Friday, December 19, 2014

More portraits...

I worked on two more portraits yesterday.  Every one is so different.  When I 'think' I'm done with one, I clean off the palette and remix another batch of flesh color base that might suite the tone of the skin of the next person.  While I like to embellish a little, using some intense colors to liven up the portrait, basically everyone's complexion is very different. So I don't really 'get' the color to be photographic or realistic, what I am striving for is a good likeness.  Now that is the hard part. 
The range of values is so close in portraits, a lot different from landscape, maybe more like still life.  I had to get a passport photo done at CVS the other day and they had a few cards lying around that were tests of their printer and it was a gray scale chart.  I asked about them, and they gave them to me as they were only going to throw them out.  I'm a real pack rat, so I took them.  When I got home I realized how little help they would be doing a face, because not only are the values so close but the color influences the values a great deal--warm, cool, intense, not intense.  Doing these portraits is frequent succession helps a lot with these decisions.
My approach differs with each one.  I try to start with the nose and STAY with the nose, but I'd have to have someone standing over me with a whip to do that.  My subconscious takes over and away I go.  Also when I go to the pile of portraits to choose another one to work on, sometimes I try to stay with the same general colors and other times I take one that needs the most work. 
My countdown calendar says 37 days left to hang day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Self might be done.

I worked on the self portrait today and two other portraits.  I intend to work on all the portraits that I've painted from the 3-hour sitting with the models.  What happens is that I end up working on the entire portrait and mostly do it over again.  It's not my intention to do that, but you start with one little thing, and one thing leads to another, etc.
Here is a little video of the self portrait that could be finished, I may do more on it when I've gone through all the others.
I can't get it to slow down or stop repeating, and it's not showing the finished portrait entirely.
Self Portrait, December 2014, sketch of Mary Pyche

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Self Portrait, Day 2

I probably have one more day on this one.  It's very handy to paint yourself because you can easily check something just by looking in the mirror and you know right away if your not looking like yourself, maybe you don't even recognize yourself.  It is a good way to practice portraits I must say because you can get any head position you want to practice or facial expression.  The other thing I like is that you don't have to worry about what the sitter will say about the finished product.  I'm sure someone already wrote a funny treatise on the subject.
I downloaded a count down calendar on my computer screen so I'll stay on track painting the portraits.  I have 39 days to go.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sold a painting and yesterday's photos

I got a nice surprise this morning when I got a notice from Pay Pal that a painting had been sold!  I didn't even hear from Daily Paintworks first!  It was so nice to hear from the man who bought it for his wife for Christmas.
Here is a second version of a painting I did previously.  No two are alike as they say, or you can't go home again, something like that.  It's a commission so I can mail them both out on Monday as long as this one dries sufficiently.
This is the original version of Italian Garden,
 framed, available.

This is version 2 of above painting.  

The funny thing is that I thought that the original was 12x12" and wanted to make one that was 10x10".  I didn't realize it until it was finished that they were the same size.  What a difference a frame makes.

Another Dreama and dreams for next year.

Today is 12-13-14, cool date.  Yesterday I painted a 10x10" painting that is a copy of a painting  I did while in a workshop with Dreama Toll Perry last year.  I could never be a counterfeiter because I couldn't make it look all that much like the one I had done previously.  I used the same palette.  The colors are close, and the design is close, but the technique changed.

I really have to get to my portraits, why am I doing everything else but?  Even with the deadline hanging over my head?  I must admit that my usual MO is that I like working under pressure (at the last minute), but in this case, it's not a good idea.

With the immediacy of having to do these portraits, it's frustrating to have lots of good painting ideas cooking and not be able to execute them.  I'm writing them down, but chances are that when I get to it, the excitement of the idea will have passed me by. So January will be full of "getting ready for the portrait show" and then I can implement the outline of goals I will set for myself for the coming year.
This years big change will be that there will be no workshops since my husband needs 24/7 care.  My biggest painting trip to Italy is usually something that I looked forward to and counted down to it, month by month.  These Italy trips have stopped anyway, how fortuitous for me, as the leader is retiring so that takes the sting away a little.  Because I've been going for several years and have a traveling companion, perhaps she and I will take another trip when the opportunity arises.

Usually during the winter I try to work on all the unfinished paintings I have in a stack near by easel. Well, if all these new ideas don't excite me any longer, I can work on the 'pile'.

All the art gurus say lately that we (artists who blog) should be writing more--making more of a narrative about the paintings or how the process went or how we were inspired, etc. and writing courses are being offered.  One thing that I want to get around to is setting up my Etsy account.  I did put it together last year but never carried through with it.  I think it deserves a chance.  I guess you can see that I'm beginning to think about next year's work.  I miss my morning walks, that's where I got all my good thinking done.

