Tuesday, September 30, 2008

For the Fall term, I have decided, after reviewing a brief survey of the members, to hold our sessions on Wednesday evenings rather than Friday afternoons. This is because of the new General Education class schedule that now meets twice a week instead of once a week. Trying to schedule our session around the new robust Gen-Ed schedule was a challenge, but it worked out in the end, I think. With the exception of those who have a class on Wednesday evening, most of the students who wished to participate were able to set aside Wednesday evenings to continue our gathering, at least for now. This means, as the session ends at 8:30, students commuting by train have to dash to the train station to catch once-an-hour night train.

I pointed out to the students that once they graduate from the school and have to work 9 to 5 daily, the only time they will be able to keep up with their painting experience will be evenings and weekends. That has been the story for painters for decades, if not centuries, so they might as well get used to it sooner than later.

Despite the late evening schedule, 23 students signed up for the club, and 13 participated on the first evening to paint Will McGraw. On one hand, I would like to see as many students as they can come to paint, but on the other hand, the classroom can not accommodate more than 15 or so.

Will II, 16"x12" oil on canvas

I chose a smaller size canvas to paint Will because there were a couple of new members who had never painted in oil and needed help to get started.

We used a warm, orange-ish light that was carried over from this week's class set-up. It turned out to be a little too strong in close proximity. During the pose, Will kept his eyes wide open and sideways the whole time, making the whites of the eyes brightly lit. I should've kept them calm to avoid the deer-in-the headlights appearance.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Scenes from the end of the term group critique and pizza party.

3 guest models, Tony Thomas, Peter Scott, and Aron Gagliardo, joined the group for the critique and pizza...

... and to listen to Spiro make an argument.

Katie talks about her paintings.

OJ speaks about her painting of Lou Ann.

Joey's turn to make a point about her paintings…

…in front of the eager listeners.

Peter, 16"x12" oil on linen

There was a mild debate in the beginning of the session about whether Peter should pose with his glasses on or not.
Some students were hesitant and even afraid to paint the glasses. I decided that since we see Peter with his glasses on most of the time, we should paint him the way he generally appears everyday.

The strongest characteristics of Peter's face are the rugged and broad planes of the head. I feel I didn't emphasize them enough, at least to the degree that I felt about them, in this painting. I suspect that it had something to do with my having difficulty focusing because of many distractions that were going on, both internal and external.

Peter mentioned at the end of the session that he had a look of dignity in the painting. Well, though not intentional, it never hurts to flatter the sitter in portraiture.
Tony, 20"x16", oil on board

Tony just came back from his Summer trip to Europe, and while he was traveling, he let his hair grow long and wild;
an appearance that I am not familiar with. That presented a certain challenge in the beginning. It was as though, had I not known his "usual" appearance, I would've had an easier time interpreting solely what I saw. But having certain ideas about his face made me second-guess the progress of the painting by searching for superficial likenesses.

It wasn't until the second half of the session that I was able to compose myself and paint what I saw rather than what Tony looked like in my mind.