Friday, February 26, 2010

Finished for the Day

February 26, 2010

Whew. Time to clean the paint out of the brushes and call it a day. I've really been struggling with forcing myself to work on the vignettes lately, but got through four of them today, and I did work on a couple of others yesterday... The painting itself is going very well, I'm just bored.

So much of what I did today involved straight lines! When I have a brush that actually comes to a point, I like to make the best of it until the ends start to fray. But things are starting to snap into focus, especially on The Blind Date and Clock, W. 44th Street. And I finally figured out how to get the reflections of the rear lights of the cabs to work on the street. Happy enough. Feel like I dug myself out of a hole this week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Much to Report

February 24, 2010

Feeling a bit under the weather lately.

Also, so sick and tired of working on the paintings for the show, I could scream.

A Little Light Work

February 18, 2010

Painting the hanging lights in You Are Here is harder than I would have thought. The light bulbs themselves are a brilliant white, but that's not the problem. The glass pendulum lamps graduate from a dusky Naples Yellow to a lighter color, and they have a distinctive shape. The shape and size has to be consistent--- the lamps hang in a straight line across the width of the store--- but because they're being seen from different angles, you can see more of the inside on some.

Meanwhile, I worked on the portrait of Robert. The likeness is pretty good, but I haven't caught his bemused expression. I get the feeling his general approach to life is open and curious, but that doesn't come through yet in the painting. Oh, also, I drew the nose too long originally ( a tendency I have with all portraits); and am trying to readjust it. The modeling's working pretty well, I think.

Back to the Portraits

February 17, 2010

Well, it seems that the portraits have got a hold on me. I really wanted to work on the two faces today, and see if I could bring them a little farther along. So despite the fact that I don't need them anytime soon, I got back to them this afternoon. The one of Tamara looks just like her now, so I'm happy. There's still lots to do on the hair and figure, but the face and expression are just about right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sanity Returns!

February 16, 2010

The past 11 days have been full of distractions, but today I'm back on track. I did a lot of painting on the green wall area on You Are Here on the 14th, and need to let it dry for another day or two, but got to work on the floor today. If you look, you'll see a grid pattern on the circular area on the lower left side, plus the start of the legs of a chair or table (I'm not sure which) and some cast shadows.

I notice that on the internet, the green wall looks amazingly, glaringly bright... at least on my monitor... You really have to see these things in person to get the right impact. Anyway, I've tried to tone the .jpeg down through Photoshop, but it's still not representative.

Another Reprieve!

February 15, 2010

While adding the Artomatic bookmark to my new laptop tonight, I noticed a statement on the website that said the 2010 event will be held later in the year....! This means I can use the big paintings from the May show for AOM, and... I don't need to do the b&w large-scale acrylic portraits AT ALL! Hmmm. So now there is a question as to whether or not to finish them.

I think I will, and maybe tweak them a bit. Maybe I'll play with the backgrounds. But at any rate, this takes the pressure off getting the paintings done for the May show, as I don't have to work on the portraits until after it's hung.

The server's been out for most of the day, but I worked on four paintings and a silverpoint. Details are on the Works in Progress page.


February 15, 2010

Back at work. At right, the latest on the portrait of Robert.

Taking Stock

February 14, 2010

So, it's time I took a look at what I did last year, professionally.


Participated in the "4 x 4 New Members' Show" at Gallery West.

Began meeting with M.L. for the spring semester as mentor for her master's degree in painting with the AAUSF.

Applied for Strauss Fellowship at ACFC.

Taught a workshop in Photoshop techniques.


Visited the Lorton Workhouse with S.T.


Visited NYC for photos, gallery visits


Applied to MPA for solo show

Delivered 6 paintings to Antreasian Gallery, Baltimore, MD


Delivered 2 paintings to Applegate Gallery, Vienna, VA

Installed five paintings at Artomatic, D.C. Got some terrific press; made several top ten lists.

