Monday, 30 March 2015

It Has Been a Struggle

I wouldn't say that it has been a disaster but I have been struggling of late.  I am not so sure that what I am doing is bad so much as I just want for it to be much better.

Seven of us went out to the Royal Botanical Gardens to paint today.  It was 8 C with billowing clouds and sunny intervals when I left home.  By the time I got to the parking lot it was a solid grey and spitting a bit but it did seem to be breaking up.  An hour into my painting and it had dropped to 4 C and was pouring.  I didn't bring gloves so my hands were freezing and turning blue from the cold rain,  This painting is looking out over still frozen Coote's Paradise and perfectly matches how I felt when I was finished.

Last Wednesday Cassandra modeled for our sketch group.  She is always fun to paint and this day was no exception.  She came dressed as a clown and we all struggled with her eyes.  The black makeup made it hard to capture the form of her eyeball and brow.  I struggled with that for so long that I never did get this completed but I think that it works.  It was painted with the Anders Zorn palette and a touch of cobalt blue,

This third painting was done two weeks ago in Ancaster along the rail trail. It is a lone tree in Golf Links Park.  It was another very grey day.  Oh what I would give for a chance to paint on a warm sunny spring day with some light and shadow.  It has not been a great winter for painting outside in any medium.

Despite the struggles I still love my job.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

What a Day!

I watched Brian Smith do a portrait drawing demo that took about an hour and a half and I became hooked on drawing portraits in the classic style.  I have posted a few of them.  Today I went to a full day workshop with Brian where we were painting a portrait using the Anders Zorn pallet which consists of yellow ocher, cadmium red medium, Payne's grey and titanium white.

What a trip.  He also insisted we paint at least 16" X 20" which is larger than anything that I have done before.  I had a blast.  The three pigment palette greatly simplified things.  I have tried it before with some success but having Brian pushing me to put more colour into my shadows and simplify my highlights was an epiphany.  I have had instructors tell me to cool the shadows going away etc. but in this case cooling the shadows meant adding Payne's grey. Simple. This is not a perfect painting by any means but Brian declared it the best likeness and I learned so much doing it.

When I got home Debbie had a salmon filet and red peppers for me to play with.  Grilled salmon and burnt red pepper sauce.  What a perfect finish to a perfect day.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What a Trip!

Yesterday was the perfect spring painting day.  It was about 7 C with clear blue skies and a very warm sun.  I painted hatless and with my coat open most of the time.  To top it all off we were back in Kerncliff Quarry and there was still lots of snow on the ground.

I was excited to get painting and got a great start.  Then it all went south.  I struggled to paint then scraped it all off then painted again and then scraped it all off again and again.  I finally gave up and decided to play.  I borrowed a palette knife (mine is MIA) and started scraping and then painting and shaping with it.  I am not sure what I think about this finished painting however I sure did have fun once I pulled out the palette knife.  The more I look at the painting the more I like it and it sure was an interesting trip.

Do I really want to head down another rabbit hole?

My adorable wife Debbie suggested that I crop it and now I am excited
about it.  As usual I tried to put too much into the painting and the trees competed with the stone cliff which competed with the snow covered boardwalk.  Now it is all about the boardwalk.
Thanks Dear.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Last Class

Today was the last portrait class and I was there for both the morning and afternoon session.  Kim is a wonderful model and a pleasure to paint.

I debated continuing with last week's painting of Kim or starting a new one and since I had about five hours I decided to start fresh.  She has fantastic colouring and I ended up with her way too washed out but I am very happy with the outcome.  The background is just the under painting but since the yellow ocher is in her skin and hair it works so I just left it.

Monday, 2 March 2015

I Feel Great

What a fantastic afternoon.  It was about -2 C with sunny periods and we were in Kerncliff Quarry.  The wind was a bit brutal but I was outside painting and comfortable.

This is not one of my best paintings but considering that I forgot my glasses and painted this without them I am pretty happy with it.  It was one of those days where the light just kept on changing.  I told a passerby that if she stuck around long enough the sky would look like my painting.  During the brief moments when the sun came out the snow just glowed as did I.  This was done with four pigments.  I probably should have added more colour but it was a grey kind of day.

I love my job.