Sunday, December 27, 2009
With my brothers, Chip (on the left) and Mark (will the insanity never end?). Yep, that's me in the middle looking for all the world like a homeless guy that they brought in for Christmas dinner. Perhaps I should rethink the beard.
After my hybernation, I spent about twelve to fifteen hours painting ... and hope to get another eight or ten in tonight. I started a still life with the cello that I rented, and have gotten quite far with it. I have also been working on the nude with good results, and a few other projects (with mixed results, actually -- one of them has symied me a bit).
When I get some of these finished, I'm going to do one more painting with the cello. While I was working at the gallery the other day, Dennis Smith brought in a model for us to work with. He gave me enough of a heads-up that I was able to drag the cello along for her to pose with for photos. I'm looking forward to doing that one ... but I will be celloed out after that.
Cellos are not the easiest things in the world to paint. Like violins, they have a lot of strange angles and curves - not unlike the figure of a woman -- but with extra problems that are not easily solved; the neck doesn't just go straight up the instrument, it is canted toward the back, so, when seen from an angle, it looks like it leans if it's not done properly ... and the whole thing bows in the front and back slightly, making the proportions seem to vary from side to side when viewed at an angle. I don't know, it's hard to explain -- but they are fun to figure out. Sometimes the tougher a thing is to paint, and the more of a challange it is, the more fun it is to work on. In fact, I was talking with Del about that on Christmas, saying that one of the things that I was working on was very tough ... and that it was very comforting to me -- because I always worry when they are going too smoothly. "Every painting is a kind of sickness." Del said, quoting Valentin Serov, and nodding in agreement.
I hope to post a picture of something that I'm working on this blog later -- they are not ready to be seen yet, though.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I wanted to use natural light -- and I have a big, wonderful picture window in my studio ... unfortunately it faces the street. To keep the amount of automobile accidents to a minimum for those traveling south on Alberta Ave, and to keep from having a yard full of gawkers, I put some clear plastic sheeting over the window. Actually, if it's darker inside than it is outside, it's almost impossible to see in -- but I wanted my model to be comfortable in her nudity.
It was not to be, though. It was not only overcast and cloudy, but we didn't get started until one PM. Monday is the shortest day of the year ... so yesterday was pretty darned short too ... and by two-thirty it was downright grey out there. But, I have track lighting -- and I used that to great advantage instead of the natural light that I would have preferred.
The model was nice enough to let me take a few pictures to work from in her absense - so, I hope to finish it before year's end.
Once again, Pfeffer showed her uncanny insight into the work and posed under the chair for a few minutes, just to add a little more depth to the work. How does she do it?
Unfortunately, I've got several projects that are due for the hollidays, so I'm going to have to put the "cellist" aside for the next couple of days. Dang. I'm itching to get at it -- and can see some definite areas where the underpainting really needs some help (for example, I made her face too big and will have to do some serious cosmetic surgery there). Stay tuned for updates.
Monday, December 14, 2009
All that as it may be, I've taken a bevvy of pictures over the last three years and was just noticing the other day how many pieces of artwork I've done from the photos ... at least six that I can think of right off of the top of my head -- including the oil that I just finished working on. It's not quite there yet -- it needs some touch-ups, but I think that I need to give it a week of rest before I go back to it.
The camps are full of all a cocophany of diverget occupations -- people of all walks of life, as, I'm sure, that the camps back in the day were. There are also many families. Durring the battles some of the families hang out on the fringes, watching, but many hang out in the camps awaiting the return of thier loved ones. The young lady depicted here was not the nicest of people. I don't think that she liked having her picture taken and gave me a scowl as I did so. It occured to me then, though, that it was probably the kind of inner strife boiling to the surface that a sweetheart would show if they were, truly, in that position of awaiting the fate of their husband/brother/father/son.
This painting was quite a challange and a lot of fun. Determining colour temperatures was among the biggest problems. I was talking with my friend and mentor, Del about it yesterday and he showed me a magazine with a beautiful Fechin painting in it that was a simular composition (man, that guy could paint!). We discussed it at some length and I learned a few things - as usual. Thanks, again, Del. Any suggestions that you ever want to give me are greatly appreciated.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
I had one different charcoal that I was thinking about using and was going to do some more work to it, but, again, Pfeffer helpped me out with that. It was sitting on the coffee table while I was working into one of the other drawings, when Pfeffer came and laid on it. When I called her to get off of it, she just rolled onto her back and obliterated most of it. Oh, well, it made the decision a little easier.
I've already posted the oil painting that I'm putting in (although I've done some work on it since). I'll post a picture of my "jewelry piece" as soon as I finish it up. It's kind of embarrassing. It's my first and only jewelry piece ever.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The other seven paintings are mostly things that I've posted here recently that I'm still working on. I did start one new one, but it's not far enough along to show yet.
Monday, November 16, 2009
If I remember right, I was going to work more into the blossoms but wasn't able to come back to it right away and they faded -- and lilacs seem to fade awful quickly. It was only a matter of a short amount of time to add the design to the cup ... and a few touches here and there to the rest of the piece.
Over the next few weeks I hope to finish some other works that I started but haven't finished. It's a rare thing that I totally give up on a piece ... I may never finish something ... but the intention to do so is always there.
Along with all of that ... I watched a special on the telly about a couple of Leonardo's unfinished paintings. Exciting stuff. His Battle of Anghiari -- which has been long lost (we have proof of it through drawings by other artists -- most notably Peter Paul Rubens) may have been located behind a false wall in an Italian museum. The authorities don't want to move the wall, though, because of a mural by Vasari.
The same scientist who did all of the research and made the "discovery" was asked to do some curating on another unfinished Leonardo work: "The Addoration of the Magi". While examining it, he found that a much later hand had worked over the painting, obliterating much of the original under-painting. Using some real complex imaging aparatii, the scientist and his staff were able to create a digital image of what lies benieth the over-worked painting. Stunning. New Leonardo drawings that have not been seen in hundreds of years! In the background of the Magi painting one can see a pair of horses fighting ... when the scientist revealed this pair, using his improved xray technique, it looks for all the world like a practice sketch for the Battle of Anghiari! Cool. I hope to see a book or article on all of this come out soon.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
It's another small piece -- really painted mostly for the excercise.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I wish that the photo captured the colours better -- I had a heck of a time trying to get a shot without glare.
I've been thinking about doing prints lately, now I'm inspired by her work.
When I put the rest of them up, perhaps I'll post a better picture.
Friday, October 30, 2009
One of the reasons, I think, is that I was not too sure about the compositions and found solutions that were less than exciting. While I was reading my new Classical Drawing Atelier book by Juliette Aristides (great book - she also has one on painting), I was looking over her composition points. No new stuff to me, just a fresh look at classic techniques -- you know, stuff we've all learned from Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the whole gang -- it occured to me exactly how to do one of the subjects that I'd been putting off. The subject itself reminded me of an artists work that I saw while in the Cincinnatti museum some years ago; Edward H. Potthast (1857 - 1927). He did a great many sea-side paintings with bright colours and bravado brush work.
So, again I stepped up to the easel and loaded that canvas up with paint ... much of the beginning work was with a palet knife (as you can probably tell). I exadgerated some of the colours and felt like I was working in the manner of Mr Potthast at one point. Sadly, when I stepped away from the easel, it didn't have the feel that I thought it did while working on it. It was just to be a study anyway, but, I was still dissapointed. Perhaps I'll work on it some more when it drys (like next spring!).
The composition is based on the golden rectangle with a diagonal slash to emphasise the movement of the blanket in the wind. The figures fall on the right 1/3rd vertical line with the woman's head in the "sweet spot", the remains of a sandcastle marks the left 1/3rd line, pointing up to the sweep of the blanket. Horizontally, as you can easily see, the swimming boundary rope falls on the top 1/3rd line, wile the waterline is on the bottom one. It's a bit formulaic, but I felt that it lent itself well to this subject.
All in all, I had a blast working on it and am becoming more intrigued with the use of globs of paint.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Here's a look at my studio as it is right now (before I move again - not that I expect to any time real soon, but it's a definite possibility). It's one of the better studios that I've had - certainly head and shoulders over the one in the storage unit (I never did paint anything in there).
Monday, October 19, 2009
The colours down there weren't nearly as vibrant as they were a few days ago when I passed by. Perhaps the deluge of rain that we've had in the last few days has something to do with that.
