Saturday, February 28, 2009

Painting Study: Spoon on Plate


I love this spoon. My husband has a keen eye for nice household items. He brought home a very cool set of cutlery a few years ago - the best piece in the set were the tiny rounded spoons.

We don't use this set anymore (with three kids, we never had enough to go around when company came over) but I kept the spoons out. They are the perfect size for a tiny dish of ice cream, there is a balance and weight that is pleasing in its own small way.

This painting has a nice direct shadow off to the left. I've used my latest favorite, the little blue plate for another appearance. Something about painting that pattern is so relaxing. I want to get to the point where I could note each part of it with no reference at all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why You Should Buy Art Friday: Emotional Response

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the connection you can get to a few daubs of pigment on a canvas. I don't know what it is, but there is definitely a tangible response to be had from a stunning piece of art.

It is similar to a reaction one can have to a stirring piece of music. Creative acts are so closely tied into emotions it is natural that one would want to seek out works that coax a particular feeling in the viewer.

Again, this is one of those things that is really difficult to convey online. Sure, you can see a picture that stirs you even with the cold light of a monitor, but I really want my viewers to stretch themeselves and seek out work in real life that illicits a rush of feeling.

What about art does this exactly? I can't answer that. Sometimes it is a hot smear of red paint dashed across a large surface. Sometimes it is a quiet moment caught in a portrait of a woman unaware that she is the artist's subject, sometimes it is a frenetic tangle of lines... literally different strokes for different folks.

Whatever it is that stirs your soul, my one wish is that you (the reader) take a moment this week to experience that emotional rush. It isn't hard, gallery, cafe, library - those are quick and easy fixes.

If you are up for the challenge, then I ask that you stretch yourself even further and make a deposit on something that you can hang in your own house that will thrill your senses for years to come. C'mon, I double dog dare you!

Anyways, if you had an emotional response to my painting above and want to know more, feel free to click here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Interesting - I thought I'd Share

No visual ready for today, I figured I'd share a link instead.

A friend posted this and I have to admit that it is quite stunning to have something laid out visually like this. The artist's name is Chris Jordan out of Seattle and the work is called Running the Numbers.

Basically, it looks at a statistic number of something being used during a time span in the United States and then the piece literally places that number of an object associated with the statistic.

Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sketchbook: Two Girls Conspiring

I had a lot of fun with this one. One of my favorite activities is going to a busy cafe, pub, restaurant - a place with lots of conversation and life. I like to pick a spot in the back where I can disappear with my sketchbook in hand.

Once I've blended in with my surroundings I like to start watching what is going on around me. I don't look too long at any one thing, just casually scanning everything.

If it is still going well and I'm still somewhat invisible, I like to pick a subject and start drafting a sketch.

These two girls were completely unaware of me - they were so lively and engaged in thier conversation, they were an easy target. I hope thier movement translated to paper well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Brushes part one

I am not a brush snob. I admit it. I used to use the cheapie dollar store brushes but I've recently upgraded to lower end art store brushes. The bristles stay aligned longer with the slightly more expensive brushes.

You might ask then, if the bristle stay aligned slightly longer with slightly more expensive brushes, wouldn't it be a wiser investment to have higher end brushes with a higher life expectancy?

For me, no.

I can be a touch forgetful with thouroughly cleaning my brushes. Oftentimes when I start painting, my brushes are stiff so I have to bend them around to get the bristles separated. This kind of abuse takes its toll on even the nicest of brushes.

Add in the nature of painting on textured surfaces - the edges of my brushes get worn down quickly so that they fray out because they are shorter than thier neighbouring bristles.

My solution is low cost, high quantity. My kids like it because they get a wide selection of hand me down brushes - sometimes I'll collect enough to donate to a classroom!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Painting Study: Tomatoes on Floral Plate


These little painting studies have been really enjoyable for me. I'm starting to fall into a groove with them. I have about 3 days per week where I'm scheduling in a chunk of time in my afternoon to sit and complete a piece. This is in addition to sketching or working on larger pieces.

This year, I really have wanted to take 10 - 60 minutes per day (most days) to develop my work. There are of course days where I spend considerable amounts above and beyond that working on a piece, but this is a different sort of commitment.

I figure that if I take that 10 - 60 minutes and make it a priority on a day where I would normally say to myself "I have no time to paint" and do something (however small) it will begin to add up.

