Saturday, December 15, 2018

That Deep Blue Sky

After working on 16 separate paintings last week, I had planned to take the weekend off and actually leave the house to go to a local park, and, oh I don't know; breathe air that doesn't contain a whiff of mineral spirits, talk to other human beings, etc. But it's raining, and the rain's not supposed to let up until Monday. The shopping mall is likely to be extremely crowded in the Christmas shopping rush, so that doesn't really appeal, either. And despite the fact that Hollywood is releasing its contenders for the Oscars, there aren't any comedies in the bunch and that's what we all need right now. No apocalyptic stuff, please.

So, when I discovered that the paint on this one was dry enough for me to work, I got to it and added some purples, yellows, and deepened the post-sunset sky:

Farm At Dusk, © 2018 (click on image for larger view)
Everything else is either too wet to work or unappealing (example: In Case Of Emergency). Maybe I'll go to the public library.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sheep!

I'm excited to see the sheep pop into view on this one. Today is very grey here, so the sunny hillside brings a note of cheer.

Sheep In The Meadow, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Tiled Out

It's Friday, so I'm trying to wrap things up for the week. I've been working on the tiles off and on for the last three hours, and it's time to go on to something else. But the wall looks much more coherent to me today.

Waiting At Le Diplomate, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Work On Wigs

Mostly I deepened the background colors on this one yesterday; things got busy in the afternoon and I forgot to post it.

Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I Know I'm Bad

I should finish something, anything, before starting another new painting. But this one is a personal piece that I need to hang alongside the others in the series. There's a blank spot on my wall where it needs to go. And there's no rush to finish it; I can just pick it up when everything else is too wet to work on.

Variations On A Theme #5, © 2018 (click on image for larger view)

Too Wet To Work

I get excited about the beginnings of paintings and want to put as much information on the canvas as possible early on. But yesterday's washes are still either wet or sticky, so I'll just have to wait. This image has a magnificent sky, and the yellows created by the setting sun warm up the clouds and the landscape. If I can pull it off, it'll be a beautiful painting.

Farm At Dusk, © 2018 (click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Shirt Tales

Most of this afternoon's work has been on the blouse, especially the left side sleeve. I've always marveled at the way the old masters painted such precise and beautiful folds in garments; a couple of years ago, I visited a show of work by students and contemporaries of Michelangelo, and it was a surprise to find out that the masters dipped the clothing in some sort of stiffener to preserve the folds for painting. I can't do that, but photography provides a useful means for doing the same thing. Now the trick is to very carefully observe the way light helps to model the fabric.

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

Something New

I sincerely hope that this one will go more quickly than the usual one year plus on most of my paintings.

Farm At Dusk, © 2018 (click on image for larger view)

Daniel

Establishing the shadow areas and working a bit on the facial planes this morning:

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Late Afternoon Painting

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

And one more:

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

Swimming

Had to take some time off this afternoon to run a few errands, but I got some paint on this aluminum panel.

Coming Of Age In The Year 2018, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Two People

When I take the photos of the models for the America series, I never ask anyone to smile. I've been a little surprised to note that so many of them automatically do smile. Anyway, here's the work for today (so far).

Katie, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
Craig, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Blue Hair And Sheep

More work on the wigs; this time on the blue and purple haired mannequins. It does take multiple layers of paint to get the hair to look like hair.

Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
And the start of a little R&R piece: a perfectly pleasant pastoral painting to include sheep. And puffy clouds on the horizon.
 
Sheep In The Meadow, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Not Liking The Skirt Pattern

Late last night I decided to put in some time on The Gauntlet, and I worked on the floral pattern on the skirt near the center of the painting. It's the same pattern as on the dress at right, but when I stood back and looked at it, the white spots really jumped out at me. I think they distract from the head of the striding young woman. I might paint them out.

Anyway, I did some more work on it just before breaking for breakfast.

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

Better

The words "No Entry" have been cleaned up, and I think they look more consistent and a little less like they've been drawn by hand. The lower case "e's" need a little more refinement, but I'm happy with the result so far.

InSecurity, oil on linen

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunset Colors

I always struggle with the bright colors of a sunset sky, and wonder if I should tone them down, but then the whole reason I get excited about doing a painting is because of the color.

L'Auberge Provencale, February, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Somewhere West Of Denver

If you ever get the opportunity to take Amtrak's California Zephyr out of Chicago, do it! The scenery is so spectacular it can't adequately be described. Taking it (twice!) was one of the high points of my life, and I hope to get the chance to do it again sometime.

This is from one of those trips. I added some earth color in the gently sloping hills and some brushy plants in the foreground. It looks finished now.

Somewhere West Of Denver, © 2018 (click on image for larger view)

Friday, December 7, 2018

If I Were An Impressionist, This Would Be Finished By Now

But I'm not. As much as I admire the loose, juicy style of the impressionist painters, classic and contemporary, I still adhere to this precise placement of things that really slows down my work. Recently I bought a palette knife; I think I'll try doing a painting using it instead of brushes.

 
Blue Vase With Irises, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

The Tedium Of The Tiles

Time to move on to something else this afternoon; I'm burned out on these darn tiles. There's a lot of subtle blending involved as each one has  different shades of green, and their shiny glaze picks up and reflects light and images from all over the room.

