Sunday, January 30, 2011

Teacups and Torsos

Torso Study - 8 x 10 - top
Teacup Study - 8 x 8 - bottom
We spent the New Year's holiday hiking the Oregon Coast and visiting art galleries in Newport, Lincoln City and Salishan. Our favorite, as always, was the Lawrence Gallery at Salishan.

Allan loved several colorful paintings by Jennifer Diehl. We felt we'd seen her somewhere before, Portland perhaps? The gallery manager raved about her style, said she was the up-and-coming artist on the West Coast.

Her works are painted directly, all in one sitting. I remembered where we'd met her. She had a show at the Lawrence Gallery in Portland were we'd chatted and admired her works. (Direct painting means doing the painting all at once, no underpainting, glazes or working over.)

Seeing the freshness of Jennifer's work gave me the familiar urge to try a direct-painted masterpiece myself! I found a teacup and proceeded, spending a Sunday afternoon smooshing paint around on Teacup, above.

It was good for me, in that it reinforced that copying someone else's style does not make it my own. I'm not a direct painter. I prefer studies, underpaintings, washes and glazes, much like the Old Masters. I loved Jennifer's beautiful paintings so much that I wanted to make one myself, and I did. But now I've returned to my own style, which consists of drawings, studies, washes, underpaintings and glazes, similar to the Old Master's techniques of Rembrant, Vermeer and Caravaggio. It's just me, I guess.

To think own self be true.

Torso Study was done as soon as I finished Teacup, using a variation of glazes and underpaintings. It led me into a larger figure work--still in progress--in keeping with my New Year's resolution to focus on the figure.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Girl Sleeping, a Resolution for 2011

Girl Sleeping - 16 x 20 - oil - top
Girl Sleeping - in progress - center
Girl Sleeping - Verdaccio - bottom
The beginning of every year brings renewed resolutions to paint more, paint differently, paint with focus. This year was no different. Yet it was.

After the ritual studio cleaning and moving, I sat and analyzed what I'd accomplished in 2010, and what really had meaning in my paintings. I realized, as I've done so many times before, that returning to that inner space, that inner soul of creativity, is the only way to proceed.

I wish I had a photo taken by my Dad when I was 7. I proudly held up a drawing I'd done of three queens. They were long, fittted with elegant tiaras and wearing flowing gowns. I loved those ladies. I wanted to do nothing more than draw people.

A lifetime later nothing has changed, except perhaps this body! I still want to paint people, and people tell me that's what I'm best at.

Thus, a practice painting, copied from a masterwork by Sandor Liezen-Mayer. I found it online while trollling the Internet, that treasure trove of artist inspiration. Google Sandor and you won't find much, but I discovered he was Hungarian, his works were classified as iconic realism, and he painted Girl Sleeping in 1867. That's about it.

But it got me back into the state of mind required for skin tones, atmosphere and focused blending. I don't mean to say I captured anywhere near his delicate and mysterious glazing and skin tones, but I am satisfied with what I accomplished.

Cest' fini, Girl Sleeping. Renewal. 2011 shall bring forth more figure works.