Thursday, November 21, 2013

A return to still life

Peach Bowl
24 x 20
With the onset of winter, I've been thinking less of beach scenes and have been setting up still life scenes in the studio again.

Sergei Bongart said that "if you can paint still life, you can paint anything."  It's true.  There's no better training ground for eyes and hand than an unmoving group of objects under unchanging light.  Peaches don't get tired, need breaks, or get paid, so I'm free to make use of them until they start to sag with age.  In the meantime, they're a treasure trove of colour, shape and value to explore and relate to the other objects on the table.

This painting has a lot of cool neutrals which make the more intense peach colour sing in comparison.  My goal was to avoid using harsh, high chroma mixtures and making the most of greyed mixtures - something that seems to be a preoccupation with me at the moment.

I also wanted to leave some line work in this painting.  The mingling of 2 dimensional drawing lines and the illusion of 3 dimensions that I've tried to capture in the objects appeals to me.  It's a reminder of the painter's artifice: we're always working on a flat surface and trying to simulate depth.

This painting is at Tutt Gallery in Kelowna.  I hope you'll go and visit it if you're in the area.

Happy painting!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Portrait Demo Friday November 15


I hope you'll join me for a 3 hour, start-to-finish portrait demo at the Calgary School of Art on Friday, November 15 from 6 - 9pm.  There will be wine, cheese and loads of information.  

My model will be posed under dramatic, coloured light which will allow me to show the ways in which the temperature of light alters the local colour of objects. We see this effect every time we look at a person on a sunny day or in the artificial light of an interior.  Colours are constantly in flux, showing us different aspects of their character with every change in the light that falls on them -which can be confusing!

So I'll tackle the complexity of the colour of light while I demonstrate the aspects of portraiture: from accurate proportion to how to paint individual features such as eyes and the ever-tricky mouth (noses pretty much just take care of themselves, as you'll find out).  

To register, please contact the Calgary School of Art.  


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Commission #4


Commission #4
14 s 18
The last one!  I'm sorry to see the end of this process.  I had a great time figuring out each of the children's paintings from the personality descriptions supplied by their grandmother.

This 12 year old couldn't relax in front of the camera.  His grandmother sent me 3 disks of images and he was mugging in most every shot, and if he wasn't doing that, then the angle, lighting or some other aspect of the photo made it a poor reference.

I narrowed it down to a few photos and this is the one that his family thought was most like the boy: vigorous and colourful.  They didn't mind that his face wasn't visible so I'm betting that a huge part of his personality is conveyed through movement.

Because he's long and lean, I felt that I needed to balance his slight body with some robust paint. There's a lot of chunky brush and palette knife work in this painting.  I emphasized the movement of the jump by avoiding too many hard edges and by weaving background colour into the form.  The cool areas of the legs are composed of colours from the surrounding water.

The four paintings will hang in the home of their grandmother, mementos of the carefree summer days of childhood.