Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Experiments

It's spring here in Dallas, and just like previous years, I find that there's an awakening all around, not just of blossoms and blooms, but of people. We emerge from our hibernation after hunkering down to wait out the cold, and here we are, with a positive new spirit and an eagerness to begin again.

I love all the bright colors this spring - and earlier this month, I got to smell some REAL lilacs (my house is littered with candles that attempt to replicate lilac, but poorly). I was walking the dog and happened to pass by a house that had some lilac bushes in full bloom. So I unashamedly went up to the lilacs and stuck my nose in them. No harm done. In Wisconsin, the lilacs don't bloom till much later - here, I feel lucky just to find them!

Spring always brings new joys and new challenges for me as an artist. This year I've started something new (well, new to me at least!): teaching. So far I'm really enjoying it, and selfishly, feel like I'm learning more from it than my students are! I hope to write more about this later on.

In my own work, there are some techniques I've been playing around with lately and really enjoying:
- Colorful edges next to more neutral tones.
- Finding creative ways to altogether avoid using black.
- Painting alla prima... I know, I know, everybody paints in alla prima these days, i.e., completing a painting start to finish in one or two sittings. But given that I worked in colored pencils before moving to oils, I'll readily admit that I'm one of those traditional painters who usually works in layers, so it's a fresh change for me.

I've applied all of these techniques to a recent little figure painting, "Sunlit Porch." You can see some of the looseness and bright color edges particularly in the detail shot.

I hope to to have a picture up soon of the portrait commission I'm working on of a U.S. Air Force colonel. I've been working on it for quite some time and it's almost finished...



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