I got to revisit this painting this summer. I wanted to keep the original version so offered to repaint it for an interested buyer. This new version was equally special to me, so I gave the collector a choice between the two and she liked the original. It was a little more dynamic in the angle of the figure and had fewer facial features. This one turned out to be more of a portrait of my daughter at this age. So its a nice one for us to keep. Right now my kiddo is in the stage of life where she doesn't like to see images of herself so I'll save it for her later in life. Scooby thinks its awesome though. Teenagers! ;-)
Doing some searching I've found articles that mostly talk about masters like Monet and Degas and their well-documented vision problems. Some more scientific articles mention yellowing of the lens but that doesn't seem to affect color judgement except in lower light conditions. Another was just an interesting study on how or why artists see things differently.
To help with the closeup vision, I recently got a larger monitor and have mounted it to an arm so I can use it to view larger reference material. The monitor is able to rotate too, so vertical images can be viewed full screen.
I've met people who have had surgery to correct their vision and have actually had their eyes corrected to two different focal lengths so they can see near and far. I know the brain adapts, but how are depth perception or the ability to see dimension and form affected? It seems like it could be a difficulty.
Have some of you noticed changes in vision as you age? Do you have any good solutions? I suppose I either need to paint larger, or I will just continue to get more and more impressionistic. ;-)
I know my mom is tired of hearing me whine about the paint I had at the beach. ;-)
But I have to share this as a public service!
Last year we shopped local and I ended up with Winton and a dreadful set of Daler Rowney. This year I thought maybe I had exaggerated the issues and just didn't paint well and wanted to blame the paint. But it is the paint!!
I REALLY want to encourage people to buy good quality (professional) paint - if beginners tried this stuff, esp. the latter, it would ruin all desire to work with the medium. I have searched all over and I can't find any reference to what the Daler Rowney paint has as a medium. It is almost waxy or gelatinous and won't stick to an oil primed surface. You can't build it up or thin it either. Its very strange.
Student grade paint isn't terrible, but beginners often use it because its less expensive and they think investing in a little pricier paint will cost way too much to waste on their learning efforts. You actually end up using less of the more expensive paint than you think however. The pigments are stronger and the mediums will have no fillers. I use W&N and Gamblin paints almost exclusively. Also Classic Artist Oils - which come in large tubes and are quite good for the cost. Ken Auster used these paints. These tubes will make you feel like you are rich with paint! High quality paint will make working with oils so much more enjoyable and give a beginner a real sense of what the medium is capable of doing. Word!
Six years ago I had a solo show at Tidewater Gallery that was focused on small paintings - "vignettes" as I called them. We had a show catalog made as a companion to that exhibit, but I was really disappointed in the print quality. I've decided to update that book and have a new edition printed. The paper and the color quality of the artwork is much better. It was really nice to revisit those paintings. I focused heavily on my first impression of a scene and created works that spoke to the immediacy of the moment frozen in time. I really want to do another series - "Vignettes II" - which I'll exhibit on my site here. Stay tuned!
You can order the new edition here.
It is also available as a downloadable PDF to my Patrons ~ become one today!
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I waited until the last minute to decide, but I attended Derek Penix's workshop hosted by Qiang Huang here in Austin last weekend. I'm glad I did it, though this particular weekend was really busy.
Derek is a fun teacher - and he explains things well and shares a lot. I, like many artists, always want to loosen up - to be more expressive. Well that isn't easy to achieve. There is a lot of mental work that goes into painting and one has to constantly ask questions; how does this value work against that one? how are my shapes? where do I put a highlight? a dark accent? Color choices, texture, values, edges... oh, the challenge of edges! There are so many things to think about. Over time, I think some of those answers become instinctual, but the process of painting is ever evolving as our skills grow and our tastes change. Its important to keep working - even through rough times - and also to find a teacher who has the skill set that can help you reach the next level. There are still things that I am working on mentally but not able to fully realize yet. But for now, I am enjoying my usual subject matter create with a little more energy and expression thanks to two brilliant teachers this year. That is enough to keep me busy awhile!
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life. Rendering it in paint.
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