Jeremy is a classically trained artist. Julie is a nutrition therapist.

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Just Dirt and Oil on Canvas

A formal training is a funny thing. The artists at the New York Academy are so incredibly talented that they can’t help but impart a commensurate level of influence. A lot of the time spent after graduating is trying to get their voices out of your head and come to grips with what is important, for yourself, as an artist.

It’s an important process as you don’t want to be just a disciple of some other, more important, artist. That said, there are a couple of voices that I try hard to hold on to. Vincent Desiderio, I hope, will never leave me. I think of him the most.

But in working on this painting last night I started to feel a profound sense of pride in the work I was doing. I felt like I had turned a bit of a corner and making work that I could really be proud of. It was at that moment when Martha Erlebacher came into my head to humble and chasten me. Martha used to say, “no matter how amazing your work, never forget that all you are doing is pushing dirt and oil around on canvas.”

Here’s a detail of my dirt and oil pushed around on a composite aluminum support.

Shh - Josh (detail, in progress)

Shh – Josh (detail, in progress)

Shh – Josh (Update)

Haven’t posted an update on the blog in a few days. It’s not that I’ve been idle – quite the contrary I have been painting more days than not. I didn’t paint on Saturday however, but that was only because I was up at the Denver Art Museum with Julie to see the excellent Daniel Sprick exhibition.

I’ve also been hard at work on another new painting that I’m not quite ready to share online yet. But yesterday I returned to the Shushing portrait of Josh. I had to wait a while to work on this one again, not only because of other projects, but because the cadmium paints in the background take a really long time to set. It took a full week to be dry to the touch.

Shh - (Josh, in progress)

Shh – (Josh, in progress)

I’m still having trouble getting decent photographs of these works in progress so, sorry for the glare.

Shh (Josh) – Update

Spent a good chunk of time in the studio this weekend. Got a couple of good session in on the the painting of Josh. Here’s a couple of images (sorry about the glare).

This is an intermediate pass on the fleshy parts of the painting. Should be a good base for really going for the chroma and modeling on the the final layers.

Shh (Josh - in progress)

Shh (Josh – in progress)

Here, I wanted to make a decision on the background color and I also wanted to give myself a problem to work out as I resolve the painting. I don’t normally reach for the high-chroma paint tubes (read cadmiums). But in this case I wanted a chromatic orange in the background. The challenge now will be to bring enough color into the subject that it’s not overwhelmed by the background. I’m curious to see if I’ll be able to pull that off with the earth tones that I normally work with or if I’ll have to expand the palette into more of those high-chroma pigments.

Shh (Josh - in progress)

Shh (Josh – in progress)

Kayti – Update

Managed to sneak in a painting session last night. I really needed a day in the studio, it’s amazing how when things get you down you don’t want to be creative – but if you can force yourself to do it you’ll end up feeling much better.

Kayti (in progress)

Kayti (in progress)

Still a long, long way to go with this one but it felt good to get a good session in and make some solid progress.

Weekend Update

I worked on Josh and Kayti this weekend. Just blocking in color areas still. A long way to go still but they’re already starting to have a bit of life to them.

Shh - (Josh, in progress)

Shh – (Josh, in progress)

Kayti (in progress)

Kayti (in progress)

Short Weekend

I was out of town for a work conference last week, so not a lot of time to do any painting. But I did manage to get a half day in yesterday. Enough time to block in some more of the clothing on this one.

Shh (Josh) - in progress

Shh (Josh) – in progress

Another New Painting

I’ve got another painting going as well. This one is a 24″ square composition of Kayti and her amazing tattoos.

Here’s the initial wipeout. I think the support didn’t get enough drying time before I started in on this layer so some of the paint areas didn’t wipeout as cleanly as I would have liked. That said, I’m starting to trust myself more and understand that I just need a few general markers to start from.
Kayti (wipeout)

Here it is starting to block in the paint areas. I think I’ve got a good tone for the pigmented skin but really this is going to be a lot of work and I haven’t even started on the actual portrait yet.
Kayti (in progress)