Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Uncanny: An Update

Hey alls y'all, I've updated the website for the October show with S. R. Brennen Gallery in Santa Fe.  Teresa and Dave and I have about two thirds of our work varnished, photographed, and up in the image gallery.  We'll be getting the rest up in over the course of the next month.

Take a look!

After months of looking at sunken in, partially finished work and agonizing over deadlines, it's really uplifting to see the finished work finished, varnished, and all together.  It feels kind of like one of those sports misfit movies, where the casually alcoholic coach is forced against his will to take on a crew of rough-around-the-edges diamonds-in-the-rough and turn them into an all-star team.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Workshop in Virginia

Did you know that West Virginia was the only state in the Union to secede from a Confederate state during the American Civil War? I have no idea what that means, but I'm doing a workshop there next year and that's something that Wikipedia has to say about the place.  And then after reading all about West Virginia, I realized my workshop is actually in Virginia.

My still life workshop will be hosted from May 15-19 by Debra Kierce in Ashburn, Virginia, which I understand is a hop, skip and a jump from DC and my favourite suburb of them all, Reston of the cardboard cut out facades and clockwork dog walkers.  If you are interested in attending, I'm sorry not sorry sorry to say that the workshop is already full, but hey, you should definitely get in touch with Debra to give her your name for a future workshop with me.  Her email address is debrakeirceart@yahoo.com and her number is 571-236-0047.

If you want to read about my last workshop on Whidbey Island, go here.  When I teach still life, there is a huge slide show element with close ups of work.  I also like to focus on creative problem solving and textural tricks.  I like to encourage students to do things efficiently and effectively, and to use a BC experssion, GIVER.

Oh and haaaay guyz, here's a picture of a recent still life in progress.  I can't wait to share the WIP.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Poison Tree II

Last episode recap: colour studies, something something, painted faces, something something, painted clothes and nearly flipped out on cloak but then it was okay...

This episode: landscape stuff and finishing!  First up is the apple tree.  The gritty and impastoed surface was applied with a combination of drybrush scumbling for the darks and palette knife impastoes for the lights, with the intention of going back into it all before wrap up to glaze and scumble into it further.

And then, with all the fun stuff used up, I'm now left with a whole lotta background to fill.  Yes, I am a dessert first kind of person.

In real life, there are no mountains behind my models, and there is no barn, or cedar trees, or house.  That thing that dazzled your eyes just now is my artistic license, baby.



I find landscape very challenging.  I did do the Hudson River Fellowship years ago, and without that, I'd be really lost.  And yet, I know I approach landscape painting like a still life painter.  I like to paint each little tree and each little blade of grass, approaching the whole scene object by object instead of treating the whole thing as one big abstract visual impression which cannot be reduced to components, but exists as a gestalt.  I had to keep reminding myself while painting the landscape above to paint the landscape, and not the parts.  In Dad Joke language, you gotta paint the forest and not the trees!  GET IT.

And now for another pass on the hands.  Loving those little knuckle dimples.

Below I start to do the final pass on Paul's face.  You can see me start off by laying down broad areas of colour.  I darken his whole face in this final stage.

And finally, hair!  You know how weird it is to have to request that your models don't have their hair cut for the month leading up to their photo shoot?  I've done it more than once.  I just hate super short hair on little boys.  It needs to have some Pantene commercial oomph to it.  What really makes strawberry coloured hair like this work in a painting is purple.  Purple purple purple.  I dump a little ultramarine blue plus alizarin crimson into the half light and reflected light areas.  It makes the coppery highlights really pop.

Emily's hair and face also get a final pass.  I had to be careful to keep her face darker than Paul's, since she is lurking behind that tree trunk.  It's that little bluish highlight on her temple that really makes her face work. 

And it's finally time for some foliage.  I had a lot of fun with these leaves.  I mixed up some massive quantities of about five shades of green and I then trowled them on with a broad, sharp flat.  In person they do come across as quite brushstroke-y.

By now the painting was mostly done, but I still was having trouble with the foreground.  The grass looked like it was painted by someone who had had grass described to them once, so I betook myself the outdoors and set up my painting in front of a tree that had some overgrown grass and wildflowers at it's base.  The results were predictably better.  I also took an evil looking red apple outside with me and painted it with the outdoor like hitting it just right.  Below is the painting at the end of my outdoor session.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some close up pictures of the finished painting:

Remember how I foreshadowed that I would go back into that tree bark?  I ended up doing some nifty glazing and scumbling over top of the impastoing.

And, because it's all a bunch of art nerds reading this, here are the head studies I did as prep work back when I was developing the idea for this painting:

Now I'm not saying you should click here to check out the auction, but click here to check out the auction.  Auction ends on August 10th.