I’ve been looking forward to the weekends more and more lately. It really feels like I’ve turned a bit of a corner with my painting and I can’t wait to get back into the studio.
Here’s a detail of the Shad painting that I’m still working on. I spent most of Saturday working on his clothing. I still need a finishing pass on the face and hands. Beyond that it’s really about finishing up the clothing and the background. I’m really hoping to finish this one off this coming weekend.
Shh (Shad, detail, in progress)
On Sunday I worked on the portrait of Kayti. I’ve been avoiding this painting, but as Don Draper says, “our greatest fears lie in anticipation.” (Sorry, AMC has been replaying Mad Men and I decided to see what all the fuss was about.) I’ve been a bit paralyzed every time I put it up on the easel. There’s so many technical details in this work and it’s showing so much promise that I’m afraid to screw it up. I don’t know why I get that sense of dread, I’ve had it before and every time I work on a painting it’s always better at the end of the day than at the start. Even if that weren’t the case; paint is completely malleable and I know that I can repaint it as many times as I need… but there it is, the anticipation gets me.
So once I got over fears and formulated a game-plan I just started mixing up my paints. That’s usually the crest of the hill for me, once the paints are out of the tube I don’t want to waste them so I just dive right in.
The plan is to get a good pass on her flowing platinum locks. Once that’s done I’ll be able to get the background to a more finalized state and then the rest of the portrait will be color-correctable. Once that’s done it’ll all be about the tattoos. But before that – the hair.
Kayti (detail, in progress)
I’ve been using some of the Velazquez Medium from www.naturalpigments.com lately. It’s really nice for making the paint thicker but still long and ropey. Here’s a detail of the brushwork in the hair for any artist out there. I certainly love to push my nose right up the canvas when I’m looking at a painting to explore the surface. It’s something that you almost never get to see online.
Brushwork detail from Kayti
Still a very long way to go with this one but I’m over the fear hurdle I think… at least I’m feeling confident that the major components are all going to be accomplishable in this painting. Now it’s just about iterating over them until I can’t execute them any better.
I love having a long weekend. Usually it means that I get an extra painting day. Here’s an update on the paintings I was working on this weekend.
This was the bulk of the day on Monday. The composition really requires this portion of the painting to feel very solid and have a believable weight so I wanted to get it working early on. There’s still a very long way to go and I haven’t even really begun the portraits but I’m quite happy with the progress so far.
Nelson and Theo (detail, in progress)
Saturday I spent most of the day on the next pass of the portrait for this work. It’s going to need maybe one more good pass to finish it off but I’m starting to get it dialed in. On Sunday I scumbled a nice blue texture over the background. It probably needs some more lighter tones in the background as well so it doesn’t feel so monochromatic but I’m really loving the scumbled background effect. Hoping to be able to finish this one off this month. The clothing needs the most attention at this point.
Shh (Shad, detail, in progress)
My excellent good friends Paul and Mandie finally decided to tie the knot last month. I’d been wanting to paint them anyway so this gave me the opportunity and occasion to do so. I didn’t quite finish the painting in time for the ceremony but it’s done now.
Paul and Mandie
Oil on Panel
© 2014 Jeremy C. Sparks
Here’s some of the paintings that I’m currently working on.
First up is another in the shushing series that I’m hoping to continue this year. It’s the largest painting that I’ve done in a long while at 24″x36″. The photograph is slightly cropped here but it’s pretty close. Still a long way to go with this one but it’s starting to take shape.
Shh (Shad, in progress)
Next is the portrait of Kayti. The background is going to get much darker once I’ve got the contours dialed-in (mostly in the hair and torso at this point). Still a good way to go on this one as well but it’s also starting to shape up as well. The image is slightly cropped as the painting actually square.
Kayti (in progress)
Finally here’s a new painting that I’ve just started to block in. Hopefully I can hit on the sentiment in the image without falling into sentimentality. It was just a chance image I captured as a candid during a zoo visit last year and it really stuck with me so I’m hoping to do the image justice.
Nelson and Theo (in progress)
Paul and Mandie (in progress)
Was really hoping to have this one finished by now. I think one of the worst things about painting in the winter is that the layers of oil take longer to dry.
There’s not a whole lot left to do, I want to glaze down the background one more time and after that I can finish Mandie’s hair. Unfortunately the textured light oranges in the background are stubbornly refusing to dry so I can’t finish the background.
I was hoping that the background would finally be dry enough to glaze over a more final color on the portrait of Paul and Mandie. Unfortunately there are a couple of places where the paint was a bit thicker, and now two-weeks on, are still tacky to the touch.
I didn’t really want to move on to more final layers of paint until the background hue and value were set. Humans are really good with objective values but hues are somewhat more subjective and will absolutely change their character depending on the predominate colors around them. I’m sure you’ve experienced the classic case where you put a neutral grey next to a warm color and the grey takes on a cool character. Then you take the same grey and put it next to a very cold color and it feels quite warm. That’s the issue that I wanted to avoid by having the background more or less set before working on the (more important) fleshy bits.
But, as someone very wise once said, “you can’t always get what you want.” What I needed though was a full day of painting and most of those are only available to me on weekends. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and hope for the best. Now to see if that decision will come back to haunt me.
Paul (detail, in progress)
That said, I’m really happy with the modeling on this one so far.