Wednesday, January 23, 2013

on the road

we're headed out to borrego springs in the southern california desert in the morning. some plein air, lots of hiking, playing golf, playing guitar, lazing. won't be posting anything until we return in april. enjoy the rest of the winter.

Monday, January 21, 2013

finishing up, "the bloom is forever on rosie e." and next steps on geronimo

"the bloom is forever on rosie e."  14"X16"
pretty much as the title of the post indicates, i finished the portrait of rosie. now for the decision of what to do with it. while it isn't my best work it is a very good likeness of this lovely person. my thoughts are to ask her husband don what his wishes would be. i would very honored if he would like it for his personal collection. on the other hand it might be a nice tribute to hang in the place where she worked for 30+ years. i think i will e-mail don edminster and see what he wishes. here 'tis:

"the swan will soon sing for geronimo": next step(s)

the next few steps on the geronimo portrait are represented by this photo. it is generally changed from the previous post by the addition of the burnt umber and alizarin crimson washes to model and define his features. of course, there also is some painting of his clothing and hat that has occurred. this is about all i have for today. be well.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

yet another project: geronimo

photo from national archives of geronimo
i have wanted to paint this portrait of geronimo in his later years for quite a while. with this attempt i am trying two things. the first is that it is on bristol board (strathmore 500, smooth surface, about 120# i would estimate) and the second is that i feel i have gotten too tight lately and want to try to loosen up a bit. i am trying the bristol as i had a couple of sheets someone gave me and alex powers, whom i admire for his "people" paintings, uses it.

i used a photo in the public domain obtained from the national archives for the reference. i am still working on a title, but something like , "a swan croons for geronimo."

geronimo initial washes
to start things off i carefully drew the likeness onto the piece of bristol measuring about 15"X19". i wasn't sure how well this paper would take a flat wash for the inital high value tinting so i decided to start right in on the features with some midtones. given what i imagine geronimo's coloration to be i used cadmium red, raw sienna, and cerulean blue for my triad. i was keeping things pretty loosely mixed on the palete so that each color could be readily seen in the mix. in afurther attempt to stay loose and watery i put in a midtone on the background starting at the top with splotches of watery cerulean blue, burnt sienna, mineral violet, and turquoise blue. this was allowed to run down the paper with gravity with just a bit of coaxing if it started to "dam" up in spots. if it tried to run over his face i blotted it off to keep that area fairly unblemished.

working on the features brought up a problem of "flesh" tone. working through this i started with the above triad. hair was ultramarine blue and brunt umber with some palette knife scratches. when all was said and done i felt that this was a bit dull. while i don't have any color photos of geronimo the way the b+w photos look i believe he probably had more of a dark copper complexion. about half-way through his features and general modeling i decided to try just burnt sienna wash over the whole face. this got rid of the white in the highlight areas that was bothering me, but still wasn't quite what i was looking for in the shadows. i finally decided to try burnt umber and alizarin crimson permanent and stayed with that through the end of the painting of his face. i added cerulean blue when i wanted to cool the whole thing down.

i am going to try for a slightly brownish gray for his hat. the color of his eyes is causing me a bit of indecision. the light value in the photo suggests to me that they are blue or at least hazel. however, he is said to be full blooded apache which would probably make that impossible. so i went with brown with a little bit of cobalt blue in spots.
a little closer to the actual colors (artificial light)

 in looking at the close-up of the eyes i recall putting some mineral violet in the shadow along the medial socket. all of this was painted with a #16 round cosmotop brush.

i am not sure i am either liking this bristol paper or am sticking to my "looser" (more like loser???) plan. also, i feel i am at a "go, no go" situation with this. each time i put a glaze over one area some of the paint already there easily lifts and mixes with the new- a recipe for muddiness. it makes corrections easy as lifting is a breeze, but i am not so sure about the multiple layers deal. maybe this would work best for direct painting. lastly for this setting, the whole thing is looking dull to me. the challenge in the next session tomorrow will be to see if i can breathe some life into his and brighten it up.
detail of the eyes
 i still haven't switched to the burnt umber/alizarin crimson yet. maybe that will at least add some value contrast.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

the bloom is forever on rosie e." rewind

clearly my post of the video was premature regarding the whole extent of this painting. it was several steps into the process and at least 3-4 hours too far into it. so i will try to place it in context by posting a series of photos of steps representing probably 30-60 minutes of work each. the reference photo of rosie is included.

rosie on "hat" day
just  a word about the subject. rosie was a friend and colleague for 25 years. she was simply the best that we humans can hope to be. she was kind, thoughtful, dedicated, knowledgeable, and fun-loving. she loved to dress up at work and "hat" day was favorite. this was one get-up almost all of us remember as one of our favorites. she died just before the first of the year from pancreatic cancer and the world is a much drearier place without her. i want this to be a tribute and memorial to her. hopefully it will be worthy of her memory.

this will be undoubtedly difficult for several reasons. this is flash photo and i will have to play with it a bit to enhance the values so they are more readable. she is very close all who knew her and i want this to be the best i can make it. an open invitation to overworking it. none the less i am going to give it a whirl and see where the effort takes me (us).

