Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Course at the Calgary School of Art

Ballet Dancer
32 x 26

I'll be teaching a new Painting From Life course in September at the Calgary School of Art.  
I hope you'll check out the link for times and dates.  Maybe I'll see you in class!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Portrait Sketch


"Twelve"  
18 x 14

I took full advantage of my son's financial debt to me this weekend and coerced him into sitting for this portrait sketch. I pay my kids $10/hour for their modelling services. Any less and their energetic bodies would be unable to contain themselves; they wouldn't think it was worth it. He listened to an audio book of a Flavia De Luce mystery which kept him engrossed. Even so, I only managed to get him to sit for an hour so I worked at full speed on this painting.

Knowing that I'd be rushed, I opted for a limited palette of Cad Yellow Deep, Ivory Black, Transparent Red Oxide, Cad Red Light, and Titanium White. The resulting painting is more opaque than I'm used to because it only contains one transparent colour and because I barely used any medium, choosing to apply thick, tube-consistency colour throughout. It's also more muted than usual because black is used as as blue. I'd be interested to try another sketch using Ultramarine Blue instead of black. He still owes me $5 for a video game, so perhaps I can talk him into sitting next weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Backyard Plein Air


Apple Blossoms
16 x12

  Wimpy plein air painter's set up

We are finally getting some nice weather and it's making me restless in the studio.  But, since I'm not a particularly hardy plein air person, I decided to stay in the backyard and enjoy the plein air experience with ready access to a bathroom.

The apple trees were in full bloom, and while I think they're a better watercolour than oil subject, I had to give them a try.  It took a while to figure out how to give a sense of strong light on such pale forms, but I finally found that frequent temperature changes created the illusion that I was after.  Each bunch of white blossoms is made up of many colour temperatures layered on top of each other; and none of these colours is actually white.  Over the initial cool greenish or purplish grey, I brushed warmer, lighter peach and pink hues.  Then, for the final hit of strong light on the edges of the petals, I placed quite intense orange.  This made a nice contrast to the cerulean sky, but didn't believably read as light.  By throwing one more dollop of cool blue-white on top of the orange, I finally got the sunstruck look that I was after.  These many overlaps create a vibration that approximates the luminous quality of actual blossoms.  How my amazing tree does it, I'll never know!