The day in Wickford was a gray one with the ever-present threat of rain. The cool weather also puts the "edge" on painting efforts, forcing the painter to lay in the scene quickly, to record perhaps too much lest the information be scant when the gem is brought back to the studio. I have painted this location before, and titled previous efforts with "Wickford Front Yards". The houses are indeed colorful and give "spice" to a gray day painting.
Chondra, 8x10, Oil on Board
That same evening I dropped by Kate's Studios to get practice indoors with figure drawing. The painting at the left was a 40-minute oil sketch done using my pochade box. Since I do occasionally "people" my landscapes, I find these studio sessions employing live models very helpful in reinforcing basic knowledge of anatomy. In fact, as the weather becomes less friendly outside, studio work, including still life as well as figure and portrait painting, becomes a necessity for maintaining painting and observational skills.
Valerie, Oil on Linen, 14x18
On Monday evenings, Kate Huntington once again is offering opportunities to portrait artists to hone their skills by providing a live model from 7 PM to 10. The three-hour session offers the classically trained artists time to develop a basic starting point for a portrait head. The rest of us bring larger supports (14x18, 16x20, 18x24) to experience freedom in swinging the brush as well as the chance to develop backgrounds, patterns, and costume. I use the session primarily to focus on variations within the flesh color. The challenge is to link such variations meaningfully to the setting or surrounding atmosphere-- and still achieve a credible likeness. I rarely work on these rough portrait sketches in my own studio space since , although the painting might improve, the likeness would vanish.
I love impressionist painting but there is also the influence of the Tonalist School in my work. I love the outdoors, especially the coastline, beach, rocks, and waves. I believe in a life beyond the commercial saturation of society,and I find life without poetry and music unliveable. I love the paintings of Sorolla, Sargent, and Metcalf; the music of Rachmaninov, Borodin, and Bizet; and poems of Rumi and other Sufis.