initial wash and start of features

after drawing on this piece of 140# cold press fabriano artistico cold press paper, i put down a light wash of scarlet lake, cadmium orange, and cerulean blue. once this was mostly dry i started in on the features with mixtures of the same colors. i pretty much used the #16 round cosmotop which has become my "go to" brush unless i am doing something extraordinarily small or a large background shape, in which case i would use anywhere from a #10-#6 round kolinski or my #26 round cosmotop, respectively.

carrying on and adding the glasses
here i added the glasses and darkened some of the structures around the eyes. that blob of dark on the lower left is an experimental daub of what i think i may use as the hair color. i can't really recommend doing this and at this point wish i hadn't as it is both out of place and not the colors i am going to use! i started working on defining the hat with both positive and negative shapes. i am jumping around a bit more than usual but in my defense i am trying to bring the whole thinga long at the same pace. i hope i can bring it together so it won't look so fragmented.

give me more hat...gotta have more hat

i'm just going to put in the serial photos of the progress with little commentary at this point. i think the steps will speak for themselves.  then if one watches the video (if you can stand it for 10 minutes) i think an overall idea of how this painting proceeded with be forthcoming.

in the final photo i have brought the face up to where i am happy with the values, shapes, and have put a light glaze of ultramarine blue on those areas that i wanted to recede just a bit. i am still struggling with the background and will keep working toward a gray tinted a bit toward the green as a foil to all that red in her hat and dress.  hopefully i can accomplish that with successive glazes of cool alternating with warm until i am happy with the overall effect. these are still giving me trouble but only by plugging away will i reach any sort of satisfaction.

the other remaining thin is to finish her dress and the lace collar/yoke. i will have to rather meticulously draw in the "holes" in the lace before painting as i know i will make a mess of it is i just jump in a free-hand it.

the face is done. now for the background and lace.....grrrrr

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

and now for something completely different

as i continued the portrait of rosie i looked a bit more closely at the camera i was losing and realized that it would take about 30 minutes of video if i had a card with enough me4mory. as it turned out i had enough for a little less than 19 minutes. so, i tried experimenting with shooting some video as i painted. i was at the point on this particular painting where i was really niggling with some very small changes in an attempt to get as close a likeness as i could. as such it might be a bit boring, but.......too bad.

there are lots of things wrong with the film. its too yellow owing to the lights, the sound is tinny, i didn't know what i was doing in the editing part, i'm not sure i got the title right, blah, blah, blah. all that not withstanding i thought there might be one or two of you out there that might like seeing some of the brush work, etc.

there are somethings that i should have mentioned while i went along and also in the form of introduction that, due primarily to by lack of experience, i neglected to mention. the brush i used throughout was a #16 cosmotop round by da vinci. the paper is almost vertical being held so by a french box easel set on a table top so that the painting is about eye level in the midsection. i am painting standing up.

so here it is:

the quality is a little bit blurry and only about 10 minutes or so would load, but i'll see what i can do to improve if there is a next time. cheers for now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

ld/ld for the beginning of 2013

edwards exercise in painting old buildings
 i have been doing a "little of dis and a little of dat" (ld/ld) lately while finishing up the preparations for the exhibition and opening of my show at the pump house. the opening was last saturday. i'm pretty naive about these things but it seemed like it was well attended. here is a potpourri of small  and/ or quick works i've done in between more pressing tasks. most of these are either failed paintings (or soon to be failed) or exercises from a landscape book by sterling edwards.

start of a wet canvas challenge for january
 the one of a duo of buildings in the desert bears some explanation. it is a blatant copy of a dean mitchell painting. i have been trying again, now in 2013, to learn something about landscape painting. the use of sterling edwards book is obvious. i admire dean mitchells watercolors, both figurative but also portraits and landscapes. so i thought i would try to dissect out some of his techniques by experimenting with trying to reproduce some of his pieces. this is purely for academic /educational purposes. studying masters whether they be from olden days or contemporary and attempting to copy their works has always been a strategy for teaching and learning art techniques. if you are unfamiliar with dean mitchell here is a link to his website: i think you will agree he is one of our best. i just wish i could find a workshop he is teaching, but finding none i am starting to think that just isn't his thing.

adobe execise from edwards landscape book

failed portrait

so far so good portrait of a dear friend who died last year

copy of mitchell painting (educational purposes only)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

they are people i'll remember: debut solo show

 here are some photos of the exhibit at the pumphouse regional arts center, la crosse, WI. it is my debut solo exhibition and i am somewhat humbled to see my work up at this prominent local art center. my first impression was that paintings that looked quite large back in the studio seemed much smaller. another impression was how good things look when someone who knows what they are doing hangs one's work under the right lighting situation. these photo do not do justice to the wonderful job of the pumphouse staff.

 i would be a liar if i didn't say i was proud of this first effort and honored to have been one of the few juried into an exhibition at the pumphouse this year. the opening reception for me and the other two exhibitors is from 1700-1900 hours, saturday, january 12, 2013.

 for those not entirely familiar with la crosse and who plan on trying to attend, the pumphouse is at 119 king street. hope to see you there.