Thursday, August 30, 2007

Daily Painting Portrait, "Ella at Three" In Progress

"Ella at Three" In Progress
Oil on linen panel
Click on the picture to enlarge it

The goal today was to make the girl smile...seriously. That may sound silly, but yesterday's work made her look so pained that all I thought about last night was correcting that. Will be working more on her hair tomorrow and start on her arms and the dress. The bear in her lap is Paddington Bear and I am looking forward to painting him. He will, no doubt, be the easiest part of the whole painting. If anyone wants to know, so far I have about 8 to 9 hours in Ella's painting. Which I have to say, is more time than I have spent with her since last Christmas. She lives far away so I only get to see her about once or twice a year. While I am painting her I am consoling myself by looking at that sweet darling face.
More tomorrow..

Daily Painting Portrait, "Ella at Three"

"Ella at Three" In Progress
Oil on Linen Panel
Click on the picture to enlarge it!

Off and painting...this is as far as I got today. She looks a bit pained here and as if someone just sent her packing to that chair. In the photo I'm working from, she is smiling sweetly though a little tentatively. So much to do to get this right. Long ways to go, but at least I finally got going on it. More on this tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Found Instruction on Portraiture

After agonizing for over a week, and searching the net for helpful hints on this portrait, I found a webpage featuring the most awesome of child portrait artists. Her name is Ariane Beigneux and I am putting a link here so you can see her interview and gorgeous paintings. Click Here to see her interview and paintings!> I found this site to be very inspiring.
Reading about Ariane actually got me back to the paints and brushes, so if you are wondering where I's back to Ella's portrait with renewed desire and hope.
Stay tuned..

Monday, August 27, 2007

Artist Block / Working on Portrait

Ella's Sketch Refined

Blocked...lack of confidence...scared to pick up a brush....why do I do this to myself? Well guys, it's all about the portrait of Ella. I did the sketch, which has now been refined. (version in this post.) I bought the linen panel. I bought more turpenoid and new brushes. I walk around the empty panel and the sketch and the photo.... and look at them over and over again. I go over it in my mind. I study masters portraiture. I have constant conversations with myself. Still I can't put the paint on the surface.
So, I painted Betsy's Sunflowers hoping this panic would go away. Then I painted the miniature of Bohicket Drive and thought to myself, as soon as I get this one done I'll get to Ella's portrait. Now for almost a week I am stuck. I can't make myself do it. What is the matter with me? Better question, what do I do about this? I am not sure of the colors, the depth of colors, I don't know if I have the right surface, I don't know if I'm shooting for smooth blending of skin tones, or if I am supposed to just throw the paint on there a la impressionist devil may care... I am going totally nuts trying to get this working.
So if any of my good artist friends out there care to chime in here and coach me out of this horrible block, I would most gratefully appreciate it. Any ideas on how to get me out of this and get me going?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Daily Painting Landscape, "Bohicket Drive Revisited"

"Bohicket Drive Revisited"
Oil on Gessoed Board
Framed in a Gold Leaf Plein Air Frame
Click on either picture to enlarge it!

Someone reminded me recently about a painting I did of Bohicket Drive last year, which I did as a Christmas present for my mother-in-law. Ever since I did that painting I have thought I wanted to do it again....bigger or smaller...either way or both. This vision of Bohicket Drive is such a happy image in my mind. I put myself in a little red sports car and toodle off to Seabrook with nothing but leisurely moments ahead of me; walks on the beach, dinner at the club, looking for seashells, sitting on a screened porch and breathing the sea air, watching the sea birds, etc. etc. No worries, just hanging out and feeling no pressure from the grind back in real life.

My commission of Annie was held up this week as her owners are working on getting just the right pose for her portrait. So while waiting a bit for that, I remembered that the Gaston County Art Guild Miniature Show will be coming up in October. I love the Miniature Show. (maybe because I have worked in small formats for most of my careeer) It's always fascinating to see what subjects the artists choose to do in miniature. Bohicket Drive Revisited is going to be one of my entries, unless someone wants to buy it first. I have the frame and am showing it here also.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Daily Painting Floral, "Betsy's Sunflowers"

"Betsy's Sunflowers"
Oil on Canvas Board
Click on Picture to enlarge it.

Happy faces of Sunflowers! At this moment they, and everything else in our little section of the planet, are gasping for water and some cooler temperatures. But they do look cheerful here since I took the picture of them a couple of weeks ago. You know, just about every artist of historical note has done Sunflowers. (does that mean I am now in that category? In my dreams! :) Of course, Van Gogh's come to mind first. It wasn't until my daughter planted them that I had ever seen red ones. I like the yellow ones, too, so maybe I'll try those next summer. If you love Sunflowers, this is a way to see them all year long!

You might not see a post for a little while from me....because I have a commission to work on. It's a big dog and a bigger painting so this could take some time. Her name is Annie and very loved by her owners. I might post some progress pictures if I think it's going O.K. If it looks awful, believe me, you won't see it until I have it right.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daily Painting Floral, "Betsy's Sunflowers" In Progress

"Betsy's Sunflowers" In Progress
Oil on Canvas Panel

My daughter, Betsy, loves sunflowers. If she had a signature flower, this would be her choice. Earlier in the summer, before the drought and the 100 degree temperatures hit, I visited her garden with my camera in hand. I was lucky enough to catch a bee having its afternoon snack on this red variety of sunflower. This one is for her...but obviously I am still working on it. This weather is like the opposite of deep cold January. But it makes you want to hunker down and not go outside just as much as winter. Alone in my studio with the paints and brushes...and just Bosley to keep me company. He, too, has had it with this weather and we are longing for some days when we can get out there and go walking again. As it is, he barely sticks his nose outside, takes care of necessities, and turns around to come back inside.

