Archive for July, 2008
This is the second stage in the portrait of Evan. (See the previous post for the sketch.) Using the sketch as a guide to the shapes, I blocked in the colors over the top. By “blocked in” I mean that I roughly applied large flat areas of color. Interestingly, this looks like Evan, even at this rough stage. That’s because if one can get the eye-eye-nose-mouth placement accurate relative to one another “likeness” happens. Usually.
This stage of a painting is the most fun and the most satisfying because it is all about just mushing the brush around quickly. Honestly, I could quit at this point…and I often have.
The next step is to look again — hard — at the reference photos and to make sure the colors are correct. Then I’ll start refining the features of the face. I like to leave the clothes and backgound very loose and sketchy. Even graphite drawings I did 30 years ago are like this: “tight” face, especially eyes, and very loose clothing and hands and feet. I’ll post some of those drawings to this blog soon.
I want to add an owl in the background, to represent knowledge and wisdom…both of which Evan has. Old (16th, 17th, 18th century) portraits always had a lot of symbolism in them: skulls to remind the viewer of ever-present death, hourglasses to represent the immutability of time, coins to represent the wealth of the subject. The inclusion of an owl is appropriate for Evan because he’s liked owls — especially barn owls — from the time he was a baby.
I just noticed I forgot to paint in the “sunnies” he was holding in his left hand in the original sketch.
This is the biggest painting I’ve ever created…a whopping 30 by 40 feet in oil enamel on concrete. It is one of those very modern monochromatic studies in a smooth buttery-yellow. Dan vacuumed up all the sand the barn builders had tracked in, I did the cutting in around the edges with a brush, and we shared the rolling duties. It looks gorgeous…and though it is dry now it has a wet-look shine that makes the interior of the barn/studio look bigger and brighter.
Thanks to friend Adrienne W, for choosing the color. It is Valspar Floor & Porch Paint in “beachcomber”. I wanted to use a color called “artist canvas” (for obvious reasons) but it was too grey — exactly the color of unprimed linen. Adrienne has had so much building and decorating experience that she is practically a contractor, so we deferred to her better judgement…and the floor looks great!
Pigs are as intelligent as most three-year-old humans. They can play video games (just not the creepy ones named after felonies). They dream and they have rich fantasy lives. They are also sweet and friendly and “cute” in the same way a bulldog or a frog is cute. Next time you consider ordering a BLT or a Cuban sandwich, remember these pictures of my newest animal friend…
If you know me, you know that I want to be a portrait painter of people, not just pets. It occurred to me that to reach that goal I’d better start practicing on some creatures with just two legs, not four. My favorite subject for the past twenty-six years has been son Evan. He recently visited us at the new place on Gopher Hill Road and I photographed him on the porch, with the idea of using some of the photos as reference for a formal painted portrait.
From those photos I created this marker sketch…
I like the layout and I like the “sunnies” (Australian term for sunglasses) that he is holding. The next step is to block in the colors.