Monday, August 15, 2016

Back In The Saddle Again

Late February, Marcia and I made the trivial decision  to sell the house, downsize and move into a continuing care community.  Executing that decision has taken more than a little of our time over the last few months.   The result is I have not been able to paint anything since my last effort -- an allegorical painting representing my father and two grandfathers via their occupations.

Somehow we got it all done and moved at the end of June.  My one concern with the move was where would I be able to paint in the new location?  As time went by, I wondered if I'd even remember how to paint!

After ruminating on what to paint and where to do it, Marcia suggested that I paint some favorite toys of my two-and-a-half year old granddaughter.  As to where to do this, I figured out that I could set up on the 6' x 9' balcony.

The balcony was a little tight (and hot!) but it worked.  Here's the result -- three fishies swimming in a bowl (signed by Papa -- her name for me.)

I guess the new place will work out after all.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Summer and Fall Production

Here's the rest of the production from the summer and fall:  two more landscapes and an attempt at an oil-painting portrait.

I can look at the first -- An Unnamed Tributary of Ben's Run -- and recall standing in the swamp with bugs and heat for a month of Saturday mornings.  I struggled with constantly changing shadows as the sun moved higher in the sky.  Eventually, I took a reference photo so I could preserve a moment in time and stop chasing shadows. 

Nature is dynamic!  When I started the painting below, everything was green.  When I ended it, all the leaves were gone.  Between start and finish, I was able to capture some color.  Sky and shadows look different every time you go out.  So, I realize that I'm capturing a composite scene.  The sky only looked this way once and when it did the rest of the scene looked different!

Finally, I wanted to try my hand at an oil-painting portrait.  I only had one (reluctant) human model.  So, I used a blurry photo from my daughter's wedding last year for most of this. I was able to plead with my model to pose for almost three hours (not all at once)!  Woo Whoo!

Here's how it turned out.  I told her that she'd love it in ten years.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Portrait and A Landscape

It's been a while since the last term finished in May, but I thought I'd post my final homework.  It's a portrait of my granddaughter done from a photo.  Marcia had it framed and it's hanging in a place of honor in our hallway -- not because it's great art, but because it's our granddaughter for crying out loud!  The medium is pastel.

Since class ended, I spent about a month being handyman around the house -- repairing, spackling and painting.   I planned to take a two-week intensive landscape painting course in June but it wasn't offered. So, I decided to use the leave I would have used to take off summer Fridays and practice landscaping painting (and, in a small way, practice retirement which may actually happen some day).

The result was that I went from painting the house to painting the house.  Well, from painting the house to a painting of the house.  In the composition was trying to capture the interesting angles and tall trees.  Here it is.   I think I'm done.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Portrait Drawing

I'm taking a break from oil-painting classes and slogging my way through a portrait drawing class.  I've learned a few things like:

  1. Portrait drawing is hard.  We're so good at facial recognition that a line or feature only has to be a little off to look a lot off.  And by little I mean a millimeter or two.
  2. It's a lot easier to draw from a photograph than it is to draw from real life.  It's hard to get someone to sit still for five to ten hours while you measure, sketch ... draw, correct; draw, correct, draw; draw, correct...forever.
Anyway, here are my latest attempts -- my last four homework assignments.  The first two are pencil and the last two are charcoal.  All are from 8" x 11" photos and the drawing sizes are 18" x 24". 


Three more classes and I'm done. And, although I'm ready for a break (it's not easy finding ten to twelve hours in a week to do this when you're working fulltime), I think I've learned a little something that will help my drawing gong forward. 

Now, if I could just take care of that having to work nuisance.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oil Painting IV

Another term oil painting, but with a new professor.  (It's really my second time through Oil Painting II.)

Last term, I did north of a dozen paintings.  I've done four so far this year.  I'm starting a new classroom painting today and a new homework this weekend, but the jury's still out if I'll really complete two more paintings over the next three class sessions.

Slowing down, though, has taught me that there are still miles to go once I've thought a painting is done.  It takes time to just look at the object and see the final details, which, inevitably, results in little marks and highlights being added to the painting.

So, it's good not to be in a rush with a painting. It's good  not to make any marks sometimes but just look.  Understanding before action -- what a novel concept.  At least for me!

Here's the production to date.

 Classwork Still Life #1

Homework #1
Classwork Still Life #2

Homework #2
I'm sure, I'll find out  in class today that homework #2 isn't done.  Even though I think it is!


I know I'm not the first to notice this, but I'm at the age where I'm learning more about the profusion of doctor types.  I can see why people retire.  At some point there are not enough hours in the day to work and make all the doc appointments.

Over the last few years, my optometrist sent me to a retina specialist to fix an occlusion in my right eye.  After lasering it didn't work, she tried a shot in the eye.  Maybe it wasn't in the eyeball, but it was close enough!  The shot didn't fix the problem but caused my eye to droop to half-closed.  After a year of dimmed vision (and looking dim as well), it was off to the eyelid surgeon to fix the broken upper eyelid levator muscle.

Lately, my annual physical means a follow up visit to a specialist of some sort.  The latest was to the urologist for confirming check from the, ...umm.., backdoor entrance.  Fun.  Twice in the same month!  (How does someone decide to be a urologist, anyway?)

All in all, though I'm not complaining.  It's great to have expert mechanics around to keep the machine running an fixing it when something breaks. 

I guess more doc visits just come with the aging territory.  Get use to it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vacation Paintings

School starts next week and with it my fourth oil painting class.  Due to my work schedule, it has to be a different session and with a different professor.  It should be interesting.  And my production should go up from the two paintings I did this summer.

Here's the first -- Waiting at Heathrow.

And the second -- my fifth attempt at landscape painting.  Lake Champlain.