Wednesday, August 26, 2015

tatanka iyotanka...the class tackles an iconic sitting bull portrait

esteemed leader's wip
as it incorporates literally everything that we have covered in the class thus far i decided they were ready to tackle a portrait. i have always loved this archival photo of sitting bull and, in fact, have painted it several times myself.  the very first painting that i sold was of him after i donated it to the global partners silent auction for their effort on pine ridge reservation of the oglala sioux tribe.

the early photos are my demo starting to take shape. the close up of the eye was to illustrate that even at a small scale the pieces emulate the whole (or vice versa?).

i think they are doing very well as this is a somewhat more complicated piece than they have done to date. to simplify things i ran the original photo through the "value viewer" app to show about 4 levels of value in case they were having difficulty identifying the values. if i can find the photo of that re-processed image i will include it here.

close up of his left eye
 original after "value viewer" worked its magic

original iconic archival photo used as inspriation
(out of focus...mea culpa) jesse with a pretty good start

fadi with a running head start and rapid resolution ( as usual)

tim's work and his new palette

nancy and jennifer yakking away and doing some painting in the quiet times

char's painting with a really good group of early swatches and washes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

three to go....but who's counting?

we started the last phase of the beginning watercolor class yesterday. painting figures from old archival photos is always fun and employs a lot of the techniques and ideas we have covered to date in the class. these include saving whites, small multi-colored swatches, modeling and object, larger flat and variegated washes, connecting objects to their surroundings via escape routes and connections of like but perhaps different hued areas. they also got a chance to practice their drawing techniques. as a bonus i showed them several ways to transfer images other than tracing (although for the sake of time we did employ that time honored and much excoriated is after all a painting class, not a drawing i don't want to engage in that discussion at present). this included establishing a grid on source and painting surface and then drawing a lot of small drawings. in addition i showed how to get a decent likeness on a face by using a center line and estimating and even measuring from there if the placement of a feature was problematic.

so, here are some photos of the demo painting along with some of the students' work (and students working). i found i still don't quite have the knack of painting and talking at the same time. this is not my best work but it did serve to illustrate a way to paint this particular subject.

Friday, August 14, 2015

beginning watercolor painting course half finished!

here are some photos of the last class in the above course at the studio gallery 1311. from demo paintings to individual instruction.....we got it all. nancy wins the " who gets to take home the sorta okay demo painting today" award. that's she trying to figure out what to do about the back runs in her reflections.........clearly nothing...leave 'em alone!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

teaching is learning

we are at the end of our second week of the beginning watercolor class that i am teaching at the studio gallery 1311, here in la crosse. i think the students are doing quite well but they, of course, are having other thoughts. the trick will be to get them over this touchy time where their aspirations are ahead of their abilities. we had a long talk of what it takes is lots and lots (and lots) of practice and painting. someone once told me that one could not even begin to consider themselves remotely adequate as a watercolor painter in terms of technique until an acre of paper had been covered......front and back! so, we had a little pep talk at the end of the last session along with an admonition that there be some practice at home in between sessions. this went along with the notion that comparing one's own work with another is not useful. compare one's own work today with one's work from yesterday. there is a useful maneuver.

the last thought i will share before i regale you with photos of the last teaching session is that the teacher always seems to learn more than the students in a learning situation. i can't enumerate all the little things i have learned and re-learned whilst preparing for and actually teaching this class. i feel fortunate that these 8 folks have enough faith in me to teach them something to keep showing up and paying out hard-earned coin. i have to deliver. in the process i am one of the greatest recipients.

so, with that here are the photos of the last teaching session showing the students working on their first still life painting. the instructor is where he should be.......wandering from student to student and not idling away in a some sort of fugue state at his own personal easel.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"worth the wait" steps in a new painting

we have scads of family descending on our place over the next few days so i will post the steps i have so far in the next painting that i am working on. its sort of a companion piece to "desperate for some java" which won best of show at the local WRAP exhibit a few weeks ago. not enough time for narrative, but not much different from how i usually do things. the askew border shape is somewhat of an experiment....i think it will work.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

idle hands and all that...........

very little down time with me and painting. i usually am about 2-3 ideas ahead of where i actually am at any one time. along with the ".....bluegrass" painting i have been working on a commission for my golfing buddy jim. he has a little dog that he has wanted a portrait of for some time that has been languishing on the corner table collecting dust since the initial wishes about 2 months ago. as i waited for paint to dry on the fiddler portrait i worked on this.

i think it came out pretty well. he let me have a free hand with it and that made what i usually don't like about commissions not only distasteful but actually fun. it is a small painting (11"X10") on a piece of 300# arches cold press paper (which is also a bit different; a departure from my usual hot press preference). it was painted pretty much exclusively with a #12 escoda versatil round brush using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna  for the various grays and browns. there is an occasional mineral violet, alizarin crimson permanent, and neutral tint. the background is entirely oxide of chromium and quinacridone gold.....a combo i like for a lot of greens in the landscape.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"lost in the bluegrass": as done as it's gonna get

after noodling around for about 30 minutes earlier this afternoon doing nothing that could be seen from about 6 feet away i decided that i should put this painting to bed. all in all i am happy with the result. it has taken me a bit longer to finish than some others and, at least with me, familiarity breeds some contempt.....perhaps some absence to encourage a heart growing stronger is indicated? here is the final product. it's about 13"X16", on arches hot press watercolor board.

"lost in the bluegrass"