Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Demo of pears

I've had a show hanging at a retirement community in NJ for the last couple of months (Medford Leas in Medford). A couple of weeks ago, they asked me to do a demo for their studio art group when I pick up the paintings. Gulp. I've done one demo in my entire life and that was for a class in which I was a student. So I'm going to do pears, my fall-back subject when I don't feel inspired by anything else. I've done pears in many ways and like the distinctiveness and simplicity of their shape.

So this time, as I stewed over this (no pun intended), I decided to buy pears and see what I could do to arrange them in some pleasing way. Yesterday I set out a large piece of foam core for its whiteness and arranged and rearranged the pears in what I hoped would be a good composition. Then I added a deep cobalt blue glass and a pottery bowl. I moved around the grouping, working on the shadows and the travel of the eye. I took them outside in the sun. I tweaked and fussed, all the time snapping photos from various heights (don't y'all just love digital cameras?). Finally, probably 40 or 50 photos later, I had something I liked. I printed it. I drew it. I did a sketch with charcoal pencil to check the values. I drew in onto a half sheet (14" x 20"). The size of the paper was part of my stewing because I wanted it big enough so people could see, but I didn't want gigundous pears. I like my paintings to fit in the standard frames I keep on hand.

So here's the charcoal sketch which is a little bigger than 5" x 7". The demo isn't until Friday, so you (and I) will have to wait for the actual painting, although I may do a smaller version today, being the impatient sort who hates to have a paper with a drawing and no paint hanging around.

I guess the amount of my preparation indicates my anxiety over how this will go. They've only seen my good paintings, not any of my screw-ups. Oh well.


ne of our painting friends brought lilies from her garden with her the other day. We've both painted them, she in acrylics and me in wc. It took a lot of glazing on the flowers but I think I'm done with this. Comments and critiques invited. Quarter sheet.

Please click on this small version to see the larger one which isn't all grayed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cheryl's Lake

This is a pastel from a photo taken at my friend Cheryl's house in Maryland, just off Chesapeake Bay at its northern end. The lake was once a creek which drained into the bay but was dammed by the Army Corps of Engineers decades ago. This photo was taken from their deck. As usual, colors are bigger in the larger version gained by clicking on the picture here.

Here are a couple of quotes worthy of contemplation:
"Just remember artists don't make mistakes. We make strategic color and compositional adjustments, "impressionism experiments" and color studies." -Harry Perry a member of an email list I'm on.

"Value does all the work; color gets all the credit." shared with me by my friend Siv. This one feels especially apropos for this painting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Deck

This is my third attempt at this painting. The first was done on gesso-coated watercolor paper, painting on all the dark and then lifting the lights. Some of the pigments I used stained the gesso so I couldn't get the lifted areas light enough, nor could I control the lifting as I wanted. I see I didn't post it. Just as well.

The second try hit recycling before it was finished.

I did this one on regular wc paper with successive layers of paint and successively increased masking. I don't know if I'm done or not; time will tell. Right now I'm mightly bored with it. Putting on mask, waiting for it to dry, slopping on paint, waiting for it to dry, all times 5 or 6 or a gazillion, is just not my style. Not nearly enough patience and precision. But I've done it and after I don't look at it for a week or a year or so, maybe I'll like it. You can see a larger version, with more true color, by clicking on the picture here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cheryl's Magnolias

Another pastel. Before I printed the photo of the flower I saturated the colors in Photoshop. Makes for a brighter, somewhat more abstract painting. I was inspired to paint from this photo after I read "Pick A Winner" in the August 2008 Pastel Journal. It's about composition and is applicable to any medium.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Scottish View

This is a pastel. Is it a painting of a moor? I've never known quite what a moor is! Anyway, it's from a photo I took in Scotland and I love the sense of distance and wide open space. As always, critiques welcome, and the picture is better if you click on this one to see the larger version.