Friday, February 24, 2012

“Lula-Belle and the Preacher Fisherman”(Reasons for painting a narrative type painting)

I was recently asked the question, what is the painting “Lula-Belle and the Preacher Fisherman” about, and why did you want to paint this painting. My answer was that it first and foremost is about the relationship of the man and man’s best friend the dog (Lula-Belle). The obvious unconditional devotion this little dog has for her master was a pretty irresistible subject. There is a story here….I do not know the entire real story, but one can imagine a story of some kind in a narrative painting of this type. I guess the story depends on your point of view, or attitude, and sentiment towards this subject.

The painting is additionally, and possibly even more important, about the light…… most paintings are. Interesting dramatic sunlight in this case, that created patterns, and changes of temperature, was the catalyst for making me want to paint what might seem like an ordinary uninteresting subject. If the light is good, it can be something interesting and have possibilities to the artist.

The other thing about this particular painting that was fun, and I believe necessary for a successful outcome, was the opportunity afforded me for applying interesting textural paint applications. The background building and scattered objects, as well as the figures, have a wealth of textural variety that was not only challenging, but much fun for me! Of course, I am a sucker for old beat up buildings and weathered surfaces, so there you go.

One can ponder and over analyze this kind of stuff. I am usually not one to do that unless asked. I think it is OK to do this after the fact, but one should react to the subject without these types of overt considerations. They should be subconscious decisions. I try not to consciously be to aware of reasons for doing things……better to just react honestly to the subject. This was basically my answer to this question, and certainly does not necessarily reflect a universal opinion about this type of discussion. Someone else might have a totally different reason, or motivation for spending time doing something that ultimately should be most important to the artist. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"The Silk Shawl" 14x11 oil on linen, just off the easel!

I donated a little 9x6 painting similar to this one,"The Red Hat",to the Portrait Society of America for their fundraiser/incognito event. I always intended to do a larger version of that painting, but it sort of evolved into this. There are things about this one I like better, and some things about the original that I also still like. This is only 14x11, but I get a better sense of scale than I did with the 9x6 study.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"A Sideward Glance" 16x12 head study

I posted this painting despite the fact that it is a wiped out painting. I was not totally happy with some of the shapes, and as a result of missing the subtle sizes, I did not get the likeness that is usually the result of accurate shapes. I tried fixing and reworking and got I wiped it out. I did take this shot when I thought I was finished. After studying it again, I just might have been a little premature in my decision. I`m sharing this mainly for the young artist out there who want to be as good as they are going to be....right now! I do not think that it works that way. One never masters this thing called painting. It is an ongoing struggle. I heard a line in a song the other day that I shared with my students recently that I particularly like. "I am not as good as I intend to be, but I'm a lot better than I used to be." Can't remember the song or the singer.....Sorry.

"Le jardin de Le Village" a work in progress.

The subject here is loosely based on a vegetable garden I saw on a trip last year. The idea for this painting struck me the moment I walked up to the garden. I tried to capture what I felt when I saw it with my own eyes. I could picture a figure existing or doing something in that environment. My reference is very deficient in many areas, but I use it for structural information. The ideal scenario would be to have the model on location, but that was impossible in this case. I hope when it is finished, one gets the feeling of sense of place that I was going for. This first step shows how direct my attempt at this particular one is. After ridding myself of the white canvas with a thin wash of relatively neutral color, I start with a few vine charcoal lines to indicate positioning of shapes in the composition….then, it is go for it all the way. I must say that this is not necessarily the easiest approach to painting something this large, but it is fun to test one’s observation skills…..and it is, if successful, very satisfying and a personal favorite way to start a painting.

Step two is just more of the same….judging sizes of shapes and values.

Here, I’m getting this done quickly….like a careful block in. This might minimize the corrections or adjustments that will have to be made as I go along. It is amazing how it starts to slow down at this point…..which is not a bad thing. Parts of the painting process move quickly, while other parts seem to call for a slowing down, and more deliberate and careful application of paint.

This is a shot Marilyn took of me working on the painting. My wife occasionally sticks her head in the studio and helps me with stuff, like telling me what I need to hear, rather than what I want to hear. She also took this shot. I am between studio easels at the moment, and I have been working on a wall I built like the studio wall I had when I was an illustrator. It works fine, but an easel is more practical and efficient. I am sort of handy when it comes to building things like furniture type stuff, so I plan to build a large one from some plans that I bought. After researching the easel I wanted, the cost was incentive to try and build one. Hard to say when I will get to it, but it is on the to do list! When I get to it, it might make a good blog post subject.

This is the near finished painting that was done quickly over a period of time, due to a multitude of interruptions since beginning this large (for me this is large) painting . A happy face indicates that I do not hate this painting yet! We’ll see how it goes from here. I will post the finished painting later. Thanks for listening to my ramblings