So while a painting study is a bit more than an hour to complete (remember, these are 6" x 6" so not a lot of real estate to cover) it fits into this concept of doing something (however small) in order to develop.

I have painted a lot more (small) pieces to completion this year because of this. I can feel my creativity mounting as I start viewing more and more mundane details as subject matter rather than just as my day to day surroundings.

Anyways, I had juicy tomatoes, I had a beautiful plate, I had a sunlight and I had an achievable goal. End result - a lovely little painting!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sketchbook: Mermaid Study

I'm not sure what I am going to do with this sketch. If I decide to transform this idea into an ACEO I will probably change the orientation from landscape to portrait. I've only done 2 ACEO that are in landscape format - I don't know why, but I don't really like them as much.

I think part of the reason is that they don't fit logically into a sleeve insert for a binder (which is oriented vertically) Not that I care if they end up in a binder or not - but something about that bugs me.

I also do the majority of my large paintings in a landscape format - I think that doing my ACEO with a portrait orientation offers me some variety.

Anyways, back to the sketch - I really like all the falling beads and hair ornaments. Billowy hair is always a plus too if you are going for fantasy art. Keep checking back to see if this mermaid makes a further appearance in full colour!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Painting Study: White Chair

This little chair started out as a potential subject for a client. It wasn't quite the right fit, but I had the sketch laying around, begging to be taken further.

There is something I was trying to capture with the lighting. This chair is located in the prayer room of a local church here. The room when not being used sits dark and quiet. The natural light filters in weakly - just like how I found it here.

I love the dark shadows contrasted with the cool whites. Even the warm yellow walls appear cool when the winter light illuminates the room.

This was a bit different from my usual chair paintings which are loaded with rich texture. Since this is a 6" x 8" masonite board, I didn't have room to manuver my comb to texture it. This one is done in my smoother daubed paint style.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why You Should Buy Art Friday: Commission Work

One thing that can be a murky territory for art patrons is requesting a custom piece of artwork to their specifications. Many customers do not realize that a lot of artists are willing to work with you to realize a creation that is tailored to your specifications.

This could be in the form of requesting a similar piece to one you saw hanging in a show that was sold, to having a portrait painted of someone you hold dear to your heart. Often I have requests from clients who collect a certain subject matter or who prefer one style over another.

Usually when I am approached to do a commission piece there is a discussion (usually via email) about subject, size, medium and deadline. Photos of possible subject matter may be forwarded to me from the client or I may do my own research on that topic. From those pieces of information, I will come up with a rough sketch and a price. I then send a quote (good for 30 days) and a watermarked jpeg of what we've discussed.

At this point, my client may accept the quote, make a deposit and work will commence. Or else, they may decide that there are further details to explore. This could range from a size or budget adjustment to tinkering with the composition. There may be a back and forth until everything is decided then we proceed.

I have found in the years that I've been doing commissions, people love being involved in the process. I enjoy taking snapshots of the work in progress to keep my clients in the loop (I also enjoy sharing these steps with my readers in my "On the Easel" segments). I have heard time after time how my patrons have enjoyed watching their painting unfold over the course of a few days or weeks.

Once we reach a point of having most of the details down, I submit an image for my client to view. We discuss whether or not things are "almost there" and I process the feedback and see if there are any adjustments needed. I then finish the piece and wait to receive final approval.

Once this is said and done, I submit the final invoice and upon payment, ship the completed piece via the preferred method of delivery (shipping is paid for by the client). Depending on how soon they require it, that could range from Canadapost to Fedex overnight.

I enjoy taking a clients dreams and making them a reality - I think things have gone well with this over the years. I have a number of patrons who I have developed great relationships with over a number of paintings. Commission painting requires a form of communication that goes beyond purchasing a ready made piece.

Hopefully I've taken the mystery out of this process for some of my readers - this has been a description of my own personal approach to commission paintings. Other artists may have a different routine, if you are ever interested in whether or not they do commission work - drop them a line and ask what their process is. You may find that you have the beginnings of a wonderful partnership!

If you are interested in commissioning me, please do not hesitate to contact me here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Emails and Tweeting

Not too many things to talk about today.

