Monday, October 23, 2017

Company For Dinner

Some out-of-state relatives are coming by in a little while, so I have to tend to cheese and crackers. The loaf of bread is cooling. Meanwhile, I worked on this one twice today; I've been trying to clean up past mistakes and deal with all the value changes on that stupid ladder. Then next it will be the tunic pattern. Will it ever be done?

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Evening Star Facade

I know it looks like I did nothing on this, but I repainted the entire top of the building. The strokes that looked rough are now evened out, and the color has been adjusted so it's just slightly toned down and a bit more green. Next, I want to clean up those upper windows.

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

Trying to Soften Edges

It's getting to the point of serious frustration now; I'm trying to soften the edges of some of the shadows on the wall and it isn't going well. Nor is the pattern on the tunic. I had to wipe out everything that I'd done on it yesterday and now I just have to let the whole thing dry for a couple of days. But it's getting close to the finish line.

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


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Redrawing Necessary

I don't know how I get so far off track sometimes. The rightmost chair should have a sinuous, elegant curve at the top like the rest of the chairs; instead, I have been painting it to look more squared-off. So I started reworking it last night. Of course, now it's a mess; because I'd also made it too tall, I cut the size down, and now I think it's too short. Some drying time will be necessary before I can fix the problems.

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

Also— the woman at the far left needs to be more in shadow.

Here, I've come to the conclusion that the lamps on the wall closest to the viewer also need to be redrawn. The reference photo is pretty bad, and there's just a burned-out area where the lamps are on the wall. If I increase the dark values in Photoshop, I can see that the lamp nearest the viewer overlaps the one on the left, it doesn't sit next to it. But that means repainting the wall color, and that's going to take some doing.

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





Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Not Liking Those Grey Walls

The two grey walls reflected in the mirrors on either side of the room just didn't make sense to me, so I painted over them in a mix of Burnt Umber and Titanium White. Now they should be in harmony with the upper part of the room. I'll get to the last little details when the paint dries.

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

Looks like the glare from the sunlight outside the window is making the right side wall look like it's still grey; it's not.

Meanwhile: More work on the ocean paintings.

Atlantic Ocean Series #12, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress

Back To Work

Here's the latest:

Homes On The Hill, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I really wanted the slope of the hill on the left side to be more dramatic, so I brought it down a bit. Created more definition in the clouds; the sun was right behind that white spot (or two) on the left, and I wanted it to be the brightest bright.

Next:

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

I did find that rigger brush, and it worked very well on those bare branches coming off the left side of the tree. Not sure what else needs to be done on this one, actually. I'll keep it around for a few more days to see if there are any more adjustments to be made.



Atlantic Ocean Series #11, Dawn Phase, © 2017, work in progress

This still needs some small, very dark ripples starting just below the middle of the panel, and some definition on the foamy area in the foreground. But like several others, it's pretty far along. I think I'll be able to finish at least 7 pieces by the end of the year.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Starting That Nasty Little Pattern On The Tunic

Ah, yes. It's time to wrap things up on this commissioned piece, though I suspect it'll take me another week. I keep finding places that are just not right: the hard edge on the cast shadows, for example. Anyway, I took a deep breath and plunged into the pattern on the tunic this morning, as well as finishing up some of the skin tones and places on the green part of the landscape.

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

The pattern is tricky; I have to keep it looking regular. I'm sure I didn't paint every single row of dots— it probably should have more rows— but there's a point where you have to decide to either to go ahead with it or wipe it all off and start over. I'm not sure that I would get any better results if I started over. I'm taking a break from it now— still have to finish the right side of the tunic, but I might wait for a few other adjacent places to dry first.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Exploring The Idea Of The Limited Palette

I'm beginning to think using a palette with just a few colors is a great idea, and I'm using one on The Chair, making adjustments as I go. The colors are: Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Deep, Indian Yellow (Rembrandt—looks, unfortunately, like they don't make it anymore), Winsor Blue, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre Light, plus Titanium White. (I'm using the Indian Yellow because it's one of the base colors in the background, which I painted weeks ago.) It does seem possible to mix the colors I need for any painting with just a few of the primary colors, and the painting will be more unified in the end.

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

Yesterday I looked at a list of colors in a limited palette that included a cool grey, which might be a good idea for me to try. I think it might knock back some of the intensity of the hues.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Few Places Here and There

In getting down to the end on this one, I have to be careful not to smear any of the recently painted areas. I count about a dozen places left, mostly small; some of the flesh tones, the strings that support the hanging objects on the left side wall, the hair on the kneeling woman and both the level she holds and its shadow; the most work that needs to be done is on the ladder.

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

I've gone over this painting with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. As with the one above, there is only a finite amount left to do, mostly sharpening up the edge lines on the floor tiles and the bottom of the rightmost chair.

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

And One More

I'm still unmotivated, but this painting needs to be finished by the end of the month. I worked on one or two of the figures at the tables today.

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

Signage

I knew the straight and curved lines of the lettering on the sign were going to be tricky, and they were; I'll have to go back and do clean-up after the paint dries. But having some of it done really snaps the painting into focus.

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

There's spot light on some of the central letters, and where they're currently a bright red, they're going to have a pink sheen to them. I also have to put in the words, "Est. 1997."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Darkening Areas To Create Contrast

By making some of the background areas darker than they were, I'm hoping the yellow wall and the waiter in the white apron will be more pronounced. And will get more attention, visually speaking.

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

I also put in some more detail on this one— note the artwork hanging on the left wall, and the more finished looking artwork at right.

