Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Uncanny: An Update

Hey alls y'all, I've updated the website for the October show with S. R. Brennen Gallery in Santa Fe.  Teresa and Dave and I have about two thirds of our work varnished, photographed, and up in the image gallery.  We'll be getting the rest up in over the course of the next month.

Take a look!

After months of looking at sunken in, partially finished work and agonizing over deadlines, it's really uplifting to see the finished work finished, varnished, and all together.  It feels kind of like one of those sports misfit movies, where the casually alcoholic coach is forced against his will to take on a crew of rough-around-the-edges diamonds-in-the-rough and turn them into an all-star team.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Workshop in Virginia

Did you know that West Virginia was the only state in the Union to secede from a Confederate state during the American Civil War? I have no idea what that means, but I'm doing a workshop there next year and that's something that Wikipedia has to say about the place.  And then after reading all about West Virginia, I realized my workshop is actually in Virginia.

My still life workshop will be hosted from May 15-19 by Debra Kierce in Ashburn, Virginia, which I understand is a hop, skip and a jump from DC and my favourite suburb of them all, Reston of the cardboard cut out facades and clockwork dog walkers.  If you are interested in attending, I'm sorry not sorry sorry to say that the workshop is already full, but hey, you should definitely get in touch with Debra to give her your name for a future workshop with me.  Her email address is debrakeirceart@yahoo.com.

If you want to read about my last workshop on Whidbey Island, go here.  When I teach still life, there is a huge slide show element with close ups of work.  I also like to focus on creative problem solving and textural tricks.  I like to encourage students to do things efficiently and effectively, and to use a BC experssion, GIVER.

Oh and haaaay guyz, here's a picture of a recent still life in progress.  I can't wait to share the WIP.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Poison Tree II

Last episode recap: colour studies, something something, painted faces, something something, painted clothes and nearly flipped out on cloak but then it was okay...

This episode: landscape stuff and finishing!  First up is the apple tree.  The gritty and impastoed surface was applied with a combination of drybrush scumbling for the darks and palette knife impastoes for the lights, with the intention of going back into it all before wrap up to glaze and scumble into it further.

And then, with all the fun stuff used up, I'm now left with a whole lotta background to fill.  Yes, I am a dessert first kind of person.

In real life, there are no mountains behind my models, and there is no barn, or cedar trees, or house.  That thing that dazzled your eyes just now is my artistic license, baby.



I find landscape very challenging.  I did do the Hudson River Fellowship years ago, and without that, I'd be really lost.  And yet, I know I approach landscape painting like a still life painter.  I like to paint each little tree and each little blade of grass, approaching the whole scene object by object instead of treating the whole thing as one big abstract visual impression which cannot be reduced to components, but exists as a gestalt.  I had to keep reminding myself while painting the landscape above to paint the landscape, and not the parts.  In Dad Joke language, you gotta paint the forest and not the trees!  GET IT.

And now for another pass on the hands.  Loving those little knuckle dimples.

Below I start to do the final pass on Paul's face.  You can see me start off by laying down broad areas of colour.  I darken his whole face in this final stage.

And finally, hair!  You know how weird it is to have to request that your models don't have their hair cut for the month leading up to their photo shoot?  I've done it more than once.  I just hate super short hair on little boys.  It needs to have some Pantene commercial oomph to it.  What really makes strawberry coloured hair like this work in a painting is purple.  Purple purple purple.  I dump a little ultramarine blue plus alizarin crimson into the half light and reflected light areas.  It makes the coppery highlights really pop.

Emily's hair and face also get a final pass.  I had to be careful to keep her face darker than Paul's, since she is lurking behind that tree trunk.  It's that little bluish highlight on her temple that really makes her face work. 

And it's finally time for some foliage.  I had a lot of fun with these leaves.  I mixed up some massive quantities of about five shades of green and I then trowled them on with a broad, sharp flat.  In person they do come across as quite brushstroke-y.

