Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits - Day 27

click on the image to enlarge the painting

The Artist's Hands
Self Portrait - Day 27
oil on masonite

My director of new ideas/wife suggested I paint my hands as a self portrait. She says, and I agree, that a person's hands can tell as much about a person as their face.

Posing just the hands for a painting requires a bit of trial and error. The trick is to not make it look like the arms were chopped off the body like a piece of butchered meat. I wanted to experiment with the idea before actually doing a painting but as I played around , this composition stuck with me.

It is in a very rough stage. Not close to being finished. But I like the pose. I started on a dark pre-toned board. So I was painting the lights out of the darks. This was a lot of fun. I may explore this idea a lot more in the future.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits - Day 26

The Emerging Artist at Work
Self Portrait Day 26
oil on gessoed cardboard

I have this wonderful chair in the back of my studio that I use to sit back and review the progress of my paintings. It is a magic chair. It has the power to cast a sleeping spell on me anytime night or day. Of course if the stereo is playing something sweet and the tea has just been made. I'm gone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits - Day 25

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Picking Strawberries with Grandpa
Self Portrait - day 25
oil on canvas board

Does this count as a self portrait? I think it does. Besides, I couldn't resist painting him helping me pick the strawberries. He was a very selective harvester, only selecting the largest berries... and of course he had to have one in each hand. He ate them like they were apples. Soon after these few strawberries were devoured his shirt was redesigned with berry juice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- 30 self Portraits - Day 24

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Studio Chores
Self Portrait Day 24
5"x7" oil on canvas board

Sorry about the small size of the image but my photo editor has decided to quit working...either that or it is punishing me for not posting as much as I should. This is what I do in the studio when not posting.... not really, but I needed to paint something. I have a few ideas left to get me through to the goal of 30. However, as you can see, I am running out of gas....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 self portraits in 47 days and counting

Just another rainy day in the studio. I made my semi annual trek to the art store to re-supply. I usually take two big shopping days per year re-supplying the studio, with occasional side trips for special purchases. This August in addition to teaching a daily painting workshop at the Joslyn Art Museum, I will be doing a once a week, for 4weeks, plein air pastel class at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha for the Joslyn.
As you are well aware, I am not a natural plein air painter... add pastel into the equation and I am really out of the comfort zone. However, nothing is gained by not trying new things.

The photo above is me sitting in the studio trying to come up with a way to make my own sanded panels for pastel. I found a recipe for Marble dust and gesso ( here). I'm trying it out on everything. Canvas boards, mat boards and watercolor paper. I'll let you know how it works.
You can tell I'm faking it because there's no paint on the brush. This was going to be my self portrait today but I decided against it. I placed this old...unfinished... painting of a dog out on the easel because it matched my shirt.
I have a bad habit of mixing paint on top of previous mixed paint on my palette. This can make the colors all start to look the same gray color or like mud. Instead of progress photos of random stages of the painting, I thought I would show you stages where I made myself stop and clean the palette. The practice of cleaning off your palette and getting new fresh color is one I learned (again) at a painting demo at the OPA show last month.

This was stage one. Underpainting blocked in. Wipe off the palette, get up wash your hands, put on another music CD.
This is stage two. Half-tones developed ready to think and add details.... wipe of palette, put out fresh paint if needed, get up wash hands, make some tea.
Click on the painting to enlarge the image

Sitting Back
Self Portrait - Day 23
oil on canvas board

Stage 3- sit back and enjoy!
Doing so many self portraits gives you an opportunity to examine yourself and to see yourself in new ways. Here's one view I would never see of myself....
"Where did that bald spot on the back of my head come from?"

Sometimes I get discouraged and need to sit back from a painting. That's just the time my director of studio
morale /wife always manages to plant a kiss in that spot.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 Self Portraits in more than 30 Days

Here I am, staring at myself again. That's not a mirror that's my computer screen. I like drawing from the computer because I can edit the photos, enlarge them and turn the color off and keep it black and white. I am doing this one with an old quill pen and some india ink.
Rembrandt did more self portraits than any artist I know of. He didn't use a computer or photographs, just a mirror. . He was all about practice and experimentation. I wonder if this was before or after washing his hair?
Another favorite artist and superb draftsman, Albrecht Durer. I wonder if he was thinking, " Nothing to draw today, might as well try another self portrait...". He did this at about age 23.

I often think of the conditions they painted under. No camera, no Blick Art supply store down the road, no computer, no Borders Book stores to sit in for hours to look at all the art magazines. They just had pen and paper and a mirror.

Click on the drawing to enlarge the image

Here's Looking at You Kid
Self Portrait - Day 22
pen and really old India Ink on paper

I haven't used a quill pen and india ink for 30 years.... Wait a minute! I think I was using this same bottle of ink back in art school.