This is the first painting of our backyard at this new apartment. It was such a nice day that I couldn’t pass it up. Also the light hitting the foreground tree was amazing. Although, by the time I took the setup picture the light had changed dramatically.
Tonight in painting class we had a wonderful discussion with all the artist about their work they completed over the few months that the class was going on. Luckily I got there a bit early and was able to start a new painting of a subject in the studio that I painted before. But, I had to continue the painting at home from photos that I took while at the studio.
Tonight was a combination of a random subject matter and false lighting. I used an app on my phone to pick some random numbers and I ended up in the kitchen with my portable light searching for a subject. For weeks now I have looked at our orange bowl capturing sun light streaming in through our kitchen window. I couldn’t capture the sunlight so I used my lamp and made my own.
Tonight wasn’t a random pick, but I didn’t contrive a still life either. A few weeks back I purchased a really cheap small lamp from Goodwill and tonight I used it to light random things around my apartment. I made no effort to change the apartment or its messiness in any way, I just added dramatic lighting and I was amazed at how quickly the ordinary became extraordinary.
I’m really enjoying these random pics given to my by friends on Facebook. The painting tonight was a suggestion for last nights painting that I decided to take on tonight. There is an interesting connection between my paintings and the person choosing numbers that will tell me which room to choose and which direction. I find most of the time that best subjects are chosen at random by people I know.
Tonight was another random choice from Facebook. And a suggestion that I should paint this one while standing on my head. Of course painting while on my head would be ridiculous, but my mind went directly to my large portrait mirror. What if, instead of turning myself upside down I turned my subject upside down?
After a ton of thought about what my subject will be and what fascinates me I realized that I really enjoy the removal of the choice of subject matter from my work. For some reason if I setup a still life or if I choose a location, I dislike it, it all seems too contrived. Lately I have had my wife choose numbers that would indicate rooms and degrees but today I sent out a request on Facebook for someone to choose my subject.
Drawing from photos yesterday with quick gestures was really interesting, but tonight I figured I would try drawing from photo but for a longer time period. Unfortunately a photograph doesn’t capture near the details we can see with our eyes so I had to rely on my own emotions to get a since of flesh in the drawing.
I went through all of my artwork from the past year or more and made a scorecard for all the works that I liked. The scorecard consisted of things like; Drawn well, Focus on value, High contrast, Composed etc… As I went through all my work and picked out pieces that I liked I would mark any attribute of the scorecard that the piece pertained to and I ended up with a definite indication of what I’m most interested in.
The drawings were good tonight but I was really struggling with the painting. The model had a very interesting body and I was so enamored by it that I think I was tense and lacking focus. Well, whatever the issue, I ended up wiping out this painting several times before giving up and going for a very abstract and frustrating stab at the canvas.
After watching a documentary on Rembrandt on Youtube I was inspired to do a self portrait. But I didn’t feel a need to go deep into color or thick paint so I just had fun with black and reductive painting. Focusing only on getting the drawing and values as correct as possible. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Today I returned to the Gage Academy for their last open studio for the session. It has been a while and I was reminded how much I enjoyed it. The painting turned out ok, but I felt like I needed to do much more with it. I felt upset that all I was doing was rendering what was in front of me and not saying much more.
Tonight’s random location landed me in my bathroom. Its quite a challenge when I’m forced to look at an almost blank part of our apartment and figure out something interesting to paint. I turned to my phone to help pick out some interesting compositions for this painting, and I like what I ended up with.
Tonight the random numbers were 3 and 125. The third room of our apartment is our bedroom and this is what you see when you face 125 degrees. What is strange is that I have a random number generator on my phone and every time I use it the scene is crap. But when I ask Pattie to pick numbers the scene is nice. I must be partial to Patties choices, maybe.
Tonight in painting class Jamie was extremely helpful with helping me figure out what my true subject is and how to come closer to expressing it. At one point during the class I figured out that I really didn’t any still life that I setup myself, it seemed much too contrived. I was more interested in the studio space and its randomness than something I setup to look like what I thought of a still life.
On my drive home today I was thinking about last nights still life and how much fun I had with trying to make since of all the subtle transitions of value and shapes in the glasses. And I wondered how I could make these transitions even more subtle and hidden, so I setup a still life with glasses on white.
I’m still having fun with glass on white, and I added a bit of black today for interest, plus some nice colored Rum. The values here are so subtle that I have to really focus on every stroke of paint I put down. I also have to constantly have a clear awareness of the overall values within the still life. If I get too many values too high then I will loose the super white glare on the glasses into the background. Needless to say it is a bit of a challenge.
I have always had trouble with gestures, and tonight was not different. I know why I suck at them, I don’t practice them. So I normally just fall back into a slower drawing style moving from one specific shape to the next. The drawings turn out better but I still don’t get any gesture practice. One day I will actually bite the bullet and just go to a few gesture classes.
I finished up the Manganese Blue chart today and begun the Veridian Green Light chart. I’m using all Old Holland paints for these charts. These are some of the most expensive paints you can buy, but I want paint that has a very high pigment content and quality. I expect these charts to be used for years to come, and for my most important paintings I will want to use the best paints.
Daniel was the model tonight and her poses were making people in the class say “Wow”. There is something about a great pose that gives you the energy and motivation to block out everything and focus on drawing as if nothing else exists. Sometimes if a model is great the drawings around the whole room will look great.