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Showing posts from May, 2012

Gold Leaf in a Painting

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Maybe because Vienna has proclaimed this to be the year of Gustav Klimt I've become interested in gold in paintings.  I bought some genuine gold leaf a few weeks ago and have been waiting impatiently for an opportunity to use it.  This painting seemed right because of its overall gold tone, and also because of the patterning on the robe.

I painted the majority of the piece and then rubbed away as much paint as possible from the front of the robe.  After it had dried, I painted on the adhesive in those bare spots and waited the 3 hours that it takes for the glue to become tacky.  Then came the really tricky part.

Gold leaf is as fine as spider webs: flimsy and ethereal.  It floats and crinkles in the tiniest air current and will stick to absolutely everything.  Using the special little gilder's brush that I'd purchased, I tried to pick up the 2 square inch piece of leaf.  It rumpled and twisted under the soft bristles and left precious bits of itself like dandruff on my …

Painting from a photo but thinking about life

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I've been a bad blogger lately.  Spring gardening duties have filled my weekends and my days are full of paint.  I can't complain.

One of the things I've been doing is working from photos, something that I find difficult to do well.  A photo of a person bears no resemblance to the reality of a 3D person, but if I want to capture the energy of a body in motion, I have to rely on the flat image.

The small painting above was done from a picture of my son heading into the California surf on a recent vacation.  I tried to keep all of the lessons that I've learned during life painting in my head as I rendered the figure: capture the gesture first and confidently, paint a mass, not an outline, use value and colour temperature to model form, and don't get hung up on details - even though a photo has plenty of them.

I'm pleased with the torso in this piece.  There is warm light on the top plane of the shoulders and a cool, receding plane down the vertical of his back.…

Springtime Plein Air

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Spring has started and it's an exciting time to go outside and use the pochade box.

I spent a day in my favourite local park last week and was lucky enough to get this view at the first set up.  I loved the subtle backlighting and the suggestion of fresh new green that was peeking out on the trees.  During the course of the warm day, the trees leafed out noticeably and I got a sunburn.  The season really are changing!

This painting was done on double oil primed linen - a surface that hasn't always been lucky for me in the studio.  The marks often seemed characterless.  But, out in the park with a time constraint and lots of distractions, I couldn't fuss with it like I can indoors and that turned out to be a good thing.  I was nearly done the piece before I realized that I hadn't been fighting the surface at all.  The marks have personality and the treatment stayed fresh.  I'm glad that I didn't give up on the linen too soon.