Monday, February 22, 2010

And now back to our program...

I just can't stay away from painting blues and jazz subjects...and I have no idea if anyone would buy such a painting, but they're going to have to pry that #6 flat Simmons Signature series hog bristol from my cold dead fingers before I give it up...

Tenor Sax (9x12)

These are more or less studies for possible larger pieces (or parts of larger paintings) but are O.K. to stand alone as small works. I'm both a music lover and an art lover, and the older I get, the more I appreciate the music of my parents generation and am inclined to explore that as subject matter.

Fascinating Rhythm (9x12)

Since my mother passed, I have repeatedly returned to the popular Samba influenced pop that was in the background when I was small (Astrid Gelberto, Sergio Mendez & Brazil 66, etc.) perhaps I'll venture into that genre for subject next... Interesting how much of the memory of our lives music can store and trigger when the timing's right.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time on your side...

TIME usually gets a bad rap since most of us want more than what's allotted, but when painting outdoors on location, time can actually be your ally...the setting sun, moving clouds -- elements we can't control that change the shadows, values and colour can keep you from overworking a piece, which is a good thing. Spontaneity is a desired and important quality in a plein air painting, and too much time will steal it from you. In the case of the piece below, a delivery van parked right in front of me just as I was nearing the finish -- I thought I wanted more time, but later realized it would have gone down hill from here (maybe it already had a little, but it still has some freshness to it).

Urban Assault Vehicle (9x12)

Bridge of Size (9x12)

Like many landscape paintings, urbanscapes are more interesting in the hours of early morning or late in the day when shadows are long and more interesting things are happening abstract-wise... Of course you're asking for it when staying in the confines of an hour or so, but that hour of golden light is worth the pursuit. For the piece above, I took a reference photo so I could add the white van later when I got home. Moving vehicles are almost impossible to paint, but leaving them out of a city scene (along with pedestrians) can sometimes have the "neutron bomb effect"...

Monday, February 8, 2010

"I'm bored..."

Probably the most foolish two words a ten year old boy can mutter in the presence of his mom on a summer afternoon... At our house, if you didn't have your wits about you and decreed such a statement out loud, it guaranteed time in the yard pulling weeds. Artists should never be bored. We should always be working on something -- be it a commission, heading outdoors to paint, cleaning the studio, promoting our work or filling up pages in the 'ol sketchbook. Of course when at all possible draw from life, but if a live model is unavailable, doodle off the top of your head or from photos in the magazines lying about the house.

Doodles from magazines and/or imagination

Like painting, it's about the mileage -- whether it's a successful painting or not, you learn and grow from each experience. With sketchbooks, you're honing your drawing skills, recording ideas & reference and providing yourself a journal of progress all at the same time. And it's a personal thing -- doodling in your sketchbook can be a relaxing past time because there are generally no rules, no deadlines and no one looking over your shoulder (unless you're doing it in public).

studio models

A couple of famous painters both told me, "Work on 'starts' and don't worry about the finishes...they'll come on their own". That's what drawing in sketchbooks is like -- a lot of starts that ultimately contribute to my progress as a painter. So if you ever feel bored, draw -- it's the foundation of everything you create...and it definitely beats pulling weeds.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Blog, new work, new year

I recently read an article about the misconception of artists; how beautiful works flow effortlessly from their fingertips while they enjoy a fun-filled life of leisure...uh, sounds good. Actually, just the other day I checked in with a much more talented artist friend to see how things were going, but our talk was cut short -- he said he'd have to call me back as there was someone there to see him about a kidney...(true conversation). Yes, the flowery description of the artist's life you may have read about in a Danielle Steel novel contrasts quite starkly to the real thing (mine anyway). But before I contemplate hocking any vital organs, I thought I'd start this blog to see if I could generate some more interest in my work. So please check back often -- I promise to update regularly and do my best to keep it interesting (although I can't help but wonder what a kidney fetches these days)...

Shimmy Dancer (36x24)

This piece was inspired by the old vaudeville/1920's jazz age entertainers who sang as well as danced... although there are no instruments depicted as with my other musical genre paintings, I felt this still relates to the same subject matter.

Trumpet Solo (8x10)

I've done so many guitar players I thought it was time to branch out a little... This is a fairly quick sketch (for me) about 3 hours, including lunch and a very limited palette.

Good as it Getz (12x16)

Here are Stan Getz and Benny Goodman jamming -- been studying Soviet painters lately, and after getting over the initial depression and subsequent inferiority complex, I took a shot at these guys in cool values...again, limited palette.