Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lilacs, New and Improved

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working with still-life again. Switching between still-life and landscapes requires a bit of thinking. The techniques are different because of the obvious differences in the two subjects. In still-life painting shapes are more exacting, details are sharper, colors more intense and the light is controlled. Aerial perspective is present but to a different degree. Maintaining accuracy and freshness without overworking is always a concern.

My second lilac painting is finished and I can see an improvement. It may need a bit of this and that, but it is basically done. I need to put it aside and look at it with a fresh eye. This new painting will now be the wedding gift. The first one will be seriously evaluated and portions may be scraped away and repainted.

(Update: The first lilac painting was modified and refined, then listed in my Ebay Store and now has a new home in New Jersey.) 

Painting is great fun. The challenge of different subjects with their different requirements is a fascinating battle and I look forward to each day in my studio. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed teaching so much was to explore this whole concept with my students. We all worked very hard and my reward was seeing them reach a new and deeper understanding about the theory of painting. And in teaching, I continued to learn. It was a great partnership.

So here is the new and improved painting of lilacs that will be my gift to the new bride and groom.

Lilacs for Her Wedding, 9x12, oil

Tomorrow I begin another painting.

Thanks for visiting with me,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lilacs for Her Wedding

A friend is getting married in a few weeks. She was disappointed that the scheduling didn't allow her to have her favorite flower, lilacs, at her wedding. So that solved my problem of what to give as a wedding gift. I've painted  "Lilacs for Her Wedding" and now it has to dry and be varnished. 

I enjoyed the painting so much that I’m currently working on a series of lilac paintings. 

Still life has always been my favorite subject to paint, especially flowers with copper, brass or transparent glass. I’m fascinated with the contrasting textures – the soft, delicate flower petals vs. the hard, reflective surface of metals and glass. And the colors! And the shine!

The colors on my palette have changed from the general, soft landscape colors to brilliant colors. I’ve dug into my supply and pulled out all the purples and violets, bright rose and magenta for the flowers and the brighter earth colors for the copper and brass.

A few years ago, in my studio at the gallery, I tried to paint as many of the spring flowers as I could. Every day I brought in a new arrangement and worked feverishly, trying to capture them before they wilted. Our visitors enjoyed watching the process often returning the next day to see the results. Many paintings went home with them. One flower I could not capture was my very favorite, the peony. I couldn’t get the lush softness, try as I might. So this year I will try again.

Lilacs for Her Wedding, 9x12, oil SOLD

Yesterday I started a new lilac painting. The pictures below show my initial lay-in and the first full layer of paint. There will be many subsequent layers added as I make adjustments and build up to the lightest values. Tomorrow I will add another layer and put it aside to dry before continuing. Since the paintings need to dry between layers, I usually have a few paintings at different stages to work on. My technique for still life painting is slow and deliberate while trying to maintain a feeling of energy and freshness. The danger of overworking is always present.

The initial lay in.

First full layer of paint. Many more layers to go.

Thanks for visiting with me. Happy painting.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Guatemala. June's Virtual Paint Out.

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group traveled to Guatemala, another interesting country to tour. I enjoy reading about each destination's geography and demographics. Information courtesy of Wikipedia and other sites.

Guatemala, located on Mexico's southern border, covers 42,042 sq mi (a bit smaller than Tenn.) and is home to about 15½ million people, making it the most populous region in Central America.

An interesting country with a few large cities, small remote villages and miles of uninhabited land. The scenic countryside is a combination of dense forests, stunning mountains, dry plains and perilous rain-forests. There are 33 volcanoes, some active. Ancient Mayan sites are scattered throughout. The earliest evidence of human inhabitants date back to 18,000 BC.

The tropical climate is rainy, hot and humid in the lowlands, but higher elevations are cool and dry. Some of the highest peaks may even receive a dusting of snow.

The major exports are livestock, fruits and vegetables, sugarcane, coffee, cardamom and precious metal ores. It is the largest producer of Jade in the world. Chocolate originated here with the early Mayan culture.

Guatemala is a poor country with a less than 70% literacy rate and the highest number of gang members in Central America. Its numerous criminal organizations are among the most sophisticated and dangerous in the region. An average of 101 murders per week was reported in 2016, making the country's violent crime rate one of the highest in Central America.

Guatemala High Country, 8x10, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

To see all my paintings from all of our virtual destinations - VirtualPaint-Out.

Thanks for visiting,