Friday, January 30, 2015

Drawing, the not-so-secret ingredient....

 Soup Kitchen (12x12) oil on linen

Last summer when I was shopping for a gluten-free cake for my wife's birthday, I came across this great little bakery in NW Portland -- it was kinda hidden away in an industrial area with no signage outside, just a little sandwich board on the corner sidewalk that read, Gem Bakery...

 Bakery Girls (20x24) oil on panel

While inside ordering a delicious custom cake, I was taken with the look that all of the girls working there had; the scarves in particular.  I explained I was a painter and asked if I could come back with my camera to shoot some reference shots while they worked and they graciously consented...
 (detail) Bakery Girls

To transfer my photo reference into paintings, I first needed to go thru a "sketch phase" to interpret what I had shot rather than going straight to canvas. Painting requires drawing, and drawing requires exercising the thought process that a camera is incapable of... I had ideas of what I was looking for when shooting the photos, but I then needed to remove my ideas from the photos in order to recover the original intent...sketching out various poses was the best vehicle for this.

 Gesture sketch

I could then use this third generation information to influence my painting (along with) the photographic reference.  Every artist has a particular drawing style that influences their painting's look (if they let it)... I prefer to work from life whenever possible, but if I can't,  I never want to refer solely to the photograph -- I need the separation and go-between of my drawings as a jumping off point. The photo can keep me on track, but the drawings will always retain the edited (and thus more original) concept and look...

Gesture sketch

I hope to return soon to Gem Bakery to gather more information for future paintings...and maybe a gluten-free goody or two as well!

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