Saturday, June 26, 2010

Avoiding Temptation...

Diva (16x12)

After a long figure painting session, we asked our tired model if she would strike a pose or two for photos (with the heels that she couldn't endure during the pose she held earlier when we painted...). The temptation of course with photo reference is that you have the luxury to return to your frozen subject over & over whenever you like, usually resulting in too much detail and an overworked piece in the end (if you ever get to the end!).
So, I tried to stay away from too much detail by using the edge of a #4 brush for the smallest areas -- the idea is to keep more freshness to the brush strokes & paint texture. Another trick many painters use is the 'time limit method'; set an equivalent amount of time on the clock that you would have under a live figure model condition and quit when the buzzer goes off.

Rehearsing Young Dancer (16x12)

This was done from a black & white photograph, so I stuck to a limited palette (it's very difficult to invent convincing colour) but the mood reads better like this anyway....again, avoiding extraneous details that are tempting with smaller sized brushes.


Without small brush work, this painting has a fresher and more spontaneous feel than if I had noodled the details with tiny brushes. I'm not a great painter, but I have learned that a well placed heavily-loaded larger brush stroke will read as detailed as a multitude of smaller, finely finessed brush may take a few tries, but the end result will have a fresher look to it.

Oswego Homestead (16x20)

Last but not least, this piece just received the Purchase Prize award at last nights"Chronicles Invitational Exhibit" at the Lake Oswego Festival of Arts. The Festival selects one painting annually into their permanent collection that chronicles the history of the town of Lake Oswego, Oregon.


  1. Good reminders of the temptations that lie in wait. Love the Lake Oswego prize winner. A beauty.

  2. You are great! I Like especially the classic ballerina, wonderfull

  3. Congratulations on your award.

    I just saw your figure paintings at the Howard Mandville, and they are very striking. Wonderful to see them.