Thursday, December 31, 2009

Red Boots and Umbrella

There are times you have to re-do a painting over and over and over. It can be frustrating and you can feel as down as a lone pickle in a barrel but it's truly a great lesson in persistence. The best artists keep hacking away at the problem till it's solved. There are several methods I use when I’m in a pickle. My critique groups are immensely helpful and are quick to see problems that I am simply blind to. Another helper is a document I wrote listing all the problem areas that seem to arise for me…for example #15 on the list reminds me to make sure I have both cool and warm colors and more of one than the other. Number 4 asks me to squint and see if the pattern of lights and darks in my painting create interesting shapes that lead the eye around the picture frame. Lastly, I spend a lot of time repainting my picture in my head to see how else I can get it turn out.

This is the third time I’ve painted Red Boots and Umbrella. I think I got it right this time though I may hear otherwise from my critique groups. The image for this painting came to me and I really haven’t been able to let it go. I first used myself as a model for the first set of photos but was dissatisfied. A friend posed for the second set of photos and that worked much better. I also set up a still life of the elements in my studio so I could refer to their real life presence as I painted. Red Boots and Umbrella is an oil on cradled hardboard, 18 x 36”. It’s title will change when the whole Red Boots show is shown.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bread and Honey
How carefully should an artist finish a painting? This is the sixty-four thousand dollar question every artist ask herself as her painting nears completion. Well placed, blended strokes with a smaller brush can take a painting on to a polished, super realistic glow. Or do you stop when the vigor of each stroke still remains visible to the eye of the viewer? Often the finish is related to the personality of the aritst; patient artists have longer attention spans and are more careful with the drawing and painting process. Impatient people are impatient artists- they want to draw it with ten lines, then get to the paint right away. Get in, paint, get out. Hey, I've only got four hours here. Let's go! All styles are valid, just different. And most artist change form tighter to looser or the other direction as the canvases add up.
This 24x16" oil on board was painted while the bread was still warm. Get in, get out, and keep it fresh!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Party Time

Painting from real life is the best training for an artist. Your brain has to work twice as hard to do an irrational thing; translate a three dimensional scene into a two dimensional drawing and then paint it. So you're using your brain now, that's good. Part two is that you can see a thousand times better in real life than you can when looking at a photo or sketch. Artists work hard to pare down all that over load of information yet having the information also makes for a better painting. You can really see all the different values as light moves across each plane and you get to interpret that into a color and a value and put it down on the canvas. Eventually, after putting hundreds of these dots and dabs down, a three dimensional object begins to appear. It's like a miracle! wow! There's my shoe!

About the subject; these shoes of mine say party time. Add the martini glass and it now says that a good time will be had by all.This is part of a series of small 8x10 paintings I did in November 2009, most of which can be seen at Lakeshore Gallery in Kirkland, Washington.