Monday, November 28, 2011

Uses for Kumquats

I recently started a still life based upon items readily available. It turns out that kumquats were in season at the local supermarket and, almost on the same day at a local thrift shop, I found a figurine of an elegant Asian lady who was once holding a flute. In this still life sketch she herds the kumquats , anchored by a small brass statue of Buddha.

Reflections obviously play a key role here in echoing the treasures of color seemingly pacified by the lady. (The object in the foreground was a small golden box upon which a turtle sits.)

A beautiful afternoon on Saturday interrupted any work on still life. I simply had to take advantage of the unusually good weather to paint on Scarborough Beach which boasts this locally famous rock. Here is the sketch (on the right, above) , a 9 x 12 oil on canvas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unfinished Porttraiture

Last Thursday I performed a portrait demonstration at the
Wickford Art Association (WAA). Despite a rainy night,
there was a good turnout to watch and listen as I described the challenges of painting a sketch of a wonderful model.

Portrait demonstrations -- like most painting demos-- always have an element of the unpredictable about them. Will the lighting be adequate? Is there
provision for a background to the subject? Will everyone be able to see what I am doing? Will what I am doing be worth seeing? Finally, will the subject
(the model) show up?

Fortunately, the model was punctual and did her job well. Other inadequacies have more to do with lack of preparation on the painter's part than the facilities at WAA. A photo of the model is shown below and beside it the resultant sketch from the demo. Since I was explaining each step I proceeded, I was not able to achieve very much "finish" in the 90 minutes available. Portraiture, like all painting, requires a degree of concentration proportionate to the subtlety (in light and shadow) of the subject.

I have included in this post two other portraits sketched at portrait sessions lasting about two and a half hours. Note that these are a little more finished-looking since I had more quality time (duration and concentration) with the subject. In all these sketches, demo included, I spent a good portion of the available time in describing structure as suggested by facial anatomy as well as value distribution. Only after a satisfactory resolution of facial structure ( including background) were the features addressed. The "fun" part -- seeking out color, temperature nuances, and edge treatment -- was saved till last.

Can the sketches be brought to a greater degree of finish later? Possibly, but often at the sacrifice of likeness -- unless one has a photo as a guide to stay on track.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day Trip to the Cape

Yesterday I had to deliver several paintings to the Cape Cod Art
Association (CCAA) in Barnstable. The oils delivered were entered into the annual CCAA Little picture show and consisted of seascape-related subjects that I hope have popular appeal.

After the delivery, taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I
explored the beach at Sandwich. The painting shown here(leftmost) is done on a small 0dd-size board (roughly 8 x 10") and represents a study of the mystery of dunes as the shadows lengthen. The painting (preliminary title: Sandwich Dunes) is not finished, but in it I have the information needed for a larger picture perhaps incorporating figures. My object was to paint the subject (dunes and their shadows) with close attention paid to airiness and luminosity of shadow areas.

Another small study(on the right) emphasized a passage between dunes, appropriately titled "Passage". The size here was also an odd one, perhaps 8 x 7", and incorporates a distant view of inland hills.

Many walked the beach at Sandwich, including an experienced watercolorist named Smersky out of Plimouth (who also sketched there). Let's hope that even in December we can find days such as these, days in which we can study outdoor light unhampered by gale or rain!