Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Drawing Lilies

Lilies seem to be the favorite flower to draw, so I finally gave it a shot this week.  They were a bit more difficult than the gladiola, but still fun to draw.

This bloom was a beautiful color.  I think part of the reason this flower was a bit difficult is because it was such a vibrant pink that it was hard to capture the essence of it in graphite.

This is where I got a little off course.  Luckily, Katie Whipple, our instructor showed me how to measure the petals to make sure everything was in the right spot.  The six petals were basically across from each other, so it was then easy to see and fix any mistakes.

This is the finished piece.  I'm actually happy with it, something that does not often happen to me with drawing.  In fact, I may get myself some colored pencils and give that a try.  I'll always be an oil painter, but lately I've been having the urge to do something different every once in awhile.  I feel like it's time to expand my horizons a little bit and this has been a good place to start.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Still Life: Pitcher With Tangerines And Grapes

Hello all, hope everybody is having a good day.  After a month long reprieve, winter has finally arrived in New York, which means it's time to hide out in my studio for the rest of the season!

It's been quite a busy week over here.  Last Thursday evening, I finished up a new still life.

This was the (almost) original set up. I started out without the fruit for reasons I'll explain below.   I was not sure about this one from the time I set it up until about four sessions in.  Luckily it all worked out.

This was the original block in.  As you can see, there is no fruit here.  I was doing something else in my studio and got a bee in my bonnet about using this pitcher in a painting, so I set up a still life and blocked it in.  Not the most convenient way to do things, but when inspiration strikes you just have to go with it.

My next day in the studio I brought a bag of fruit with me and started experimenting.  I was not thrilled with the fruit at the market that day.  I wanted to use some oranges, but every one they had was enormous.  They looked like oranges on steroids, so when I happened upon a bag of tangerines, I decided to try using them.  It worked out fine and of course I added some grapes.  We joke in class that it is illegal to do a still life without grapes and it probably should be!  Like a little black dress, they help with a multitude of sins and I like painting grapes, so why not keep using them?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but alizarin backgrounds can be really hard to paint.  It is a transparent color and takes many coats to look the way it needs to on the canvas, plus drying time in between.  In fact, I had to let this one sit for five days after the first few coats as the paint was just not covering the canvas.

I think this was session three or four.  Finally, it is beginning to look like this painting might be successful!

At this point, I was just adding coats of paint.  I know many people find this stage frustrating, but you have to keep going.  Eventually it all works out.

Finally, last Wednesday, the time came when I knew the painting would work out.  The pitcher starting looking like porcelain, the fruit compote was resembling glass and the darks and lights were evident in the painting.

Then came the fun part:  putting in the pattern.  When you are using a blue and white prop, the painting really comes alive when you get the pattern going.  Some painters do the pattern right at the beginning, and while I definitely understand working on the whole painting at once, I like to do the pattern last for a few reasons.  One, I like to do several coats of white on porcelain objects as I've found it takes a few passes to get the porcelain look.  Two, and most importantly, if the paint is dry when the pattern goes in, you can easily wipe it off if you make a mistake (which happens quite often in my case).  And three, sometimes when I start to put the pattern in, I realize that my shadows are not dark enough and I can easily fix it rather than having to wipe out the whole thing.

Once the pattern was done, I realized the painting needed a few tweaks.  There were a few places where things looked like they were floating, a sure sign that you need to darken the darks and lighten the lights.  I darkened up the shadows under the pitcher and the fruit compote, as well as all the tangerines on the right side.  I then lightened up the fabric in front of the pitcher.  I also darkened the wood shelf.  Even though it was lighter in real life than I've shown it here, it did not work to have the light colored fabric and the light colored wood shelf.  So I darkened up the shelf a bit and that helped the whole painting.

Here is the finished painting.  I'm really happy with how this one turned out.  It's always fun to take a chance and try something new.  Of course, I'm already on to my next piece, as well as attempting to turn a field study into a large painting, something I've never done before.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Orange And Yellow Roses, Up For Auction!

I'm very excited to let everyone know that my painting, Orange And Yellow Roses, will be up for auction tomorrow night to benefit the education fund of The Art Guild Of Port Washington.  The Art Lovers Fling will take place tomorrow night at 7 pm at The Village Club of Sands Point (LI).

The Guild will be honoring its founding members, as well as artist Antonio Masi, president of the American Watercolor Society.

There are many other works of art available in addition to show tickets, museum passes, a golf outing at The Village club, art lessons with various teachers and many more auction items.  If you are in the NYC/LI area and are interested in attending, you can purchase tickets on the website or pay at the door tomorrow evening.  It promises to be a fun night for a good cause.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

American Artists Professional League's 88th Grand National Exhibition

I wanted to let everyone know that my painting, Valentine's Day Roses, is hanging in the American Artists Professional League's 88th Grand National Exhibition.

Valentine's Day Roses, oil, 16x20

The reception is taking place Sunday, November 13th,  from 1-5pm at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.  If you are in the area, please check it out.  There are many beautiful works of art including paintings, sculptures and drawings.  If you can't make the reception, the show will be hanging until November 18th.

Hope to see you there!

Salmagundi Club
47 Fifth Avenue,

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Drawing Gladioli

Let's look at something pretty today, shall we? I've been continuing on with my flower drawing, this time using gladiola as my subject.  Drawing them was much easier than I had anticipated.  It's funny how that happens.  My last drawing subject was a pear and I thought I was going to tear my hair out, but these flowers just flowed right off the pencil.

I grabbed this flower at the farmers market.  Since I was using pencil, the color didn't matter.  It was the shapes that I wanted to draw.

I drew in the basic shapes and then started adding light and shadow.

This is where I left off after the first session.  My flower didn't last more than a few days, so I grabbed another at the flower shop.  Even though it was a different color, the basic shape was the same, so it worked out well.

I started out by adding the new flower to my drawing.

This had to be reworked a few times.  In a painting, it is very easy to distinguish the lights and the darks, but with drawing, I have to constantly be on the lookout for everything falling into the dreaded middle tone.

A close up of some lights and shadows in the petals.

And this is the finished drawing.  I actually attempted to add a third bloom, but it just did not look right, so I'm leaving it at two and calling it done.  I'm not sure what I'll do for my next piece, but I'm thinking about roses.  Like most artists, I enjoy torturing myself, so I may as well give it a shot!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Peruvian Lilies In A Blue And White Vase

I recently finished a floral still life of an alstroemeria bouquet in a blue and white porcelain vase.  Luckily alstroemeria are also known as Peruvian lilies because my brain absolutely refuses to remember the word alstroemeria.

This was my original set up.  I did end up making a small change.  I moved the writing on the vase to face me instead of being off to the side.  After that it was a race against time to get the flowers painted.  Luckily for me, they lasted for awhile.  I was able to get enough information down to finish the painting after the flowers were no longer with us.

My block in.  This went down surprisingly fast, which was good for me because that left more time to work on the flowers.

I was so crazed with trying to get done as soon as possible that I did not take many photos, but this was the end of my fourth day with the painting.  It took a few coats of paint to make the vase look like porcelain, but that is the key:  just keep adding paint and eventually it works.  I also had to do the leaves from memory.  I had the lights and darks down, but then I needed to make them look like leaves and not two slashes of dark and light green paint.  I have painted a lot of leaves in my day so I was able to do a decent job of it.

Then it was time for the pattern.  Gregg always jokes that I wait until the very end of the painting and then do the pattern in five minutes, and he's right.  I don't know why I do it that way, but it seems to work for me.

Here is the finished painting.  It needs a good varnishing, which I will do in a few weeks.  I'm really happy with how this one turned out.  Nothing better than pink flowers in a blue and white vase!