One thing I'd like to remind my regular readers about is my email subscription service. If you'd like to recieve my blog in email format, it is as simple as entering your email address in the little window off to your right (under "Get Updates Via Email") and then clicking on a confirmation email that will be sent to that address. (don't forget that step!)

Another new little toy is Twitter. In 140 charactors one can tweet what they are up to at any given moment. This would be considered "microblogging". I like to tweet about my upcoming subject matters and other art things. You can follow me if you want!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Painting Study: Apples on Square Plate

One thing I've noticed over the years - you can always tell what fruit is plentiful at the market by what you see listed on ebay and etsy.

Right now, have a look - you will see lots of still life paintings centered around apples and oranges. In a few months you will see tulips and crocus paintings... as soon as we see the fresh bounty of spring - it will be the subject of many paintings online.

You paint what you have - in this case I have lots of apples and oranges.

This plate is special to me too. One evening my husband went to the grocery store on a mundane errand. He came home with a little set of colourful melamine dishes. I think he knew that I would be thrilled and find a home in my crowded cupboards for this addition. He was right. My children were also very pleased with the square bowls and plates. The blue one above is particularly esteemed (and fought over).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Palette - Mixing

I switched a few years ago to using a Masterson Sta-Wet palette for my acrylic paints. When I discovered its existance it was a huge revelation to me. It has saved me a lot of money in unwasted paint. Prior to this, I used to mix my paint on an ever increasing mountain of dried paint on a cardboard palette.

What you see above is my palette at the end of the life of the insert paper. I have to throw it away, rinse the sponge and prep a nice new piece of palette paper. I will then add fresh daubs of paint.

I always place my paint in the exact same spots. I like the mixing of colours to be as effortless as putting on a turn signal when driving a car. You take it for granted that the signal is in the same spot everytime you reach for it. Same goes for my palette.

I think this comes from so many years of mixing the same variations of colour. I know how much space I'm going to require for my favorites. I have minor players on my palette put in between the premier hues that require adjustments from thier neighbours.

This order is so comfy and familiar to me, I often find my brush already mushing about the paint before I properly look to make sure it landed in the right spot. That is a lot easier to deal with a mistake than my other favorite mishap: cleaning my brush in my tea. I'm sure my esophagus has a thin acrylic paint lining from all the times I discovered too late what I did to my beverage.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Painting Study: Oranges on Plate


These little studies have just got my creativity pumping! I think because I can manage to do a decent job in one afternoon, it takes a lot of pressure off me. Lately I've just felt so inspired by so many little subjects sitting around my house, it is great to have format like these 6" x 6" masonite paintings to work in.

As you can see, I have a bit of a thing going on for this little blue and white plate. I have a stack of little plates in my cupboard - none of them are alike. Whenever I go to an Asian grocery store or mall I browse through the shelves of dainty cups and side plates. I'm looking for patterns mainly, sometimes an odd shaped dish or glaze colour will jump out and beg me to take it home.

My daughters love it when I'm playing with my plates. I will leave them piled on my coffee table and soon I will hear the voices of teddy bears and dolls having an impromptu tea party. They will rearrange my careful compositions into something much more suitable for entertaining.

The oranges on this plate became my subject today when I discovered they were too sour to eat. I was very surprised when I bit into one - they look so juicy and sweet. I guess its a situation where looks were deceiving!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sketchbook: Bird

The bird obsession has been manifesting again - have you noticed? I must be eagerly awaiting spring when our feather friends return en masse.

I was trying for a few things with this sketch. I wanted to convey "soft and round" on the bird, I wanted a strong linear component, and I wanted to play with the foliage background.

The bird definitely has a body that speaks of its three dimensional qualities - there is a pudginess to the under wing area that is almost irresistible to me. It actually reminds me of the lower trunk and leg area of Donald Duck (this sounds weird but I have always admired the simplicity in which they conveyed duck-like plumpness there - find a picture and see for yourself. Brilliant.)

The heavy outline I just wanted for the pure graphic qualities it brings. Just brings the duck out from the sketchy background and simplifies the lines. I like that it adds another level of contrast, deep black line, bright white body, implied gray of the foliage.

The background is calculated scribbling. I like to experiment with different ways to suggest a detail without having to spell it out for the viewer by drawing every single leaf. This has an organic movement that is the same time interesting and something you take for granted.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Painting Study - Pecking Chicken

The subject for this painting is one that I have been meaning to paint for years. Imagine how hard it was for me to keep the box in pristine condition and the key from being lost with small children in my household! That is dedication.

