Work, and More

March 9, 2014

So it appears I've worked on 12 paintings in the last 6 days. I've been resurrecting them, one by one, from the Painting Graveyard— that is, I've picked up on them again after not having worked on them in many months. And it feels good to remember certain passages, remix colors, carefully perfect one small area at a time.

There are several images that are currently tugging at my arm, begging to be started. One is a scene in a coffee shop in New York. One is the shadow of a tree on a wall in Alexandria. There's a cascade of roses over a fence in Somerville, Mass. And more— landscapes I've collected over the years, sunlit florals, creepy underground parking lots, storefronts; but all of them will have to wait until I finish a couple of the things that are on the Works in Progress page.


Letting It Evolve

March 3, 2014

The reception took place last Friday night, and it was wonderfully well attended. There was a decent crowd all night long. I chatted with many of the visitors, and friends showed up too despite the very cold temperatures outside. It was good to see familiar faces, and to hear what people had to say about the work.

The show itself looked surprisingly good— there was a certain coherence to my paintings, and a recognizable style. The other two exhibiting artists, a printmaker and a sculptor, had wonderful work to show as well, and it was just simply a fine evening. The wine was flowing, the nibbles delightful, and I was able to come away from the evening with a terrific photo that I'll use for a new painting...It's reminiscent of "The Bar At the Folies Bergere," and in fact, I've already begun to sketch it out!

The next new pieces will evolve organically, as this one did. I wasn't even thinking hard about starting it, just suddenly found myself in the basement studio looking for a square panel, and a few minutes later working up the grid. I have a couple of new pieces in mind. Meanwhile, of course, there are a number of unfinished things on the Works-in-Progress page. And I've been playing around with some small watercolor studies all this last week. It's going to be a busy year!


Now What?

February 23, 2014

The show's a wrap, as they say. I painted and re-worked up to practically the last minute, delivered the final 8 paintings and the wall cards, then took off for a day in the country and some needed decompression.

Now I'm home and relaxed, and wondering what to do next. Of course, I can get back to all of the other paintings on my works-in-progress list, but I want to try something new. I have no obligations this week, so maybe I can noodle around with drawing and watercolor...


Coming Down to the Wire

February 15, 2014

Light snow today, but I brought 25 paintings to the gallery in preparation for the show. Eight more still need to be delivered; two large works I'm retouching, two that I'm re-stretching, three more in the Instant Images Series, and one more vineyard. Meanwhile, the four Winter Skaters and twelve of the Postcards were already there, and they'll be part of the show, too.

I changed the back of the head of the model in He Searched the Room For Her Auburn Hair, and it looks vastly better. Am also refining a few areas on Flowers of the Valley.


One More Down

February 7, 2014

Have spent the last few weeks working very hard. Finished Night Life a few minutes ago. Six more left!


Obligatory Bird Shot

January 21, 2014

Snow, as promised. Got some good work done today.


It's A Go

January 20, 2014

Bright sunshine this morning; it's supposed to snow tomorrow, but today is crystal clear. I looked at Carmine, and while you can still see traces of brushiness, it's greatly improved. I breathe a sigh of relief. The blue color in the ceiling has depth, richness, and a little mystery.There's hope for the rest of the series.



January 19, 2014

I've been distressed about the obvious brush marks in the upper ceiling area of Carmine's Trattoria, and since it's the first of 7 (at least) of the Instant Images paintings, it's vital that I find a way to make the glazing work correctly. Held my breath and used some of the medium with a transparent blue, then employed that pouncing-with-the-side-of-the-brush technique I'd used a couple of weeks ago. It looks like it worked, but I'll be able to tell for sure tomorrow in good, strong daylight. The pouncing created a kind of grainy look, similar to what you'd see in a black-and-white photo shot with the old 400 ASA Tri-X, but that fits right into the series' theme anyway. It's much more believable than the brush strokes.


One Down, Eight To Go

January 17, 2014

I finished a painting! It's the first of the Vineyard series, Late Summer, Breaux. At least something's going right. The glazing on the Instant Images series is not going well, and I'm really concerned about it. And it's time to make the image selection for the American Art Collector ad. Time flies!

Heard from Robert, of the now closed Antreasian Gallery in Baltimore. He's beginning to work his way back into the art market, and is displaying work on his website.



Too Slow

January 10, 2014

The Blending and Glazing Medium that I used yesterday still isn't dry. I've been reading up on Liquin and Galkyd Lite, and will switch off to one of those. I've always been suspicious of what any of the amber-colored mediums will do to the colors I use, but it's obvious that the B&G isn't going to work for me. I also realized that we were working with acrylic paint in that class I mentioned yesterday, but at Pratt we used a glaze concocted of turps, linseed oil, and one other ingredient I can't remember, and that worked well with oil paint.

Oh, and apparently you're supposed to apply the B&G glazing liquid onto the piece first, then wipe off as much as possible, then brush the glaze color into it. I'd give it a try if time wasn't of the essence.

Brought most of the paintings that are slated to go into the show upstairs yesterday. Half of them have an area or two that needs to be repainted. Rain today, and much distraction from the foxes in the yard, but I keep plugging away at the paintings.


The Brooklyn Show

January 9, 2014

I forgot to mention this; the show I'm in up in Brooklyn had a write-up in one of the local newspapers. I'll put a link to it here (though I can't guarantee how long that link will stay live), but the part of the article that excited me was the fact that there were over a thousand entries, and of those, only 80 pieces were accepted!


Starting the Glazing Process

January 9, 2014

The paintings are due at the gallery in 5 weeks, so I figured I'd better begin the glazing on Carmine's Trattoria and work out any bugs before too long. So I poured a tiny amount of Winsor & Newton's Blending and Glazing medium into a container, and decided to start with the ethereal blues that will make up the ceiling portion of the painting. And bugs there were!

