Wednesday, April 23, 2008

HW #3, or As The Reindeer Turns

I'm very happy with how this painting turned out. In terms of the whole process, from conception to planning to execution, this is easily the best painting I've done. (Though I'm still a bit partial to the "shoes" painting, if only for the patent leather pumps. Did I say that out loud?) But wouldn't you know it - as soon as I start to believe I can be a painter, today in class I painted probably the worst painting I've ever done. I had zero mojo, though possibly it's from sleep deprivation. Still, never mock the painting gods!

Painting the reindeer was really fun. I think that painting all those model airplanes when I was younger helps me with the small brushes. For sure I feel more comfortable with a brush in my hand than a charcoal pencil! My professor critiqued this today and he liked everything except the background. So I'll be repainting it as neon orange. Just kidding - he just wants me to make it less choppy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This drapery assignment was tough. The whole class struggled with it; even the professor's demo went awry. :) The two girls next to me did a pretty good job though. The hard part about drapery is that the values in the folds are so close together. In my initial block-in, I made the colors too far apart and it looked horrendous. I had to wipe it all out with turpentine and start over, which shook me up a bit. Fortunately it turned out okay.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pattern with Shoes

We walked into class one day to find our professor had scattered all these shoes on the ground on top of these patterned cloths. I think the girls liked it, but the guys kind of freaked out for a bit. This turned out to be quite challenging. We were supposed to try for some unusual cropping, but since I like a more classical style, I'm not a very aggressive cropper. Plus I really like the nice diagonal created by this set of shoes.

I painted this one much looser than I normally do. The shoes are patent black leather, and a purple cloth type shoe, and our professor is always telling us to throw color into solid objects like this. So I put touches of pink and brown into the shoes. It looks a little strange at first glance, but I kind of like it - it has a very impressionistic feel. I probably overdid it on the first black shoe though.

The fabric was very interesting. It's a fruit pattern. Normally my instinct would be to wait until the white layer dried before painting the pattern, but since we had to do this in class I was forced to work wet on wet. Actually I think that was fortunate, because by keeping the pattern blurry it helps keep it in the background compared to the shoes which are done more sharply. It was tricky though with the color blending into the white paint, so I think if I did it again I would at least paint the white layer more thinly.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

HW #3 - 50%

Here is my setup and 50% for our third homework assignment. This assignment requires a reflective object and a patterned object. I kind of like these 50% pieces - they have an impressionistic quality that the finished pieces sometimes lack.

I'm trying for some different things in this painting. One is to make it very high key (light), versus the darker paintings I normally do. Another is to use more of the canvas. And I wanted to try for the cool light / warm shadows you might find in morning light, versus the warm light / cool shadows we normally use.

If you look very carefully in the reflection you can see me holding a camera. :) Fortunately I am fully clothed. I edited myself out of the painting, otherwise it would technically become a self-portrait. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Warning: Adult Content Ahead

Recently I've *finally* started to make some progress in my figure drawing. There have been several factors. One is that we've done a systemic study of body parts and how to draw them - torso, legs, arms, hands, feet, etc. - and that has at least given me a clue about how to approach them. Secondly, the girl that I sit next to in Figure Drawing is an excellent artist, and watching her (i.e. blatant copying) has impacted my drawing for the better. Finally, I've simply decided to stop drawing like a dork. I've been drawing now for 10 hours a week in class for the past 10 weeks, and I should be showing better progress than I have been. Still-life painting distracts me because it's so fun, but figure drawing is very important for what I want to do, namely classical figurative painting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Things are getting a bit nutty in still life class lately. This one was about patterns - 3 glass items on a patterned cloth, with a polka-dot tie. I tried to talk our professor into giving us a break with fewer glass items, but he didn't budge. There was also a funny episode where one guy in our group suggested putting the tie into the small bowl to add complexity, and then he went off and painted another setup!

Anyways this one was really tough, but the more I look at it the more I like it. It was really crazy painting in the stripes and polka dots. Btw, red-orange and blue-green are complementary colors, which heightens the impact of the tie. :)