"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deer in the Backyard and a Thank You Gift

I am so thrilled to be surrounded by wildlife in my new home. So far I have seen several coyote, a blue fox, red tailed hawks and smaller hawks, bunnies, magpies and now, tonight, a family of deer! Wow - this is heaven to me!

And I received such a delighful surprise in the mail today. Blaire Brown, the young daughter of my artist friend Gina Brown http://ginabrownart.blogspot.com/ painted a picture of a horse for me - it is so creative and so charming - we both share a love of horses and the one she painted for me is so special.

I love the pink sky streaked with silver, the bright red halter and, of coure, the violet butterfly sitting on the white muzzle! I think we have an artistic genius in the making! Thank you, Blaire - you have touched my heart!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Portrait

Practice, practice, practice - and I am starting to feel the return of my own painter's voice as I put more and more paint on the canvas.That is very exciting to me as I was so afraid I had lost more than I could recover. But, thankfully, it seems to come back with practice and persistence. This is today's effort - 20x16 oil on linen along with a close up..

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Portrait Practice

Alla prima today 20x16 oil on linen. Done from a photo of artist Peter Leventhal. I saw the photo and was compelled to try and paint him. Earlier this week Iwas studying portraits by Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissaro and Corot and noticed how fearlessly they used big value shifts. I attempted to do that in this portrait.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas 2011

Having painted some wildebeests earlier this year, I decided to try one in a Christmas theme. I am calling this Can You Teach a Wildebeest to Fly? - Christmas 2011. There are a few little things I will refine once this sets up a bit but it is mostly done. Poor Santa - he certainly has his hands full with this wild beast! I wonder what happened to Rudolph - it could be that he retired this year! :) 18 x 24 oil on linen

Friday, November 18, 2011

Life Class Oil Portrait

I struggled in life portrait class today. I like the upper half of Ron's face but the value structure in the neck and lower jaw eluded me. I need much much more practise in observing from life and interpreting observation into color and value. The instructor Alison Harris advises me to push my darks and I quite agree with her. I actually felt more comfortable painting today than I have in along time so there is hope yet! And I am quite happy with the likeness as well. No class next week because of the holiday and then figure drawing the following week. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Santa-With Observable Quantum Jitters

My daughter took a photo in Paris of an elderly man with a bottle of wine in his hand and the definite look of a homeless person. In this universe, anything is possible so I transformed him into a Santa Claus and changed any alcoholic effects into quantum jitters! Don't ask where all this came from - I just wanted to have some fun this morning and not worry about outcomes. That goal was achieved! 16x12 oil on canvas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alla Prima Oil Portrait Study

Doing quick alla prima portrait studies to try and get back my skills. This one is from the book on direct painting techniques by Al Gury called "Alla Prima".

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art Workshop with Alison Harris

As most of my blogging friends know, I have been away from serious painting at my easel for several months and have been feeling very rusty. My problem is that I am having a very hard time feeling connected to the paint. It just doesn't feel comfortable coming off my brush. I have spent long hours doing study after study resulting in miles of wipe offs. So frustrating but I intend to push through this until I remember how to paint again. In an effort to jump start myself, I signed up for a Portrait/Figure Drawing/Painting Workshop with instructor Alison Harris at the NV Museum of Art. I am so grateful to have found this workshop. Its 3 hours on Friday afternoons and I am free to attend as I am now retired from my full time job! That is very good news indeed!

The first class consisted of drawing a medium gray scale cast of a well proportioned male head. The instructions were to draw the planes of the anatomical structure without any regard for light and shadow. The following 2 drawings are 2 of my efforts - each one was about 30 minutes.

The second Friday we had a wonderful (live) male model - Ron. He was very intense and held the poses well. He had remarkable facial anatomy - a long, thin face with prominent cheekbones, thin uppper lip, dark eyebreows with long well trimmed side burns, a pony tail and an earring. A lot going on! Each of these drawings was also about 30 minutes except the final one which was an hour.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. This workshop is only my second experience with life drawing and I just LOVE it. There is nothing like a live model, intense lighting and a kind but honest instructor. I know I am learning a lot and enjoying every minute. Thank you, Alison! Here is a link to her site - be warned there are drawings of nude models:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Young Girl With Magpie

I am seeing lots of Magpies with lots of personality on our mountainside lately and was inspired to put one into a painting. This piece is 20 x 10 oil on cnavas. And here is a close up:

I am officially retired from my full time, high stress day job now and am way too happy to express in words! I think this little painting may show some of my joy. I am most happy with the color and that I had such a good time painting it. I did not have much of a preconcieved idea and just watched where the painting took me.