Showing posts from January, 2016

Small paintings for big learning

I try to intersperse larger, more ambitious paintings with small work that can fly off the brush in one sitting and teach me something in the process.

I find it helps to work a series of these small pieces as I learn something from each one that I can explore more thoroughly in the next one.  In the long run, everything will help me to do a better job of the big paintings.  And while I don't do colour studies for large works (I find that kills the spontaneity of my approach and keeps me tethered to choices made on the test piece) I do use these stand alone paintings to test colour choices.

Both of these florals were set up to explore difficult colours more thoroughly: red and white.  I find each of these challenging in their own way.  Red in strong light has to be lighter, but, if you add white, it turns pink.  Lightening with yellow makes it orange.  In either case, the essential "redness" is lost.  So in "Red Flowers" I focused on both warm and cool red pi…

New Workshop White Rock, BC

I'll be teaching a figure workshop in White Rock, BC this spring.  Hosted by the Federation of Canadian Artists, this will be a chance to deepen and broaden your painting practise, no matter what genre you work in.   For the many American painters who have contacted me about teaching, this is a great opportunity: the Canadian dollar is ridiculously weak which is good for you!

Below is an outline of what we'll be doing.  Please contact meif you have any questions, and, if you're interested in pricing and registration, contact the Federation of Canadian Artists.
I hope you'll join me! Alla Prima and Beyond: a 5 day figure workshopMarch 14 - 18 White Rock BC
Take your painting to the next level with this intensive 5 day figurative workshop.  Working with a clothed model, we will begin with single figure compositions.,  You'll discover how to capture a figure believably and expressively without preliminary drawing or grids, and how to integrate the figure into its backgr…

Work it

The model at this week's figure drop in had a character-filled face that invited portraiture, and I regret not tackling a larger painting.  I used some tiny brushes where I'd much rather have used big, expressive ones, but I'm still pleased with how this eventually turned out.

Increasingly, I've realized that it's too much to ask that a painting is finished after just one session.  It may seem done, but usually that just means that I've run out of ideas or become too tired to make any more decisions. That's when I have to stop and put some time and distance between myself and the work before I ruin it with thoughtless marks.

When I looked at the painting the next day, I was both tentatively pleased and deeply bored.  It had some good light and dynamic paint, but the dark, undeveloped background felt old fashioned and uninspiring.  So, since there was nothing to lose - I didn't love it - I scraped back the hair and background, mixed up a couple of high…