Back in one of the art school programs I attended years ago, there was a class called Painting Techniques, and I was magically transported back in time to the day the class showed up with long faces after working on the glazing assignment. The instructor seemed mystified; "What was the problem?" he asked. Invariably, it was streaking. I remember so well the frustration of the technique, and then it's all a blank to the next memory, which was one of satisfaction. Somehow we'd been able to figure out a way to make the stuff work, but I'll be darned if I can recall what it was.

After my initial panic today over the complete lack of control, I tried a couple of things: waiting for the glaze to dry a bit, and dragging through it with a soft brush (but this mostly removed the color I'd put down). Finally I went into my Mausoleum of Old Used Brushes and picked out a few soft but splayed-out white nylons, and used the sides of them in a sort of pouncing motion. That seems to have worked. Now we'll see how long it takes for the glaze to dry enough to paint over it with another color.


Is It Time to Panic Yet?

January 4, 2014

So, I have to finish 9 paintings in the next 5-6 weeks. And I have to write up a description of my work and create an ad for the magazine I'm planning to advertise in. Plus, a lot of opportunities to show my work in local and distant venues have got entry deadlines in the next two weeks.


Glazing Starts Soon

December 30, 2013

I've almost got the grisaille part of Carmine's Trattoria finished, so as soon as I put in a few more small modifications, I'll be able to start the glazing process. I've been experimenting with different color combinations on the reference photo through the use of Poladroid and a couple of Photoshop functions, and am leaning toward a bluish background and saturated color on the bottles. It's going to be fun!


Looking Ahead

December 19, 2013

The Polaroids are coming along, and the Vineyard series is, too. I might even have the first of the Vineyards, Late Summer, Breaux, finished by the end of the month. All that's left on it is some tiny trees in the background and a little more detail on the vines. You'd be surprised, though, how long it takes to do those tiny background trees, and how tedious it is. I really struggle with color, value, and drawing, even on those small areas.

The show at the Hermitage is pretty much set in stone now, and I'm looking forward to it. There will be two other artists involved, a printmaker and a sculptor, so it'll be a good mix with something for everybody. I still have to decide on the image that's going into the American Art Collector ad--- it's a big deal, and I want the image to really draw people in. I might rework one of the larger paintings and use that... It's funny how you can put a painting aside for a while, and then when you see it again months later, you can spot all of the flaws or weak areas right away.


More Painting; Coming To Terms With My Style

December 4, 2013

I've done a lot more painting since my last entry, but that's what it's all about, right? I figure the grisailles on the Polaroids need to be finished by the end of this month, and the color glazes on them should be done by the end of January. The vineyard paintings are moving along, but I need to start one more in order to have them ready for the first show of 2014, which is now tentatively scheduled for February 28th.

I tried like crazy to get Night Life done in time for a museum show entry, but it needs to be done *right* or not at all. So I continue to add details and shading to that one.

Picked up again on the Ocean Series; number 7 is in progress. A couple of pieces for future FAP shows are in the works. And I've started stretching and gessoing a canvas for the Ft. Wayne realism biennial. So, there's quite a lot going on right now.

A couple of weeks ago, after I'd gotten the Vineyard series under way and had set the panels against the wall, I finally realized what R.D. had tried to make me understand many years ago, back in grad school: I do have a style. I'd been trying to paint the vineyards in an impressionist style, but whenever I'd walk into the room and look at them, it struck me how clear and clean they looked. It reminded me of R. B.'s comment, even further back in undergrad senior year, about how I painted "breatheable air." Well, I took a look at a bunch of my paintings, and finally I see what they mean. My work is unique. And I realize there's no point in trying to paint like the Impressionists or anybody else--- all I need to do is be myself. The Pratt motto is correct--- "Be true to your work and your work will be true to you."


Making Up For Lost Time

November 14, 2013

I've been able to concentrate on painting for the last three or four days now, and am making good progress on a lot of fronts.


Planning for 2014

November 11, 2013

The last month has been taken up with the usual domestic chores, but also with a great deal of planning and organizing for the slew of shows suddenly coming up next year. I'd made an effort to find some new opportunities, and it paid off. There are already three exhibitions on the books for sure, and at least four other possibilities.

Organizing all of this is mind-boggling: I can't enter the same painting in two concurrent shows, so it's necessary to plot all the work out in advance. Suddenly, paintings that have been malingering in the studio need to be finished by a certain date. New work that must fit a certain venue has to be researched, selected, and started. Appointments must be made. And paperwork, contracts, and electronic entry forms have to be submitted on time.

In terms of locating source material for the landscapes I want to show with the Fine Art Professionals group, I've been *forced* to make several photo trips out into the countryside with spouse in tow, or with a couple of my friends. This has been fun: camaraderie, wine tasting, a leisurely lunch, and lots of photos of wineries in the brilliant autumn sun. Not a bad life! A.T. graciously accepted my spontaneous invitation a few weeks ago, and we had a fine time visiting three different vineyards (though only sampling the wines at the first). Then P.T. and I went to Sunset Hills, and we sat on the patio on a gorgeous Indian Summer afternoon, chatting about old times at Gallery West and how life is going for us now.

At right, a pic from a trip Hubby and I made to Chrysalis.


Pondering the Next Steps

October 16, 2013

So, I picked up my unsold work from the show in Warrenton today. It was a beautiful exhibit, the first of the newly formed group I'm in: Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia. There are some heavy hitters in the organization, really talented people, and I'm thrilled to be associated with them. A lot of the painters specialize in still lifes and landscapes. I love painting landscapes, but these folks put me to shame. I have a lot to learn, so the first thing I did when I got home was to mix some greens for Late Summer, Breaux. Next I have to concentrate on impasto, especially in the blue sky.