Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Small Quick Sketches for possible larger works"

These three 7x11 oil sketches are compositional studies from reference gathered in our recent trip to the Apalachicola Florida area.  These are very sketchy and fast.  This is about as quick as I can paint without crossing over into that sloppy area.  I prefer painterly as a description of paint application, rather than loose…..for me, loose has a negative connotation that suggest sloppy, or careless!           

Even though these are very sketchy and not completely buttoned down, there is still enough clarity in each to see what is going on.  The shapes suggested are still accurate enough to determine whether to pursue a larger version.  I like all three of these compositions....the drawing will have to be tweaked somewhat if taken to a larger size.  I don't worry to much about the color.  If the value ends up good, and the color has the integrity of the scene....and is palatable to me....then I'm OK with it!

Thanks for listening to my Cajun Ramblings!

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Scribbling in the Margins #3", The importance of drawing skills!

     Drawing is the foundation of all good representational paintings.  I’m sure most have heard the expression as it relates to the importance of good drawing, “It’s eighty percent drawing and the other twenty per cent is drawing”!  I am convinced and believe that without good observation skills, and a sound foundation in drawing, paintings can be very limited.  I have seen many a painting with eye catching technique that at first glance, looks interesting….until you see the weakness of the drawing…..then, you can’t get pass it.  At that point, it’s all one sees!  I'm also not suggesting that my personal drawing is always spot on.....but it is something that is important to me, and I try to impart that to students that I teach!  
    This is particularly important with the figure.  When painting the landscape for instance, trees and things of that nature are all different and artistic license can be taken more readily.  Trees and other parts of the landscape can be moved around to create more interesting, or stronger compositions…..but, if the figure is inaccurately portrayed or distorted inappropriately, everyone notices.  For me, reasonable accuracy is what is necessary, and interpretation rather than slavishly copying…..artists interpret….. Cameras copy.

     Drawing with charcoal, pencil, etc. is no different than drawing with paint….in my opinion.  You are always making the same decisions based on the width, height, angle, value, edge quality of the subject.  The only difference is when you are using color, there is this little thing called temperature that must be addressed.
     Good shapes are good drawing.  Drawing does not have to be highly rendered necessarily…..depending on what the artist is trying to convey!   Some great drawings are accurate suggestions of images that leave something to be imagined by the viewer…… but, are spot on good shapes.   This is why a clever application of paint will not help a bad shape, or poor drawing.  On the other hand a great shape will carry a mediocre paint application…..obviously the best scenario would be to have great shape and great application!
     I believe that anyone can be taught to get an accurate proportion by measuring each increment before making marks.  I find this to be, personally, very tedious.  I prefer to use observation to try and determine widths, lengths and angles….intersecting lines, etc., without measuring.  I think this practice will ultimately increase ones observation skill level.  Obviously, if your judgment based on observation still looks wrong, and you can’t get it correctly in that manner, you then must measure, or check yourself.  Over time, there will be less need to measure each little thing…..there will be an increased level  of accuracy, and drawing will be less tedious, free, more confident….and, certainly more fun!

These are only my personal feelings about this subject, and might, or might not reflect any common opinion.  Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings!

 Hodges Soileau   OPA         

Monday, April 6, 2015

Another figure in an nature/landcape environment...5 step progression demonstration!

Step 1.

Step 2.

 Step 3.

 Step 4.

Step 5.

This painting is another one resulting from a recent workshop dealing with the figure in nature/landscape.  During the model breaks, I snapped off a few shots of the model, Erin, relaxing.  I think I'm going to title this one "Alone with her thoughts", 11x14 oil on wood.  I'm doing a series of these figure/figures in an outdoor environment.....lots of fun to do.  Thanks for stopping in to my blog and listening to my ramblings.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fresh off the Easel, 4 step progression demo!

Step 1.
Step 2.
Step 3.
Final Step 4.
Finished for now!, "Yet untitled", 18x24 oil on linen panel

This painting was done after my recent three day workshop, "Figure in the Landscape".  We had a different model for each day of the workshop.  This was the second day....the model was on break between poses and I clicked off a couple of shots with my digital camera.  The images were very inky, but with my recent memory of the situation and demos completed, I was able to get a reasonable representation of what I saw that day.  It's always fun to paint the model from life in other than studio situations.  I don't do it enough....I plan to do more of this type of location painting!  I haven't posted on my blog in some time....I apologize for has been a very busy time of year.  I will try to do better!  Thanks for listening to my ramblings. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"My Last Painting of 2014", 40x30 Commission in Progress!

As 2014 comes to an end, I find myself working on a 40x30 commissioned piece that is near completion.  It is a nice way to end the year.  It was overall, a pretty good year.  I am looking forward to what 2015 brings.  Each year, for me, is relatively similar with just enough variety to satisfy me personally.  I find that I function best with routine that leaves some flexibility for things, or opportunities that might pop up.

I hope 2015 brings health, happiness and prosperity to each and everyone of you.  Happy New Year!
.....and again thanks for listening to my ramblings. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Demo/heads from imagination!


     Head of woman, 11x7, oil, from imagination
20 minute quick study

     Yesterday was the final day of the fall semester for 2014 at Ringling College of Art and critiques in the morning class, and the afternoon class had already completed their final critiques, so I did three little demos.  Two heads painted from imagination, and one little painting directly from a graphite sketch in one of my sketch books.  It was a fun couple of hours.  I think practicing this type of demo is a useful exercise.....a great way to practice the application of paint and use of the brush without concern with likenesses and things of that nature.  Early on in my illustration career, I used to do a lot of these as warm ups.  I used to throw them away, until an artist friend convinced me that I should save them.  I don't do them that much any more, but I have bags of these left over from those days. I always intend to do more demos in these classes, but the weeks go by so quickly, next thing you know, the semester is coming to an end!

Head of a man, 11x7, oil, from imagination
Quick study
Third Demo using my sketch book as reference, 12x9 oil on linen panel
     Semester comes to an end and now it's time recharge the batteries, and do some on location painting and studio work.....along with long neglected projects.  Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“Horseman/Cowboy”, A Youngster’s fantasy.

     I guess many youngsters from my generation and background dreamed of being a horseman or cowboy of some sort.  I am certainly one that has always ….since I can remember, had a love of horses, riding and all that goes with it.  I had several different horses as a youngster, and always seemed to have a riding horse until I got to be of automobile driving age…..not that I was ever a big fan of cars….and, I’m still not.  It really had more to do with dating girls….I guess.  It is a bit difficult to go on traditional dates on horseback!

     As an artist, I believe one gravitates to subjects that have some kind of connection.  I paint a varied subject, and horses are one that I continually revisit.  As a young man I always thought it would be great to have a place where a couple of horses could be kept.  Careers and life gets in the way of some of these dreams…..not that I’m complaining.  At times, with unbelievable busy schedules/deadlines, it might have been difficult to care for horses properly!  Anyway, here are a few recent paintings/studies of the noble beast….one of my favorite subjects to paint. 

     Maybe I’ll post a few of my horseback stories at some later date!  Again, thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings!