Last week I did two demo paintings for different art groups here in Austin. The one from life was supposed to be outside in Zilker Botanical Gardens, but the weather didn't cooperate. The model was kind enough to sit in the chilly window ledge so we had the illusion of outdoors and the soft lighting of an overcast sky. When I work with a model, I prefer they sit naturally. I've done enough life drawing and painting from models who look sleepy and unnatural. I encourage the models to talk or read a book. I'm ok with a little movement. I have an impressionist approach so it works for me.
The beach scene I did to demonstrate my quick start technique and impressionist style to a group of artists working in many different mediums. I am quite pleased with where the figures are now. They really don't need much more. But I do plan to reduce the sort of neopolitan ice cream look of the overall canvas. ;-)
Unsure if I should share this yet, as the new owners might not have seen or approved it! This was commissioned through Castle Gallery for some collectors who liked a very similar piece but needed a larger painting for their space. So... I enlarged it for them. I can't paint exactly the same scene, even if I tried, so there are differences like the position of the figures, color choices, etc.
The new painting (left) is 24x24 and hopefully sold. The first painting (right) is 16x16 and still available at Castle Gallery!
Remember, if you saw a painting you loved and missed out on, or need a different size, I can always paint something similar, or even create a one-off giclee print in some cases.
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! ;-)
I hesitate to show this one. The one on the left is my work on day 1. The light was gone and we had a TONAL scene to paint. I hate tonal. But I have to say, I understand it a lot better now. Quang's gorgeous painting - done earlier in the day - was tonal really. There are some spots of light but for the most part, the model and setting are in shade. This is what tonal can be. Still full of color.
I think I always assumed "tonal" meant grey or brown, without color. But Van Gogh was a tonal painter. He ultimately didn't care about depth or modeling. He placed tones against one another - in beautiful color. Another tonalist (and another of my favs) - Degas.
So this is a scene I will try again with color. Maybe then I can do more than paint just light and shadow.
I worked on this painting several times. After the first pass, it was nearer the image on the right, but I felt that the shadow side was not dark enough so I did a glaze over the left side buildings. Then it all seemed too magenta and green - and both colors were on the acidic side. The people all seemed too separate, too contrived.
I had seen a painting by Jim Beckner (or was it Kevin Weckbach? - both exceptionally talented artists) and it had stuck with me. My piece was just so average, so segmented, and the colors were way off. So I loaded my brush with lots of blues and scrubbed out the figures and the side - connecting them through the shadows. I pulled my brush through various cools on my palette and scrubbed those over the blues. I painted over the tree and connected those colors and I painted OUTSIDE THE LINES! A dab here, a stroke there. I had fun! So much fun. That was an eye opening experience and it made me want to revisit more work and get more loose and playful.
I'm always saying I want to loosen up - yet I fail so often. I get stuck in that rendering mode. Its the graphic design background - the design and color blocks and neatness carrying over. I need to break those barriers more often.
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life.
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