This is the first of a two-week portrait study. I suppose this is a brunaille — a brownish underpainting. I was focusing on getting the drawing right, not really attending to color. It’s close to a likeness, but Emily is younger and slimmer in real life, so I will try to fix those things next week. I hope I have enough time to add some detail to her eyes, too.
Life class finally resumed today, after a too-long layoff, and I was definitely rusty. But it was great to work on figure and portrait drawing and painting again. I did this quick study in about 90 minutes. The model posed right against a white wall, which made for interesting shadows.
Happy New Year! I’ve been busy preparing to return to teaching this semester, but I still plan to paint or draw every day. My New Year’s resolution is to paint 50 pictures this year — but to paint them more carefully, with more attention to detail. I will experiment more with converting plein air studies and other reference material into finished studio landscapes. I’m reading Michael Chesley Brown’s book on the subject now.
In general I don’t paint exclusively from photos, but I’m not a fanatic about it. I did the painting below as a commission, using the client’s photo reference and other photos. It was fun!
The T. A. Moulton Barn is, apparently, the most famous barn in Wyoming. It stands guard in front of the Tetons. I painted this little picture as a Christmas gift for relatives who live in the area. As I said in my last post, Santa’s elves have a couple more gift paintings on the way!
Santa here! I’ve been busy painting several pictures as Christmas presents, and I won’t be able to post them here until the big day arrives. In the meantime, I thought I’d treat you to my portrait by Norman Rockwell, the great (and under-rated) American painter and illustrator. (In a later post, I’ll consider Rockwell in more depth; his work didn’t simply consist of idealized depictions of American life, but also took up themes like civil rights and mistreatment of African-Americans.) For now, enjoy!
Today I painted a lemon, but I put a very warm spotlight on it, and the painting made it look too orange. Also, there’s lots of glare on this photo. I will work on it more tomorrow!
The Potomac Almanac, a local newspaper, featured one of my paintings in an article last week. The article was describing the Clara Barton Community Center annual arts & crafts show, in which I participated. I sold several paintings, so I was happy, although I inadvertently damaged a painting while trying to hang it. I’m working on restoring it now.
Anyway, here’s a link to the article. http://www.potomacalmanac.com/news/2018/nov/28/search-holiday-gifts/
My solo show at the Yellow Barn Studio went really well! I had over 200 visitors, and many friends and family showed up, including people I hadn’t seen in decades. That was the best part — reconnecting with old friends!
On top of that, I sold 16 paintings. I would have sold 17 had I not somehow misplaced one while setting up the show. I had a friend who wanted to buy it, but I sitll can’t find it. I hope it will turn up!
It was cool to watch people engage with my work. I'd watch people look at my two pictures of Cabin John Woods (warm light in fall, cooler light in winter) and I'd see them move back and forth, comparing the two, just as I wanted. Some people would be fascinated by my cherry tree or dumpster; others by a portrait or still life. A few breezed through and left, unimpressed, lol. The experience fired me up to do more.
Prepping, framing, and hanging the show was great experience -- but far more work than I expected. I hung 63 pictures. I wish I'd spent more time thinking about how and where to hang things, but as it was I was up til 2 a.m. doing it. The last dozen or so, were done without much thought, as it was late and I was tired, and the presentation suffered accordingly. (I also used too many black frames.)
Here’s an extreme wide-angle panorama shot of the show just as I opened the doors. (I’ve photoshopped out one person to preserve their privacy.) It was rarely this empty: I had a steady stream of guests, and I was on my feet for six hours each day. Fun!
I had fun with this portrait in life class last week. It was the second session of a two-session pose; I posted my progress after the first session a couple weeks ago.
On November 24 and 25, I will be exhibiting paintings for sale at the Yellow Barn Studio Gallery in Glen Echo Park, Maryland. Admission is free. The gallery will be open 12 pm to 6 pm both days, and you’re all invited to my reception on Saturday from 3-5 pm. Free parking is available at the nearby Oxford Street lot. It’s the weekend right after Thanksgiving, so I know some people will be out of town, but I hope you can make it!
Here’s the front and back of the postcard I’m sending out this week. The depicted painting, “Cherry Blossoms just after peak,” will be one of the works on exhibit.
I continued my tour of the Edgemoor neighborhood in Bethesda. One great thing about painting there is that I have so many friends in the neighborhood. I run into someone I know every time I paint there. Art can be a solitary endeavor, so I always appreciate the company!
Anyway, this painting holds promise, but I ran out of daylight before I could refine it. I was experimenting with softer edges to make the orange tree look more 3D, but in the process I’m afraid I made it too symmetrical. I’ll chop some leaves off it (figuratively speaking) if and when I revisit the site!
I was driving by this tree a couple days and came to a screeching halt. I just had to paint it! It’s been pruned in somewhat odd ways, creating some unpredictable lighting patterns. It may not be the best choice of subject, but I don’t care — it was fun to paint. I’m not sure I’m done with this one yet.
This was the first of a two-week sitting with Harry, who often wears a funky little top hat. Hats are hard to get right, and my first effort here is too small. I’ll fix it next week. I’ve also got placeholders around the eyes and jawline, so there’s plenty of work to be done, but I feel this is a good start.
I went back to the same neighborhood I painted yesterday, this time one street over. I loved this yellow-orange tree! Unfortunately, I didn’t finish before darkness fell. I need to define the road better, refine the trees on the left, and probably tone down the dark spots at the end of the road. And I might add a figure or two, or a car. I may do those things in the studio, as rain is in the forecast.
I had only an hour or so to paint today, in late afternoon, and as I was wrapping up a parade of cute trick-or-treaters came ambling by. Fun! I also had fun painting this little scene. I removed trash cans and cars, and I sneaked in a few extra fall colors, so the picture is more idyllic than the reality. So be it!
It was our first nice fall day of the year, or so it seemed, so I finally got a chance to search for some fall colors to paint. I found some muted ones on Norfolk Street, in Bethesda. My ink sketch was promising, but I dithered too long with the oil painting, and by the time I had settled on a composition, everything was basically in shadow. It’s a lot easier to convey form when things have both a light side and a shadow side! So this is one case in which I prefer my 5-minute sketch to my 3-hour painting.
In life class we almost always have a nude model, but I almost always paint the portrait, not the full figure. I do draw the full figure in our warm-ups, but for a painting, I am generally most interested in the subject’s face. This time, though, the reclining pose really called for a figure study. I did this in about an hour and forty-five minutes.
I’ve been itching to paint this house for months, and today I finally got to it. It took about two hours. I got cold and declared victory!
Before I did the painting, I did this little sketch. The idea of the sketch was “light house against dark background.”
My family and I went to see the New York Rangers tangle with the Washington Capitals this evening, and I did a few gesture sketches. Disclaimer: it’s hard to draw moving hockey players! Fun and good practice, though.
I did this portrait in about two hours in life class today. As always, more time would have been nice, but I did get a likeness.