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Friday, March 20, 2015

Little Lamb Chop

5 inches square oil on panel

I am working on a larger painting and I'm scared. It's going pretty well, actually, but I get nervous.
If I have a smaller painting to work on with fewer issues and some opportunity to make things work quickly, and then possibly post it at the end of the painting day, I'm less nervous about the big painting. And if I do the little painting first and fast and the big painting doesn't work, I don't immediately conclude that I should have gone to secretarial school. This could be neurotic or smart.

This is one of the remaining lamb chops on aluminum foil.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lamb Chops

6x8 oil on panel

Some fun must be had between the slogging bits. Meat is as much fun to paint as pastry and less dangerous.  With meat though, if you are going to eat it, you have to race - I figure it's ok to be under the lights for 1 hour, more than that and they are sacrificed to art.  The lamp causes them to constantly change, slumping down and beginning the colorful disintegration. This can't be thought about too much or you can't eat them. And it's very hard to throw out lamb chops. I found a pack of 5 at Trader Joe's at a very good price, so I can have a couple of more goes.

The second is a little color swatch of Veronese green. I didn't have any thalo green to compare -- V. green is much less agressive. But not shy, either.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mug Shot 91, Tessa

8x6 inches, oil on panel

This is an important thing I have learned during this stint with the Russian painters:  get a base layer of paint down first and paint everything else into it. I have been fitting the pieces, the many thousands of pieces of tone and half tone, into the whole, like a puzzle. At the moment my opinion is that flesh is painted best (in oils) with this approach, because the nature of the oily fat paint is already so close to the look of skin. Not that you can't get some chop to it...some blocky bits which lay on top of each other and are not blended. I am anti-blend, don't know how this is going to work out.

I have been looking at Frank Duveneck's work this week, just below mine -- such confident brushwork. Just enough, almost underdone. You can see that every thing is worked into an average skin color, the brushwork is economical and direct.  This photo of course doesn't do it justice, the paint is sumptuous.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mugshot 90, Student

This is a fellow painter in my class. I took photos of anybody who would let me do it, everybody wincing. Harsh light from the top is the painter's friend, if not theirs.
Thank you all for those encouraging comments on my last post, I appreciate it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mug Shot 88,

8x10 inches oil on panel

I have been painting like mad but not posting because I have been taking painting classes and doing exercises on all the off days. As usual, I find when I take a workshop I can do nothing, can't control anything, can't get any effect, and  finally cannot find any joy in painting at all. This time though, because the classes have lasted about 6 months, I calmed down enough to stop expecting any results and learned how to put the paint down differently, which is what I was after. My instructor painted in  an academic manner and was articulate about the processes, also was a really nice guy and let me pick his brain. I took in lots of little paintings and he pointed out the problems and we talked about how to solve them. When you boil it all down, it always  is the same, you have to see differently, but once you do....Yes!  I think I have turned a corner at last. One of the many corners.
Because I have been having trouble getting a good solid sense of form, I shot some photos with an overhead LED reading light shining down on me, so I could get a distinct light/dark pattern and painted from it. That move is a big help before you even get going.