Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rachel, 18" x 16", oil on linen

Rachel volunteered to pose for the club in the place of a member who couldn't pose as scheduled.

To paint Rachel, I chose a linen that had a medium-rough texture because I wanted to paint her with less smoothing of the painting surface. I wanted to leave brush strokes alone as they were laid with minimum manipulation on the canvas surface to give more spontaneous and expressive quality.

From the beginning of the pose I noticed Rachel would slowly tilt her head to the left. I thought that slight angle would give a subtle but interesting expression. Instead of asking her to straighten her head after each break, I just let her slowly settle her head back to her comfortable position and tried to capture the expression.

At some point during painting, it occurred to me that the way we operate with our "models" is sort of like a Ponzi scheme; as we get more new participants and the guest models, those of us who have been participating from the beginning of the club don't have to pose anymore but just keep on painting.

Dustin, 18" x 14", oil on linen

Before the session, Dustin “warned” us that he had chosen a very bright orange sweater to wear for the session. He said he was hoping to get some good color reflection onto his skin.

I didn't decide on painting the sweater until almost half way through; I was a bit hesitant about the prospect of the intense orange overwhelming the colors on his face. But if I were to include it in the painting, I knew I'd better lay some down before it was too late, so I decided to make it a part of the painting.

I used vermilion for his sweater color—a color that I don't use often. The vermilion from the tube was so similar to the sweater color that I hardly had to mix any color. On one hand, this made me almost feel like I was cheating and on the other hand, not having to mix the color myself took away the fun. Once I painted the sweater, I brushed in some warm color on his face to balance the colors.

‎Seventeen students came to today's session, the most participants ever since we started the club 3 years ago (we ran out of easels and had to put together an extra one to accommodate them). I was glad to see that so many students are willing to stay late to paint after a long day of school
–even though that meant I didn't get to go home until 8 o'clock, after everyone was done cleaning.