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

A Bit More On The Positive Side

Well, the world hasn't blown up yet, but it's still only Wednesday.

When I look at this painting from across the room, it looks finished, but there's some detail around the windows that would make it so much better. The best paintings go that extra step, I believe; when I look at them in museums, it's clear the artists are really paying attention, and even if their methods are less refined in some places on the picture plane, they still get that information across.

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

I'm going to go look for a rigger brush down in the studio. It'll be just right for pulling some bare tree branches out of the foliage in that shadowy spot up near the roof line. I've also started the groundwork on three more panels for the America series.

Monday, October 9, 2017

How To Kill Creativity

Another start of another week in which I don't want to do anything. Let's see; why would that be? Is it the fact that although it's October 9th, the temperature outside is 85 degrees? Or— in a related news headline; "EPA to Repeal Landmark Obama Climate Rule"? Or maybe it's the recent statement by the president that we are in "the calm before the storm." What?

Homes On The Hill, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I thought maybe I could pull out of my funk if I worked on this little painting, but I can't focus on the sky, and am just making a big mess. I brought the line of the hill up on the right side— it is called, "Homes on the Hill," after all. But I'm stopping before I ruin it.

All this is despite the fact that we had a nice time yesterday meeting friends and having rather delicious pub food. But today I am trying to stick to my diet, and I wonder why. What difference does it make if I gain an extra pound?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Two Small Works

It's been a long, slow week. I haven't felt motivated and probably need a week off from painting, but maybe I'll feel more excited on Monday. Although Monday is a federal holiday; that's likely to throw me off schedule.

The little restaurant painting is nearly finished. I've got to do some touch-up on the darkest areas on the right side, since I overbrushed when I made the wall background grey today in an effort to make the yellow wall stand out. Not sure it's successful. I'm considering darkening a couple of other areas, too.

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

I'm happy with this one. But that warm color on the left is not really there in the painting itself, just light fall-off from the window.

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





Thursday, October 5, 2017

Some Progress On Equilibrium

Whew. Painting can be exhausting, especially when you're dealing with tiny places or straight lines. I worked in a number of areas today, and still have some important elements that need to be drawn in, but this one is going in the right direction.

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

Here's what it still needs: there are some white dots, irregularly spaced, on the painting on the right; a regularly spaced dot pattern on the woman's tunic; objects hanging from the art piece on the left wall, plus their shadows; the woodwork line at the bottom of the wall, and the name "Warner" inside an oval on the ladder top. Plus, I want to soften the shadow breaks on the skin. 



Sweater Color

The sweater on the young woman sipping from a cup on the right has been a gorgeous shade of cobalt blue, a color I like a lot. But in pursuit of a more harmonious overall image, I changed it to a blue-green this morning. It was too much of a standout before, and I think the addition of green helps to relate it to the other ambient colors.

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

It's painted roughly, so I'll have to go back and refine it, but I think it works better. Also worked in several different areas.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Few Adjustments

I've been reading more web entries about the benefits of using a limited palette, and am trying to figure out how to create more unity in a painting such as the one below, using fewer colors. I feel like a novice painter now. How would you mix those intense greens in the canopy? In any case, I tried using only four colors for the work I did on the faces today— Anders Zorn's palette of vermilion, yellow ochre, white and black.

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


Fleurs et Femmes

A couple from the America Series, updated:

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

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

A Fresh Start

So, this guy whose video I watched yesterday used a very limited palette, and yet he created the most beautiful landscape. Of course, he lives in New Zealand, so you don't have to go very far to see some spectacular scenery there. His name is Andrew Tischler, and if you want to check out his video, here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frGJEjKff7Y

Anyway, I thought it worth a try, so I put together a similar palette and last night toned the little canvas I planned to use. Here's where things stand today:

Homes On The Hill, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Now, I have a friend who likes her paintings to go fast. She says she doesn't want to spend more than half a day on them. What kind of results does she get? Well, they're lovely landscapes, with a very romantic soul. I'm going to try a few more of these, though I don't have the confident brushstrokes that either of those two do, and I have to learn to use flat brushes and less mineral spirits. But it's a start.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Busying Myself With Birds

It seems I seriously need a break from everything I've been working on for the last six months, so I rummaged around until I found the box where I keep my silverpoint stuff. Several years ago I made a number of little 5" x 7" silverpoint drawings, and it's a medium I really enjoy. I never finished this piece, and I find it restful to add stroke upon stroke, building a soft, silvery finish. So here's what I did today:

Two Mourning Doves, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Also— I watched a couple of plein air videos. Plein air painting (out in the open landscape) is not something I do well, but there's always the chance to learn about it and maybe try it again sometime. After looking at the videos, I thought I'd at the very least try a toned surface. The actual scene is a cornfield in Pennsylvania in the winter, with a big mottled sky and a luscious complementary combination of azure blue and rust at the horizon line, where the sky meets the mowed corn. Here's the start— I used a very thin wash, and will have to remove those dust particles before going any further.


Homes On The Hill, © 2017, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Another Difficult Monday

Had a great time yesterday out in the country; visited with friends and had a wine tasting and picnic lunch at Zephania Farm Vineyard. The weather couldn't have been better, and the wine was delicious and the friends companionable. (Is that a word?) Here's a shot of the farmhouse:

Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, Leesburg VA
But today, again, I can't seem to get motivated. I did work on the commissioned piece, since I feel responsible about finishing it... The raw edges on the step ladder have been bothering me, so I took care of as much of that as possible. The wet areas have to dry before I can go back and further clean up the edges. And I worked a few other small areas, but that's it. There's nothing else I feel excited about today.

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