Monday, January 30, 2012

Buzzing By, 6x6"

How many times have you lined up the perfect camera shot, only to have someone zoom into it at the last possible second?  That's what happened here-- but I was happier with the stealth cyclist in the shot!  I painted this one with a palette knife to keep it spontaneous and lively.  Just enough information to tell the story and then get out fast!

For purchase information, please click here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Harvard Yard, 6x6"

I captured this brief peaceful moment in my sketchbook when I was visiting daughter Emily in Boston.  I transferred it to a board and did an oil sketch of the scene, trying to keep it very spontaneous and impressionistic.  The scattered colorful chairs were a visual treat!

For purchase information, please click here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peppers & Potatoes, 6x6"

Did you know that the "Color of the Year" is Tangerine Tango?  Well, neither did I!  This week's painting challenge on the Daily Paintworks site is to use this super bright warm red as the basis for a painting.  I used it undiluted in the red pepper, then mixed it into most of the other colors in the painting.  Then, I fried up an omelet and ate my setup!

Please click here for purchase information.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amy, 8x10"

I painted this very small portrait of Amy last night in Open Studio at Mainstreet. I've noticed that there has been some discussion on the web lately about the three color zones of the face, and it occurred to me that this painting might help to illustrate the concept. (Fine Arts Views)

The theory of the three zones is that the top third of the face will have a yellow orientation, the middle will be in the red zone, and the lowest third will be blue. If we think about the head as an egg shape in the light, then it stands to reason that the area closest to the light will be warmest, and therefore have a warm (perhaps yellowish) orientation. The middle of the face is fleshier and has more blood flowing under the surface, giving a reddish or pinkish color. Then, as the face turns away from the light in the lowest portion, the temperature often turns cooler, where you will find blue or greenish hues.

If you look at Amy above, you can see that her forehead and the top of her cheekbones have a warm yellowish hue, her cheeks are pinkish, and then her jaw area has cool blues and greens in the skin tone. This theory is very helpful when you are trying to vary the skin tones in a portrait, because it serves as a guide. Of course, rules are made to be broken, and only careful observation of the model will tell you what color to put where. But I hope this was a bit helpful!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Breakfast T, 6x6" (Sold)

This little painting is a study in "controlled chaos"!  Many students ask me how to loosen up their painting style and become more impressionistic in their approach.  In this case, I used large flat brushes and lots of thick paint to lay in the color after I drew in the major shapes.  Then, I went back in with a slightly smaller flat brush to put the structure of the pot and its contents back in.  I tried very hard not to touch the color areas that were working, so that the freshness of the paint wouldn't be ruined.

One other thing that I kept in mind throughout the painting process was to use straight lines whenever possible.  Look at the top of the teapot.  Even though the lid is circular, I painted it in consecutive straight lines.  It reads as round, but the straight lines give it a spontaneous quality that I like.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Timeless", 22x24"

Happy New Year!

A few months ago, I read an article in "Art News" magazine on Beauty and the Brain. In this article, the author cited studies on what types of visual stimuli affect the brain's "beauty" receptors. The scientists found that art that is ambiguous will engage the viewer's brain longer, and the scene will then be considered more engaging, and therefore more beautiful than a piece of art where there is no mystery.

I'm encouraging my students to add a bit of mystery to their paintings, to see if they enjoy bringing the viewer in to solve some puzzles on their own. The portrait that I painted above has the model's head turned a bit away from the viewer, so it isn't obvious what her emotion is. Perhaps this is more intriguing than a full-on portrait with a big smile.

I would also like to introduce you to a blog that I've been enjoying very much lately, named COMPOSE by Dianne Mize. Dianne tackles difficult questions about the theory of art every week, and I look forward to receiving her insights very much. This week's posting is a question that I posed to her a few weeks ago about what makes a piece of art masterful. I think you'll really enjoy reading what she has to say on this, and many other subjects!