Sunday, September 27, 2015

Train Alley - Enjoy the Ride

Train Alley - Waynesboro East 5x11 gouache 
No. Commerce Ave, Waynesboro East

I have been promising myself that the next time it rains I will take a drive around east Waynesboro and take a few reference photos to draw from. The rain makes surfaces crisp, clean, and reflective. It rained a good bit Monday and I kept my promise.

The above painting is a rainy-day gouache on Strathmore 500 Bristol—Plate Surface. I used mostly black with minimal additions of blue, violet, and green. In hindsight, I wish I had used more restraint and limited my palette to just black, or maybe a blended raw umber and black. I’ve included the reference photo.

My mantra has always been render less, suggest more, and it’s the goal I work toward. 

I love to look at monotypes. I believe it is because a black and white image offers less absolutes/fewer clues to us viewers who automatically strive to define what it is we are looking at. Over a grayscale painting or drawing, I think our eyes wander just a little longer and our right-brain enjoys the journey—I know mine does.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mermaid in the Room

Mermaid in the Room 12x12 pastel on panel

I've been trying to work models and other people into my paintings. Here is one such effort.

We recently added a second model to our Monday night drawing session--a kind of experiment and a way to train our new model.

Note to self: Must work in bigger format so I don't have to labor and stress over tiny facial detail with big fat pastel stick.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Philip Geiger and Titles

3rd-Place Award  "Sailors" 18x24 oil and wax

I took home a 3rd Place award last night for this painting. The Beverley Street Studio School Juried Show in Staunton, VA was well attended. All the entries were very good and prize worthy which makes a win all the more unexpected and appreciated.

Artist Philip Geiger was the juror and to win his favor is meaningful to me. Here is a painter and teacher worth noticing. His talent is universally acknowledged. He's enjoyed a long career of excellence as an artist and as a University of Virginia professor, with an extensive list of noteworthy collectors. I found a terrific YouTube video wherein Mr. Geiger discusses his work, his process, and his thoughts. It's well worth watching . . . Philip Geiger's video.

I was asked a number of times last night how I arrived at the title of my piece--more on that in a minute. If you Google the idea of titling, you'll get lots of ideas on how to, and my way certainly is not the definitive way to do it. But I will share with you how I title. As in painting itself we are often after an impression of an image rather than depicting the literal image. The above painting, Sailors, started as an abstract painting of canning day--strawberry jam, and so I could have titled it Canning Strawberry Jam, but as I worked, the objects soon appeared to me as sailors at the bow of their boat weaving to-and-fro in an effort to keep their balance lest they be cast overboard. This was my impression, and I referenced it in my title. What's also the case is I often take a devilish delight in testing the viewer to see if his/her impression matches mine. Am I being obtuse? How do you title your work?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pie and Pastels

Pie Watchers 9x11 pastel

The last couple of weeks I've been working through some ideas in pastel with new tools and techniques. Although this kind of segue slows down productivity (quantity), it's a worthwhile practice (quality). 

This pastel painting is an abstracted version of shoppers gazing at seasonal sweet treats. It’s a reminder that I once sold mini fruit pies at our local farmers’ market.

On a related note, I purchased my first set of Schmincke soft pastels this week, creating a marked dent in my wallet. Schmincke pastels are in another class of pastel--upper class. They are noticeably buttery and rich on the paper, nearly 100% pure pigment, and they crumble easily, so note, apply a light touch if and when you first try them. They are the “fat over lean” cadillac of pastels and the last layer you’ll use in your painting. Schmincke's colors are vibrant and beautiful, and it’s a joy to work with them. The best deal I could find on Schmincke this week was Dakota Art Pastels out west. Prices can vary quite a bit.