Sunday, July 24, 2016

Seen and Not Heard

Seen and Not Heard
8x8 inches, oil on canvas board

It's midsummer, and it is hot and humid here in southern Wisconsin.  I go outside in the morning before it really gets steamy, visit downtown haunts, or photograph out at the cemetery for my Find a Grave work, but in the afternoon I've been staying inside where it's cooler.  I've been doing some reading, and writing and editing my next cemetery walk, and some working on my art.

I started this little painting almost a month ago, after talking to a gallery friend up north who says one of her clients want small paintings of children.  That alone wouldn't motivate me to paint a particular subject, but I had a small black and white found photo that I wanted to try. This is the result.  

This little painting has a layer of texture that I added using a stencil before I ever began the actual painting.  I had an idea it might suggest wallpaper in the background. It doesn't, though the texture i subtle enough it doesn't detract, either.  I put down the first layers quickly, and then waited and waited for he paint to dry enough so that I could lay down transparent glazes on her skin tones.  Also I was at the point where I liked the image well enough so that I was frightened to mess up what I already had.  

No guts, no glory - or something.  Anyway, I finally did all the warm and cool glazes and am satisfied that she is finally finished.  

We'll see when I can find a good time to drive her up north.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meredith, New Portrait


My art making lately has been quite solitary.  I occasionally enter pieces in shows, sometimes get together with other art-minded people at an area senior center, rarely take a workshop, but more and more I spend time alone in my little studio, trying out things that interest me.  For several years I have been part of an online group (on Flickr and Facebook) called Julia Kay's Portrait Party. In that group people submit photographs of themselves, and others draw or paint or otherwise interpret from the photos. Then they share the results with the group. 

Sometimes I draw portraits with colored pencil or graphite, occasionally I do an acrylic painting, and other times, like this time, I trot out my watercolors.  I hadn't done a watercolor portrait in over a year, and it felt good trying to create a believable flesh tone, and hair that seems curly. I like the results here, though the portrait is somewhat idealized.  Meredith has some character lines on her face, but I did not emphasize them.  What spoke to me in her photo was her warm smile and kind eyes, so that's what I concentrated on. 

Pretty often artists in this group over emphasize lines and creases, making the person in the portrait look more severe than necessary. I'm not sure why that bothers me so much - perhaps a reflection of how ambivalent I am about my own lines and wrinkles. 

Anyway, here is Meredith.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Community Figure Drawing

I knew it had been while since I posted, but I'm shocked to see how long it has actually been, especially since I have been drawing, painting, making collages and all sorts of things. 

Community Figure Drawing at UW Whitewater is a program that has been going year round for at least twenty years, although I've only been attending about five summers.  A few weeks back the director of the program emailed to say that regular attendees were being invited to submit direct observation drawing for a gallery show on campus, a show that turned out to be very nice. I was a little nervous that my gesture drawing , done quickly on loose paper, unframed, might look a little like something put up on the refrigerator with magnets, but no.  They looked fine.


The attendance at these session varies,  Last week was free and the place was packed, around twenty people.  This week the regular summer price of $10 for three hours began, and only four people attended, which is disappointing. I only stay two hours, since I like to leave and drive while there is still some daylight, what happens when a person has older eyes I guess.

Anyway, I worked smaller last night, and experimented with using neocolor crayons, which make less of a mess on my hands.  I layered gesture drawing right on top of one another, and ended up liking that effect fairly well.  I used a plain old pencil for the longer poses.  Examples follow.