Wednesday, February 29, 2012
This is the large painting I have been working on. The top one is mine and the bottom one is Magritte's Son of Man. Mine was commissioned by a friend and will be used on a poster calling for art work for a juried show here in Texas in late spring. It was all my friend's idea and I was very happy to be an accomplice. I'm so looking forward to seeing the work that comes in.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I am currently working on a larger commissioned painting, a spoof on a Magritte, so I am posting some timed exercises. This one is my favorite of all of them, 50 or so, and this is how it came about: I was in a Jennifer Balkan class and it had just begun, but for some reason everything was out of synch. My position was wrong and I had to move, my French easel was unstable and I had to keep trying to adjust one of the legs, my new position was under some spot lights that made so much glare I couldn't see the paint or the panel, I had forgotten the brush I wanted and had to make do with another worse one, the class had already got 15 minutes into the pose and I was behind and really shook up by all this. And yet somehow, I managed to get the feel of her in crude way that I love. Love! I did it almost blind, just feeling my way through it. I have all these nude paintings up in my studio loo from floor to ceiling, so I see them frequently, and still I like it best.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This is a commissioned painting for a wedding gift.
Also finished The Forgery of Venus, a real painter's novel, I don't come across many of those.
Lots of info about Velazquez, too, such as: he was a social climber who was very interested in getting ahead at court; he only did 150 painting in his lifetime; his understanding of drawing was so thorough that often he began painting without preliminary drawings; and most interesting to me, his paint was very thin, even runny and lots of the linen showed through. This must be why you can't see brush strokes much. I looked at his dogs this weeks, there are many of them, and they are all done very simply without much detail and with very soft edges. And so I took what I could from that, it was helpful.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Karma again, this time on black gesso with her hair to one side. I am halfway through Michael Gruber's The Forgery of Venus (riveting read, protagonist a painter!) which is about Velazquez. It is a psychological/ metaphysical/ science fiction/ art mystery and there are naturally some Italian art terms in it including "sprezzatura". This means studied carelessness according to the computer dictionary, but I think the word has no sense of affectation to it, it means the lack of laboriousness and resulting ease because the subject is so thoroughly understood. Of course I am beating to death the perfect effervescent word here, but when painting is not overworked and you have somehow caught the thing, it is such a triumph! In 30 minute paintings there is no chance to overwork, they are always fresh, even if they are wrongly painted.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Another 30 minute painting. Because of a strong back light, she had a very complicated light pattern on the front of her body with only a little sliver on the left breast fully lit. It sort of makes a design pattern here rather than making a body feeling mass -- however, interesting to have to get all those grayed colors down fast. Still loving the sense of bulk though.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
This is my favorite model, I am over the moon when she shows up. She is so paintable.
It was a 30 minute pose. When I look at the painting the next day, it seems that the strokes are so few and the painting is so small, how could it have taken that long -- but when I am doing it I am going like a house afire and always irritated that the time is up. So much has to happen before the paint even goes down though....I have to figure out what part of her I want and then get the parts connected and then decide on and mix the paint and then get it down. Well, this is no big deal, it's the same for everybody, just that it has to happen fast, so it's amazing to have anything coherent at all. The fact that there isn't time to think is maybe the best and most valuable part of the exercise, because I am frequently surprised by what I did.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Here is another sort of head dress. This is one of the boys in my neighborhood on Halloween, at twilight. I gave out candy for photos on the street. I would like to figure a way to have the portrait more formal and yet not.... Maybe what I mean is, I want to paint like Velazquez, which I do, I do.
Friday, February 3, 2012
This was the painting I was really wanting to copy because it was mostly black and grey and only the face was treated with luminous color. I think this must have been a study for a final portrait as so much of it is abbreviated, for instance the bodice is just suggested. And that hair! It looks like coiled intestines stuffed into a head dress. Most everything including hair is a combination of ultramarine blue and raw umber. I had forgotten what beautiful browns and grays can be made with them. The skin was this pale I swear! I worked from a 2x3 inch image from a museum postcard. Learned so much!