pretty good laugh when they saw me woeking on a 6"x8" canvas, but I explained that working that size would force me to ignore the details and go for the bigger forms. The eggs are just a little 8"x10" that I've been wanting to do for a while after I saw this frying pan my daughter had picked up somewhere.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Moth" Beginning

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Moth" Blocked In

I blocked in the drawing for "Moth" to a small 9" by 12" canvas. Some artists like to do a very detailed wipe-out, almost like a thinned down grisaille. I prefer to keep things basic at this stage. I do the wipeout by covering the whole canvas with umber and black and then wiping out the ligjhts with a paper towel. I'm looking forward to starting work on the figure, hopefully this Sunday morning. My plan is to go for broke and paint each area to a finish, wet-in-wet from top to bottom. I was inspired to try a small figure painting when my instructor, Nick Hiltner, brought in two small figure paintings that he had done. Both featured a single figure before a kind of rocky landscape, inspired by his Catskill studies, with a twilight or moonlit scene. They were really little jewels with subtle modeling and totally got me going to try some figure paintings of my own. I'm sure I'm in over my head, but what the hey, it's only paint and canvas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Small Flowers

Got most of the painting completed. I feel like I am going to want to go back in to tweek a couple of places. I'm not really satisfied with the table. I feel like the drawing kind of got away from me. That will happen sometimes (more often than not), and then you have to go back in and find it. It's an unusual composition so it's going to take some finagling to make it click. The black teardrop vase clearly wants to be the star of the show and I guess that's what I'll go with.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Small Flowers

I started another small,8"x10" canvas. The tricky thing when working small is to make a "big" image out of a small surface area. You don't want it to seem cluttered, but you don't want to be too minimalistic either. Small paintings are great for trying out new ideas without having to wait weeks to see the final result. Flowers have their own rules; watch out for the darks, they're both lighter and darker than you think, you have to constantly compare and contrast. Detail is good until it becomes leaden. They're flowers after all, they should seem light, airy and fresh. It's a tough one all right, but I'm in the mood for a challenge.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Moth" Studies

A while ago, I had posted a sketch of an idea I had, inspired by this dark entranceway, lit up by an overhead light, that I would see while walking my dog in the early morning hours. Anyways, I finally got around to it. I have my wife posing in my studio while standing on a platform with a single spot shining down about six feet over her head. This morning I finished the pencil drawing and then I quickly knocked off a poster study, while my wife was still willing to pose. She'll only do it for two hours at a time, once a week, so I have to make the most of it. It's a fairly hard pose and she's been complaining bitterly. She says I owe her big and have to build her a deck in the backyard this summer. How we artists suffer for our art. It's supposed to be a night scene so I may have to go a bit darker and heighten the contrast. Although I'm doing the figure from life, the background is from sketches I made while the image was still fresh in my memory. It's where realism coincides with imagination that's going to be the tough part. It's going to be on a small 11" x 14" canvas so I'll be able to suggest a lot more than I would on a larger piece. The poster is pretty close to what I expected so we'll see what happens when I actually get down to it. The problem with working from memory is that there's a tendency to overdo the details (the bane of illustration). I may have to go over there at four in the morning with my car and do an on the spot poster study. Hope I don't get harassed as a suspicious character.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Radicchio Completed

Heres the finished painting "Radicchio and Vases" 11'x14" oil on linen. This one seemed to go pretty much the way I imagined so there was no retouching. Every once in a while that happens where you get a painting that seems to paint itself. For better or worse, when that happens I just hang on and go where the ride takes me.