Late in the day work.
Baby Needs Shoes, © 2021, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
This is a blog about painting: specifically, representational fine art, generally, using oil paint. I think a lot about what I'm doing, and those thoughts about subject matter, technique, influences, frustrations and delights all show up here. It's all about the journey.
I felt that the shopping bags needed some visual balance, and the one on the left just seemed invisible— so I thought about what could work as a pattern and not overwhelm the bag. Purple seemed like a good choice for the color of the dots, which I think hold the space without being too dominant.
It's always fun at the beginning of a painting; you get to slap on paint without being too careful, and you can see how the colors relate to each other and make adjustments accordingly. I've got to decide what exact color of grey the woodwork should be. Should it lean a bit towards a dull city green? Or just a muted, muddy color? How can I tone down the straight-out-of-the-tube turquoise? Should I make the right side wall a blank grey, or paint in the window in the existing reference photo?
Last night I dreamed someone was offering me a tube of Cadmium Yellow Deep, which is the color I'd decided on for the coat of the woman in the middle of the group below. It was something I wanted to get to today, and here it is:
Unfortunately, the more I observe this painting from across the room, the more I see that needs to be adjusted. Already this morning I've trimmed the tree branches back; it was really crowding the top of the panel. But I'm seeing other things. It might not be done this week as I'd hoped.
I also highlighted the grapes with some red and white.
Watched TV all day yesterday. Slept for seven hours straight last night.
Finally, this begins to look like Orson.
This painting is also close to done, but after today's session I'm wondering about various aspects. Did I just make the folds of the dress too light? Is there too much yellow on that side wall? Should I put some sort of pattern on the left side shopping bag?
Did not sleep well last night and so had a very late start at work today, but this went very, very well. It's nearly done. What's left is some work on the background tree line, some reddish highlights on the grapes, and picking out a few more tree branches. The paint's too wet for any real definition on the smaller branches, so I'll just wait a couple of days and then this will be finished!
When I went to bed last night, it was with the expectation that I was going to get a lot done this week. But I just couldn't focus today. And I've been trying to take a different approach in the painting below; instead of my usual careful, deliberate strokes, I wanted to be looser and freer with the brushwork. But the flowers are a challenge! You can't just throw paint at a surface and expect it to look like something; there has to be structure or all you see is chaos.
Also, I think the roses are 1) too big and 2) the wrong shade of reddish-pink.
I tried using a flat brush instead of a round. It created some interesting nooks and crannies when I held it on an angle, but I still have a lot to learn.
Meanwhile, I worked AGAIN on the wood grain below, trying to make it look more realistic and less perfunctory.
Soon the news media will be talking about the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin and when they're expected to bloom. This morning I worked on creating a sense of form on the boughs; I think another session with a deeper color on some of the interior areas will finish off the trees. I'm going to add a few people on the sidewalk— normally it's crowded when the trees are in bloom.
Ugh, I'm sick of working on the tiny details on the bottles and the beer dispenser. At least the top rack is done. I figure this one will be completed by the end of 2021!
I don't know what the title of this piece is going to be. There will be a figure on the right at some point; I've approached three people about posing for it but so far haven't heard from anyone. I don't want to obscure the ivy that will be on the right side nook too much, either. Lots to work out.
Untitled Mulberry Street Piece, © 2021, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
It's been a while since I worked on this. I'm going to prioritize this series in the next few months.This morning I sharpened up the foliage and added a lot of detail in blue areas.
Here's this morning's work. I got started an hour early.
Late this afternoon I found a really scruffy brush and used it on the distant tree line. The splayed hairs made painting the foliage easy. I started with a fuzzy sort of violet mix, then switched over to Terra Verte, which I've used maybe half a dozen times in my painting career, to cool it down, then went back with some dark greens.
And then while listening to the news, I tried to (yet again) refine the wood grain on the tabletop:
I worked quickly on this one, trying to catch the essence of the cat, but it feels like I'm just daubing without a real understanding of the form. This cat really has bedroom eyes, and that's not coming across, either. I have two reference photos, so it should be easy. At least there's some improvement, even if it's minor.
Working, despite my concerns about the next ten days.
Variations On A Theme #2a,
© 2021, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
At the eleventh hour I've realized that there are visible grapes on the vines in this painting, so I've spent the last half hour adding some juicy purple dots here and there. What's left? Some definition on the tree limbs and branches, and maybe some more sky holes in the tree leaves. It's a good feeling to have yet another piece close to being done.
At this point, I only have to paint the butterfly pattern on the shopping bag on the right.
So, my painting "Conversation" sold over the weekend to a wonderful couple who have apparently had their eyes on it for some time. We met in a parking lot on a cold day, and I only wish the circumstances would have permitted us to go and have coffee after the sale, as they were really a delight to talk with.
Now it's Monday morning, and I've managed to put the final touches on one of the vineyard paintings:
I'm going to pack it in for the rest of the afternoon; the news is just too distracting and I can't focus on painting tiny details. But I'm narrowing the coat color choices down to yellow green and orange. I'll probably go with orange.
Having a little fun today:
Well, the events at the nation's Capitol have kept me glued to the TV for the last couple of days. I was in the middle of working on the Le Diplomate painting for the first time in a long while when the news started to turn bad; I put my brushes down and in the upper left corner of the top bar shelf you can see how far I got:
My ancient version of Dreamweaver, which I used every day to update my regular website, finally gave up the ghost, and since the recent art supply bill was unusually high, I'm having to do the updates in HTML through Text Edit. It's a chore. It takes a long time and that's time away from painting, so I'm annoyed. But I did make some headway on three paintings today:
Not really: I just needed to paint the lower part of the sky so it would be consistent all the way across; I'll paint the tree trunk in once it dries.
Of course, after declaring that the sky was done after the last sitting, I realized I needed to brighten up some of the clouds. So This afternoon I added a lot of highlights but now when I look at them, they need to be transitioned into the neighboring blues. And there are some small areas that could use a second look.
868 Vineyard, Virginia Vineyard Series, © 2020, work in progress (click on image for larger view)
This, at least, has some promise.
I think the right side eye needs to be bigger. And I still haven't caught the essence of this guy's personality. I'm disappointed with this morning's work. This cat really has what are called "bedroom eyes."
I'm trying to fill in some more of the marsh grass; there actually should be quite a lot of it. And I added some lily pads, too, and gave them a bit more color.
This is Max The Cat, otherwise known as MaxiCat, or Max-a-Million, whose parentage apparently included some Maine Coon. I can see that I have to redraw the eye on the right side of the canvas to better match its mate. Painting him is fun.
That's all that's left. I might need to darken the shadow areas on the legs and try to make the large calf muscle more visible. The shopping bags need more work; I've got to bring out the butterfly pattern on the one on the right and then decide whether the one on the left needs a motif of its own or whether that would make the painting too busy. The shoes need a little more detail, too. But: close to done!
During the time of the pandemic the days slide into each other anyway, but the combination of the New Year's Day holiday and the weekend has got me really confused; I keep thinking it's Monday and I should be at the easel instead of taking care of domestic chores. Plus my email service is out. But I wanted to block in some color on this new piece, so here it is: