Sunday, May 31, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 21

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Keep Your Chin Up
Self Portrait - Day 21
5"x7"
oil on canvas board

Can you tell I am getting rather tired of painting myself.... "Who thought of this exercise anyway?" I'm getting near the end and boy am I ready to try other subjects. Only 9 more...I don't think I can make it....I'll have to keep my chin up and get through it otherwise the last nine will look like this one.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 20

My grandson at his first day in preschool, and he and his Mom are learning and growing through the change that this brings. It started me thinking how marvelous kids are with the changes life brings them. I think they come pre-assembled with all the talent they need for turning work into fun and learning into challenging adventures. As I sat in the studio trying to come up with another self portrait and getting annoyed at the idea,
I thought of him.
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Grandpa
Self portrait - Day 20
8"x10"
oil on mat board

When was the last time you painted like a kid? Just let yourself pick the paint color like a toddler picks the colors from a crayon box. What Joy! .... I'm ready for finger paints!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 19

More progress shots of the Northern Woods painting. This shot gives you an idea of the size of the canvas. Slow going but steady progress is the best way forward, I suppose. I find when I am not sure of how I should attempt to paint something I either fiddle with it with a tiny brush or I go too dark or too thick too fast with a big brush. There is no in between for fearful painters.
The important thing is to not give up and not to rush any area of the painting. I have a long way to go but I can see the light at the end of the canvas.
This is a 5"x7" experimental portrait study. I only used 3 colors. White, Ultra Marine Blue and Burnt Sienna. The limited palette reminded me of Wyeth's work.... The comparison stops there.
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Self Portrait - Day 19
5"x7"
oil on canvas board

I also used the palette knife just for fun, to apply the white. This was not the most successful painting but it was a great learning experience. You should never be afraid to try things that are outside your comfort zone. What's the worst that can happen? If it doesn't look like you ... say it was a painting of your cousin.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- 30 Self Portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 18

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Self Portrait - Day 18
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

Here's my latest reason for not painting or posting for a few days. We had a lot of company over the weekend. That's it. I know it's a lame excuse but it's the only one I have.... Well maybe not the only one.

I could say all the muscles in my body were in rebellion from the work we did outside over the last two days, but that sounds so wimpy.

Thanks go to our friend Mary, she gets the credit for suggesting this composition. She always sees me wearing my glasses on top of my head. This portrait is how I typically wear my glasses when I need to see something up close. It is also the way I paint 80% of the time. That way when I look a a subject it is blurry and I don't get distracted by the details. I only put my glasses on when I need to see things in focus or when I am ready to add the final touches ... I guess getting older has it's benefits.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- 30 Self Portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 17

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Self Portrait - Day 17
11"x16"
Ball Point Pen on Paper

When I was in High School the sketching media of choice was the ball point pen. Of course back then my subject matter was limited to sports figures. This was back before newspapers had color photographs. The New York Daily News had a great sports page that often had pen and ink figures and portraits. I can't remember the artist's name but that was my first exposure to portrait drawing. My art was born from the back pages of the Sports section in the New York Daily News and the (Jon Nagy TV program). I am old.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- 30 Self Portraits in roughly 30 Days - Day 16

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Midnight Raider
Self Portrait - Day 16
9"x12"
oil on canvas board

Just over the half way mark of the 30 day 30 self portraits exercise and I don't think I have lost any weight. I should probably grab a sandwich and think about my next composition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 self portraits in roughly 30 Days

I decided to officially rename this exercise "30 Self Portraits in Roughly 30 Days" because I missed another day. Who knows, by the time I am finished I might be up to 30 self portraits in a few weeks more than 30 days.

