February 29, 2012

Smoke from Roasted Coffee

I watched the roasting process today and tried to focus on what the smoke looked like when the beans were released from the roaster into the cooling tray. The puff of smoke -- which is pretty dramatic as well as aromatic -- lasts a few seconds, maybe not even that long. It seemed blue/gray in color, but the light is very limited and I still feel like I'm not seeing everything as I need to. I need to think about balancing the effect of seeing smoke with seeing through it, seeing the roaster and seeing the beans pour out. Not to mention watching what Calvin is doing.
I brought an odd size canvas to work through my ideas. I moved the logo up (good), didn't notice that the logo on the wall is the "old" logo, missing red, need to rotate Calvin's sweatshirt in a more natural way to show the turn of his body, and need to fix that smoke. I think I am feeling pretty good about understanding the industrial look of the roaster. I'm going to get a clip-on light to put onto my canvas and hope that helps me see the colors I'm using better. With any luck, next week I'll work on the real commissioned paintings when roasting resumes on Tuesday.

February 28, 2012

Calvin at the Roaster

This was my first time seeing the industrial process of coffee roasting. It was cold in the warehouse and around me deliveries were coming and going. I spent a couple of hours this morning trying to get a sense of what it was like, getting a feel for the movement, light, all that. I was painting in a kind of dark spot and had a hard time seeing the colors as I put them down. I also know the painting is going to hang in a spot that's not brightly lit, so I upped the intensity of the light areas, although you can see that it's a pretty high contrast scene anyway. Coffee roasting is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I'll be back at this tomorrow.

I'm also trying to paint "solvent-free" both to decrease the amount of stuff I have to drag around and maybe do a little environmental good. So far, I'm pretty pleased with the way my brushes have cleaned up just using linseed oil while painting and baby oil to clean up.

February 27, 2012

Hanging from a "Cross"

Clayton was posed today in full "crucifix" mode with his hands hanging from a bar above his head. The whole effect was very tortured.

I was exhausted trying to get the upward tension of his muscles, the downward drag of gravity and focusing on just the upper part of the figure. I didn't think the 14 year old in my house would have appreciated the full nude. This is the 2nd time I've moved around the studio only to have the full frontal view of the pose follow me again.

February 23, 2012

Jefferson, Washington

Close to 70 degrees out, a perfectly beautiful day to be downtown painting. At least today no one asked me "What are you painting a picture of?" So at least I have a likeness....

February 22, 2012

Religious Imagery

It's hard to escape religious imagery when painting Clayton in the studio.

February 17, 2012

Coffee House, Roaster Paintings

I've been commissioned to paint the coffee roasting process at the plant of our local fantastic coffee shop. The coffee roaster they use is from 1939 and should make a wonderful industrial, smoky subject for a painting. I'll be going to the plant this month to take in the lighting, the color and the mood -- apparently it's quite loud as well so I may have to make up a "java" mix on my iPod to paint to ("Black Coffee in Bed," "Java Blues," what else?). The work will end up on the walls of the coffee shop.

The shops have been subjects I've painted before, but I'm also going to work on new, larger paintings to fit into the wall spaces. The past paintings are up in the shops, but weren't painted with the wall size in mind. Bigger, even more vivid paintings to come.

February 15, 2012

Color Portrait

I went after color very aggressively in this painting, completely enjoyed doing it.

February 14, 2012

The Height of Idiocy

Well, it's clear to me now that the height of idiocy is 7 feet. The challenge of working with a tall painting continues. I worked today on the painting while it was lying on its side across an easel. I had to think through the direction of my brushstrokes as they'd appear when the painting was upright. I also found myself unable to be sure what the result would look like until I got the painting upright again. I could, though, see a lot of areas where the paint needed work that were impossible to detect when it was standing.

So after working for a while, I flipped the painting back up. Not something easy at all and I don't think I'm going to do that more than once again in my tight space. Time to see how the painting dries and how it looks when I can get it actually flat against a taller wall (right now it's got bends where the canvases connect since the ceiling is too low).

February 13, 2012

Pattern Painting

I felt like I had nothing to lose today -- last day with this pose and a painting that needed something. I picked up patterns from other fabrics in the room and painted them into the wall and drapery. The pattern on her jacket and the vase were there, but I hadn't really gone into them before. The painting session was over and I'd neglected to fix her too-long, too-stiff arm... so I have to fix that before calling this one done.

February 9, 2012

Monument, Sideways

I had to turn the painting sideways today -- it was clear that I couldn't really paint lying on the floor to get the bottom third. Why did I now have to find out that my studio is so small that I can barely have the 7ft painting on its side?

Sideways, I can see areas where the paint's too thin or needs color adjustment since I can light the surface more evenly than I could floor-to-ceiling.

February 8, 2012

3rd Day Progress

Trying another approach to painting the model, Lise. I think I'm getting there.

February 6, 2012

Soft Portrait

The model was a bit late so I mixed up colors before she came. I was happier with the color overall, but I think I scraped out the image 3 times... maybe a 4th was in order.

February 3, 2012

Start of Something Big! The Washington Monument

This is an exhilarating experience! I've painted a large mural outdoors before, but it's been a while since I've dealt with a big, wide brush and huge gobs of paint. My 7 ft tall Washington Monument is coming along.

I'm working from a sketch I did which had -- wrong! -- the stone of the monument whiter at the top. It's not -- the "white" marble is two colors and the top is definitely a yellower stone. I'm going to play with the color a bit as this painting progresses.

The limitations of my set up: I am up on a step stool to paint the upper part and I've gotten just a bit of paint on the ceiling since the canvas is wedged up against it. I have to get onto the floor to paint the bottom. I've been thinking I could separate the canvases so I could work on them all at normal height, but I need to see the work as a whole, so I will suffer for art.

February 2, 2012

7 ft Ceiling

Next time I decide to assemble a 7ft tall triptych, I will think first about the height of the ceiling in my studio. The sketch of the Washington Monument alongside the canvas is what I'll be working from to make this painting.

February 1, 2012

Looser, Softer

We've got this model again for 3 more sessions. I'm going to keep working on making new paintings, looser, softer each time.