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Portraits in Progress

Added on by Lara Hoke.

Reference Photograph, Grandfather ZibbelI'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.  

Reference Photograph, Grandfather Buck 




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.

Lara Hoke, Grandfather Buck in ProgressLara Hoke, Grandfather Zibbel in Progress

Lara Hoke, Grandfather portraits in progress, oil on panel


Paintings Series: Oakland Nightscapes

Added on by Lara Hoke.

Now that summer is over and a certain normalcy has returned to my life, I've been able to get back into the studio and start the full-scale Oakland nightscapes in earnest.  These paintings are based on photos that I took in the spring that I turned into studies (you can see both the photos and the studies in an earlier post here

The goals is to create and ethereal space - something that feels not quite safe but is at the same time very familiar.  To produce that effect I am developing the paintings slowly over time by applying lightly tinted semi-transparent layers of glaze.  I use the classic 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 recipe to make my glazing medium - linseed oil, damar varnish, and turp.  I am also working to loosen the brush stroke and am introducing line in the form of charcoal and graphite.   

Walking Towards (work-in-progress), Lara Hoke

Leaning (work-in-progress), Lara Hoke


Walking Away (work-in-progress), Lara Hoke

W.P.A. Inspired Wedding Invitations

Added on by Lara Hoke.

W.P.A.-inspired wedding invitations

Last fall I wrote about W.P.A. Posters and mentioned how Ben and I met with artist/printmaker Kim Vanderheiden, founder of Painted Tongue Studios to explore the possibilites of making W.P.A.-inspired wedding invitations. 

We were so impressed with Kim and Painted Tongue Studios that we happily jumped right in.

Kim and her team were a joy to work with. She facilitated a relationship between us (client) and her (vendor) that felt like a true collaboration- that we were equally invested in the outcome.  

Ben and I love how the invitations capture our aesthetic and the spirit of the location (Yosemite).


Update from the Studio, February 2010 Edition

Added on by Lara Hoke.

Coasters in Various States of ProgressA few weeks ago I was trolling Design Sponge and came across this DIY project that used cedar slices to create customized silhouettes, and I thought hey, those would make great coasters.... but where do I get the wood? Meanwhile, my month-old Christmas tree sat sagging in the corner and voila! - a project was born!

Using slices of the pine tree, a stamp carving kit, and various types of stain and polyurethane, I'm working on creating an army of coasters.

Army of CoastersThe first image to the left is a close up of one coaster pretty far along in the process.  The second photo is of the gathering army.


The next three images are paintings in progress.  The first two paintings were begun months ago but never taken much further than the inititial color blocking, so I'm re-working them, trying to bringing in more colors and depth. 

The last image is Kim.  I've addd a few more transparent layers of color but what it really needs is a few days of serious work because all of the transparent layers have caused it to lose some of it's structural believability.

Looking at these paintings makes me realize two things - 1. I need to work on a big painting in which the subject is not front row and center and 2. My next portrait cannot be of a person looking to their right.



Documenting the East Bay Regional Parks

Added on by Lara Hoke.

While working at the Oakland Museum of California I encountered the work of Bob Walker,  an environmentalist who's work in preserving the natural beauty of California eventually lead him to become the offical photographer of the East Bay Regional Park District.  He passed away in 1992, but the size and scope of the EBRPD is a testament to his photography and activism. 

Ben and I are trying to visit a regional (or state) park each weekend. I'm documenting our hikes through photography and will be uploading new photographs on a weekly basis.

Bob Walker called the afternoon hour at which he took some of his best photos the Magic Hour.  This particular time of day allowed Walker to take advantage of the shadows and contrasting light created by the sunset.  Below is a set of my photographs taken at the Magic Hour.