I did manage to photograph a few preliminary stages.
I had some high expectations of this one at this stage but then I ran out of time, energy and desire to do more.
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Speak No Evil
Self Portrait Day 15
8"x10"
oil on masonite

We are half way through the 30 days and today is a good lesson in dealing with the frustration of not always being able to meet your own expectations. It's important to keep in mind the good things about this type of painting practice. Sometimes you get real gems and other times it's nothing but struggle and a quick search for the nearest trash bin. Keep going, and remember even Rembrandt had some real losers. In the end you will have 30 paintings and I bet at least a few that are keepers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 14

I think I should rename this series 30 Self Portraits in About 30 Days, since I missed another day. I don't want to be sued for false blogging.
The painting of the North Woods is coming along nicely. I worked on the water and the trees a bit more. Still lots to do.

I have rationalized not sending anything into the Northern Art Competition this year. I told myself since I have never heard or seen of the art show before, maybe it would be better to visit it before I send in an entry. It always helps to have a reason handy when you miss a deadline.
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Hear No Evil
Self Portrait Day 14
8"x10"
oil on masonite

My modern interpretation to the second part of the proverb "See no Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil".
By now you are probably asking yourself, "Doesn't this guy wear anything but flannel shirts?"
The answer is not if I can help it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 13

The work continues on my Northern Woods painting. Unfortunately I don't think I will make my deadline for the show with this one. I would rather have a good painting than a rushed painting.

I am continuing to move toward the foreground (still with the first pass) adding some indications of stones and leaves but no serious detail yet.
I am sharpening some objects and adding warmer tones now. The foreground needs to feel up close and you should feel the atmosphere between you and the background. The distance should be controlled with soft edges, color temperature ( cool grays) and thinner muted paint.
I admit I did have some help with the colors. Red was his favorite. But yellow and green were also added. He actually worked on the canvas choosing his placement for each brush stroke. It helps when there is another artist in the studio.

(The little painting over our hands is the plein air study I did in Santa Fe two weeks ago. That may end up a larger painting one day.)
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See No Evil
Self Portrait Day 13
8"x10"
oil on masonite

I have no idea where I first heard the maxim "See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil" It was probably in a cartoon I watched as a kid. ( I got most of my culture and history from comic books and cartoons ). The original version also included "Do no Evil"

My guess, it was probably what early Nara period (from AD 710 to 794) Japanese parents told their teenagers... "Don't look at that, don't listen to that, don't say that" and last "Don't do that"!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 days - Day 12

I missed a day, I know, so shoot me. I don't have an excuse but I do have a deadline this week. There is another art competition in Northern Wisconsin I want to enter. It is in July and the entries are due this Friday. So I have two days left to complete a painting , photograph it and email my entry.

I love the North Woods, I have done (two paintings) thanks to ours friends Carol and Peter who introduced us to the beauty at their cabin. There is such a wondrous life force or energy in those woods. This scene was from one of our visits.

I am working very hard to keep the beginning painting as muted as possible. Limiting my palette
to warm and cool gray at this point.

Here I am starting to add the cool blues and greens. Still trying to keep the background thin and muted. No rich colors yet.
It is already beginning to show some mood with just a few accent darks and lights. I have a long way to go before Friday's deadline. I'll keep you posted with more progress tomorrow .
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View from the canvas
Self portrait No. 12
10"x14"
watercolor and pencil

I don't try many watercolors..,. this is why. It is a very frustrating medium for me. Of course, if I spent as much time practicing with them as I have with oils I might actually enjoy them more.
This pose strikes my funny bone. It reminds me of those Hollywood black and white publicity photos actors send to fans and casting directors.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 days - Day 11

It is good to know that I am not the only artist who would do a self portrait that doesn't show the artist on his/her best day.( Edvard Munch) did a few self portraits too. This one is titled, "After Influenza." What a great subject for a painting!
Of course his most famous painting is " The Scream" not a self portrait but based on a personal experience.
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The Other Scream
Self Portrait - Day11
6"x6"
oil on canvas board

Here's my version. It comes from my personal experience of trying to think of more self portrait compositions.
I used the palette knife for this one. It helped to release a lot of emotion.... now I need a cup of tea.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 10

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Late Night in Santa Fe
Self Portrait day 10
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