By now the painting was mostly done, but I still was having trouble with the foreground.  The grass looked like it was painted by someone who had had grass described to them once, so I betook myself the outdoors and set up my painting in front of a tree that had some overgrown grass and wildflowers at it's base.  The results were predictably better.  I also took an evil looking red apple outside with me and painted it with the outdoor like hitting it just right.  Below is the painting at the end of my outdoor session.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some close up pictures of the finished painting:

Remember how I foreshadowed that I would go back into that tree bark?  I ended up doing some nifty glazing and scumbling over top of the impastoing.

And, because it's all a bunch of art nerds reading this, here are the head studies I did as prep work back when I was developing the idea for this painting:

Now I'm not saying you should click here to check out the auction, but click here to check out the auction.  Auction ends on August 10th.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

High Key Maddie Study, 8x6", Auction--SOLD

Hey all, here is a little oil sketch of one of my recurring models, Maddie.  You might remember her from "Glad the Birds Are Gone Away."  This sketch was my first experimentation with Natural Pigments' Lead Oil Ground.  People, there is no zinc in it.  Say what?  I know.  I also think the absorption level is just about right so that it's not hard to create either thin washy areas or to build up paint more thickly (although, having started off as a double primed Claessens girl, I will always nurture an unrequited love for a slick surface over an absorbent one.  Brushstrokes from here to next Thursday, if you know what I mean).  Its surface is similar to that of Golden acrylic ground when dry (although silkier and more sensitive, like my upper lip after waxing).  If only it were a teensy bit more slick, I wouldn't even care about the longer drying time and it would steal me away forthwith from my loveless marriage of convenience with Golden acrylic ground.  At the moment I don't have permanent space where I can set up panels to dry, so I've only made a couple of these panels.  Boo.  But as soon as I have my permanent studio up and running (and I'm not in and out of my parent's basement and my garage) I will make some more oil ground panels and talk about it on the blog.

Go here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Not the clown from "IT"

Well, The Uncanny exhibition is around the corner so it's time to put my nose to the grindstone and start hammering out the final works for the show.  Not sure what it is about them, but painted faces just seem to be a cool subject matter.  It's like I'm clownophilic or something.  No surprise here that I using Tara Juneau again for a painting.  She is like the Gary Oldman of models, she can play any role.  Navajo princess? no prob. Spanish contessa? got it.   Woman who teams up with a cybernetic organism to stop the assassination of her son and future leader of the human resistance?  Yup, covered.  In this painting, Tara is some sort of Victorian, Rococo, comedia dell'arte mash up, and she's nailing it.  Now, I know what many of you are thinking: Dave, why does a manly man like yourself spend so much time playing with frilly dress up clothes?  Because shut-up, that's why.   This painting is going extremely quickly and already I am a couple days away from a finish.

 Day 2  Everything blocked in
Day 3/4 Working on fabric, trying to finish as I go. Lots of Venetian medium.

Some second painting on the face.

I'll post some more pics when I am closer to a finish.

I usually don't share my tattoo work on here, but I had to in order to compensate for the wussiness of my subject matter above.  How do I know this tattoo is awesome?  Because some dunderhead on facebook asked me to take it down because it was gross and offensive.  I'm awesome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Icarus VI" Auction--SOLD

This little sweetheart is a juvenile robin.  As juvenile robins mature the speckling on their breast vanishes and the red becomes more intense.  This time of year is always kind of sad because there seem to be more dead nestlings and juveniles around than grown ups.  But that's natural selection, baby.  It calls to mind the "blind watchmaker," whom I represented by the little hands at work without the help of eyes.

The eBay listing is here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fine Art Connoisseur Featured Article...Featuring Moi!

I'm delighted with a recent article written by Jeffrey Carlson for Fine Art Connoisseur's weekly newsletter, Fine Art Today: Katherine Stone: A Poetical Passion.

If you read through to the bottom you can see that there is an option for sign up for the newsletter.  I highly recommend it.  They put a lot of effort into the weekly articles.