Friday, December 19, 2008

Pictures from the end-of-the-semester group critique/pizza.

Results of the hard work during the past semester.

Having Tom talk during the critique allowed me plenty of time to take pictures (and eat more pizza).

Several staff members dropped in to participate.

Some serious discussions went on during the session…

…and, of course, we had a lot of fun talking about our paintings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sarah, 18"x14" oil on linen

Sarah is one of the admissions representatives at the Academy who approached us to pose for the club.

What was curiously interesting was the way she kept her mouth slightly open throughout the session. I liked it because the expression in her mouth and eyes added something more to an otherwise simple head study, as if she is actively engaged in a conversation, with or without spoken words from her—an element of storytelling. At the same time, the way she “posed” her mouth could easily be interpreted as a mildly angry expression. As I look at the finished painting, I could read both sides of the story.

Her long, dark hair (so intensely dark it almost looked blue) provided a strong frame for her face as well as high contrast against her skin tone.
Lisette, 18"x14" oil on linen

Lisette teaches various communications classes at the Academy.

This was her second time posing for the club. As she had already experienced the difficulties of posing in the previous session (and this was a Friday evening after a long day's work), she became fatigued rather quickly midway through the session. Rather than keep asking her to hold her head straight, I decided to just paint her appearance the way I remembered it from the beginning of the session.

I think that approach might have sacrificed the exact likeness in the superficial sense of the painting. On the other hand, I was pleased to see the result, which showed a structurally solid appearance while capturing the essence of Lisette with subtle color variations on her face.

Alexis, 18"x14" oil on linen

Alexis is the career services coordinator at the Academy, working to help the students find employment.

A few days before the session, I asked her if she would like to bring any kind of simple prop for the session: hat, scarf, jewelry, etc. She brought a handsome blue scarf that she dyed herself. After seeing her put the blue scarf on her head, I hung a comparably intense red drapery for the background.

I started the painting with thin wash of abstract color pattern that would suggest the red background and balance against the blue in the foreground. It would also serve to "anchor" her head on the canvas. Unlike the painting of Ellen the previous week, I decided to keep the background to the minimum; I didn't alter or add much to the initial wash pattern. During the final few minutes of the session, I simply suggested the contour of her shoulders by carefully shaping the negative space created by the red background above and the white of the bare canvas.
Ellen, 18"x14" oil on linen

Ellen teaches various art history classes at the Academy.

What was both interesting and challenging in painting her was her prominent and clear-cut, bold features, especially her large eyes. I didn't want her features to overly dominate or give a harsh feel to the painting. But at the same time, I had to be careful not to soften her appearance too much.

I liked the way her hair flowed forward in front of her right shoulder while the other side disappeared behind her left shoulder, which added the sense of depth to the painting.

After the session was over, I added a pattern of background color from the red-violet drapery behind her.