This is what travel and staying up late does to me when I have an early morning wake up. This is the mirror from the bed and breakfast I stayed at in Santa Fe last week. The sunny design on the mirror is completely lost on the less than sunny face in the mirror.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 9

Another day another attempt. I am working over an old painting I started 12 or more years ago when I lived in West Virginia.
First I sketch out the pose with charcoal. I am working from a photo on my computer.
One thing I learned from the demonstration I watched in Santa Fe was if the light side is cool the shadows will be warm. So I am trying to map that out at this stage. Hopefully I will remember throughout the painting process.
The eyes gave me so much trouble. But I had a lot of help from a couple of friends (Peter and Carol you were great!) who watched the whole practice painting session. It was a lot a fun painting and explaining what I was trying to do. They really had a lot of good suggestions. My son and daughter also gave me some tips. So this one is a real group painting.
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Self Portrait No. 9
8"x10"
oil on canvas board
I actually like the stage before this one better. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 8

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Self Portrait Day 8
9"x12"
pencil on paper

Very busy today. We had my daughter's graduation from college and lots of friends and family staying over. So, I only had time for a quick pencil sketch.

It is a funny thing, I think I am saving a lot of time by sketching, but I end up almost spending the same amount of time as when I paint. This is a great exercise at staying loose though. I highly recommend it. Don't think about anything looking finished just sketch and stop.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 7

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Early Riser
Self Portrait - Day 7
9"x12"
oil on canvas board

Yesterday's post showed how I usually dress to start work. But sometimes I don't get much farther than... in my bathrobe and pajamas.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 6

Day 6 and I still have some different ideas to try. My creative well isn't dry yet. I have taken an old piece of mat board and coated it with Liquin. I figured it might help seal the cardboard. It did make the gray darker but I am not sure it sealed much of anything. Don't ask me why I thought this experiment would be worth trying. After the Liquin was dry I outlined my drawing with Liquin and paint.
I am not using any turps or medium from this point on. In fact, in the beginning I try to keep the brush as dry as possible with as little paint on it as possible and scrub on the dry paint.
As the painting progresses keep applying thicker paint but only using thicker wet paint in the center. Save the best creamy paint for the face.
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Ready for Work
Self Portrait Day 6

8"x14"
oil on mat board

This is how I start my day, in my socks with a cup of tea and a few brushes ready to try something new.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 5

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Self Portrait - Day 5
9"x12"
oil on canvas board

I love these fast oil sketches. They can either come out surprisingly well and have a fresh look to them, or they totally bomb and you are left searching for some redeeming quality. You may end up telling yourself things like "the background color is nice".

I am pleased with this one. If I had more time I would keep refining it, especially things like the color and tones...and the drawing... and the brush work.... But for a quick study I kind of like it...I even look thinner.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in 30 Days - Day 4

Well, I am back home from my three day trip to Santa Fe and the Oil Painters of America National Show. The whole experience was amazing. I will probably be digesting all that I learned for quite some time.

Here is my piece that was accepted. That's my friend and fellow Omaha artist( Debra Groesser). Deb and her husband Don were so kind. They invited me to dinner after the opening and introduced me to several of the artists. Deb knows everybody.
(The Sage Creek Gallery) did a wonderful job hosting the event and the quality of the work was outstanding. It was truly an honor to be part of the show
Part of the activities over the three days were painting demos and lectures. Here is (John Michael Carter) giving a portrait demo. I learned so much from his 2 hour demonstration I can't wait to try out some of the ideas. I would love to attend his portrait workshop next March at the Scottsdale Artist's School in Scottsdale, AZ.
Here is three of my favorite artists. From left to right, a Joan Potter still life, a David Leffel portrait, and a (Jeff Legg) still life. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff at dinner and plein air painting with him and a group of others on Sunday morning.
Here's another favorite artist of mine, Dan Gerhartz.
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Artist Back in the Hood
Self Portrait - Day 4

5"x 7"
oil on canvas board

I got back after midnight on Sunday and it took me all day to recover but I am back and ready to paint!