Exciting news!  The Huffpost Arts & Culture article is encouraging everyone to learn to paint:  Article HERE.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gubbio, Italy, small church

I painted the gorgeous small church that Carol and I visited while on our trip to Italy in September.  I love this tiny church.  It is a grand piece of art all by itself.

5x7" oil on masonite
So I'm working on portraits and not getting anywhere fast. I better get a hitch in my get-along.  Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My first painting demo slide show movie

Did I have fun today or what?  Anyway, it's not great but it now exists.  I probably shouldn't have posted it but just couldn't help myself. 

Quick demo

I did learn a bit from doing it.  I tried to use a camera tripod but didn't set it up quite right.  I can see that it is important to do that.  I also had a side view, not a good idea, but I was only practicing.  My camera has poor settings for getting the colors true.  I used Photoshop Elements to make it.  

Anyway, I painted the little gold gift box again, and I like this one better.  It's a DPW auction.

I worked on a portrait today, finished one and started another one.  I think now I'll go get some supper.

See Cumberbach video - wax head

How do they do it at Madam Tussaud's?

My daily work...So I've been working on my portrait project to get the 30 portraits completed by the end of January and mounted on a platform to display them at the library.  Yesterday I wrote to my local mill guy who makes my moldings for the frames I make and asked about making foundations for the project.  I would make them myself, and still may if his price is too high.  I gave him my specs and a photo of the portraits the way they would look when mounted.
I've contacted the company that does nice vinyl lettering and visited the library to see the space.  I'm beginning to get a folder together with materials for the flyers and ideas about the mounting of the project in general.  The coordinator at the library is away until Christmas and doesn't want to answer any emails--there are some questions by other artists who want to purchase their frames, etc. now.  I've found some nice sticky strips that, I hope, will hold the panels onto the larger panel and be easy to remove when the show is over and the sitters receive their portraits.

Two of my small gems sold on Daily Paintworks and I packaged them for shipment yesterday, well, I tried, one has a wet spot.

I should do another one today as it's a good way to get a quick fix--since it's small and can be completed rather quickly, I think of it as instant gratification--sometimes the only satisfaction for the day. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

People Painting People today--Aiden # 24

In case you haven't been 'in the loop' check out the Facebook page:  (like it too)

Aiden was quite the youngster, like a commelian, he looked young one minute and old the next.  Check out these photos.

Yellow Christmas Tree Ornament

Yellow Christmas Tree Ornament.  I like painting these ornaments and small paintings.  I also like round shapes but I wanted to get away from 'round' so I painted this one.

I have to get back to painting portraits however.  This morning I'm off to paint another People Painting People portrait and it should be the second-last one.
Large Bright Yellow Christmas Tree Ornament, 6x6" oil on board, buy on DPW

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Candle Holder

I should be painting on my portraits but I like to do something to get warmed up so I did this little candle holder today and put it up on DPW as a Black Friday special (even though it's really Saturday ha ha).
Christmas Candle, 6x6" oil on masonite

Friday, November 28, 2014

Joy and Abundance

Today was anything but joy as I struggled with this painting and probably should have wiped it.  I scraped and repainted several parts. What is it?  It's a little gold foil-wrapped box on a pile of ribbons.  Then I couldn't even get a photo of it because of the juicy paint and metallic pigment I used here and there.  I'm going to give it 7 days on DPW then take it down and wipe it.
There was lots of joy taking the photos of the still life setups and editing the photos and there were about 10 that I liked, so I'll probably have another go at it but will select a different photo.

Joy and Abundance, 6x6" oil painting

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving home run

Baseball, 4x4", oil on masonite

Todays view of the water, notice how nice the reflection is on the far side and beautiful colors in the sky.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I wanted to do a small painting today.  Yesterday I couldn't find the photos I wanted to work with and spent so much time doing that that I never go to paint.  So today I thought, I'll do something quick and small and simple, at least I'll get something done. It's on the Daily Paintworks site if you want to buy it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yup, Christmassy today.

I got to walk today!  While I was walking, I'm thinking, what will I paint today?  I wanted to do something Christmassy.  Up the street a bit, a neighbor's tree had lots of ornaments hanging on it, so I took photos with my iPhone.  So many.  Lots of shapes and colors and sizes.  I picked this one to paint today and thought that a smaller size would work better, but now I'm sorry because there was a lot of work in it and might have been better larger.  Anyway, it will look great on a mantle or bookcase, framed or unframed.  It's on Daily Paintworks - click here.
Ornament, 5x5"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Onion anyone?

