Monday, December 29, 2014

"English Gentleman", 8x10" (No longer available)

My good friend Jayne brought back a photo from England of this gentleman walking down the street, and I couldn't resist painting him.  She tells me that it is a rare sight these days to see a man shopping with a basket.  I imagined him picking up a few things for the holidays.

I used very thick gesso on top of a hardboard to achieve the textured look of this painting.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Chinese Jar and Grapefruits", 8x8"

Just as a musician practices scales before launching into a complicated piece, I like to practice simple still life setups from life to keep my observation skills sharp.  I always ask myself, what colors do I see beyond the obvious?  Where can I lose an edge or where can I sharpen one?  Is the composition balanced and pleasant to look at?

Every completed painting, large or small, informs the next painting.  Questions or problems that pop up will look for resolution in the next piece.  When the painting is smaller and the stakes are lower, I can explore new territory and push myself a little further.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Lemons in Southern Light", 8x8"

What has stayed with me the most after our trip to France?  Cezanne's still lifes and his ability to capture color in such a complicated yet seemingly simple way.  I can see his struggle in his paintings, and it touches me.

Detail from a Cezanne still life

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Where Next, Fifi?", 8x10"

Why are the French so elegant in everything they do?  Even when perusing a tourist board-- they do it with flare.  I should have been photographing architecture, but found myself constantly drawn to the people in France.  And now that's all I want to paint!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Lucille, A Reworked Portrait", 16x20"

Old things CAN be new again, sometimes.  I took this old painting that had been hanging around since about 2007 and threw some new paint at it.  As long as I stayed in the correct value range (light to dark), I could add any colors that I wanted into all areas of the painting.  Here is a closeup of the area on her cheek and neck:

I was able to add notes of purple, green, blue, and orange into this area of the model.  Since each of these colors was the correct value, none of them stood out and away from the others.  Sticking with the correct value actually frees us to experiment with color!