Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Small Gains

The actual dress in the reference photo is white with grey flowers and leaves, so I'm doing some editing.

Anne, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

 And I tackled the background in this painting today, in between a couple of lengthy interruptions. The chandeliers are a problem, but I got one of them outlined, at least. The one further back in the room will be even harder to figure out. In the photo, it's all white around them, so I'm trying to guess where the contours should be.

A Quiet Evening In Cambridge 2, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I Don't Think This One Will Take Forever

Then again, I said that about the Contra Costa Series, and they ended up taking far longer to complete than I'd thought they would... The tree is mostly done, I just want to pick out some of the bark details on the trunk. The sky holes need to be painted back in. Then the rest of it. But there's not as much detail in this one as some of my other pieces.

Old Town, Late Afternoon, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Complications of the Wrought Iron Seat

There's a bench on the left side of this painting. It's in a shadowy area, so it's hard to see its contours, and to make things more difficult, it's very ornate and curvilinear. I've adjusted the contrast in the reference photo so I can see the details, but it's a real challenge to try to draw it correctly.

Here's where the painting stands now:

Evening Star Café, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Adding in this one, having worked on it and just put my brushes away for the night:

Saturday Night At Le Diplomate, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Back To Work

I always hate taking time off from painting, but it was important to bring new work to the Annapolis shop. Today is Tuesday, but it feels like Monday— I want to accomplish a lot this week.

So far today:

The Chair, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I'm making color decisions about the skin tones and the clothing, trying to keep everything in a sort of harmony.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Annapolis. Eclipse. Giant Mushrooms. No Painting Today.

So, the first thing I did was drive out to Annapolis to deliver 6 paintings and pick up 4 small ones. That took most of the morning and early afternoon. The eclipse was starting to get underway when I got back, so I spent some time wandering around the yard taking pictures of the crescent shapes of the sun on the ground, as it was filtered by the tree leaves.

Back yard, 8/21/2017

Crescent shapes on pumpkin plant leaves. Note pumpkin growing in shadows.

82% coverage of sun.

Also: we had a giant mushroom growing on the lawn. I'm adding this photo because Nature is just so amazing. Apparently, this is a "puffball" mushroom; I think it looks like the brain of an alien entity. The deer have been ignoring it.

Puffball Mushroom. Approximately 9" in diameter.

Tomorrow: back to painting.




Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Happy Day

Flowers of the Valley has sold! I am ecstatic. I loved having it on the entrance wall to my house, but it needed to find a home of its own, and it has gone to an artist who lives in Maryland. She loves it, has been thinking about it since she first saw it a couple of years ago, and has exactly the right spot for it. So— all's well that ends well.

Flowers of the Valley, © 2008,  (click on image for larger view)
Also: I saw a heron in the creek near my house on the way home from a haircut!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Stockton Street

Stockton Street is in San Francisco, actually in the section of SF known as Chinatown. I worked on the upper left this morning, an area that I've found daunting because of all the tiny details of parked cars, signage, etc. It's starting to come together.

Stockton Street, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Everything's Wet. Well, Nearly Everything.

I finally applied myself to some very troublesome areas in the background of this one this morning, and then tried working on Equilibrium. I thought it was dry, but it turns out it's not; will have to wait another day or two to get back to that painting.

Meanwhile, the only things that are dry are Stockton Street and Protective Coloration, neither of which excites me right now.

A Quiet Evening In Cambridge 2, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

America Series: The Feminine Side (So Far)

So far, I have 9 paintings in the America series, 5 of which are women or girls. I'm going to feature the 3 that I worked on today in this post, and follow with the two that are finished. I know Blogspot posts go out to everyone, all over the world, and I wanted to show visitors to my blog a good representation of who we are, us Americans, as a people.

Mehri, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Mehri is an immigrant who came to the USA many years ago from Iran. She is a patriotic American who owns her own business.


Caitlyn, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Caitlyn is 9 years old, and a student in the Washington DC Area. I love her colorful dress, her beautiful smile, and the way she's playing with the hem of her dress.

Anne, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Anne lives in California. She has a disability that requires her to use a wheelchair for mobility; she is brilliant at writing and enjoys sketching.

Susana, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Susana is a dentist. She is also an immigrant, and I have to find out which country she's from. She graduated from Harvard University, which is really something to be proud of.

Veronica, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Vero, as she likes to be called, is an artist; a printmaker, actually.

I'm pleased with the series so far, though it's very hard to get a decent likeness!  And as soon as I get the first 9 or 10 done, I'm going to start another 10.







Two More

I'm heading off to the gym. My new mantra for dealing with all the political insanity is: Eat well, sleep well, exercise, laugh. Oh, and of course, paint. Painting makes me happy. It calms me when I'm distressed. It feels good to be creating something of value, not tearing things down.

So. On that note— some really tedious work today; trying to get those windows not only straight but also in perspective is not easy, and still not quite right. Same for Cole; hard to work in that small a space on not only a resemblance, but also aiming for correct skin tones.

Old Town, Late Afternoon, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

 
Cole, America Series, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)


Details, Details

Because there was some visible camera shake in the reference photo for this painting, it's hard to tell what, exactly, the shapes are in the background. I've finally developed the patience required to just analyze them and where the shapes are in relation to others, and just paint the way I see them. So far, so good; for the first time I feel confident that this painting is going to e successful. But it's been a long time coming.

A Quiet Evening In Cambridge 2, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Down, Left to Right, Subduing the Color

Lots got accomplished today, all to the background sounds of the press conference. I worry about my country. What happened in Charlottesville was bad enough, but now this. Everyone is talking about a failure of moral leadership.