Waiting At Le Diplomate, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Working In The Shadows

Most of what I did on this one today was to pin down some of the darker areas, especially where they create form, like on the contours of the faces and the shoulders. There's an odd, long triangular area on the yellow-haired mannequin's neck caused by some sort of reflection on the window glass that changes the colors slightly.

Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Touch-up

I was pleased to hear that this painting has been accepted into a show titled, "Signs Of The Times." I did it some time ago and have never been happy with the way the type looks— it's quite amateurish and uneven. So I'll fix the words before delivering it to the show.

InSecurity, oil on linen

Meanwhile, I got some work done on these two:

Katie, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
 
Cheyenne, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
Both of these young women have absolutely beautiful skin tones and they're a pleasure to paint. I'm intrigued by Cheyenne's story— she says she is part Cheyenne Indian, I think she said one quarter, and that is why her mother gave her that name.
 



Adding Some Contrast

This painting sorely needed some darker areas, and the leaves outside the window help to anchor that space so it doesn't just float away into nothingness. Also, I darkened the whole quilt area at the bottom. It's a little like vignetting, and I think it keeps the focus on the figure.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This Watercolor Needs A Name

The little watercolor might be finished; at the least, it's very close to being finished. I don't want to overwork it but maybe it needs a little more contrast? And I need to go back to my reference materials to pin down where it actually is located.
Untitled watercolor, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

In any case, it's been a learning piece. Hopefully the next watercolor will be more successful.

Moving on: Did some work on the hands and the quilt this afternoon.

The Promise Of Evening, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
And the perennially troublesome sky in this one:

L'Auberge Provencale, February, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Forgot To Add This One

I did paint the upper right corner on this one first thing this morning, then forgot to post it!

Coming Of Age In The Year 2018, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Feeling Sluggish

I got a lot of work done last week, but this week I just don't feel like working on anything. Nevertheless, I added some Chinese White to the little watercolor, and I think it has improved the sky. I've been looking online for watercolor images that feature clouds in an effort to learn something, but so far haven't found much of interest.

Untitled watercolor, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
And I worked on the mannequin at upper right:
 
Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 

Monday, December 3, 2018

More Water

Some work on the aluminum panel today.

Coming Of Age In The Year 2018, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

I Never Learn

I proceeded to work on a spot just to the left of an area I'd already covered with red paint, and then got the side of my hand into the wet red and smeared it all over the white tunic on the second mannequin. Aaaargh. Cleaned it up, but it set my schedule back several minutes. Time to take a break.

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


Water Work

If I were going to choose some resolutions for the New Year, one of them would be to become more proficient at watercolor, which I've always found difficult and mystifying. Here's my latest attempt:

Untitled watercolor, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
I darkened a lot of areas because when watercolor dries, it tends to look very washed out. But I thought the cloud reflections in the water were a little too dramatic, so I scrubbed them back a bit:
 
Untitled watercolor, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
Now I'm trying to figure out what else to do with it. Time to move on to the oils for a while.
 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The America Series, So Far...

As promised, though a day late. I got bogged down in things yesterday and forgot to take the picture. Here are all of the folks in the America series, so far; of the 17 you see here, five are still in progress (mostly they are near the top of the photo). If I find 8 more, I can hang the set in a format of 5 across and 5 down; really, I'd like to go to a total of 36 (6 down, 6 across) or even 49 (7 and 7).

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

Daniel

Tomorrow I hope to have enough time to gather together the 17 paintings in the America series, finished or in progress, and take a group shot. Meanwhile, here is the latest:

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

Water, Water, Everywhere

Filling in some of the water on the upper part of the panel.

Coming Of Age In The Year 2018, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

This And That

Trying to make some progress on the curtains. They're an odd combination of white, blue, peach and grey. There'll be some detail on the inner curtains, which are lacy and transparent. And there will be leafy boughs outside the window; I think they'll balance the composition.

The Promise Of Evening, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
Meanwhile, some tentative work on the little watercolor:
 
Untitled watercolor, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
And you might recognize this guy from Waiting At Le Diplomate:
 
Daniel, America Series, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Here And There

Some of the colors are hard to match to the original photo, especially the yellow hair on the mannequin at center bottom, which is reflecting some of the orange from the hair above. I'll need to do another couple of layers just on that wig alone.

Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Emergency, and Katie

Right now, The Promise Of Evening is on the easel, but I wanted to post these two while I'm taking a break: easel work is hard on the back. Looks like I'm going to have to re-do that "r" in "Larsen's."

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

Meanwhile, Katie gets off to a good start: 

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


Emerging Image

I'm peeling back the plastic covering and establishing points of reference. The figure begins to come into focus.

Coming Of Age In The Year 2018, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Last Night's Work

You'll probably get sick of seeing this painting over the next few weeks as I work on small areas here and there. It's a wonder I don't have nightmares about wigged mannequins marching in unison.

Wigs And Shades, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Katie

I'll be starting a new America series painting in the next day or so.

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

A Bad Day For Painting

Not only am I feeling unmotivated, there's been a steady stream of distractions this morning. And how can it be so hard to get the sky and the clouds to merge into each other in this painting?

L'Auberge Provencale, February, © 2018, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
 
I'm going to take a break and do some business organization on the computer. I did manage to enter a competition this morning, so that's something.