Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oil Portrait Painting

I've been working on a portrait of the parents of the children I posted last time:

Once again the colors didn't translate too well. 

An interesting article recently in the Atlanta paper, taken from the NY Times, on using fake heads and/or bodies in print ads.  A scientific term "uncanny valley" theory applies to this with regard to using unreal faces:  "People will tolerate only so much artificial human likeness before attraction turns into revulsion.  If they added a super realistic but not-real face, they'd become uncanny, and therefore frightening, eerie and creepy."   I wonder if this applies to how people view art.  Are hyper-realistic faces viewed as eerie?  What about other alterations and abstractions?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Watercolor Portraits of Children

I've been working on some children's portraits, and feel very fortunate to have a chance to paint these delightful children!  I think watercolor is the perfect medium for children's portraits, but I'm also working on an oil version for this family, on one canvas.  The colors are not quite accurate in this photo of the three paintings:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cold Night Flowers

It's a good night to keep warm painting flowers.  I added a camelia blossom to the leftover Thanksgiving arrangement.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Foo Dog, and other Small Things

Some small paintings I've been working on:
the Foo Dog, or Shishi Lion, is thought to offer protection and security

And a Ginny Doll:

and 2 food paintings, always a favorite for me:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Over Painting and RePainting

Here's a sketch I did at a recent life drawing group:

I've been doing a lot of Repainting lately, while realizing this can often be unwise.  It's tempting to take a painting that is partially successful and see if it can be improved upon.  Many artists find this quite useful and the built up layers can add interesting depth and texture.  Recently I came across a website devoted to Mabel Alvarez who did this later on in her artistic career using her newer vision of art:

 She was admonished for this practice in a 1960 letter to her from Earl Rowland of the Pioneer Museum & Haggin Galleries in Stockton, California. “Now I have a few things to say that might be interesting to you. You greatly shocked me when you said you are painting over some of your old canvases and doing things in your new style on top of them. This worries me. Such a practice could only arise from two causes. One, that you fail to appreciate your older work sufficiently and two, that the purchase of materials is a problem with you which I think is not likely to be the case.” Alvarez Papers AAA.

Monday, October 31, 2011


October, my favorite month is just about over.   I  had a wonderful trip to Laguna Beach.  It is always restorative to walk on the beach, and a bonus to have so many lovely galleries to explore.

Here is a figurative painting, just working on.  Not sure if this is finished, so input always welcome.

I've been spending time painting still lifes lately.  Here are two of the recent ones (all oil)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sketch Group

Thursday was my last day leading the Sketch Group!   Look forward to painting at more groups in Atlanta and having some more time to paint.  We had a wonderful model/singer who is returning to LA soon.  Here's my painting

And another painting, perhaps finished?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Looking at Art

I love to look at art on the internet.   We've never had such access to so much art.  It's interesting how different art can look when it's presented in different forms, in small jpegs or in person.  Sometimes the small images enhance the artwork, perhaps certain sizes or styles.  But so much is lost -- texture and subtle color variation.  It's hard to visualize the actual size of the artwork, even given dimensions.  

Artists have devised so many ways to look at art.   I paint with a mirror behind me, so I can look at the art in reverse.   There are minimizing mirrors and mirrors painted black underneath.   We often hold the painting upside down.  All these things are done to create a balanced painting (check values, etc.).  Now we can post images to Facebook and blogs and other sites.  The critiques and validation is so helpful to artists.  When painting by oneself, it's often difficult to judge ones own work.  

Some people are able to paint a painting and declare it complete.  The mood and inspiration can be fleeting.  But viewing the art over time, in different ways, I'm usually compelled to change things. 

Here are some recent still lifes, some posted in previous stages.  I think these are finished!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Watercolor sketch

It's fun to take a break from oils and paint with watercolors.   Here's a quick sketch based on Annie's recent pose at the sketchgroup.  She recreated her pose at the Portrait Society of America's Conference where she posed for the artist paint-out.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekly Sketch Group Art

Here are some of my recent paintings from the weekly figure drawing group
from Thursday:

and some from the past several weeks:
 And a couple of drawings:

The next two I framed after working on them some more after the Thursday Group:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Figure Pose

I started this at the most recent Thursday group:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Red Paint

I love red paint and have quite a number of tubes of red varieties, cadmiums and quinacridones.  Unfortunately my already red dog decided to enhance her appearance with some red paint.  Not quite sure which she had gotten into, I made a frantic call to Poison Control.  It seems that eating the paint is not quite as toxic as I had feared, and many hours later she seems to be quite fine -- though my white shag rug is not.   Breathing paint seems to be harmful as well.   Red can mean abundance in feng shui.

Latest still life:    Red Flowers

Friday, April 8, 2011

Year of Pink

This is the Year of Pink, as named by Pantone and I find that I have been painting with a decidedly pink palette. 

Whether it is the lovely Macarons de Paris from the wonderful local chocolate shop, Maison Robert

or a baby portrait.

Baby and Puppy,   or my latest oil sketch from the weekly Atlanta Artists Thursday group

I am certainly surrounded by an abundance of pink right now: