Did this portrait of a gentleman that was nice enough to pose for me at the Great Trails Festival in Malvern. I thought he had a great look with lots of character that came right out of the old west. I think I may still add a Sheriff's star to his vest at a later date but for now I'll call this one done.
Another portrait of Michael, this time in a 3/4 view. I wound up wiping out my original effort as things were off. I'm not supposed to say this but I'm not real crazy about this one, but as per my motto I try to complete anything I start. The likeness is okay, but that's mostly because I was able to refer to the photo I took. It seems whenever I have to rely too much on photos the spark just goes out of the painting. I think I can get to a point where I can train myself to use photo reference in the "right" way (that's hard to define), but I'm not there yet. As always it's a learning experience so from that standpoint I still consider it a success...just not exactly where I want to be, if that makes any sense.
Another still-life. I think I'm starting to be a little less resistant to still-life painting. It is easier to find stuff to paint than it is to find a model after all, so why not go for it. My wife saw this shiny pot at a thrift store and picked it up for me to add to my collection of "stuff" for painting. Tina is very supportive of me in my painting endeavors and it means a lot to have someone you love take such an attitude. I don't know if it would be possible to pursue this painting thing if she wasn't standing beside me in that way. Thank you my love! Anyway, even though I have been thinking about it, I have been very nervous about painting shiny objects. I think because of what I perceived to be such an overload of information to have to paint. But that was my old way of thinking. By nature I was always a "noodler." Someone who, in their art, had to noodle everything to practically a molecular level. I don't want to do that now. There is a space somewhere between realism and impressionism that I really like. It really speaks to me whenever I see it. For me it is an attractive way to go if for no other reason than it saves time and you can complete more paintings in a shorter amount of time. But I think it's also the "less is more" thing that I like. It is an effort though to see things differently than I used to. Don't get me wrong. Highly detailed art is great for those that love to do it and it is totally valid as a means of self-expression. And I do admire the skill, patience, and even the aesthetics of this kind of work. But fortunately God has hard-wired us all a little differently, I think, and so different kinds of art will speak to different kinds of people. I'm not one of those people that believes that only Rembrandt, for example created great art, or did "real" painting. Just because something doesn't speak to me it doesn't mean it won't connect with someone else. That's not to say I don't have opinions about art, but that's the subject for another post ;-) This one is a little smallish for me. I had fun doing it. Hope you like it.
So here are a couple of recent portraits that I did at the Friday portrait painting open studio at Bay Arts. People, figures, portraits are really what I like doing best and I hope to continue to try to improve at doing them. One thing that I have considered myself quite ignorant of are the various painting surfaces that different artists like to use. I've always painted on cotton canvas (or duck), canvas board or canvas paper. They're cheap and readily available. As a comparison, it always seemed to me that if Tiger Woods picked up my store bought clubs he could still play a heck of a round. Similarly, if Sargent or some other great painter used the canvases that I used he could still produce a masterpiece. So I figured, what's the big deal? Anyway, I always hear and read about artists who choose to paint on linen. I'd never painted on linen and so I thought I should find out what all the fuss is about. This past summer I participated in a workshop with Stanka Kordic who is a very fine figurative artist. She had mentioned how she paints on linen which is glued to board. She gets it from a company called New Traditions Art Panels. I decided to check out their website. They offer lots of different grades of canvas and boards, which in my case made it hard to know where to begin. Fortunately they had what they called a sample pack of about six different surfaces, primed and glued to gator foam, which is a denser, sturdier version of what I knew as foamcore presentation board. I thought this would be a great way to go ahead and experiment to see if there really were any differences or advantages to painting on linen. I went ahead and ordered a sample pack and did this latest portrait trying one which was about in the middle of the pack in terms of texture or weave. I do have to admit that I really like painting on it. It's hard to explain but the feel of the paint going onto the surface was just a better experience, and I liked the way the painting turned out. But that could just be coincidence. Oh and I also included some close-up details so you could see some of the texture and brushwork better. Hope you like them.