December 29, 2013

Montana Snow Paintings

I was in Montana last week at Big Sky and brought oil paint, boards and an easel.  In the frigid weather, I found it best to paint on the porch of the house we were in so that I could periodically take refuge indoors and warm up. I had to shovel off a fair bit of snow to make a spot to set up, but the view of the north side of Lone Peak was just fine.

I was using a lot of white paint and the paintings are really wet since white takes so long to dry.  I've painted on trips before using gouache and acrylic, but oil paint is definitely better for me.  I unpacked the wet paintings last night (they came home in a box that had a ridged piece of plastic on each side to keep them separate) and they made it home in pretty good shape.

December 20, 2013

Shirtless Painting

We've got a clause in our Studio B lease that specifies we can't be shirtless in the studio.  It wasn't something that entered my mind, ever, as a possibility, so it seemed weird that it was in the lease.

I'm reading Man with a Blue Scarf, a book by Martin Gayford, which is a diary of sorts of the time he spent sitting for his portrait by Lucian Freud.

This may explain my lease:

December 12, 2013

Lilacs with a Warm Shadow

Now that I realized I have to choose the time of day for the wedding dress painting, I put it aside.  If I'm keeping the morning reflections in the window,  I can't work on it in the afternoon.

Instead, I went back to the lilac arrangement on the desk I painted last month for another variation.  This time, instead of the cool gray shadow, I painted the shadow in a warm color.  I chose a smaller canvas, different angle and narrower view (no distant corner of the room) to make the shadow an even bigger part of the painting.  It's at a pretty simple stage right now and I'll work on it tomorrow afternoon too and see where it goes from here.

Today's painting of the lilac arrangement -- in progress

This is what I painted last month

Stages of a Painting

This is going to go through a lot of stages...   Today I realized that I'm not used to painting with natural light while inside a studio.  My South-facing window, which seemed pretty constantly bright to me, does in fact include reflections in the morning that are gone by afternoon.   The question is whether to include them or not.

I painted in the reflection today, and, in order to make the lights more luminous, darkened and dulled the shadows and interior wall to a color closer to the real silver-green paint on the walls.  Interesting, definitely both improved and diminished the effect I was trying for.  To make the range of light, reflection and shadow just in the window alone, I've got a range of blues, grays, greenish blues, violets and cool whites...and I think the result is pretty mixed.  The cerulean in the upper right corner definitely has to go.

December 10, 2013

Studio News, Shows, Wedding Dress Painting

Studio B moving day is January 2, 2014!

While I've got a piece showing every month at the Foundry Gallery, I've got a solo show (which is to say, a lot of my work) in April 2014 at the Foundry in Washington, DC.  And in July 2014, I'll be in a group show at Gallery B in Bethesda.  At Studio B, I'll have work on display, paintings in progress and an open studio night the 2nd Friday of every month.

The April show will have its opening reception on Friday, April 4, which happens to be my wedding anniversary.  It got me thinking about the wedding dress that's been hanging in my various closets over the years, completely unprotected and definitely showing signs of age (not to mention the style, so 1982).  I hung it up in the window of my home studio and the yellowed cotton dress, light behind it and  streaming through it suggested a painting to me.  This is where it is so far.

December 1, 2013

Morning Light in the Kitchen

I was reading the paper early this morning (too early -- thanks to my early rising dog) and light was streaming through the full glass kitchen door.  Thought it was worth trying to grab it for a painting. Here's what's a little embarrassing -- the color of the scene reminded me a bit of Van Gogh's bedroom painting, the one with the warm orange floor and cool blue wall, light coming through a bright window. If you look at Van Gogh's painting, well,  maybe the shape of the light in my kitchen and the shape of his bed... nevermind, it was just an idea.  I'd seen the Van Gogh painting over the weekend at the Phillips Collection's fantastic special exhibit.

Not sure if this will be just another start that I abandon, or if I'll keep playing with it.  By the way, the objects on the counter are two glass orbs filled with cranberries.