Monday, February 29, 2016

Portrait Group

It has been said that there is no better exercise than to paint from life.  It teaches you to observe and analyze your subject and make decisions on the spot.  I learned this in graduate school and I would agree, it's one of the best ways to improve yourself as a painter.  The problem is.... how do you find a way to do it regularly? 

Well, I am lucky enough to have a portrait group in my area that is run by the East Aurora Art Society, of which I am a member.  Despite my busy schedule this winter I have been able to make it to a couple of the Friday sessions and have been so inspired by the experience I wanted to share it with you all!  Above you can see one of my paintings and a little bit of my process.  I blocked in the shadow shapes first to try and capture likeness.  I was working with a limited pallet of colors and I did not have violet, or anything to make the violet color of her scarf, so I had to borrow a dab from a friend.  I love the triadic color scheme it created.  When I was done with this painting I thought I could use this study to create a "mom" character for one of my picture books.  She looks young and fresh and very French with her scarf on her head.     


At portrait group there is usually about 5-8 of us and a model in the basement of this quaint church in East Aurora, New York.  

It's a rather simple setting of a yellow cinder block Sunday school room, but once we begin and are focused on our subject I find more than enough inspiration in the model who is sitting right in front of us!  I paint in oils on canvas paper because I only consider these to be studies and I am experimenting with a limited pallet to see what I can produce.  The sessions go about 2 hours with a little break in the middle for the model to grab a drink and for us artists to gab a bit.  I can't decide what I like more, the painting or the conversation between the artist, all of whom are there to improve themselves.   


Here are a few more my studies here for you to see.  To me each one represents a little bit of learning that is turning me into a better painter:)




Saturday, February 20, 2016

National Love Your Pet Day

Another obscure holiday feature is in order.  Today is national love your pet day.  It's a day to pamper your favorite pet whether it is a cat a dog a snake or a frog!  If you don't own a pet maybe today is the day to adopt one.  Go to the local animal shelter and bring home a pet that needs you.  You both will be happy!

This little illustration is a color study of a painting I plan to do.  It seemed appropriate for today's holiday.  I'll post the finished illustration as soon as I have it done:)