Sunday, August 26, 2012

Portrait Workshop at the Calgary School of Art

Downward Gaze
16 x 12
I'll be teaching a portrait painting workshop at the Calgary School of Art on Saturday, September 22.  Unlike most of my workshops, this one will use photos instead a live model for its subject.   While I think life painting is the best (and the easiest) approach, I also know that most of us use photos for a lot of our work.  It's simply too difficult and expensive to arrange for a model for every new painting.  Lucien Freud managed it, but we mere mortals have to cut some corners.

This workshop will focus on turning those photos into expressive paintings that look like they could have been done from life.  I'll teach students a logical method and some crafty tricks for creating loose portraits from stiff, limited photos.

If you're in Calgary on the 22nd, I hope you'll sign up and join me!

To register, please call The Calgary School of Art: 403-287-7448

Happy painting!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Flatness and Form

Rose Jacket
14 x11
I'm a big fan of layers in an oil painting; they create a sense of richness and depth.  But I also appreciate the simplicity of a single, well-judged layer of paint in which the weave of the linen is visible, showing the viewer where that painting's journey began.  My favourite paintings, though, are the ones that combine both qualities: layering and single layers.

In "Rose Jacket" I left a lot of the initial underpainting visible as an interesting contrast to the thickly-layered paint in the woman's jacket and in the light background.  I like the way that the untouched single layer of darks on the right and in the skirt appear flat in comparison to the dimensional feeling of the rest of the figure.    Had I refined these areas with another layer or two, I think I would have sacrificed a lot of interest though I would have created more believable form.

Not every painting gets to keep this much underpainting, but I do try.  Some end up with a second layer everywhere because, as we all know, every painting has its own path.

Happy painting!