Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Her Favorite Hat" 16x12 oil on linen....Five step Demonstration.

Step 1.
     Someone asked if I would add brief descriptions with each step of the next demo that I, here are a few steps of this demo with minimal explanation of what I am attempting to do.  Some may want a more involved explanation....and possibly more stages, but I think most can get the idea from these brief explanations. 
     This first step is just a feeling out of the actual filled and unfilled space that the subject will occupy.  At this point I'm not concerned to much with any fine shapes or drawing....just an indication with a thin wash of where things go.  The thin wash that I toned this canvas with is a mixture of Ivory black, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Raw Sienna.  I don't believe the color is as important as getting rid of the white canvas is. 

Step 2.
      Here, I have massed in the large value and shape first and I'm gradually trying to go from broad to finer with smaller shapes.
Step 3.
     Step three consist of more adjustments of value and temperature.....starting to work a few edges and indicating the big shape of the black scarf.  Many of the marks that are being made at this stage will not change much.  This was done in an Alla Prima, with this method one is going for the finish as soon as possible.....why wait!  If I can suggest or indicate something that looks like it should, without over rendering, then I feel as though I have succeeded.  This method I find works particularly well when painting something simple.  A complex more involved piece, like multiple figures etc., might lend itself to a different approach.  I do like to mix it up, and I try to avoid it coming a formula.
Step 4.
     This step is near finish....just a few tweaks here and there....and try not to mess it up totally!  The palette in this particular painting is not the most limited of palettes, but is pretty limited.  The mixtures were created from six colors; titanium white, ivory Black, yellow ochre, ultra marine blue deep, cad red medium, and burnt sienna.
Step 5.
     This is the finished painting for now.  "Her Favorite Hat", 16x12, oil on linen.  Hope this might be of interest and useful to someone.  It is only one way that I approach the subject.  There are many ways to begin a painting....each being as valid as the next.  A successful end is what is most important after all!  Until next time, thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Llamas, "Painting a subject that might not have a broad appeal!"

                                                  "Llamas", 16x20, oil on linen   

      Painting a subject that is of interest to you personally is important and most fun, but could have the consequence of you owning that work for some time.  Unfortunately, I do own a few more of these types of paintings than I would like…I’m sure it is a universal thing with most artists.  I personally dislike the idea of only making paintings that will always be an easier sell, or painting only things that you think are safe, or might have a greater chance to sell in the Galleries.  I know it is a fact that much of this is subject driven….and we all must make a living, but I do admire artists who do not always play it safe when it comes to subject matter.  I have had this discussion many times with different people about what sells and what will not sell, etc.  I would hope that there is a buyer for each painting somewhere.  The problem is sometimes that buyers may never see a particular painting….so, getting those folks in front of said paintings is the other part of the equation….subject for a future blog post!
    I can only speak for myself, but I paint things that sometimes deep down, I know while I’m painting them that this is not going to be an easy sell…..or there may be fewer opportunities to move this painting.  My wife Marilyn is always a pretty good judge of this, and is never reluctant to advise me regarding this.  In my mind, I still want to paint certain things, even though they are difficult to market.  Thankfully, some of the things I paint are well received, but the ones that are sometimes most fun to paint are the ones that are difficult to find a home for….and sometimes paintings just have to be painted without any consideration of sales.  Generally, these are the paintings that are well received by other artists.  If I had no outlets for the paintings I produce, I would still continue to paint them.  I suppose it would then be considered more of a passionate hobby…I guess. 
     The painting above, Llamas, 16x20, oil on linen, is a good example of this.  I painted this a few years ago…2000, I believe. We took a trip to upstate New York to visit my daughter and her family.  There was this farm that had Lamas on it….first time for me seeing a Lama in the flesh.  I thought they were interesting animals, so I painted them.  I framed the painting and one of the galleries that were representing me at the time took it and had it for some time.  It was later returned to me and I took it out of the frame, and stuck it in storage.  Recently, while arranging and culling out old stuff, I came across it…..hence the motivation for this post.  What struck me about the painting was how little difference there seemed to be in this painting, compared to some of the paintings I am presently doing.  I probably would have approached this pretty much the same way I did thirteen years ago.  Painting proficiency is hopefully somewhat evolved, but basically it is not that different.

                           "Daydreams and Smoked Mullet", 22x28 oil on linen     

      “Daydreams and Smoked Mullet” is another painting that fits this category.  I have yet to show this to any gallery….it’s been hanging around the studio unframed for some time.  I suspect that it will not be an easy one to get out of the studio.  This might be one that I end up owning.  Lucky me!
  Until next time, thank you for listening to my Cajun Ramblings.