Showing posts from October, 2015

Figurative painting is alive and well

I've had the privilege of teaching and doing a lot of figure painting from life lately.

A couple of weeks ago the Richmond Artist Guild hosted me for a 5-day figure workshop held in the unique Langley cohousing facility, Windsong.  Thanks to artist Lalita Hamill for arranging the venue!
What impressed me about the painters was their long-standing commitment to figure work.  Several have been hiring models weekly, and all were clearly used to working from life.  That meant that we didn't have to spend time on proportion and how to see and find colours in skin tones, and could proceed to the meat of the matter: interesting paint application, colour interactions, and compositional choices.  It was an amazingly stimulating group to work with because they really looked at the model and saw her without preconceived notions of what they were looking at.  That means that instead of painting a symbols for the features and body parts, they painted them as they really observably were.…

Value containers and what they hold

I'm enjoying working small right now.  The studio is full of paintings to go to small works shows at Tutt Art Gallery in Kelowna, BC, and Roux and Cyr International Fine Art Gallery in Portland, ME.  

These are two that I particularly enjoyed painting because of the unorthodox colours in the flesh tones.  Skin colour reflects all of the colours surrounding it - especially pale skin - so the children can take on blues, greens and oranges from their environment or from their own warm limbs. 
The photos that these came from were both very blurry and distant so they were no help except to show shapes and how the light and shadows fell on the figures.  That created the wonderful simplicity of two values in the figure.  I like to think of each separate tone as a container of value.  Within each container, there can be many colour and even temperature changes, but no major tonal change.  
Logic and years spent staring unnervingly at people in all different light conditions tells me that…