I decided to try something a little different with the lighting. I was in the mood to paint and it was dark outside - normally, I like to use daylight for my pieces. I took a small desk lamp and used it like a spotlight over the subject. What resulted were crisp, small shadows and a nice halo effect in the background.

I really enjoyed the lettering and warm tones on this piece. I think I will be shuffling the elements around soon for another study. Toys are so fun to paint!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ebay Spotlight: Plate Study is Listed!


After a bit of a hiatus from ebay, I've decided to try listing a few things here and there to test the waters. This one is starting quite low in price - I'm willing to risk it! If you've wanted a painting of mine but haven't had room in the budget, now is your chance!

It is 6" x 6" on Masonite board - it ships flat. (sorry, the etsy shipping sale doesn't apply for ebay auctions - that might be another time though) Read more about this little painting here. To look at the auction listing, click here.

Why You Should Buy Art Friday: Original Art

In a world full of easy to afford prints and knock offs, why would one want to collect original art? If you want the investment reasons, try reading my post here.

There is nothing like an original painting. The layers of colour, the brush strokes, the texture - nothing exists that can reproduce all these components completely. The multitude of tiny nuances add up to one spectacular piece that can only be fully appreciated in person. You may encounter prints on canvas or textured paper - they won't fully capture the essence of the original. Colours will never quite have the depth, the texture will be too uniform.

When an original piece of art is placed on a wall, the room suddenly has a new layer of life to it. The vibrancy of competing colours sparkle like a jewel in a room. Check out a house or hotel where original art is hung - you will notice a warmth to those spaces that cannot be matched by any old image placed in a frame.

Buying cheap prints (or expensive ones) can have their place - but it will never measure up to a one of a kind piece. Go out today and find a space where original art is hung and see for yourself (in person, not online) Perhaps you will fall in love with a work and bring it home for your walls!

If you wish to see the difference between a computer monitor and real life - feel free to make a purchase from my etsy store (couldn't resist, you know)! Take advantage of my Free Shipping on paintings this month!

I guarantee that the original is far more rich in colour, texture and depth than what you saw on the screen! (although colours will always slightly vary from monitor to monitor - something all online art collectors need to be aware of)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Etsy Spotlight: Free Shipping on Paintings!

All this month, I will have free shipping on any of my etsy paintings! Once payment has been made I will refund the shipping cost via Paypal. This offer is for Canadian and US residents only. If you live somewhere else, send me a message and we can figure out a discount for you as well!

If you want to see what I have in store, check out the selection here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Painting Study - Plate Collection

Oh, I enjoyed painting this! I am having so much fun with these little 6" x 6" masonite board studies. They are quick to prep, quick to paint and I don't feel huge amounts of pressure to do more than look and enjoy the process.

I especially like how loose this turned out. The blue tracery on the bottom plate and the thick glossy highlights appeal to me the most.

I will be doing a few more of these in the future I think.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Palette - Paint Selection

My friend, Veronica, recently had a post where she listed the paints colours that made up her current palette. The thought of this intrigued me. When I started painting in school, everyone was expected to have the same brand paints, same colours.

My current palette is as follows, the majority is Stevenson Acrylics (a brand I've been using since the early 1990's.
  • Phthalo Blue (I like it better than Cadmium or Ultramarine now)
  • Cadmium Red Deep (old faithful, nice vibrant colour, nice orange, pink and purple mixes)
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep (this is the warmest I've used)
  • Dioxazine Violet (the first to creep in my palette, I love it in greens and "blacks")
  • Yellow Ochre (the underbelly of most of my paintings, nice to mix with browns)
  • Burnt Umber (One of the chocolately darks, makes a fantastic "black")
  • Burnt Sienna (Nice and warm, a good light brown)
  • Hansa Orange (Yes, I cheat now and sometimes use this instead of mixing)
  • Cadmium Green (I cannot mix good greens, this is a lovely all round starter for mixing)
  • Titanium White (I use scandalous amounts of this - I even use it straight!)
  • Alizarin Crimson (very rarely, only for pinky pinks)
  • Iron Oxide Black (only for outlining illustrations, never for mixing)

I take it for granted that even my palette has evolved over the years. When I first started, it was only cadmium blue, red, yellow, yellow ochre, burnt umber and white. Gasps of horror would follow the thought of colours that didn't require some mixing. Black would have caused me to faint.

