Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Model That's Always There...

Okay, okay. Before you call me a narcissist, let me explain why I paint so many self portraits.

1. The model is FREE.
2. I can paint at any time without having to schedule it.
3. It allows for some crazy experimentation.
4. It allows for more practice working with a model that doesn't hold still.

There are many more reasons, but those a few of the main ones. 

Today I did a quick self portrait in about an hour and a half. The inspiration was, ironically, that I had no inspiration, but still felt like I should paint for a little while, at least. Recently, I put up some beautiful vintage-looking curtains in my studio. They block out direct sunlight without overly darkening the room, and the colors are lovely. I've been thinking about setting up a model in front of the curtains for a figure painting with dramatic design and silhouette, but first I thought it best to experiment with the colors and values, using the model I always have at my disposal. I'm not concerned that the finished painting looks like a mugshot; I think the idea comes across, and the values look really cool. Now I'm excited to hire a model and see how this particular lighting will look with a figure!

Backlit Study with Vintage Curtains - 10x8 - oil on Raymar panel 

The picture below is just a detail shot of a painting still in the works. Here again, I was experimenting with back-lighting, this time using my computer screen as the backdrop. I'm fascinated by the glow that happens along the edges of areas with extreme contrast.

The painting below is tiny - just 6x6". I did this one a while ago but never shared it with the public. I was playing with brushwork, color intensity, and "reacting" quickly to what I saw. I like the spontaneity of it and should probably do some more studies like it.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Extreme Close-Ups of a Finished Portrait

I have several portrait commissions going right now, and I just finished one last week. Unfortunately, I can't show it to you until it's unveiled in November, but I couldn't resist giving you a couple little detail shots in the mean time, since this is one of my most successful commissioned portraits EVER. :-) I was loving the outdoor light, white dresses, and rugged rocks. You'll notice I tried to stay fairly loose and painterly in the rocks and clothing, but smoothed out my brushwork over the skin. The weight, size, and thickness of a brushstroke should be determined by the subject matter. I wanted to treat the skin of the two girls with both sensitivity and freshness to indicate their youth. The overall canvas size is 42x36". I can't wait to show you the whole thing!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Back in Wisconsin

I spent five days last week visiting family in Wisconsin. It had been quite a few years since I was in my home state during this time of year. I wish I could be there just a couple of weeks later, when the leaves start to change, but it was still a gorgeous time to be in the Midwest. The light is starting to change, with longer shadows, more atmosphere, shorter days. Besides the blue chickory that lines the roadsides, the flowers are mostly yellow goldenrod, black-eyed susans and coneflowers, or white Queen Anne's Lace, indicating late summer and pending autumn. The crickets sing constantly. The sounds and smells are so much like home to me, it was truly refreshing to experience them once again.

The sunsets were beautiful, too. Every time I come back, I feel torn. A huge piece of my heart will always be here, and part of my wants to come back to stay. But Steve and I are doing very well here in Texas, too - making friends and connections (and sales!), enjoying our church. I'm really content with where we are, even though the Dallas landscape does not offer much inspiration for an artist (though I've been finding some treasures here and there!). I guess it makes me that much more wide-eyed and grateful when I get to visit places of beauty, like my home state!

This little church is just a couple of miles from where I grew up in Mauston, WI. I never even knew it existed, but then again, growing up, I wasn't always looking for things to paint!

"Hilltop Serenity" - 8x10 - plein air (oil)

Below: Emily set up to paint, too! She was brave enough to try her hand at watercolor. :-)

Enjoying the clouds and setting sun with my dad.

Coneflowers and sunflowers from my Mom's luscious garden.

My retired police officer dad goes into teacher mode as we get out the nines and fire away. :-)

Below: something a little more refined. Painting one of my mom's flower arrangements.

Below: Dad with his twin girls (Emily on left, me on right)

Scenes like this are everywhere! If only I could paint it all...


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Photos with Grandpa

When I was in Wisconsin for Grandpa's funeral this past weekend, my mom was able to find the photos I was missing from that last blog post. Here they are (Emily in the orange hat, me in the purple pants). :-)

Thank you, everyone, for the prayers and condolences. I appreciate it so very much. Grandpa will never be forgotten and I hope to continue honoring his memory through my art and life.
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