Friday, August 6, 2010

More Gold

Here's another painting that I am pretty darn happy with. The photo is another great bum view.

This one is sort of consciously a sister to the one I called the best painting I've ever done two posts ago--the other one with gold negative space. I like the shading on the back again, and the portrait, again, is pretty good. The ear is damn good, I think. The model looks a little startled here, and she doesn't look that way in the photo--might try to fix that.

But what's really great about it is the butt. Not really sure what else there is to say here. I just love beautiful bums with a passion which passeth understanding. They speak to me so profoundly of the fecundity of the universe: so generous and graceful. Praise be.

Painting Love

Here's a painting of my son and his mom bathed in afternoon light.

I had no idea there was so much love in the world until I met my son. He's with my wife and me through adoption--the incredible consolation to the heartbreak of infertility. We chose the path of infant open adoption, which means that Noah's birth mom is very much a part of our lives. We met her a month and a half before she gave birth, and we met Noah a half hour after he was born.

It's hard to explain what it's like to paint the two people I most love in the world. To say that the pressure was on would be an understatement. But I have gotten good enough, thankfully, at the painting game to be able simultaneously to hold the greater significance of any painting I'm doing while also concentrating on the problems of the painting. There were many in this one.

I'll record the most important technical triumph for me of this painting: it's in the background. That's a door back there. What we have here is nothing less than the most uniform flat wash I've ever painted. There were two reasons for the success of this wash: 1) I used good paint, having finally accepted the fact that the quality of the paint matters and having bitten the financial bullet; and 2) I masked out the figures with masking paper and masking tape, a strategy I've always grouchily thought too fussy.

Well, getting good at the technology or the rhetoric of painting can help you paint the love you feel, I guess. I am so happy that this little guy is in the world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Private Modeling Paintings: Butts

Right here may be the single best painting I've ever made. IMHO.

I like so much about it: the sculpting and shading on the rump, most of all, but also the shaping of the muscles on the back and the gold background. I guess why I am particularly moved by this piece is that I have long wanted to do a really good butt study. Bums are much harder to paint than you might think. Even a gorgeous, shapely bum like my model's are built out of complex shapes that, as in the painting of faces, you need to get really just right, otherwise they wind up looking like caricatures of butts, not like real butts. I sort of think that our brains are hard-wired to look closely at butts, just as they are faces.

In this painting, I just got it right. It's from a gorgeous photograph. The S-curve sculpted by the back, pelvis, and legs just kills me.

This painting is not so hot. It does look a little caricaturish, which makes me sad, because it's from a pretty photo. I learned a lot painting this picture, though, about the use of violet for shadows (not effective here at all), about how to render interior scenes, about the importance of using saturated color judiciously even in unimportant details. It's not a half bad portrait of my model.

Here's a detail of the bum. It's not bad--I actually really like the hand. There's sort of something wrong with the stance (although the painting really is not far off from how the photo looks). There's one final lesson here: the paper is utter crap. I vow not to paint with crappy paper again.

Thank god and the goddess for beautiful women's beautiful bums.