Onion, 6x6", Click to buy for Christmas!
This was fun to paint.  I have wanted to paint one of these shedding onions for a while now.  It's putting me in the mood for Thanksgiving (this Thursday).  Now I should go up to the studio and pick out whose portrait I'll work on tomorrow.  I'll have all day tomorrow to make it or break it. BUT I think I might do another small painting to warm up.  Maybe something Christmassy?

The day begins...

So here are the many aspects of daily painting.  Well, for today anyway.  Where is the fun?  It's in the problem solving.  Do I paint the object?  No usually it's the colors or patterns of light and shade that attract me.

First, go up to studio, turn on heat, find item to paint.

Second, Get a blanket to cover my lap--it's the end of November. Why didn't I think of this before?  Because I usually stand.

Third.  Figure out composition for object.  I grid off a large(ish) piece of glass into about 10 squares and use each square to compose, using a wipe-off marker, move object around, move light around, decide on favorite.  Take photos, decide on favorite lighting aspect, background, coloration, lights and darks, etc.

Fourth.  Decide on square or rectangle, put out paints, convert camera photo to computer jpg.

Fifth.  Ready, set, go.  Paint from sketch, photo and most especially the actual item.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This takes the cake.

I've always wanted to paint a white cake on a white dish, so here it is!
White Cake, 6x6", oil on Ampersand Gessobord
I'm going to eat this cake in about an hour from now with George and friends.  Yes, with ice cream too.  You can have it too, click here!

DPW makes me smile MORE!

What a delight, check this out!
I got a bid and a PICK!  for the cute little 6x6" painting little red apple pin cushion. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DPW makes me smile!

It's only been an hour or so since I put up a small painting and it has a bid already!  I guess I should pay more attention to the little things in life. :)  ;)   :)

After working on this small painting, I was able to just about complete the portrait of Ray!  He was/is hard to paint. Tomorrow is another model for my project--almost finished with this aspect of the project.

Having Fun Again - Red Pin Cushion

I thought I'd paint a small painting this morning to loosen up for the portrait of the day.  So I decided to paint this cute little red pincushion.  It came out pretty good so I posted it to DPW.
This type of painting gets you going and usually makes you happy before delving into the work of the day.
Little Red Pin Cushion, 6x6", oil on masonite

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sold a painting yesterday

A woman who has shown interest in this painting for years was able to buy it.  As you can imagine, it is a long story, but she is VERY happy now.  It is a painting of her house and the pump on the town common.
She saw it in the West Newbury Library Show that took place pre-Christmas of 2011 or 2012.
We had a lovely visit at my house, she and her husband and I.  I enjoyed meeting them and plan to paint together with her husband next summer.  We have a common love of day lilies.  I was truly delighted to see that this painting found a happy home.
To see the painting, look back through this blog to October 2011.

Fighting with Ray

Ray is a portrait that I've been working on and having a hard time with.  I see that we can learn a lot from our mistakes, for sure!  And you won't believe this one, "measure twice, paint once"!  Oh well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portrait # 23, Charles Piecewicz

Sunday the 16th, we had our 23rd model, Charles Piecewicz.  There was some concern that being a youngster, maybe our youngest, he would not be able to sit still or last for 3 hours, BUT HE DID, and he did a great job.  Everyone enjoyed Charles as he was checking all the artists' work at the breaks and talking a lot about art and his ease with computer games.  We were thinking that another model would pose for the last couple of hours, and Grace Tierney came for that purpose, but since Charles did a fabulous job, Grace will return probably on the 30th.  My project is now going into December but I'm getting very close to my 30 people.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Third portrait - Megan

Now that I'm working every day on these portraits, I like the rhythm, more or less, that occurs of setting up and attacking the work. I did this one yesterday, and today I'm away until early afternoon, but I actually can't wait to start on the next one this afternoon.  Who will it be?  I haven't decided yet.
Again, this one still has some finishing touches that I only catch afterwards with the camera or mirror.  This one was on a strong sienna ground which peeks through a tiny bit.

I almost want to do another one of Megan, Her nose is wider and eyes are wider apart and I would work her coloring with softer richer colors.  The photo of my still unfinished painting isn't a nice as the real thing color-wise.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Second portrait almost finished

Second day of painting
Yesterday I worked on the Maureen Wimmer portrait.  I'm making a list of things that need to be done with it, and most of these corrections are a result of looking at this photo.  I think that I'll create a pile of  paintings with their lists to work on the third time around, sort of putting the highlights on a painting, you have to wait until the last minute to put that frosting on the cake.
First sitting
Today I'll work on one of the children that were in the group.  I'm happy that we will  have a good cross-section of people in the Merrimacians exhibit.