Update

I’ve been remiss in posting updates lately. It’s not that I haven’t been working, it’s just that I haven’t posted updates on what I’m doing… But, today I got my Christmas/Birthday/Tax Refund gift – an awesome new lens for my camera that will finally allow me the ability to photograph my paintings in my studio. Huzzah!

Anyhow here’s the first images shot with the new lens.

I’ve been cropping this one of Kayti, so now you can finally see the full composition. I still have a long way to go with this one and my background testing of glazing Alizarine over the Cadmium Red isn’t quite what I thought it was going to be so now I’m reconsidering options. I’m probably going to need to do a few smaller studies to really figure out where to go from here in the background. Part of me really wants to hack at it with the palette knife like I’m doing in some of the other paintings, but as Julie, rightly, pointed out there’s already a lot of texture and details in the hair and tattoo, so I really don’t want to have the background competing with the subject on this one.

Kayti (in progress)
Kayti (in progress)

Here’s the latest on my Shushing painting of Shad. I was really hoping to be done with this one by now and while it’s very close to be finished it’s still telling me that it wants something more. I’m very happy with the background, hopefully you can see the texture there from the raking light. But the clothing feels a bit flat in parts, and there’s still a lingering drawing issue or two that I want to work out. So I think I’m going to put it on the easel again this weekend and see if I can’t get it dialed in just a little bit more.

Shh (Shad, in progress)
Shh (Shad, in progress)

Weekend Update

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)
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)
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
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.

Weekend Update

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)
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)
Shh (Shad, detail, in progress)

Works in Progress

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)
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)
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)
Nelson and Theo (in progress)

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)