Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Still Life

Posted by: Dave

Below is a new still life I started at the beginning of May. For this one, I went with a 19th century medicine bottle theme. Its crunch time until my wife and I move, so I am painting with a cause, and have a week to finish it. You can see that parts of the painting are in different stages, and the cloth is still in the local color lay in stage. I find sometimes that it takes getting some parts finished so you can be excited about the piece, so I will sometimes not work everything up the same rate.

I also thought that I would do a little talk about palettes, since it seems like such a common theme on blogs and videos. Below is my palette. Notice how I don't clean it properly and I let the paint dry and cake up all over. I don't organize my colors, mediums, or tubes of paint. If you do the opposite of what I do, you will be better off.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Men Painting Manly Things Part 1

Posted by: Dave

I have noticed a recent slip in the overall manliness of subject matter in the classical realist movement.  Most contemporary artists are defaulting too quickly to the age old cute kid in a garden for some reason, or the token, “hi, I’m a naked girl holding a flower who went hiking in the woods and forgot to wear clothes”, or the stereotypical nude woman in bed at 12 in the afternoon.  Come to think of it, if my wife was in bed at that time, I would tell her to get the heck out of bed and get to work; there are bills to pay.  It is time to bring some manliness back into art, and this posting is a tribute to just that.

What is manlier than hunting whales with sharp sticks, as seen in this piece by artist Scott Waddell?

 I truly enjoy the moment he chose to capture in this scene and the three unique reactions of the people to the events unfolding before them.  Too often, academic works lack any sense of action and often seem posed, but this piece has a great sense of movement. 

I will say that Scott is a big influence for me in my own pursuit of subject matter.  He is a graduate of the Water Street Atelier and an instructor at the Grand Central Academy.  He most recently put out an instructional video for download on painting the portrait.  For more information on Scott and his work, visit his website and blog at

Man fighting mastodon by Frank Frazetta, need I say more.

Frank Frazetta is to illustration what Arnold Schwarzenegger is to actions movies.  He is most widely known for his Conan cover illustrations, but has truly defined the genre of fantasy art.  I would highly recommend his film  “Frazetta; Painting with Fire.” 
This piece by Brandon Bird is the clear winner for all of manlykind’s history; T-rex fighting a whale that is fighting a giant squid.   

Brandon is an illustrator and artist by trade.  From 2004 to 2006 he was an Artist-in-Residence at Cornell, and currently resides in LA. For more information on Brandon, visit his site at

(I would like to also give an extra special thanks to Brandon and Scott for being part of this posting)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Okay, who bought it?

Posted by: Kate

First of all, let me compliment your good taste. Secondly, please get in touch with me to arrange varnishing. The above picture shows the difference between the painting's current, sunken-in appearance and what it will look like once varnished.

For taking photos of works that haven't been varnished yet, Dave and I usually saturate the surface of the dry painting with essential oil of petroleum. That "oils in" the surface but without adding a layer of oil. The essential oil of petroleum evaporates and leaves the surface of the painting unchanged, but for a few minutes I can see the painting as it will look with the varnish coat applied. The next time Dave and I do this for a photo shoot we'll post some pictures of how to do it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PSA 6x9

Posted by: Kate

Dave and I were really upset that we had to sit out this year's PSA conference, but at least I was able to participate in the 6x9 mystery auction. My panel didn't arrive in the mail until the last possible minute so it was a bit of a race to get the thing done, dried, and in the mail. The subject of my painting is Brian, a nice old guy who lives in our neighborhood. Dave wanted to paint him since the day we first laid eyes on him and is currently planning a more elaborate piece involving him.

Brian was extremely flattered to model for a photoshoot a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, this painting wasn't done from life. I worked from my laptop. I did, however, make a few artistic changes. The colours in the flesh are a little different, and I changed his clothing and the background to give it more of a Flemish look.

I've roughed out the drawing and have started laying in my red notes.  I usually start with red.

I've added in my dark notes and have started to lay in the yellower flesh notes.

The painting looks weird up until this point, but now it looks particularly ugly.  This is a pretty typical stage in my portraits and this is generally when Dave suggests that I start over.

Starting to look a little more normal, although sunken in this picture.  This is how it looked at the beginning of my second session.

Juicy brushstrokes brought to you by Liquin.

End of second 3-4 hour session.  Done.  Dave showed me a nifty trick for painting the beard, where you use an annihilated old bristle brush with splaying hairs loaded with thick paint to apply light, feathery strokes.