Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rainy Harbor, 11x14

This should be titled 'Perils of Plein Air'.  I'll save you the details but suffice to say it involved a strong wind, heavy rain and high tide....and several moves.   I ended up under a cedar tree and painted what  I could see through the branches.  The cloud cover, rain and tree shadow meant it was so dark I had to frequently stick my brush out into the light so I could tell what color had been mixed.  What you see here looks decidedly more pleasant than the experience....except that I was painting.

Once I was admiring a harbor watercolor by John Singer Sargent that looked so effortless despite all the natural elements he must have had to deal with.  Later I read that he painted it over the course of two days and had several of his friends come down to the docks and tie ropes on the boats, holding them in position so they wouldn't drift about.  The umpire should have called a foul.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


A former student of painter Sergei Bongart, beauty queen, singer with Dennis Day and acquaintance of Mel Brooks and Placido Domingo, Virginia has a rich history that is deeper than the few things I've mentioned here....she'll probably kill me for saying this much.

I think it is always difficult to capture people that are friends or relatives.  Perhaps our knowledge of them makes us feel that our attempt at portraiture falls short of who they are as people.  Nonetheless, I'm satisfied with how this turned out... but if I did it again...  

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mud Flats

I like markers because they make me think like a painter and force me to put out the extra effort to get it right the first time and not count on erasing.  On this one, however, a little judicious erasing would have made it so much stronger, although I still like it.  Again, the overlapping marks are more prominent in the scan than the original.  I hope I can eventually get them to be more representative.  Think I'll go draw...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Low Tide

A good friend recently sent me a link to a talk on the website TED by  Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'.  It's about a twenty minute talk on creativity and where creative inspiration comes from.  I found her talk humorous, inspirational and reassuring and would recommend it to any artist, writer....or most anyone, really.  I've watched it twice and will probably watch it once more.

Lately I've been experimenting with some extra wide markers put out by Copic to quickly fill in large areas of tone.  The broad mass in back of this harbor shack got filled in by it, but I need to spend some time deciding if it is an improvement or just one more piece of art junk to carry around.  It definitely is faster in massing the major dark light split.  The areas where the marker strokes overlap  show up more in the scan than in the original.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spartacus Bunny

On Fridays a number of us get together to draw or paint a single three hour pose at the local art store.  Sometimes it's necessary to liven things up a bit, hence this pose put together from what must have been part of a Tin Man costume and leftover Easter props.  Above drawing about 30 minutes.

Here is the beginning of another drawing showing the tools and the 'no-lines' approach.  And the result...about 90 minutes.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bigfork Bob, 4x5

I've gotten so many supportive and insightful comments from 'On Quitting Painting' that I had to post something, even this etching from three years ago, to reassure you all that this is a plateau...not a quit.  Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Everyone in a creative pursuit periodically hits a wall and wants to shuck the whole thing.  Usually it just means a new stretch.  I think there is an incorporation lag between the thoughtful process of learning a new skill and being able to intuitively and naturally use those skills. 

Maybe that's why being a beginner at something can be frustrating  There are so many new things to learn and there is no base of skills to carry a person along through the rough times.  Ever try roller skating?  Talk about a painful learning curve without many good times..

Anyway, I'm not quitting painting.  I just finished a 24x30 figure and am working on a similar sized landscape......but I'm trying new things and getting frustrated.  Rest easy.  I'll be back...