Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy and SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder! I call it the January Doldrums. Overslept by AN HOUR this morning, and then fell asleep at 5p.m. Yawn! It seems like it's been very dark this month... we've had a few sunny days here and there but mostly it's been dark grey. I do need more light.

But--- things are happening, and I worked up as much of the left side of You Are Here today as I could without smearing the paint all over with the ham of my hand. It looks pretty good! I am jazzed to see it starting to come together--- there are still a couple of left side edges that are shabby looking, but once I get them sharpened up the painting's going to look like it's done. It won't be, of course; there's plenty of detail in the background to finesse; but standing in front of it right now it sure is lookin' good.

Put in some more time on Hats and Checking In, as well.

I really need to do a couple of: small watercolors; drawings; silverpoints.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tiny Faces

Just couldn't bring myself to work on the two paintings I mentioned yesterday. They're so grey. I think, when I do get back to them, I'll change the color of the shirts on the guys in Walking the Walk. They blend into the background too much. The main problem is the fact that the entire foreground is in shadow.

So, I ended up doing a lot to the faces in the crowd and in the background of You Are Here. Also added a little building detail, and began to paint in the trees in the Square. The faces are tiny, so it's hard to get the planes of the faces and the expressions right. I know it's hard to see any change from one day to the next; will try to get a decent close-up of the day's work for the next entry.

It's quite dismal here, with a wintry mix of rain, sleet, and snow. But the birds in the yard make it colorful.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruising, Though at Low Altitude

Settled down to work early, and put in some time on five of the vignettes and You Are Here. I don't feel like I got a lot accomplished, but did make progress on details. At least it was a full day's work.

At this point, everything for the show is too wet to work on except for Walking the Walk, the clock painting, and Point of View. I guess that'll be tomorrow's menu.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Not That Into It Today

Had to run a bunch of errands this morning. Got back and couldn't quite figure out where to start; finally decided to work on some background detail in Day Job. Also tried to decipher the confusing elements in the left side of You Are Here. But tomorrow, as Scarlett O'Hara has put it, is another day.

Getting My Head Straight

January 19, 2010

Have done no painting at all since Saturday, as it was a holiday weekend; those always throw my entire schedule into chaos. I must be one of the few people on the planet who actually looks forward to a full week of unobstructed work.

The last month has been like a whirlwind, and now I just need to sit down with a cup of coffee, think things through, and try to figure out how to adjust my schedule to accommodate all the changes. The month of May has me showing two different bodies of work in two different places. I have a long-standing project in mind that needs to get started. Two new commercial jobs have come in the door, and they have deadlines! And I've got a painting to do for a pro bono, volunteer effort.

There's also committee work and the monthly shows at Gallery West, plus the need to provide Antreasian with some new stuff.


What else? Well, G.S. and I went over to the Apple store a week ago and convinced ourselves that we really did need those MacBook Pros. We came back here and did the initial set-up, but now I'm trying to get accustomed to a brand-new operating system, an updated browser, and updated graphics/word processing software. This sort of thing can suck up all of your free time (if there's any to start with).

I've also been ruminating on some points of visual inspiration lately. My recent trip south provided me with a lot of photos for paintings. And the work of Alphonse Mucha I've already mentioned. But---yesterday I saw Avatar in 3-D and was blown away by the gorgeousness of the Pandorean biology. How can I bring something as wonderful as that, and a sense of how important it is to preserve our own planet's natural beauty into my own work? There are plenty of artists whose landscapes put mine to shame, and I don't think that simply painting more of them is the solution I'm looking for.

Anyway, it's a crazy time, and one for reflection and sorting out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Holding My Breath

...Is what I do when working on critical details, usually on faces. There was a lot of breath-holding today.

Worked on four paintings, with varying degrees of success. Here's a detail from You Are Here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Branches and Vines

The trees in the background of Branches and Vines have been bothering me, so I sat down in front of the window and sketched the trees in the back yard onto a piece of tracing paper that I'd overlaid on the blue panel. I've made some changes for the better. The trees look a little more natural now. The two images at right are: the background panel on its own, and above it, the two panels temporarily conjoined.

As previously mentioned, this is an oldie but a goodie. I haven't given up on it though I probably started it in 1996...!

Baby Steps

The really fine detail in paintings aggravates me. I wish I had Sargent's intuition, the ability to add dabs of perfectly mixed color and value to the canvas quickly, and in just the right spot to create a sense of light and form. But my head works in a more analytical process, so it takes me a while to study where a tree branch bends, what the shape of a cluster of leaves is, etc.

Worked on Hats, one of my current favorites. I'm trying something a little different with Coffee Guy; in the reference photo, he's slightly blurry, as he was moving along when I took the picture. I'd like to bring a sense of that movement into the painting, as a remark about how busy life is these days. This involves elongating his nose and mouth a bit, and blending the areas on his face and at the back of his head. Not sure that it's working yet. Above, a close-up of what I've done on it today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Yesterday was loaded with distractions, and I never got near a brush. Today I'm starting late, but am having a little bit of success: the big pink building outside the window of You Are Here has been a struggle for me thus far (too pink? too red? too light? not light enough?) but today I'm finally getting it right. Usually the texture of the canvas presents problems for me, but now I'm using a fairly dry brush and am whisking the color (a combination of Cad Red Deep, Manganese Blue and Permalba White) over the surface of the building. Just the tops of the canvas weave are picking it up, allowing the previous color to show through, and the end effect is that of sunlight shimmering off the brickwork. It has dimension and atmosphere now, instead of being flat.

Am working the windows at the same time. There are lots of them...

The picture above has some distortion from the camera lens.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year, New Blog

Let's see how this thing works.

I already have my own blog at www.susanlamont.com, but I think it might be easier to generate dialog with readers using this format.

Stay tuned as I try to figure it all out.