Tuesday, September 28, 2010

portrait as still life

I came across an old black and white photo of Jean Muir in my garage last week. Not knowing were to put it I set it on my easel till I figured out what to do with it. Feeling the need to paint I set it aside last night. It's placement adjacent to the easel made it convent for subject. Deciding to use something other than my oil paint I decided to use the water based paint I had around my studio. My pallet was limited, using only a very dark green -nearly black in value, a pale yellow - almost a creamy white, a magenta red and a cyan blue. Painted at night with indirect light, local color was not relevant as the value relations.

24" x 24" mixed media on canvas

on the back of the photograph this information is posted:

SHE WILL BE ONE OF THE "STARS OVER BROADWAY".....Jean Muir, lovely Warner Bros. star, will be one of the stellar personalities in the new romance of radioland, Stars Over Broadway", now in production at Warner Bros. studios under the direction of William Keighley/ Jane Froman and James Melton, celebrities of the ether waves are important members of the cast, with Pat O'Brien in a vital role.

Photograph by Elmer Fryer Warner Bros. • F. N. Studios

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

This year I have three holiday trees. The silver one I knew as a kid. The box still has the shipping label addressed to Wootens, the hardware store that was next door to my grade school, it has been out of business since the mid sixties. A tall skinny green tree and a small pink one. My painting with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgences and a sculpted female figure can be seen between the trees. The pink tree is adorned with a string of "snow man head lights" I just like saying that: snow man head lights.

There is close to fifty strands of glass bead garland on the silver tree.

The rotating spotlight for the silver tree changes the color in the back if the tree.
Multi colored lights are on the green tree.

Monday, December 14, 2009

it's that time of year, again

Every year the desire to paint something Christmassy will over take me. Its all the sparkly-shiny 'Oh So Specialness' of the season. I go to great lengths trying to capture a small part of what I enjoy about this time of year. This means dragging out the collection of seasonal bling I've been collecting. This year I have 3 trees. The main tree is one from my childhood, it was my next door neighbor's tree. I was always fascinated by Mrs Grace's tree, bazaarly silver in color compared to the traditionally green tree in my home. I also remember there being orange balls and striped balls on this tree. So there is always orange and striped balls on mine. We never had orange on our tree.

This year my silver tree has an excessive amount of glass beaded garland, every strand in my collection is on this tree. There are somewhere over 50 strands of beads on here. This collection go back to my childhood memories. I recall the beads we had when I was a child, it had double beads of mixed color, the beads shaped as the number 8 strung end to end. This year I found two strands of that garland, one in it's original box. That garland is shown in this painting along with a variety of other styles, including many strands of clear glass beads. This is an 10"x8" painting, oil on board.

Last year my silver tree was set up in a mid century house in Palm Springs, in this 8"x8" panel I try to capture the balls hanging among the tinsel branches. Reflective bits of light in a chaotic pattern make up the branches. The rotating colors of the spotlight only add to the challenge of capturing the look of the tree.

This 8"x8" painting of a small blue tree on a chartreuse enameled dish with green glass beaded garland and a tiny snow globe. Here I was enjoying the play of color. The tree was blue after all.

This one is my all time favorite of my Christmas paintings. It is the upper section of the 12' tall tree, the last I had in my home in Laguna Beach. The view of the coastline behind the tree brings me back to some of my best holiday seasons. This painting is 30"x24", oil on canvas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

still life with blues and greens

As typical I start a painting by toning the canvas with a wash of cadmium red light. Followed direct sketching of the subject in the cad red light then adding ultramarine blue as I start to block in the darker areas.

As I continue on the painting I start to define the shapes by indicating the local color. By local color I am referring to the actual color of the subject. I'm not trying for the final color but I want to establish the pattern of the shapes in the composition. I will be working back into each area to establish how each color relates to the one next to it. I typically try to get the darks in place first. Painting a dark color over an area that contains white in it makes getting the darks dark enough.

I continue adding more detail as I work on the painting.

Please excuse the variations of color with these images. The lighting in the room when the painting was photographed was not consistent. The incandescent lights give the images a warmer, yellower cast.

Below is the final image of the painting. Again please note the color shift, this was photographed under different lighting conditions. I took this image outdoors with indirect natural light.

