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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

J. and L.

This is the final painting, done on a 6x8 2inch cradled panel, (for non painters, it's like a shallow box, 6x8x2 inches, open on the back). I loved the scale element here - a human sized subject made small and intimate, so that you have to get right up on it to see. The other challenge was the fact that the faces were in deep shadow. I used a Balkan trick of working with a black and white photo as well as color to help me see the values, my bete noir. In some passages there were very dark values next to each other that only differed in temperature (warm/cool) and the b&w photo helped me to see them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

L. and J. Practice Painting

I have been painting back lit subjects for a while as practice for the one above. This is the first shot and it went pretty easily. Also it is only 6x8 inches, which is the smallest I have done a portrait, and requires little brushes. Working really small was not as difficult as I anticipated, but there is added pressure to get that drawing right because there's no room to expand anything.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pig's Feet on Black and White

I don't know why they saw the feet in half...I tried matching up halves of the feet to make a whole foot, but the cuts occurred at different angles, so it was hopeless to try and make a standing one. I will have to explore other markets, maybe the Asian market, to try and find paintable animal parts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pig's Feet

Another small one because I don't have a block of time today for a mug shot. These are pig's feet, which I remember my father eating when I was a child. Fascinating and grisley.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three Shrimp

I am taking a tiny break from the mugshots to do a fun painting, slightly more restful...
I did a quick practice on one shrimp yesterday and you can see how the lights cooked it, it is the pink one. I think it had row in it -- the coral color on that shrimp had to be eggs, right? I see I am uncertain about shrimp reproduction. I tried to use thick paint here which doesn't show much, also I used my very small bristle brushes as opposed to my larger flats and brights. I am learning my way around the brushes at last! In addition, I purposely used a larger panel, thinking to have the empty space around the forms have more importance. Or the colored space give the forms more importance. Whichever.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mugshot 34: Possible Family Member

This person might really be a musician even though he looks like a serial killer in this painting.
I have discovered how to use a small bristle brush for getting in all those little places, like between brow furrows, etc..

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mugshot 33: Possible Family Member

I am practicing painting flesh in deep shadow, those elusive values. Tormenting.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mugshot 32: Possible Family Member

This possible family member has always been enraptured with color, so I tried to use as much of it as I could. It is more colorful than this in real life. I think it made a difference that I started with a decision on the palette color (blue/orange) and tied everything to it, not by thinking so much, just by drawing from a blue/orange mix a base for all the grays, so there's more coherence. I remember getting into trouble really fast by just trying to use a lot of color. This is another idea I learned in Jennifer Balkan's class: decide on a color palette and stay with it. Also, this is a pretty good ear, so I'm content. And a second also: these are getting easier and quicker.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mugshot 31:Possible Family Member

This painting does not capture the person at all and the color is not exciting as her color was in real life, however, it is the best ear I have ever done, almost a Lucien Freud ear, so I am not wiping it. I will try her again soon, and maybe having this to look at will help me remember what I wanted and did not want to paint.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blackberry Season

This is a commissioned painting to be part of a banner for the New York Times best selling author, Susan Mallery. It will be part of her website advertising her new book, BAREFOOT SEASON, coming in April 2012. The romance novel is available now through pre order at The painting will also be posted at