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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Black Beret

Lori / graphite on white laid paper /  24 x 18
 I seemed to be in such a hurry in this mornings portrait session and could not slow down. This larger sketch was done in the first hour and I was not happy with it until I smudged the black beret to give it a softer look. Large black hats always seem to throw me.
Lori / Sienna Cont on tan paper. 14 x 11
 Changing positions to the other side of the studio and picking up the Cont stick, I drew this one in about 40 minutes - picking up speed as the day went on.
Lori / black and white charcoal on tan paper / 14 x 11
Then a 20 minute quick charcoal sketch. I am not very familiar with charcoal and rarely use it but decided to use some time for experimentation. I was inspired to try darkening the background after leafing through Sargent's book of portrait drawings. A productive, even if not exactly relaxing, morning!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dancing Horse Revisited

Equine #12 / oil on linen panel / 16 x 20
I have painted this particular equine dance step before but it intrigues me so I tried it again, a little larger this time.

Renoir / oil on linen panel / 14 x 11
And a quick oil portrait sketch of Renoir from a black and white photo, of course!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Enough is Enough

Frank / oil on linen panel / 12 x 12
I have had enough of this slump and all the negative effects it was having on me. Determined to rid myself of these evil demons, I have practically locked myself in my studio for the last three days and painted nonstop. As Frank was such a great model in our life sessions, I attempted a portrait of him - this is my third attempt and I am finally pleased. Its not about liking the outcome - its more about the feeling of the paintbrush on the canvas and the movement of the paint. It began to feel familiar again. I don't know if I am out of my slump or not - only time will tell but I am feeling better today than I have in weeks.

Being part of this online artist community is such a wonderful experience - I received so much support, understanding and sugggestions and all of it helped me get through this. A special thanks to Suzanne Berry for her very caring personal concern and to Sandra Busby for her suggestion to read  Art Bytes about the slumps other artists have had and their suggestions for getting through. I am so touched by all of your comments and the fact that so many wonderful artists have persisted in following my blog even though I have been lagging in postings lately. A warm heartfelt thanks to you all!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board

Frank / Conte crayon / tan laid paper / 14 x 11
After long weeks, days, hours of struggling at my easel, I finally found inspiration this morning in the interesting and unique face of our wonderful model Frank. Frank is an investigative journalist, a professor of journalism, a historian and an author. He is funny and kind and he relaxed easily into his role of model and muse. For the first time in a long long time, I felt a connection to what was happening on the paper - the graphite and Conte marks emerging on the rough paper were Frank but they were me, too. This gives me hope that I will be able to break out of my current states of despair and exasperation at the easel. Is there such a thing as trying too hard? That is what is happening to me - but today, with Frank, I felt free of that - free of the need to succeed. After carefully considering the subject, choosing my spot wisely and freeing my mind, I let the pencil do the work.

Frank / Ebony graphite / 20 x 18

And a word of wonder and thanks to those of you who noticed my long absence and privately expressed concern. The very singular relations that have developed with fellow artists here in cyberspace are, without a doubt, strongly influential  and deeply meaningful to me. Thank you.