Sunday, April 10, 2011

Portrait in Progress - 2

Next phase - I'm struggling with the skin. No, she doesn't actually have a 5 o'clock shadow. Hopefully I'll have time to work on her today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Portrait in Progress - 1

Last May when I went to NY for Karin Jurick's workshop I spent hours roaming the city taking photographs. I took over a thousand pictures and whittled it down to about 500. I go back to them often for inspiration.

It was May but it was an incredibly hot afternoon and I was having a beer and fries (very nutritious and pre gluten intolerance diagnosis - aaahhh the memories) at Chelsea Pier and thoroughly enjoying every moment. I saw a woman sitting with her friends and I thought she was so beautiful and timeless in her bohemian, earthy way.  I've been too chicken to paint her until now but now I am giving it a chance.

I haven't finished, so I'm going to show a few stages of the painting. One of the biggest struggles is that my paintings go through so many phases; I like many of those phases but then they are lost. I think really good artists recognize the "phase" as the place at which they should stop. I haven't gotten there yet.

This is what I did yesterday. First I sketched her with white watercolor pencil on black gesso. Then I thought it made sense to create her as negative space so I did the background first. I don't know where the background came from because it just sort of happened, maybe it was remembering the heat of the day. I do want to remember this kernel of whatever it is - this "phase" - because I think this is something I could work with in a future painting.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sometimes a Yellow Vase is Just a Yellow Vase

When I have had the chance to paint (which is rarely these days) I've been doing studies rather than trying to do a finished painting - mainly because I don't have time.

I used to collect pottery and then I got tired of having all this stuff around so I packed most of it away, sold it at a yard sale or brought it to my studio. Vintage pottery generally has great shapes and colors, reflects light in interesting ways and works well in still life setups. I did this study to play with yellow and try to figure out how to show the shadows and light with a very limited palette.