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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mugshot 45: Queen Mariana of Austria, after Velazquez

Boy o boy, this was really fun. I have loved Velazquez's paintings of this queen and her splendid hair and I learned so much doing it, it was like a little workshop. There is a child's portrait I have been wanting to do but couldn't figure out how the wrinkle-less cheek would be treated, and it was all there in the portrait. I did it once using my regular palette and couldn't get the color right (I mean it's not really right anyway, but way too far off) so I wiped it and slept on it, then the next day realized I could get the color with the earth tones that V. undoubtedly used, raw umber for one. I also used Indian yellow for the skin, it was so much more delicate than yellow ochre. As a matter of fact, the skin was all yellow, red and blue - the eyebrows were straight ultramarine and white. Of course I am working from a copy in a cheap magazine, but so what. This was a great experience, I can see why copying paintings is so valuable.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mugshot 44: The BMW Man

This is definitely the best zipper I ever painted.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mugshot 43: Halloween

I have a Velasquez in my studio - not a real one, of course, a Chinese catalog of his work with all the copy in Chinese - opened to a painting of the Spanish Infanta, with her hair done in the most rapturous architectural shape, and then white plumes with red bows attached to it. So I was just thinking...children with headpieces, hmmm...and thought I'd have a go. I can see that the thing to do is to copy the painting to really understand it, so I am preparing a canvas. I'll see if I can find a photo of this painting. One of the interesting things about V. is that you can't see any brush strokes. At all. I don't know how he achieved this - there are directional marks of paint but no typical strokes and no edges, either. On this painting I tried to have no edges, really that's difficult to believe when you look at it, it looks like all edges. And so to work.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mugshot 42: Worried Man

I suspect this is another iphone photo, but still pretty good to work from.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mugshot 41: Another Popple

She sent me some good photos to work from so I had another go. I don't know what it is she's
holding in her hand, some sort of machine with an antenna.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mugshot 40: The Splendid Linda Popple

Linda Popple sent me these pictures so that I could do her mugshot. Her own mugshots are very lively and interesting, please stop by and see them: Click here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mugshot 39: J. from an iPhone

This was from a terrible iphone picture, maybe taken in the dark. It was very blurry, which was a help really, because there was a lot of detail I couldn't see and so I couldn't get hung up on it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Purifying Mask, Value Study

One last one with strong value shift on the face. And as ears are a favorite thing of mine to paint, it was fun to have a shell pink baby one and a brown boxer's ear on the same head.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Value Study:Purifying Mask

More grappling with values. I am following an exercise from Catherine Kehoe's student painting collection posted on her teaching website, Although the directions were not stated, I could see one group of portraits done with very close dark values and one group done with lighter values. I went back through my photos to find something dark, and it would have been better without all the white, but as it was I found it challenging. The lower portrait is done by a student, I think Jamie Baldwin is the correct name. Those student paintings are wonderful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cowboy Hat

I went back through my cowboy hat pictures to find some photos with pronounced value differences. Since I have a painting session once a week with a model, I can see that it is ever so much easier to work from a model (with strong lighting) than from photographs. I don't know if I can rope my possible family members into this mindset.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lemon on Oriental Rug

This is after Robert A. Johnson' s Pear on an Oriental rug. It's a great DVD, I recommend it. One of the most valuable things he discusses is how to keep a painting from being overworked and yet have a high degree of finish. I am not so interested in having a high degree of finish, however all the issues he addressed were interesting and helpful. Also, the way he put the paint down was wonderful - there nothing like seeing it done to help you get the idea.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Lemon Trials.....

I am about done with this lemon thing, has been interesting. I have been looking at a DVD about Robert A. Johnson, a taping of a workshop I think, and of course he shows a whole new way to paint and also a palette with some colors I haven't used before, so there is lots to play with. In this painting I used for the first time terra rosa, which when mixed with ultramarine makes a very civilized blue grey, even going to a rich black, which is behind the lemon. In the DVD he works on a still life in a much looser way than I am used to, but I like the play, the give and take of shaping form that is gradual rather than getting it in stone on the first go. The paint intermingles more this way too. He can even speak intelligently about painting in general as he is doing it, which is impressive. He mentioned the difficult but important goal of being able to paint without thinking, my kind of guy, and also said this was a result of lots and lots of painting. I found considerable consolation in that, because as long as
you keep painting, could happen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lemon on Pink Cloth

Another exercise using a white ground. Also I used hog hair filberts on this, a couple of small ones and a medium. The paint goes on differently and has more of a drawing quality to it when I use these brushes. The brights and flats force a plane and I like this too. I feel I shouldn't be drawing, though. It's probably all in the head, how you see the shape of the space and then get that down with the brush. Just thinking out loud here... Van Gogh's paint and the way it went down is generally with a smallish brush and there are lots of marks which follow the form. I love the vitality of this! Oh, and the feel of the paint, with ridges and valleys and scumbling, still apparent after a hundred years. You can get more paint down with that hog brush, for sure.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lemon on Orange Kimono

The back story: a good painter friend mentioned looking at Diebenkorn, the forms, space, etc. and so I picked up my own book and spent some time looking at the way the color flattened the space, even when there is minimal modeling. I love this idea when it works, the perfect tension of the color and the picture plane, everything pressing outward in dynamic balance, if such a thing is possible. So I tried to set up that situation using a single bright lemon with enough other color and pattern that would cause it all to hang together in that "fresh but inevitable" manner. Regardless of the success of this painting, it is a direction I have been going in for a long time and still find thrilling and natural to my view of the world. Just how to combine it with a mug to use the modeled figure with this degree of abstraction. Oy.
Also -- Happy New Year! Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement, I appreciate it enormously.