Saturday, October 6, 2007

Egg sketch #8 **VIDEO**

10/5: Egg sketch #8, oil on canvas panel, approx. 3x5 in. SOLD

Finally! Here I am performing in my debut video. I wish I could paint this fast:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Work in progress: Self-portrait

10/4: I tried to look at the light more closely and add more warm and cool notes. It got frustrating and I lost patience, probably wrecking some areas. I wish painting wasn't so hard.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Color chart: greens

10/3: To the 4 or 5 readers I have left: this might seem like a cop-out, I know, but the amazement I felt on the previous night came back once I showed Dorothe some of the subtle color mixes I'd stumbled upon recently. I should have done some actual painting and not obsessed about colors, but I can see myself putting this off indefinitely; I felt it was important to do before I decide to switch to different colors. This chart doesn't deal with any triads of subtle greys etc., but the greens from my two yellows, two blues, and black (I found my tube of Mars black but the difference between it and the ivory black was almost impossible for me to discern, so this is the ivory - supposedly the cooler one). It photographed pretty accurately, albeit dark, except that the pure ultramarine has a freaky electric glow here.

TOR=transparent oxide red
PB=Prussian blue
UB=ultramarine blue
Blk=ivory black

The swatch with the asterisk is the dark woody green I wrote about yesterday (see below), and the second row is the range made using it - so actually making triads, with each yellow. In the upper right between TOR and UB is my darkest shadow mix, and you can sort of see the inky browns that they make.

TOR is similar to burnt sienna, but because of its transparency will mix differently with other colors. See here, at top, pure burnt sienna on the left and TOR on the right. Mixed with ochre, just below, they are nearly the same - though the TOR mix is more golden and not weighed down. At bottom is Prussian blue; with sienna it makes a nutty dark brown, which is nice but can be found other ways, while with TOR it somehow turns that incredible green, a new color with new possibilities.

The green does resemble Hooker's green, and I feel dumb now that I've looked it up: Hooker's is just a mix of Prussian blue and gamboge yellow. I wonder now though about Prussian being fugitive, and whether I should use phthalo.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Egg sketch #7

10/2: Egg sketch #7, oil on canvas panel, approx. 3x5 in.

I've been real lazy, didn't paint till late. Recently someone suggested I do a video of one of these sketches, and I had everything set up and would have one to share, except for much of it I stood too much to one side partly blocking the camera's view. And when I wasn't it was just painful to see how much noodling and redundant brushwork I was doing on such a little "sketch." (It's very weird watching myself paint.) But next time will go better.

So I took a break from the self-portrait, and I'm glad I did because I came to the realization that cerulean blue is no good. I used Prussian blue again (which had been on a corner of my palette for some time now) and came to discover more of its amazing properties. Cerulean is not for me any more - and it never was, honestly ... it should be kept to plein air painting. I had always disliked Prussian blue because it was so strong, like a phthalo, and it liked to find its way onto my skin all the time and spread to my clothes. But I made a great discovery while thinking about greens, and which one I might use out of the tube:

I mixed as usual my darkest dark shade (a, above): transp. oxide red and ultramarine blue, the result of which had amazed me the first time I mixed them. Then I thought I'd try the oxide red with Prussian blue, and the wonderful dark green that it made (b) just blew my mind. I don't know which green it resembles - not sap green but Hooker's? I don't know, I didn't look it up. Of course Prussian blue is greenish, and that's why it looks like light underwater and why real nice blue-greens and green-greys are possible (c), from varying the ratio of it to white and ochre. But who would know, until they try it, that this "blue" plus a "red"-brown would give the most incredible green? It is like moss and earth and ferns and all that is good about the woods, all at once.... Some of this dark green is visible in the bottom part of the painting. But the possibility of a wider range of grey as well as green is what is most remarkable; I still have a lot to learn to really exploit this. I used to wonder why people used Prussian blue so much, and now I can understand.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Work in progress: Self-portrait

10/1: Self-portrait, oil on canvas panel, approx. 8x6 in.

Spent three hours to get to this point - now less like a Sculpey face and more like me. It has been tricky work in the eye areas, trying to see past the glare on my glasses. I would take them off if I weren't practically blind. The biggest correction from the first stage I think has been the shape of my nose, which I never feel I can get just right. From the side it is an obnoxious piece of landscape - even my teacher Jeff Markowsky couldn't get the profile right when I sat for him years ago. I think about that and smile, as it reminds me that even the people I look up to who are exceptionally good can sometimes get thrown off.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Work in progress: Self-portrait

9/30: Self-portrait, oil on canvas panel, approx. 8x6 in.

Lest this blog become just a series of tiny 20-minute sketches, I thought I’d better do something more involved. This time I wanted to do a more finished self-portrait. I can’t guarantee that it won’t end up an embarrassing mess, so here is what it looks like now. I think it is the beginning of a decent portrait, at least beginning to look like me – keeping in mind the fundamental structural concepts such as forming the sockets before eyeballs, I tried to address some crucial things before stopping: eyes going in the right direction (sounds simple enough), the corners of the mouth, and (in my case) looking like a member of the Taliban. Well, it’s on its way.

This is only an hour and a half of work so far and I tried to stay rough. The palette is typical for me nowadays: white, yellow, ochre, red, alizarin, transp. oxide red, burnt umber, cerulean, ultramarine, black. I should keep cad. red light off my palette and use it only in special cases (it’s not like I can't use the other colors to make everything way too hot); same with my old friend burnt sienna, as the oxide red pretty much replaces it. I might add terre verte or a similar green, if mainly as a way to remember to use greens more, but it still leaves the total number above 10, when painters like Nerdrum can work with 3 or 4.... I may well end up doing more of a dabby type of Nerdrumesque modeling here, thinking that I possibly relate to his style more than I thought. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alphabet block

9/29: Alphabet block, oil on canvas panel,approx. 5x3 in.

I tried to keep this fast but it went over half an hour so I won’t call it a sketch. I took the time to mix my normal colors here, and missed the slight feeling of excitement that using less familiar ones had given me these last few days. Maybe trying out "the other kid’s crayons" was more satisfying, or I’m not as sure of my normal palette’s versatility as I was. Either way, this is somehow better than my previous attempt at alphabet blocks, which took considerably more time. Being more spontaneous in color decisions is key, I guess - fewer decisions, with more confidence, or something like this.

Writing yesterday's egg post got me thinking more about the term "viking," the Old English form of which was wícing [wēch-ĭng], from wíc, the word I found so difficult in the riddle of the swan. I had never put the two together before - the root word plus the suffix making a new word, in the way that æðeling "prince" was made from æðele "noble." What the dictionary has on the supposed origin of viking sheds more light on another meaning of wíc, which gives the riddle an even more playful, "riddling" quality. Maybe more on this later (I know you love it)....