Friday, April 20, 2018

The Weekend Beckons

I'm expecting a visit from one of my art patrons this weekend, and so have to put the brushes away and do some housekeeping, especially in the spaces where he'll be viewing my paintings. Cobwebs abound.

Here's this afternoon's work; I got some paint on the ceiling area and worked on the blue denim jacket.

  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

Moving Forward On The Big Giant Hand

Trying to get this commission done, but there's still plenty of work to do on it...

  The Hand Of The Artist, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Some Thoughts On "The Chair"

I'm toying with the idea of graduating the (now solid) background in a sweeping arc, from dark to light. I'm also changing the colors of the clothes in one or two instances.

Here's this afternoon's work:

 The Chair, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

I'm just not satisfied with this painting and have gone back and made changes to the hands; alsoput a darker shadow under the chin. I might still make some small changes.


  Protective Coloration, © 2018 (click on image for larger view) 



Biting The Bullet

I've been avoiding making that careful gradation from light to dark on the brushed metal case around the fire extinguisher in In Case Of Emergency for so long I thought it was going to develop cobwebs; bright (though brief) morning sunshine improved my mood enough that I felt energized and ready to tackle it. It was surprisingly easy! Second and third coats of paint usually are. Now to let it dry and then put in the seam details.

In Case Of Emergency, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 

The bright spot in the upper right corner is supposed to be there; the case was under a spot light when I took the reference photo. However, in the actual painting there's more detail and it doesn't have that yellow cast— the wet paint is catching the tungsten lighting in the studio.

Still not sure about the background wall color in this one. I put in a lot of work on some smaller areas, and darkened the table and chair legs:

For Rent, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Two Tall

Today I worked on the two tall and narrow panel paintings:

  Chrysler Building, Dusk, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   

The building begins to reappear. I have to be extra careful not to place any of the outlines of the building in the wrong place, because there's no way to duplicate the color of that background sky. It's a slow, gradual shift from blue to blue-green to yellow to orange and pink.

In Case Of Emergency, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 

Worked in some smaller areas today, and also on a few blends.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Painting Blitz

The brushes (which I have been treating terribly lately) are soaking in a jar of cleaner while I take a break. Last night and today I put in some good painting time on a number of things. There is a very slow but steady march to the finish line.

Evening Star Café, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
The left side interior, I think, is nearly done. There's a little touch-up work, and I have to integrate the pattern on the back wall (as seen through the door) with the back wall on the left and right sides. It's the super-tedious work at the very end of a painting that makes it go so slowly: I just avoid doing it until guilt sets in. There's more to do in the right side window, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this one. Or have I said that before?

The Gauntlet, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
I'm trying to make the face look more realistic. Also sketched in a lot of the detail in the window.
  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  
Back to this one again; I really want to see it get further along. That ceiling area is tricky, because there are a lot of reflections on it from the building and the tree across the street.

 The Chair, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 
More flesh tone angst. I'm not sure about the drawing on the face of the blonde girl on the right. Eyes too close together? Hairline too high? Head shape incorrect?




Monday, April 16, 2018

Pulled This Way And That

On Friday I succumbed to the gorgeous weather. We should have been farmers; we had bought a bunch of young vegetable plants a couple of weeks ago, and the brilliant sunshine and mild temps on Friday made it (finally!) possible to transplant them into bigger containers. As I write this in the gloomy 51 degree Monday rain, I can say that they have taken off in a remarkable growth spurt. After the transplanting, there were other chores to do, and then there was some sipping of wine and lazing around.

But back to painting. I did work on a couple of pieces over the weekend out of guilt:

  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   

  The Hand Of The Artist, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
For Rent, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 

I think I made the back wall too dark.

    Learned Pond, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
Slightly less chaotic than it was. Still needs softening.



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ah, Brooklyn

Working (mostly) from the top down, painting in tiny details. Oh, how much fun the rows of windows are going to be on those tall, faraway buildings...

When I Woke Up I Was In Brooklyn, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Technology Weirdness

For some unknown reason, my iPhone photos have started popping up in Photos again, making it easy for me to place them here. This whole episode has been hard to understand, as a couple of days ago I completely removed a 64GB folder from my laptop (AND emptied the trash) in anticipation of its freeing up space on my hard drive, but nothing happened. Today I suddenly have 8GB of free space, unlike the 332MB I had last night. Who can figure?

Anyway— down in the basement studio I got a few things done today:

The Gauntlet, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
I'm working on that large space below the window and trying to get the color, value, and architectural lines right. Some of it has a marbly look in the photo, so I'll have to deal with that texture later on.
Keep Out, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

  Chrysler Building, Dusk, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   

The building itself is almost obscured now by the sky, which went surprisingly quickly this morning. It necessitated the use of several very large brushes, which are a pain to clean, but it looks pretty good. We'll see how it looks once it's dry.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Your Macintosh Startup Disk Is Full"

I've been painting; I just haven't been able to upload the photos of the work in the usual manner because apparently there's no room on my laptop to do anything, even edit the one photo I was able to upload to Photos. I found a workaround solution— emailing the images to myself and dragging them onto the desktop— but I have to delete a significant number of files in order to get things to work smoothly again.

Here's what I've worked on in the last couple of days:


  The Hand Of The Artist, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
The Gauntlet, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   
 
  Somerville Roses, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   

Eddie and Jeff, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

 
 
 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Last Of The Week

Feeling a lack of energy today; worked on warming up the middle panel and developing the water container. Never got to the two America series last night. Maybe next week will be more productive.

  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Blending Fun

Getting up at 5:30 in the morning is not my thing; it was worth it, of course, to view the magnificent cherry blossoms at dawn in the Tidal Basin. But I felt groggy once we got home, and needed a two-hour nap to set things right. Then we had a super-early dinner.

I did get down to the basement studio to work on In Case Of Emergency late this afternoon, and hope to work on those two little America series paintings tonight.

In Case Of Emergency, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 
 
There's glare on the upper left corner of this painting from the ceiling light. It's actually quite dark there, due to the use of pretty much straight-out-of-the-tube Sennelier Gris Froid; it occurred to me that it would be smart to stick with one base color for the grey shadows rather than use mixes of different blacks, whites, and greys. I usually lean toward Payne's Gray for cool shadows, but it looks too bluish here. 
 
Blending one shadow area into another is really difficult. You don't want the brush strokes to show, so you've got to go over a transition again and again, and the brush picks up either the lighter value or the darker one and ruins that delicate balance you're trying to achieve. So I'm going slowly and trying not to make mistakes. Plus, some of the reds and blacks from the last session are still not completely dry.

The Great Cherry Blossom Distraction

So, we had a windstorm yesterday, and the evening before, the weather people on the local news were all doom and gloom about the cherry blossoms at the DC Tidal Basin. It was literally, "If you want to see them, go NOW, before they all blow away." Well, we took our chances, since it was cloudy yesterday and I needed some photos with a clear sky, which was predicted for today. (Snow on Saturday!) The flowering plum in our yard seemed no worse for the weather in the height of the storm, and I thought we'd be okay waiting until this morning. Here are the photos! If you don't live in the Washington DC area, these are for you to enjoy viewing.

Before Dawn

After Dawn








Not sure if I'm going to get much painting done today.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Night Work

One more for the day!

  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

Focus

All I worked on this afternoon was the left side, from top to bottom of the window, including the mannequin.
The Gauntlet, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

This Still Needs To Be Knocked Back

I tried softening some harsh outlines but then ended up adding others, especially lower right. I'll let it dry and then even things out.

    Learned Pond, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Distractions

There's always something pulling me away from the easel. It seems like my entire life I've had to scrap and fight for every minute of painting time. Today I had to drop everything in order to pick up a painting from a show, and then later to pick up bird seed so the birds won't go hungry in the morning. It's hard to get back into the zone once I get home, but I got some work done, anyway.

 The Chair, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

I've been avoiding The Chair for a while, but today I wanted to clean up a few places that were bothering me and also deepen the shadow areas on the faces. The actual chair is going to be a challenge, what with all those little bits of weave.

Moved along on Brooklyn: right now I think it would be wise to work from the top down (this could of course change at a whim), mostly concentrated on the church steeple.

When I Woke Up I Was In Brooklyn, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

And though this looks like absolutely nothing so far, I did make progress on the sky. I'll have to go over it one more time to even out that sharp dividing line between the blue and the lighter sky areas.

