Sunday, April 22, 2018

Portraits Five

'Rodney, 16x24
Over the last few winter months....
.....our small portrait group has met every couple of weeks.  The models are friends from the island who are willing to sit for a couple of hours.  Here are a few paintings from that experience.

'Rodney' works as a designer of large off shore fish farming enclosures.  These enclosures float in the open ocean where currents allow free movement of water, solving some of the problems of nets along shorelines.  He sails boats, rides bikes, makes kombucha and is a very interesting and knowledgeable guy to talk with.  Plus, he keeps my interest up while painting his portrait.

'Noelle and Friend, 16.5x21

Maybe this should be called 'Sylvia and Friend' because, really, Noelle the Wonder Dog sort of jumped up and settled into that spot on her own.  Sylvia is an old friend who, when not sitting on a couch with a mirror, is usually found painting landscapes or working in her lush garden.  A woman of boundless energy with her fingers in many 'pies'.

'Gary' 13.5x28

'Gary' beats me in darts but I get even in cribbage.  Woodworker, man who loves boats, someone to go to for good advice on most anything and one of the few people who has a backhoe 'just for the hell of it'.  He is an intelligent and very interesting person plus a good friend.  

'Grace' 20x24
'Grace' is a new acquaintance who I run into at the local farm outlet store where she spends her days selling produce.  Silhouetted portraits, especially ones where the light is flat and doesn't supply many shadows such as in this one, are difficult for me.  It was her stillness and somewhat enigmatic face that kept me going.  The HeyDey Farm store sells the best granola, by the way.

'Jim' 20x24
'Jim' has spent much of his life as a bass player for various groups.  He loves the Chicago Blues, Paul  Butterfield and players like Joe Bonamassa.  So do I so we had a lot to talk about while this painting was going on.  He also is a new friend who sends me interesting music vids.

The particulars for artists: 'Gary' and 'Noelle and Friend' are done on gessoed hardboard.  The others are also on hardboard but I adhered canvas to the surface.  I like working on Fredrix 'Dallas' weave preprimed canvas.  I generally use flats for brushes, liking Utrecht, Robert Simmons and Rosemary brands.  The palette is fairly simple.  Cerulean Blue Hue (basically Pthalo Blue mixed with white), Ultramarine Blue, Cad Yellow Lemon or Pale, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Orange (sometimes), Cad Red Light, Rose Madder Permanent, and Burnt Sienna.  Sometimes I''ll add Ivory Black and Burnt Sienna.

I seem to do my best paintings when I don't draw ahead of time.  By that I mean it's easier for me when I don't use too many lines to define the image.  Rather, I use broad masses of a faster drying neutral color that I can easily paint over.  My accuracy to the subject, whether portrait, still life or landscape, improves when the lines aren't there.

While that may seem counter intuitive, we really see the world in masses.  Lines are a translation of what we see and, I think, hem us in when trying to be creative.  I don't want a coloring book.  A lump of clay seems to have more freedom.....but I love to draw when drawing is an end in itself and not a prep to a painting.

Noelle, Rodney and Gary were done through that massing in approach.  One was over an old painting.  Rodney was over a thin dry surface of Burnt Umber.  Very few lines if any.

OK.  Long post.

Thanks for looking.  I'll be back.....

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