I've mellowed out over the years as you can see by my list above. I don't generally use a colour straight though - a lot of pleasure in painting is with blending colours. I find a deep satisfaction from this.

I'd be interested in hearing what other artists have on their palettes!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sketchbook: Another Girl Doodle

If I don't have a model or I'm just passing the time, I tend to just draw these girls with crazy hair and flowers everywhere. I'm sure if I dug up old school books, I would find very similar pictures. They are my default doodle.

This one features little circle strands - those are especially relaxing for me to draw. Just little pinpoints on an invisible string spiraling around the picture. The music must have pretty good that I was listening to!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Zazzle Spotlight - Canvas Prints

Check out my new Zazzle Canvas Prints - there is a selection of my most popular illustrations! I'll be adding more in the coming weeks so keep checking back. Click here to take a peek!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

ACEO 190 - Mermaid Blowing Bubbles

Okay, confession time - I am in love with this painting. The bubbles, the little pink flowers in her hair, the pursed lips, the composition, the little bubble wand... all of it.

I don't often get this hung up on a piece, but from the moment I sketched this little 2.5"x 3.5" beauty onto the masonite board, I knew it was going to just flow. Those times when everything works from the moment you start are special, this was one of those times.

Anyways, this is up for auction - it ends on the 7th, so if you like her, don't delay. If she doesn't sell, I might not relist - I wouldn't mind keeping her for myself.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Why You Should Buy Art Friday - Economic Instability

There are a few reasons to buy original art in times of economic crisis, some more readily apparent than others.

A well executed painting can be had for a relatively low price from a variety of skilled artists selling online. A collector could spend $200 for a piece that overtime will most certainly go up in value if kept in prime condition. If the artist continues to produce, sell, raise prices, produce more and sell more, the increase of a decent painting in value can leap over the course of a few years.

Any smart investor who is looking for an alternative to the stock market needs to look no further than online sites such as ebay or etsy. A couple of years ago, I produced a post that went into detail about what fees an artist pays to produce a work vs the long term investment value of that same painting in the hands of the collector. It is worth a read to understand some of the economics in a basic painting purchase.

It is worth revisiting this topic in light of recent economic downturns. When there is a gloomy financial forecast, the first thing that happens with the majority of the public is a panic to cut fringe expenses. Therefore the first wave of people affected by a recession are people who provide non essential services.

Purchasing art is viewed as a luxury in many ways instead of a long term investment. I know many of my artist friends have experienced a downturn in sales, if not a complete halt. This could take a serious toll not only on the Arts, but on the artist as well.

Many online sellers do not make huge profits. A lot of their sales go straight back into their business to make equipment upgrades or buy supplies. Whats left is usually absorbed back into their household's budget. In some cases, it may be a large percentage of the household budget.

What could happen when sales diminish is that an artist may not afford the supplies they need to create their art without taking from their household budget. If their sales are a large part of this, their resources may be too slim to bridge the gap. I know of many artists who simply produce less art because of this.

The next issue that arises is that many artists are forced to earn money outside of the arts. When this happens, it can be fatal to a blossoming career. If one is working outside the arts, one has a hard time squeezing in the moments to get lost in creativity. Therefore painting falls to the wayside and the momentum is lost and skills degrade from lack of use.

By purchasing paintings with the idea that it is an investment, you know that not only are you making an investment for your future financial portfolio, you are investing in a person's talent. You have the chance to give the opportunity to an artist who may be struggling with their choice in careers. You might be that person who says "I believe in your potential" that gives an emerging artist the confidence to make a calculated risk and take the plunge.

I look back over the years to my faithful patrons and friends who have supported me on this journey by investing in my future and I am very thankful. (You know who you are!) You made a difference to me, I hope that some of my readers are inspired to seek out some new art and make an investment in an artist's future!

If you feel like investing in me (hee hee hee - had to throw that in you know) , I have free shipping all this month if you purchase a painting in my etsy store. Just type in "birds of a feather" in the "note from the buyer" line while making your purchase and I'll refund the shipping charge for all Canadian and US painting sales.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

ACEO 189 - Revisiting my Online Roots

After a long break, I've decided to do the occasional ACEO. If you are just being introduced to the ACEO, I would suggest you take a moment to read this post.

