Monday, December 14, 2009

Scenes from the end-of-the-term group critique/pizza party.

It was another productive term, with a few new but eager members. Too bad some students couldn't participate due to their class schedule conflict or late train schedule.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cecylia, 16" x 13", oil on board

I scraped off previous week's less-than-satisfactory second painting of Rosemary and reused the board to paint Cecylia. It's a masonite board that I primed with gesso.

At the beginning of the session, Cecylia asked me whether she should pose without her colorful scarf she was wearing.
I told her to keep it on. Though I was very much attracted to the colorful pattern of her scarf, I had to be careful not to let it dominate her face or let the face be completely isolated from it. So I 'slipped in' some matching colors on her cheek, neck and hair.

I looked forward to painting Cecylia for the challenge of painting her interesting skin tone, and I am satisfied with the result. At the end of the session Cecylia said something like, "You captured the Puerto Rican look of me."

Half way through the session, Cecylia said she was very tired (she's been in school for her regular classes since 8 am and our painting session didn't end until 8:30 pm) but, for the most part, she managed to keep a rather intense gaze.

I took a few photos of her posing on the stage to post with the final painting as I usually do, but I accidentally deleted them before I downloaded them to my computer.
Rats! (they always have a way of getting into my camera.)

Rosemary, 16" x 12", oil on linen
Collection of Mrs. Rosemary Herzberg

Rosemary is the better half of Tom Herzberg, known better for, as far as I am concerned, her fine strawberry rhubarb pie. Yum.

It was interesting to paint her with her hair draped over her forehead completely, even obscuring her eyes at times when she resumed the pose after the break. Though there were times when she pushed her hair back slightly, I decided to paint her with her blue eyes barely peeking out below her hair.

When Tom took a look at the finished painting the next day, he mentioned that it captured her sad-eyed look that she is often talked about. He said maybe we should find a way to paint her while she is smiling next time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jon, 16" x 12", oil on linen

One of the fun things about painting Jon was to capture the vibrancy of his warm skin tone without being distracted by the darker tone of his face. His posing in bright blue shirt and in front of blue background intensified the warmth of his face further. But at the same time, I decided to vignette his shirt so that it won't draw too much attention to it or clash with his face above.

I generally don't like to use store-bought canvases. Instead, I prefer to either prime the canvas or board myself, or stretch a canvas of my choice. A few weeks ago I bought a Belgian linen canvas board from a store just to give it a try, and I decided to use it to paint Jon. It turned out that this particular brand was, though not heavily textured, too 'scratchy' on the surface. And I didn't care for it much.

Lisa, 19" x 13", oil on board

Lisa is an admissions representative at the Academy.

I used an off-size long masonite board that I primed with gesso. I wanted to see what kind of simple composition I could come up with in an elongated vertical format for a head study.

Painting Lisa with her deep tanned appearance, I had to be careful not to make her face too dark. Also, separating the warm redness along her cheek and on her nose from surrounding deep value of her face required a careful observation.

Because I kept the value on her face rather low, I decided not to do much on the white background other than the blue vertical that suggests the background drapery while complementing warm orange color on her face. I wanted the white of the board to play an active role in the composition as a strong contrast against the darker values on her.

Kristin, 18" x 14", oil on linen
Collection of Mrs. Kristin Mount

Kristin is a medical illustrator who teaches anatomy and digital illustration at the Academy.

In a head study, I generally include at least neck and shoulders (and I preach this to my students all the time),
but for some reason I decided not to paint them in painting Kristin.

I pre-toned the canvas a few days before in an abstract color pattern, so by the time she posed the surface was completely dry. I wanted the negative space of the painting to tie in with the general color of her hair and be left untouched as a finished painting.

At some point while painting, I realized that I painted her features, especially her eyes, in too sharp a focus. I thought about softening them, but I decided to leave them be to help suggest a sense of intelligence in her face.