I've taken in some commissions on dog portraits again, as soon as I finish this I am beginning work on one of those.

Detail of Bee on "Betsy's Sunflowers"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Daily Painting, "Lifeguard at Ft. Belvoir"

"Lifeguard at Ft. Belvoir"
Oil on Gessoed Board
Availble from the artist

Man, I do not know what is with this weather, but the paint kept getting sticky and it would come off half the time when I put my brush back down. Very frustrating. Pretty sketchy around the blue and white buoys at the top, but given the problems I was having I guess it will have to do. Must be the air conditioning, but believe me I am not complaining about air conditioning at this moment.

Anyway, dive in! Splash away!!! It's the only outdoor thing you can do that won't kill you this week. Think cool! Very very cool....and refreshing....and live through until Sept.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Daily Painting, "Life Guard" In Progress

"Life Guard" In Progress
Oil on Gessoed Board

Since it was 102 degrees today, I was trying to think of some kind of summer fun. Just looking at this pool was making me feel better. This is a bit of a departure for me, but it's fun to try is from a photo I took at Fort Belvoir, VA last month. We were there to attend a wedding reception and as I looked around the building I saw this gorgeous pool with lots of people enjoying the facility. At the time I took the photo, the life guard had just blown the whistle for the 'all adult swim.' She was idly twirling a piece of her hair while watching this woman bob about in the water. Both of my children have been life guards when they were younger, so watching this scene took me back to the times when they were in charge of the pool at the Racquet Club here. I'll work on this some more tomorrow and hopefully get it finished.

The other picture is a surprise visit from Mister Owl last evening at our house! Whoo Hoo!!! Can you believe this fellow? He was looking for a midnight snack in the form of Mister Toad we think. Fortunately, Mister Toad was quite elusive and could not be found. Being night owls and midnight snackers ourselves, we could empathize with our friend Mister Owl.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Daily Painting Portrait Study, "Ella at Three Years"

"Ella at Three Years" Preliminary Pencil Study

Just the beginning. I really want to do this portrait for Ella to have for the rest of her life...and for her parents to enjoy for the rest of their lives, so the pressure is on. I don't have much experience of painting portraits of people. As you know I have been doing portraits of dogs .... and an occasional cat. The intimidation factor is huge. I have been looking at John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Robert Henri. Well, there you are. Who can do that well? But I am going to give it a good college try and we'll see if I can live up. So today I got started with a sketch and I am hoping it helps me really see her and translate her features into paint with the skill of a master. I don't aim too high, do I??? Well, if I fail at the painting, at least they will have this sketch. It was very wonderful too spend time today just studying her....lost in the wonder of creation. It's definitely one of the benefits of my career to be able to lose myself in something for a time and forget the rest of everything.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Daily Painting Still Life, "Black Shoes & Pearls

"Black Shoes & Pearls"
Oil on Gessoed Board
Available from the artist
Click on Picture to Enlarge

I could have titled this so many different ways. From the last post, as you may have read, I could have called this, "Just Stepped Out."

And then I look at it as, "Basic Necessities." (every female has to have black shoes and's a rule!) I actually do have the kind with high heels... you know, the "Hi, I'm hot!" kind. But these are the ones to get me through when the event requires standing for long periods of time. There is a phrase, 'casual elegance,' that I have always thought sounds like one just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement. In my dreams....
Well, anyway, here are my 'casually elegant' shoes. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy wearing them.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Daily Painting Still Life, "Black Shoes & Pearls" In Progress

"Black Shoes & Pearls" In Progress
Oil on Gessoed Board

When I began this one, as usual, I had romantic visions in my head....a painting of my favorite black shoes with my pearls haphazardly placed, just as if I had come home from a lovely dinner party with friends and dropped everything on my way to bed. I really do think like that, you know. I notice vignettes around me that suggest someone just stepped out of the picture, but you know they were there because that is just how they left things.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened. Our friend, Tom, died last evening and just stepped out of the picture. I have been trying to paint this last couple of weeks while keeping vigil with my friends as we have known he was going to leave us. Now I will be wearing these shoes and my pearls to a memorial service next Saturday. Not the romantic vision I had, but rather the still life of reality, losing a friend. Can't go back...just put one foot in front of the other and be thankful you had him in your life. Sorrow cloaks my spirit today.

On another note: The Charlotte Observer has interviewed me and their photographer spent a couple of hours in my studio yesterday. It will be interesting to see what they do with this. The focus was mostly on my dog portraits, Bosley, and my interest in celebrating the adoption of companion animals from the pound or local humane society. Bosley, of course, was the star and I hope people will enjoy seeing him in the paper. I'm not sure when this article will run, but when it does I will mention it here in both of my blogs..this one and "thepainteddog."

Back to the painting....detail the the background...much yet to do. Stay tuned!