  Chrysler Building, Dusk, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  





A Mistake With The Cadmium Yellow Deep

The Cad Yellow Deep is not working where I put it this morning. It's jarring— it's supposed to represent the earthy ground area in the hilly green region across the river from the town center, but I should have used a Raw Sienna/Yellow Ochre mix instead. I'm also not happy with the color of the tablecloth. All in all a very unsatisfactory work session this morning.

For Rent, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Details, Details

I got enough done in the background that I could paint the sign post in front of the left window. And i worked in a lot of details on the left side, too, including the lines on the bench.

Evening Star Café, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 
 
  The Hand Of The Artist, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

 

Mostly adjusted color on the fingers and hand.


Friday, March 30, 2018

Fun With Metal

It's slow going on this painting (as it is on most of them) but at least there aren't a lot of color decisions to be made. It simplifies things somewhat.

In Case Of Emergency, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

The Bull

Keep Out, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
This is a large painting (36" x 48") that I started years ago, I think somewhere around 2003; we had gone out to a wine festival in the country and were stalled in traffic when I snapped the photo of the pond. I wanted to paint it, and to get a sense of the heat of a summer afternoon in Virginia, but needed some focal point for the image. 
 
I looked around at a lot of pictures of steers and put this one together from various components. The idea of the longhorn came about because I wanted to utilize that horizontal space. I've never been happy with the painting on he body of the animal, though, and am trying to make some improvements. It needs some lighter tones high on the back, and then I've got to repaint the fence wire.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

You Know How It Is When You Look At Something Too Long?

I think Jeff's shorts were better before I started to repaint them this morning. I thought the contrast between the light and the shadow areas needed to be more obvious; this is the result of a lot of hand-wringing as the result of viewing the work of Max Ginsburg, who certainly knows his way around form and value. I just can't seem to get my dark values right, and it's enormously frustrating. The Chair is a good example of this: the flesh colors might be correct, but the values in the shadow areas are really too light.

Eddie and Jeff, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Anyway. I think I need to take a step back from this for a few hours; the fold lines on the shorts look too artificially placed to me now but maybe later I'll think they're okay. At least the likenesses are working a bit better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Completed! Study After A Maid Asleep, (Johannes Vermeer)

It feels good to have something done. When pieces hang around the studio, begging for some work time, I feel like a stressed mom with too many kids.

  Study After A Maid Asleep, (Johannes Vermeer), © 2018

Yet Again, Painting Though The Gloom

I can't remember a Spring as dreary and sad as this one. Luckily I have lamps with natural light that permit me to see the colors on the palette fairly accurately.

Heard from a painter friend, and we are planning an excursion to a local gallery show, so that'll be fun. Also, the cherry blossoms should be in bloom soon. The sun can't hide forever.

This afternoon's work:

The Gauntlet, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
Recently I was excited to pick up a tube of Alizarin Permanent. Back in my undergrad days, I was under the influence of a couple of my instructors, who were abstract expressionists, as well as a friend who did really amazing non-objective works. My Senior year thesis paintings were almost entirely abstract, and one large one called "Jupiter" featured a huge circle on a rounded corner rectangular shape. It had layer upon layer upon layer of Alizarin Crimson. That color was like crushed rubies, but the one I used this morning on The Gauntlet is more of a purpley red. You can see how it goes violet when mixed with white up near the top of the window. It's disappointing.
 

  Selfies, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

Since this was on the easel when I came downstairs and its palette was still viable, I spent some time on it also adding detail in the space on and above the table.

Too Much Going On

I need to simplify this painting; right now the process involves painting in certain areas, then going back over them with a lighter or bluer or greyer layer, then picking out areas that need more detail, then repeating the process again. So it looks quite busy now but eventually it will soften and blend.

    Learned Pond, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
Here's the Chrysler Building painting with a first coat of dark paint where the buildings march down the avenue:
 
  Chrysler Building, Dusk, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)  

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Trying To Catch Up

Three more today:

For Rent, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view) 

I think it's starting to take shape, now that the scene outside the window is filling in.
  The Hand Of The Artist, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
All I did was work on the framed painting in the upper right-hand corner. You can't imagine how hard it is to get those abstract shapes and colors correct. And they're not done yet.
And last, but not least:
When I Woke Up I Was In Brooklyn, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)   

Mostly I tried to correct the contrast between the light and dark planes on the big buildings in the background, but I did put in a little detail in the midground and also worked on the brownstones.