The collector market for these can sometimes be a hit and miss proposition. ACEO are very time consuming, often not yeilding the profits in proportion to hours worked. Selling on a site such as ebay can take a low priced item and have the value raised enormously - it is always as valuable as how much the next highest bidder was willing to go.

Trends can come and go, and the artist is often at the mercy of the marketplace. Add in the potential for eyestrain and one might need to take a break from them - I know I did.

What I enjoy about ACEO are the whimiscal subjects that were my most popular, quick output (compared to a large canvas) and broad customer base - cheap postage and lower prices encourages people to collect a broad range of cards.

When I recently went out and purchased some Masonite board for my study paintings, I asked my husband if he could cut me some ACEO sized boards from the scraps. I have discovered that these are LOVELY to paint on - not too much tooth to the surface and able to take a lot more abuse than the 140lb watercolour paper I was using before.

Anyways, I will be trying to do these occasionally, I have a little stack of boards just waiting to be painted!

Fits in the palm of my hand perfectly!

I just love the thick black edge - so much more sturdier than paper ACEO!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Painting Study: Bird and Thoughts on Stained Glass

This little (6" x 6" acrylic on masonite panel) Birdie was an exercise for me in layout, lines and a variation of blue-y green values.

One day, when I have the time I would like to pursue stained glass. When I sketch or do this type of image, I find I am often connecting everything together in a way that is reminiscent of the soldered edges you would find in a stained glass panel.

My mind starts racing when I start thinking about the possiblities of translating my interests into this format. The challenge is not only in the design but in the cutting and piecing together.

I dabbled in it ever so slightly when in college - in order to supplement our meagre budgets some friends and I would get together and make little flowers out of broken coloured glass shards and wire coat hangers. They were quite rustic but they sold well enough. My friend (who owned all the stuff and was quite talented) would guide us on the assembly.

I never did enough of this to require much cutting or designing, but it was enough of a taste to keep me thinking about it for the last many years. One day I'll pick it up in earnest.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Painting Study: Sugar Bowl and Sake Cup

I hope my readers don't mind that I've been taking you along a little journey the past few weeks. I really want to be posting on my blog regularily but I get myself caught up in this idea that I should only be doing new orginal paintings that are ready to purchase.

I actually sketch and paint more, I don't post about the practice stuff often though. I thought it would be interesting to my readers to open this up to you so you can see the hidden side of my work.

This painting study isn't perfect - I'm learning that it is okay to put these up on the internet! I spent about 1.5 hours on this 6" x 6" masonite panel. I wanted ellipses and glossy opaque colour. I was also quite interested in how the shadows fell on the white surface. I painted this from real life, hence the inprecision. I did snap a picture in case I was interrupted, but I did not need to use it.

I feel like I'm starting to understand the sugar bowl a little better - it is the first time I've painted it. The little red sake cup has had a few turns in my plate collection paintings. I love the reddish orange colour against the blue interior so much!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sketch: Sugar Bowl and Sake Cup

This year I'd like to get back into exercising my observation techniques and fine motor skills. One way I plan to do that is regular sketching and small study paintings.

I find my large scale pieces really benefit from this regular practice. Just like any other skill, you tend you to improve and maintain a higher level of ability if you are doing drills and working the muscles on a consistant basis.

I also want to paint from life a lot more. It is easier to do this on a smaller basis because the light doesn't change so fast that you lose your focus.

Today I'm posting the sketch - make note of the light sources, they are slightly different in the study painting and there was only a short time span between the two. Check back tomorrow!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Painting Study: Self Portrait

I did this portrait from a photograph - there is something about painting yourself not from a mirror that is confusing. This is not the face that I am aquainted with.

In some ways this can be good, it helps you to be objective and look at the details closely. In other ways, I still don't really know if it looks like "me". I got most of the major details right but I don't know if they are falling together in such a way that my essence has been captured.

Self portraits are tough, they are an honest accounting of where life is taking you. Every shadow and line should be referenced otherwise you risk making a likeness that is airbrushed and unrecognizable.

It is easy for a viewer to see where you place emphasis and can lead them to conclude you place more or less importance on some aspects of your appearance. I personally dislike being photographed so this was doubly painful in some ways. Oh well - all for the sake of developing my work.