Thursday, February 26, 2009

daily painting practice - A New Day

This past week we had good news and troubling news, good times and stunning tragic news.

Last week started with more economic bad news for all of us - the stock market and all that business. Then, one of my galleries here in Omaha closed. The good news is I learned I had two pieces accepted into the Salon International 2009 show this year. It will be at the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, TX in May.

No worries! We left the cold of the Midwest for sunny Florida for a week. More good times as my art show companion/wife and I flew to Naples, Florida, for the opening of the International Guild of Realism show at the (Weatherburn Gallery) and a few days in the sunshine. Naples is like the Hollywood of the east coast... no economic problems in that town.The gallery was just around the corner. People actually live in those condos!
Well displayed! ( mine is the one of top)
The show was grand. I was thrilled to meet so many artists whom I admire and to meet a few new artists and their spouses. One couple, in particular, drew us in with their smiles and humorous stories: Robert and Paulette Kirkpatrick of Phoenix, Md. Bob's work was also in the show, and Paulette was providing the real story behind his work. We talked through the evening and shared a table at the dinner after the show. After dinner, they were kind enough to drive us back to our hotel. We all felt that a new friendship was born.
After the business of the show, we parted ways, and my research assistant/wife and I drove up the coast to stay a few days in Fort Myers, FL. Here, I attempted to sketch some shrimp boats as the sun went down. As you can see I wasn't fast enough. ( but can you believe I tried a watercolor/acrylic plein air painting?)
This was a sketch the following evening. This view is just outside our room. Again the painting gods were playing with me. I got this far, and the sky went gray and dark with storm clouds. That night all the power went out on the island.
Here's a better look at what I started with. This was just before the sky turned dark purple gray.
So, now I am back sitting in my cold Omaha studio trying to remember the sunshine so I can put it in this painting.
click on the painting to enlarge the image
A New Day
16"x20" oil on canvas
I was able to complete one before I left on vacation, but I didn't have time to post it then. Here is the completed painting of a back street in Omaha which used to be a busy railway thoroughfare. It is a very peaceful painting, and I like the title because it conveys a sense of needed hope in the wake to this tragic news:

The day we returned home, we received news that the kindred spirits we had met, Bob and Paulette, were killed in a (traffic accident) the night following the show. This is the kind of news that spreads through your body in a slow wave of disbelief, followed by sorrow and pain. These were the kind of people you always hope you will meet - funny, warm and genuinely in love with each other and with life. The one bright note I hold onto is that I am so grateful for having met them. Our prayers and thoughts go out to their family.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Daily painting practice- Continuing the baseball painting

The epic painting continues! OK, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but drama is what you need when painting a baseball game. If you think watching baseball is slow going , try painting it! I have the sky 90% complete (because that was the easiest part) and I have the guys in the dugout about the same. I removed the camera guy in the bottom left corner. I think the final detailing of the fence will work well enough.

The crowd is slowly coming along. I needed some inspiration for painting large crowds...
click on image to enlarge painting
So I checked out a few crowd paintings by Ilya Repin. This one is called The Annual Memorial Meeting Near the Wall of the Communards in the Cemetery of Père-Lachaise in Paris. The title almost has as many characters as people.
click on image to enlarge painting
Here's another. Krestny Khod (Religious Procession) in Kursk Gubernia. This guy was a master painter of crowd scenes. You can go to (this website) called Olga's Gallery to see more
click on the image to enlarge the painting

I am using a palette knife when I want to lay the paint on thick. I used it in the sky , the grass and on the glistening white uniforms. My main goal now is to block in the rest of the crowd then go back and add some detail strokes to make the front rows stand out a bit. Several hundred figures started ...several thousand to go! I hope I finish before the season starts.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- Rosenblatt Stadium Progress

What have I gotten myself into? Just how do you start a painting with roughly 5000 figures in it ...and outdoors on top of that?
I thought my approach or, "How do I do this?", would make an interesting post.
Ok, first idea, make sure I have the architecture mapped out to give me some road marks and some boundaries.
Second, start thinking lights and darks.
Next, rough in the players on the field to help with the scale and distance.
click on the image to enlarge for details
All I am thinking about at this point is getting some color down. A big question keeps repeating in my head..."How much detail do I need to show the crowd?" ...and do I paint from back to front or front to back?" .... maybe I should stick to still life painting.
click on the image to enlarge for details
I decide to work with the figures in the dugout and the front rows first. Hopefully this will give me an idea of when to stop drawing individuals as I go back into the crowd. I even count the number of figures sitting in the first row and the number of rows going back....just to give me an idea. I need some way to keep the approach somewhat organized.
click on the image to enlarge for details
I darken the back of the dugout and start painting individual figures. I start with just three tones, a dark, a mid-tone, and a light gray.
click on the image to enlarge for details
After I am satisfied with the progress of the figures, I add some color which begins to draw some interest to the individuals.
Baseball has so many components. One of my favorites is watching the crowd. I will need to give each figure its own flare and emotion in order to capture the feeling of sitting there with them......I can't believe I am attempting this.