Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mr. Daniels Today.

I've been working on Charlie's portrait over the last few days, but today I could see a difference and thought I'd let you have a look.  I've posted three images, all taken at the same time, but with different camera settings.  I'm always amazed at how different a painting can look, or be made to look if one also employs computer photo software effects.  I'll label the image that looks the closest to what I see under the studio fluorescent lights.  Hope everyone has found time to relax a little before New Year's Eve!
This image has been lightened a lot using the "fill light" function of Picasa II photo software.

This one was cooled quite a bit using the Picasa II (it's a Google product) color temperature button.

Here's the "winner". 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011.

This is how dawn broke this morning and I felt lucky to be awake enough to snap a few photos of such a spectacular color show.  This was taken at 7:38 AM when the colors were at their most intense.  In only a minute, as you will see in the next image, the sky had lightened and the reds and oranges had faded to pinks and the lightest blues.
This photo was taken at 7:39 AM and what a difference a minute can make!  Now, at 9:45 AM, rain is moving in and the remainder of this Christmas Day will be typically Northwest.  I hope everyone can enjoy the holidays, whatever your spiritual persuasion.  The planet could really use a bright New Year, too!  So, whenever your New Year begins, let's all make a resolution to try to get along.  Oh silly me...drifting off into fantasy time again.  I do believe, however, if we can dream it, it can come true.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mr. Charles Daniels, Sunday, 18 December 2011.

It was a bit of a struggle to get moving on the painting today, but once I did, the work went well and I must admit my delight at the progress.  Part of the slow start was simply because of fatigue from a late morning workout.  Some days are more challenging than others and today was tough, though I have no idea why.  After the workout, I cooled down, changed out of my soggy shirt and jogged to the studio.  On the way, I was overcome by the thought of french fries and just happened to come upon an open food cart.  Three dollars later, (I'm a big tipper) I very carefully ran the remaining block to my studio with the fries securely in hand.

So, I chowed down on the wonderful heavily-salted potato delights, drank a little water and began looking for more food.  I guess winter and the survival instinct create an unnatural hunger, so today I gave in and just went with it.  Roasted almonds, some great cheese and a glass of Chianti were just the ticket.  After that, of course, my sweet tooth began to hurt, so a few blocks of dark chocolate scratched that itch.  The only thing left to do was take a nap.  My chair is comfortable, the portrait of Charles was in view and all the exercise and a full belly overwhelmed any hint of ambition.  

When I finally did muster the energy to get after it, it was a good day.  Do you know that time in the life of a painting when it starts to become too dear?  And it's tough to begin work because fear of ruining what you've accomplished creeps over you?  I was almost there today.  Luckily, after studying Charles for an hour or so, it was blatantly obvious my feelings were premature.  So, I got after it and was well-pleased at the end of the day.  Some good mixtures, a few correct values and lots of critical examination.  Now, my friends, it's time for a shower and dinner.  We've ordered in Chinese food tonight, from our favorite place, Ling Garden.  Michele is fighting a cold and we're out of the wonderful chicken soup I prepared for her, so tonight, it's Kung Pao chicken lo mein for her.  Maybe she'll sweat out the illness!  Hope you had a good Sunday, where ever you live.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mr. Daniels Today.

I didn't have much time at the easel today;  Got up late, wrote emails, finally got around to a couple of miles of jogging, then had coffee with my artist-pal, Mr. Richard Cork.  When I arrived at my studio, I only had time for a handful of brushstrokes before heading over to Richard's studio, located about six blocks from mine.

I broke out the ivory black and mixed it with a dab of white to make Charles' hair look a bit more real, added more pure black to his tee-shirt, as well as, the shadow areas of his dress shirt collar.  Finally, I hurriedly added some of the dark mixture to his mustache and goatee, then did a bit of work on his neck.  After that, it was off to see my friend and enjoy a great cup of his own blend prepared using a French press.  Not a bad way to spend the late afternoon on a rainy and chilly day.  Hope you all stayed warm and dry.

Update on this update:  Did I ever mention how much I love living large...oops...I meant painting large!  Everything seems so much easier.  Instead of working on eyes, for example, measuring only a quarter inch across, Charles' are eight times bigger!  Between my vision and old age shaky brushes, working big takes all the misery out of the process.  I really admire those of you able to put the entire world on a 5 x 7-inch canvas.  Truly amazing works.  Unfortunately, such acts of manual dexterity are no longer possible for me.  At this rate, by the time I hit seventy, I should be painting on barn doors or the sides of buildings.  And that will be okay with me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mr. Charles Daniels

Regular followers of my blog may remember Mr. Daniels from previous posts.  He was the gentleman I took a chance on introducing myself to, in the hope that he would agree to model for me.  During our first meeting, I did manage to get a few photos of him, though he failed to show up for the actual live modeling session.

I was sorely disappointed by the experience and never thought I'd do a painting of him.  A couple of weeks ago, I took another look at the photos and changed my mind.  I just happened to have a "pre-disastered" canvas all set to go, so yesterday I began a portrait using a photo as a reference.  The canvas was going to be Calla lilies, but after lots of thought I determined I had nothing new to say about these magnificent and oft-painted flowers, so I painted it over and (prematurely) went to work on Charles' portrait.

I say, prematurely, because the Prussian blue I had used on the Calla lilies was not completely dry and everyone who has ever used this color knows how it can poison subsequently applied colors.  My old Maestro, Mr. William Matheny, referred to it as "poison blue" and he was certainly correct. 

So, yesterday, many of my mixtures were influenced by the Prussian blue and despite my best effort to tell myself it was okay and even "unified" the composition, it was not post-worthy.  Today went well and though much work still remains, I liked it enough to share it with you.  I hope your day went well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Harry Kent Update and Sights from Today.

This is the latest Harry Kent portrait, as of today.  I've been working ever-so-slowly on it, living with it and not picking up a brush until something jumps out at me.  The Calla lily painting is in a similar status.  I have read more than a few books and articles in which successful artists shared how important it is to have an image of the finished painting in their head prior to picking up a brush.  Such a working method is a wonderful way to begin and I, too, usually have a decent idea of what I hope to achieve.

Unfortunately (sometimes), that original idea often gets modified or completely lost as the work progresses.  I'm sure many potentially decent paintings have been lost forever as a result of the constant re-evaluation.  I'm also certain many other works have been born of this crucible.  I believe the double-edged sword idiom applies nicely to the habit of questioning everything one sees on a canvas.

On a lighter note, it was a cold, but sunny day here in Portland so I snapped a few photos from home today.  Hope you had a good day.
  Looking down from our home, I noticed this sign and couldn't agree more!  Can't we all learn to get along?
Mount St. Helens was looking beautiful today, at least the half we can see.  The left side of the photo shows just a bit of the Wells Fargo Center.  It blocks the other half of the mountain.

And finally, Gracie, enjoying the sunshine.  Hope you had sunshine in your life today!