Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week 6 at the Studio

This week can be described as classic "crazy-busy." Though making great progress on my paper for Princeton, my studio days were limited to two because I went to meetings at the college on Thursday and Friday. So I had to really make studio time count! But the good news...the research paper draft has been sent in and will be critiqued on Tuesday night. This is a very big thing off my list (for a while anyway). I have also completed my homework and just have to post it and do my reading for class.

This week I decided to try a portrait. John did not have school on Wednesday so I asked him to come to the studio with me. I asked him to bring a book and be prepared to sit for a few hours. I lit him from the right (the sitter's left) and painted on a panel with an imprimatura of raw sienna. The panel was 9 X 12 inches.

Let me give a little background on this one before I go on. Last semester I took a class with a wonderful professor ~ Professor Tom Hare at Princeton. The class, The Portrait in Text, Paint, and Stone, gave me the opportunity to study in depth a subject that I don't paint or draw ~ the portrait. In fact, the last portrait I painted was back in 1983 in my second year of studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

I feel that my seminar with Professor Hare benefited me greatly. I understand a lot more about portraiture, origins, meanings, symbolism, etc. and decided to undertake it as a subject from time to time instead of ignoring it completely as I have for years. John being off from school gave me a subject that I am not only related to but someone I relate to. I feel having a connection with your subject is important.

I did the portrait rather under two hours. I used the classic application of opague lights and transparent darks and for the first time ever in making a portrait, I used my fingers to blend but was careful to preserve my brushstrokes. So, here is my oil portrait (Liquin medium) of John on a primed, cradled panel. I left the ground in spots so it could be seen. After this feeling far more effortless than it was in art school, I may try a portrait of a head and part of the body.

Today I returned to the studio. We got some rather unfortunate news yesterday so John and I are both rather solemn today. The studio building was really quiet. As I was preparing panels I looked out the window and saw the buildings across the street washed in light and I thought, wow, that is very "Edward Hopper." So, with a single cord hanging in a window, I painted a window and a half as a small tribute to a man who could capture a mood like no other. I call the painting To Edward. (I must confess that the other buildings next to it with wide bay windows and flowers and oddities are very intriguing so perhaps these will be future subjects.)

Next week will be busy with school early in the week but I return to the studio Wednesday and hope to progress and continue to paint in a modified direct method in oil. I may get to those two half finished watercolors yet. The weather is also warming up so, soon, it will be plein air time! As always, stay tuned.

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