Friday, November 23, 2012

Tutt Art Exhibition in Kelowna, B.C.

 A large selection of my new work is currently on show in the
Autumn in the Okanangan Exhibition at Tutt Art Gallery in Kelowna, BC.  If you're in the area, I hope you'll go in and check it out.  I've only seen the full show online but it looks great: eclectic, colourful and with something for everyone.   Say "hi" to the owner, Martina, for me!
  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Painting Portraits from Photos Workshop


Boy
16 x 12
We all love to look at people and, I've discovered, we love to paint them as well.

I've taught the workshop "Painting Loose and Expressive Portraits from Photos" twice in the past 3 months and I've been asked my several workshoppers to offer it again.  They say that there is so much to learn that seeing it all a second or third time would be really helpful.  I agree, and I am offering it again.

The great thing about teaching it so many times is that I can tweak and refine the workshop with each repetition; cutting out the weak material and honing it to a really effective day. There were some gorgeous paintings the last time, and I know there will be more this time around.

The workshop will be at the Calgary School of Art on Friday, December 14 from 10am to 4pm.
The price is $100, and it's suitable for both oil and acrylic painters.

If you're in Calgary, I hope you'll join me for a great day of portraits and paint.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Painting from Memory

Green Pond 16 x 12
A psychologist would call this denial.  It's -15C outside and as snowy as December and I'm not ready for it. So here is a painting from a photo that I took in the summer.

Colour was my focus as I planned this piece.  The boy's skin caught colour from the sky on his upper surfaces, from the water on planes that faced downward, and also from his own skin.  You can see the latter in the chin and chest where colour bounced back and forth turning both warm and peachy.

The camera didn't capture all of this - no camera can - but I made a lot of mental observations and tried to record the key points in my mind.  Then, using the photo as a supplementary resource to these memories, I painted the picture soon after the actual day.  The photo was really only useful for showing me the shape of the child; everything else was recollection.

While my memory may be faulty in many ways, I think I created a more interesting image by using it than I could have if I'd trusted the photo and copied what I found there.

Stay warm, and happy painting!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Palette Knife Painting

Nude in Grey and Rose
16 x 12
There's a look to palette knife paintings: rough, chunky and, in the worst instances, repetitive.  It's always made me wary of overusing the knife in a painting and so I've reserved it for embellishment at the end of the painting.  It's been what I used to lay in that last bold, dramatic mark.

Then I watched this incredible demo by Sharon Sprung on the Art Students League NY Youtube channel.  Using large knives, augmented with brushes, Sprung creates a subtle nude in front of her class.  I was amazed!  And of course, I had to try. This painting is the result.

I used the largest knives I could for each area in a bid to keep the piece open and loose, and I laid the paint on thickly but modified it, especially at the edges, with the brush and the knife.  Sometimes the paint got too thick, but scraping it down revitalized the area and made it possible to rework it.

What I noticed was the luminosity that I got in the skin.  The paint went on smoothly, without brushstrokes, filling the linen weave, and created very clean colour.  Whereas I normally layer many colours with broken brushstrokes to create skin, this method meant that the paint totally covered previous colours, mixing down into them and smoothing the whole thing out.  It's a very different approach and appearance; the skin is reminiscent of Fechin's portraiture (he, apparently, smoothed skin by licking his palette knife and then stroking the surface; a practise that resulted in a case of lead poisoning).

I won't ditch the brushes, but I feel I've added something to my repertoire of marks with this painting and that's always a good thing.

Happy painting!