I decided to try something new (for me) for the piece I submitted to Norton Factory Studios' silent auction. I painted a cloudscape. I'm pleased with the result and am considering doing more. Let me know what you think! And, if you are in town, come to the auction on Saturday night -
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If you are in San Francisco next Tuesday, July 24th, swing by 111 Minna Gallery for their monthly Sketch Tuesdays event. I am honored to be among a handful of female Bay Area artists featured at this month's Sketch Tuesday event.
From 111 Minna Gallery's website -
Each month the gallery hosts an evening of live art making featuring both established and emerging Bay Area artists. Inspired by Southern Exposure’s Monster Drawing Rally, 111 Minna offers patrons the opportunity to see local artists at work and get acquainted with them. It is also a way for artists to meet each other and to be inspired by each other’s creative process.
Sketch Tuesdays offers the local arts community a place to congregate, to talk, to create and to be seen. There is usually room for artists to just drop in and start drawing, but the good seats are reserved for the invited artists.
Art is for sale at reasonable prices and will be displayed until the event closes. This is a great opportunity to become a collector and to meet some very talented people!!
I was recently asked to show my work as part of a group show at a new gallery in Livermore, CA. The show is about the figure and being such, the gallery was interested in my older work, most of which is no longer in my possession. To meet the gallery's request, I pulled two half-finished paintings off the shelf, dusted them of, and started painting. It is fascinating and challenging working on pieces from the past. I was surprised to see how my brushwork has changed in the three or four years it has been since I last worked on these two paintings. It is looser, softer, less interested in edges. I have eight days to finish the paintings. Wish me luck!
You can see the original versions of these paintings here:
I finally bit the bullet and hired a professional photographer (John White of Phocasso) to photograph my paintings. I could not be more pleased with the results! Below is a sampling of some of the web-friendly versions of the photographs.
For the past several months I have been working on a portrait commission for the Illinois Institute of Technology. It was, at times, a struggle but I am excited to annouce that it is done and has been installed in its new home at the Paul V. Galvin Library at IIT. To the right is the final portrait and a shot from the unveiling.
For better images of the portrait, please visit my Portraiture page.
What a difference a month makes! Norton Factory Studios has undergone a transformation in just a few short weeks. It's been fascinating to watch the space come together - the sheet rock is up, taped, and painted, bathrooms installed, doors cut, concrete poured.
Don't miss the opening party this Saturday!
I'm excited to share these images, the portraits are getting closer and closer to completion. It's been difficult working with reference photos that are black and white (portrait on left) and under saturated (portrait on right), but I'm always up for a challenge.
Please note the black lines are digitally imposed and used as guides rather tan being part of the final product.
Many artists project the source image on canvas and trace the outlines. In my portrait work, I've found this approach to be helpful when working in the dry, precise medium of graphite. However, it is totally useless when I work in oil. My painting process involves loose application of paint, blending, wiping, and reapplication of paint. If I traced the image, it would be like painting between the lines or color by number. The painting would have no life of its own.
In addition to overlaying the in-progress portrait over the source photo (see the previous post), I've started outlining the source photo in Photoshop and overlaying the drawn outline over a photo of the painting in progress.
Periodically while I work on a portrait I use Photoshop to overlay a photo of the painting on the source image. Not a fancy technique by any means, but a hugely useful one. By overlaying the images I can see immediately where my painting is off. For example, in the first series below, I can easily see that my painting is too straight on. Rather than directly facing the camera as I've painted him, the subject is turning slightly toward his right. In the second series I see several issues. The most important of which are the tilt of the head and the placement of the right eye.
Capturing the spirit of the subject can't be helped by technology. Thank goodness at least likeness can.
I'm am working on a series of portraits of a client's grandfathers. The paintings are meant to be a clear expression of their memories and evoke a feeling of nostalgia and history.
Although early in the process of painting the portraits, I want to be careful not to overwork them. I want the paintings to be a combination of fully developed areas and loose, gestural lines.
Inspired by her work, I purchased a sketchbook and began drawing. Each set of pages is of a particular space, our living room, a friend's apartment, a coffee shop. Each space is connected to the next set of pages by an architectural element, shape, or line.
I've always been a fan of the Surrealist parlor game Exquisite Corpse and like to think of this sketchbook as a spatial version of the game.
I shared my first sketchbook with my critique group last week and received some great feedback. One suggestion was to research the variety of camera angles used to create interest and meaning in film and bring that variation into my work. This shot below is of my first attempt to incorporate this idea. I think it's a start, but that I can push this idea much further.
I was honored to be part of the inaugural meeting of an artist group yesterday evening in downtown Berkeley. We met in Sarah Haba's studio which is located in the Berkeley Free Market Building. The studio is beautiful and teeming with history. The Berkeley Free Market Building was the studio home of Bay Area Figurative artists Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, William Theophilus Brown, and Paul Wonner.
Each artist presented their work and shared their motivations for joining the group. Seeing the quality and variety of the other artists' work was absolutely inspiring!
The tie that binds the group is that each artist has taken a class with Mel Prest. She has done us all a huge favor in recognizing and acting on the importance and need for artists to have community. We will be meeting once a month for critiques, conversation, and community.
In other news, I've begun prep work on several beautiful birchwood panels from Kevin Keul. These panels were built to order for commissioned portraits.
Just a quick update on Rockridge Nightscape. I diminished the contrast of the tree's shadow in the foreground. Pushed back the lights on the horizon line and increased the contrast; alluded to windows in brownstones (town houses?).
Added more complexity to the horizon line and a stroke of red. Almost done!
Trying to add more depth and interest in the foreground. Struggling with the tree on the left. All I can think about is broccoli.
I've become particularly interested in documenting my work, in tracking the development of a painting over time. In an effort to study and share the many lives a painting lives, I will post the history of a painting at the point when I've decided it is complete.
Below is the source photo, the study, the underpainting, and the finished painting of Claremont and Forest.
I've been working on Rockridge Nightscape AKA Liquor Video for 4 weeks. Because I only work on it during class - twice a week for three hours - each time I paint I look at it with fresh eyes. I made several major changes (at least major to me) this past class. Although the painting may look worse for it for now, the changes are for the best. The tree that was dividing the canvas virtually in half is gone and I've brought back the green leaves in the foreground. Next up: bringing back the depth in the sky and foreground.
And you may recognize this painting. It's a larger version of a study I did several months ago. I'm really happy with how the foreground is shaping up.
This painting is from a photo I took with my phone this past Friday night. It is the intersection of MacArthur and Park Boulevard by the high school.
And the latest iteration of "Liquor Video". I've been trying to paint only with 1" or larger brushes to keep the stroke loose and painterly and force myself not to fall into my old habit of overworking details.