24" x 20" oil on canvas
This painting is larger then most of my recent paintings, so there is much more detail on this painting then is typical for the smaller paintings. I worked on this painting over a two week period, the smaller paintings are complete in a session or two.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

triptych with Stewart Little

The other day I actually sat down in a comfy chair in the middle of the day. Not something I tend to do. From this vantage point I noticed a vignette through the pains of the french doors. I decided it would be something I would enjoy painting. The mullions dividing the composition in thirds made me think that it should be a triptych. 

The above image shows a little of what I saw from that seat. It was inconvenient to paint from the "comfy chair" but real convenient to study the painting's progress. Not having a clear line of sight with my subject I also used a photograph for reference. This painting was done within a weeks time, not painting every day but having the opportunity to study it daily.

When I start a painting I typically tone the canvas or panels in a wash of Cadmium Red Light, then block in the darker areas with the Cad Red lt. and Ultramarine Blue.

I block in areas, placing color references to fine tune the relationship of the shapes. Typically I start with the darks, keeping white off my painting till I'm secure with the placement of the whole composition. In this case I did lighten the background early. I wanted to establish a strong contrast with the objects in front of the curtain.

These photos taken indoors while the painting is in process may not be the best for color reference but they help illustrate the progression of the painting.

The final painting(s) below shows a truer color relationship. I have noticed that digital cameras tend to enhance the colors not always good for showing accurate color harmonies. They may make the snapshots of a birthday party more lively. I tend to use a lot of highly saturated colors in my paintings. My colors are layered on the canvas, often the camera may only capture one of the layers - not always one I might expect. Sometimes I don't realize how strong a color on a painting is till I see a photo of it.

three panels 20" x 10" oil on board

The panel on the left has a couple of twisted lines. they might not be easily recognizable, it is a part of a lamp (twisted metal spiral and the cord) one of a pair, French in origin. The other lamp I think of as my "I Dream of Jeannie" lamp, this is the first time it showed up in a painting.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

paint day

Yesterday, was paint day. A group of artist/friends get together and to work in someone's home or studio. It was almost canceled this month due to an untimely medical emergency by one member, you guessed it, the hosting artists spent their day in the hospital rather then in the studio. We were able to move the event to another studio with only a few hours notice. I always paint well with this crowd. Yesterday was no exception. I painted an arrangement of flowers from my garden. I selected these flowers for there color harmonies; thinking about how they will work in the painting–not just choosing everything in bloom in a perfusion of color that I would typically bring to paint. 

14" x 11" oil on canvas

Monday, April 20, 2009

recent work

Recent paintings, a variance from the work I have recently been doing. These have been in process for the past month. It seems like a long time for me to be working on something. Top painting, begun about the time I started blogging. I set it aside to work on the florals I thought would be the focus of my last show. Painted on a 16" x 20" canvas, I can't help to think this painting could work on a much larger format. Wanting to do something different than a typical landscape this was a opportunity to incorporate these figures; wooden dolls? mannequins? maybe they were made to be dressed up as saints. The big one seems to have her holy on.

Last fall just after the elections, I was in Sacramento – this fine state's capital, during the rally protesting the passing of Prop 8.  The passing of that proposition was extremely hurtful for me, much more than I ever expected – I felt betrayed and condemned by the outcome. 
It was revitalizing to be there with other like minded victims of the hate.
I recall during the protest thinking the only thing missing were the words "SURRENDER DORTHY" in the sky above us. I have been wanting to commemorate the event. The evil represented by the skywriting; A scary image branded upon my mind in childhood, bringing up feelings of an insurmountable enemy, to powerful to fight, to malevolent not to be contested. The marchers with there back to the capital building were continuing the march beyond the officially sanctioned marching area. They took the march to the street, the goal to cross over some bridge, to be seen. The marchers stayed on the sidewalks, off of the roadways. The police closed the road to traffic limiting the access of visibility. 

The local Pride center in Modesto had a contest for an image for the upcoming Pride Event. The theme "right to love", seemed to fit with what I wanted to express. This painting is 18" x 24", it could have been expressed on a larger canvas, but when I had the time to start it this was the size canvas that was handy. The words on the bottom were added on the computer.