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Improving and Improvising

Practicing what I learned last week, I painted a portrait this week. I told Greenwood that I wanted to do something Rembrandt like. I had a photo from Halloween of BK’s husband dressed as a sultan and I wanted to use that as a jumping off point. We looked at an art book with Rembrandt’s paintings and those of his contemporaries. The turban and oriental costume was a frequent theme in art of that time. Greenwood pointed out to me that the backgrounds were dark to light. You can’t really tell in this photo but the lower right corner is much lighter than the upper left. I under painted the figure in shades of brown with the pants and pearls both being white. This is also one of my smallest paintings 14cm x 28cm (5.5” x 11”). I didn’t want to be too detailed. I want to take this to the framers and have a heavy gold frame put on ...

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Just what I needed to hear

My friend, PG’s husband is an artist, he also teaches art at the university level, listening to my woes he switched into teacher mode.He advised me. “What you should do is under paint in browns and white or black and white first. Think of it like drawing with paint instead of pencil.” He explained that it is a time honored technique. Thursday, at my painting class, I tried it. Taking it easy, I decided on a still life. I cropped this photo to make it more interesting. It took a long time to do the first step. I worked with raw umber and white. Adding color went very fast. All the hard stuff, like tones and shadows had already been worked out. For the first time in a long while, I finished my painting in one session! I’m very excited. You will have to wait until next week to see my finished still life, I left it to dry and ...

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Back from the framers

  Here they are! I picked them up from the framers yesterday, and got them up on the kitchen wall this morning. The two paintings on the ends have less glare in this photograph while the center one shows less reflection when I photographed it alone. This was the second painting that I did. Those grapes were quite a challenge. One of the reasons the paintings are so reflective is that I glazed them. Having read that glazing makes the colors more translucent, I decided to try it out. Once I had glazed the first still life, I felt compelled to glaze the other two so they would match in style. I don’t know if you can see the phantom apple shapes in the background. Painting the tomatoes was hard! I cannot believe the different shades of red that I needed to produce. I call this Greek Salad because of the kalamata olive and the little pieces of feta cheese ...

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Only two students showed up at painting class Friday. It was like having a private lesson. Throwing caution to the winds, I painted a trio of flowers. My natural inclination is towards realism, yesterday, I had a break with reality. As I was adding paint to my canvas (actually it’s Masonite board, but canvas conveys the idea well enough), I realized that somewhere along the line, my reference photo stopped having meaning to me. My wandering eye had focused on a flower that had been edited out of the composition, things were out of kilter. Oddly enough, I didn’t care. image courtesy of Wikipedia Abandoning the mundane restrictions of rendering realistic images freed me up to try something new. Mrs WB was painting a landscape using a palate knife. Admiring her results, I asked the teacher if I could do so too. My daisies took on  a marked resemblance to Van Gogh’s famous sunflower series, though much brighter in color ...

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