Monday, October 12, 2009
While doing a sketch of the guitarist that plays for our gallery every month, I regretted the fact that I didn't have the opportunity to do a fast painting of him. So, I took some pictures. I did this one fairly quickly (in a little over an hour, I guess) ... trying to be as spontanious as I might if I were working from life. I also tried to be looser than usual and used a bigger than normal brush to keep me from niggling away at any kind of detail.
It's amusing to me sometimes; the voices of various teachers come back to me an tell me things while I'm working ... it seems that sometimes I never knew what they meant at the time that they told me, but as I find myself in certain situations, or working a specific passage, I'll hear thier voices -- whether over-bearing and gruff like Bruce Corr, whinny and quizical like Jesse Dominguez, patronizing, like Brian Elder or suggestive and yet directive, like Del Gish -- and I'll understand better what they were on aboot. Today I mostly heard Del, and I understood ... some of it, anyway. "Sometimes I'm a little slow on the up-chuck", to quote SK.
It was an experiment in being loose, mostly. Sadly, though, I think that I still need a ton of work in that reguard. I need to do more, that's all there is to it.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Bruitus (an ironic name) is a nice dog, but like most of those little googly-eyed ghetto dogs, he's just wound way too tight -- like a danged alarm clock! He always wants to be in the middle of things and the center and in your face constantly. He wanted to become friends with Pfeffer but she ... well, she's a cat. A cat like none other ... but a cat none-the-less ... and is not real thrilled with having a dog as a friend.
"Wanna be friends, hu, hu, wanna, wanna, hu, hu?"
"How bout I just hiss and spit in your face instead?"
I had to leave them when I set off for work last night ... when I got home this morning I didn't find any patches of fur and nothing was broken, that I can tell ...... so, yeah, I think everything's gonna be okay.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
But, the reasons are simple: the first being that I would bring attention to my work (which is kind of the whole point in being in a gallery in the first place, nest pass - nicht war?), B, if I was busy drawing, I wouldn't have to spend too much time in "small talk" (which, let's face it, is not my strong suite), and, 3, to entertain myself.
I didn't do too many portraits. People were even more skiddish than I ... hard to believe. And I probably wouldn't have had even the few that did pose, if it weren't for one of the other gallery members, Olivia, dragging people over there. The ones that I did do though (including our musician), turned out okay. I didn't spend any more than ten minutes on any of them ... which, as an artist, is kind of frustrating, because the image is just beginning to take shape and one can see how it would turn out if the model were to sit for, say, another twenty to forty minutes. But, this isn't about doing a demonstration or creating a finished work, it's about communicating with the public, giving them something for comming in, and creating more interest in the things around them.
I will probably make this a part of each "First Friday" now. I can probably pull more people into the gallery this way. I framed the portrait of Dayle and might use that to do a bit of advertising for next month before I give it to her. I also need to remember to print up more business cards and to make a sign for next time to put by the easel, explaining what I'm doing.
So, if you're reading this and are in the great Northwest, stop in on the next first Friday (November 6): Avenue West Gallery, 122 S. Monroe, Spokane, WA. 5 - 8 pm ... free food! Bring your friends ... and your check book!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
It was a grey and drearry morning ... which was kind of nice because it reflects the way that most people think of Seattle anyway.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
They had one gag that was a reverse dumbwaiter. Instead of the elevator moving up and down, the wall was hoisted up and down by a pulley system. From the camera's eye, though, you'll never know the difference.
The main sign painter talked with me for a little while on the set and asked if I would be interested in working on a mural with him on the next movie that they're doing! Yeah. I'm not sure when that will be and how much involvment I'll have, but I'll be more than happy to work with these guys again.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Blogs are, by their very nature, a way for people to tell the world about themselves -- and they can be rather self-centered and solobsistic. Each of us is the star of our own play as we navigate our way through the time that we are alotted here on the spinning blue marble in space. If we don't tell people what we're doing, thinking, and feeling, the other self-absorbed units around us will never take the time to find out, because they are too busy directing their own little play as it weaves its way into ours. Together, we create stories, experiences, and memories that become more because of each other.
Wow, that sounded like a real shovel full. Well, spread it on your garden as you see fit.
Along with all of that, I just wanted to say that while I was on the set last week, John's assistant asked me to sign a press release form. She is going around making videos of the behind-the-camera stuff to either put on the web site or on the "extras" part of the dvd when it comes out. Apparently she took some videos of me sketching the stars when they were doing their readings early in the project. It will be interesting to see if those clips actually see the light of day.