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:)




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