Finished my teaching sessions with M.L. and the AAUSF. Enjoyed them tremendously.


Visited Arlington Arts Center show with S.M.


Applied to City of Gaithersburg for solo show


Solo show at Applegate

Solo show at Barnes and Noble, Reston VA


Placed first in "Timeless" show, Bethesda, MD; awarded a spot in a group show in 2010


Notification of show award from City of Gaithersburg

Visited NYC for more photos


Accepted into 13th National Show

Participated in the Small Works Show at the Oerth Gallery

In between all that activity was, of course, a great deal of painting. I worked up from 3 hours a day to a set schedule from 10am - 5pm, five days a week. In terms of moving my career forward, it was a pretty good year: I had three solo shows, participated in two external group shows, and now have my work in three different galleries. But this year is really going to be busy, with at least four shows on tap already, and that doesn't count the regular monthly exhibits at Gallery West.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Little Better

February 12, 2010

After a tough start, things slowly improved. I ended up working on four paintings today, and really put a lot of effort into the two portraits. Learning to use acrylic paint over large areas is tricky. So is the blending required on facial planes. But I made some progress, and feel a little less anguished.

Wet Paint

February 12, 2010

Back to work on You Are Here after a long hiatus, and it ain't easy. Wow. I had priorities in mind for this painting before the two big snowstorms hit, but couldn't recall what they were today. I guess the most important thing is to get enough finished in the lower right hand quadrant that I can use it to create the postcard and PR stuff for the show. The rest can be finished later. But it's slow--- I'm mostly putting in tiny details now, and don't feel like I'm getting much accomplished.

A Good Day for Painting

February 11, 2010

We've got spectacular sunlight this morning, and the house is warm. I'm going to work on those two portraits I started yesterday and try to nail the resemblance on the faces.

Back with more later on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oil vs. Acrylic

February 10, 2010

After getting a few tasks done around here things settled down and I started working on two large portraits. In ACRYLIC. It's been years since I did anything in acrylic, and even then it was just small pieces. These two are 36" wide by 48" high.

Well, I started by using straight black paint on the areas that are going to be the darkest darks. The streaking was unbelievable...there was no way to control the paint, and it was drying very quickly. I got the feeling that if I went in to rework places that were still a little wet, something really bad was going to happen, like the paint would just peel off. Disaster, I thought. I remembered freshman year, when we were introduced to different mediums, like casein, then acrylic, then oils. There was such a difference with oil paint--- it felt natural, whereas acrylic felt like liquid plastic. Oil paint was sensuous, flexible, compliant. It worked with me and the brush, flowing smoothly, expressing whatever I needed it to say.

So I ended up using oil paint almost exclusively, except for illustrations, which really needed to be done in jig time. Illustrations are usually pretty small, anyway, and manageable. But the big, big areas on the two portraits today had me freaking out. What to do?

Eventually I walked away and then came back later, and that's when I remembered two things: the second coat of acrylic paint (think wall paint) is always smoother than the first; and mixing a tiny amount of white into anything, even black, makes it more opaque. The streaking and lap marks were gone!

Now I'm beginning to see potential in the paint. There's a seductive quality to the way it memorizes a brush stroke, and I realize why folks who are more expressive than I am are drawn to that. The brushiness can add some interest, or it can be controlled. You can see some streaking on the image, but that's just the first layer. I'm very optimistic at this point.

(Note to Tam and Robert: these paintings have a long way to go--- don't worry if they don't look like you yet!)

Still Here

February 10, 2010

It seems like it's been snowing for weeks. Of course we lost electricity during the first storm, last Saturday morning... the power didn't return for 55 hours, most of which were spent in my basement. So--- not a lot of painting is getting done. We're in the midst of a near-whiteout again now, with the second storm depositing on top of the bird feeding area I've marked out faster than I can replenish the seed. I hope to post some photos in a little while, providing the power doesn't go out again.