Anyway, I worked from the top down on Le Diplomate. There's still SO much to be done, all those little bottles for example. It's been a difficult piece, but I'm content with the way it's going.

Saturday Night At Le Diplomate, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I'm still trying to tighten up the left side on this one. There are many areas that move subtlely from one color to another, like red-orange to brown to pale green. They're fun to paint, though they take a long time to finesse.

Evening Star Café, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

And, I got back to the flesh tones on this one. They are very hard to mix accurately, so it's going to look odd for a while until I figure out what pigments to use. I also toned down the red shirt on the young woman center left, and the two on the right.

The Chair, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

What's This About?

I'm worried that the color is starting to take over and detract the focus from the guy in the chair. Maybe I should tone it down, or use more hues on the subdued greenish-ochre side of the spectrum. Like the colors in the de La Tour that I mentioned in my post titled, "Nervous."

The Chair, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)



Water Works

Worked on these two late yesterday. It was a good decision to work on them both at the same time, they are speeding along.

Atlantic Ocean Series #11, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Atlantic Ocean Series #12, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
It's hard to get the breaking water to look like breaking water! I should study the ocean paintings of people who make their images look super realistic.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Quandary

This is my favorite painting by my favorite artist, Vermeer.

Johannes Vermeer, A Maid Asleep, c. 1656-7, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I love the soft light. The treatment of the facial planes. The subdued color. The off-center placement of the figure, and even the quirky perspective of the jug and fruit bowl. And what's going on with that chair? I never noticed that odd brown area; I've always been drawn to the figure and the background.

Well--- Years ago, before I figured out that loose, brushy art work was not my forté (with the possible exception of landscapes) I painted this:

Either/Or, © 2002,  (click on image for larger view)

Actually, I had done a much smaller version of it three years earlier, which sold very quickly, but I've always thought that the dark blank space was too large and blank. And I felt I could do a better job on the figures. Something more like the way Vermeer treated his maid.

I want to repaint this, so I've brought the painting upstairs where I can look at it often in an effort to re-think that background. I've also played around with several alternate background images in different layers in Photoshop. So far they all seem a little prosaic, and I've been surprised to see that they bear a resemblance to A Maid Asleep: open doorways with a glimpse of a room beyond. Once I noticed the similarities, I realized the upper left corner of my painting, with its shelf and cast shadow, and the door frame behind the figure on the left is also reminiscent of Vermeer's painting. And the figure, like his, leans to the left.

I wasn't thinking of A Maid Asleep when I posed the figures so long ago, but now that I see the similarities, I wonder about the seeming logic of using a doorway to an open room in the background. Am I going for an homage? Should I go instead for something completely surreal? What's the best solution for this problem?



It's Only Monday

I had yet another late start today, but there's still time to work, and I don't have to leave the house again for the next couple of days. Most of my work time so far today has gone into this one, having heard a rumor that it's going to be needed for an upcoming show.

Equilibrium, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Now to let it dry  and move on to something else.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Filling In The Blanks

Getting the background done has left me with a sense of relief going forward on this one. It feels like it's going quickly now.

Equilibrium, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)


Anne, A Little Further Along

Not sure how much more painting I'm going to do today— some of them are beckoning me to work on them, but I'm not convinced they're dry enough. Anyway: this morning's work:

Anne, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)



The Old Town Painting

Progressing nicely. It's going to be fun to paint the spots of light coming through the tree branches on the wall.

Old Town, Late Afternoon, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Finished! George

The America series is cruising along nicely. Here's the latest:

George, America Series, © 2017 (click on image for larger view)

I'm reworking the face on this one. The eyes were too big and they made it look like a cartoon. 

  Cole, America Series, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I need to take some more reference photos. Still not sure how many images to aim for in the final version; 25? 36? 49? I want to arrange them in a big square separated by about an inch in between, so it would be 5 across by 5 down, or 6 across by 6 down, etc. How many is enough?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Packing It In For The Day

I was so unnerved by current events last night I couldn't get to sleep until 3 am, and have been dragging myself around since morning. Made the last of 4 trips to the car repair shop and decided to stop by the art supply store on the way home. Did not get to start actual painting until 2:15, and am now going to give up and take a nap. Hopefully I'll be able to do a little more tonight, but here's the start of Anne:

Anne, © 2017, (America series) work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Nervous

I don't see the point of all this testosterone-based tough talk. Like everyone else on this beautiful planet, I just want to live my life without the fear that everything's going to be blown to bits tomorrow.

I did work on The Chair last night. The flesh tones are very flat and pale right now but the painting will acquire some depth as it develops. The color scheme reminds me of de La Tour, especially his "The Fortune Teller."

The Chair, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Georges De La Tour, The Fortune Teller, 1633–1639, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Making Up For Lost Time

I was able to fit in two more today, and with a little luck, I'll work on some of the blank areas on The Chair later tonight. There's not too much more to be done on this one:

Atlantic Ocean Series #11, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

And this looks awful right now, but if it turns out anything like the reference photo, it'll be gorgeous when finished:

Atlantic Ocean Series #12, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Finished! Susana

This is what happens when I'm not driving all over Northern Virginia to vehicle repair shops, or spending the day cleaning house for visitors.

Susana, America Series, © 2017 (click on image for larger view)

The excitement of getting 4 of the panels in this series done has encouraged me to start a new one: Anne. Stay tuned.

Finished! Veronica

Moving along on the America series; having some misgivings about the facial planes on Daniel, however.

Veronica, America Series, © 2017 (click on image for larger view)