Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I've been away.  Like a big away--sailing around the world, or most of the way around the world, for the past four months.  Didn't get much chance to paint during that period--just a cloud study or two.  But as soon as I got back, I roared back into painting in a big way.

I started by wanting to just do some "sketching."  I have the common pitfall in my painting of feeling too precious about every mark I make on the page, and I wanted to make some messes instead--to not care about outcomes and just learn a little something about media or tools or techniques.  I do wish to broaden and diversify my approach.  So I took a big sheet of paper, drew some figures, and started, well, trying to make a mess.

Well, I don't sketch very well.  Of course I got attached to what I was painting, and of course I tried, in each instance, to do the best I could.  Here's what I got.


I am very happy here with the shading on the figure and the gorgeous light along this model's back line.  The color is good.  I learned a lot especially about managing warm skin tones with this one.


This model (a longtime favorite) has a cooler skin tone, or perhaps the photos are in cooler, darker light.  I have struggled with this view and these photos in the past (see earlier entries), usually making muddy colors and/or trending in directions that are too "oily."  I'm doing much better here.  The model benefits from a lighter treatment with warmer tones.  My downfall in the earlier paintings was using too much blue.  Here violet is serving the purpose much better.


This is my favorite piece of the three.  I am crazy about the light along the back and bum and the turned-away pose.  

I feel very ready to move to some larger scale work using the techniques I "sketched" with here.  But I also still wish to do more true sketching.  If I am going to do that, I need to do the following things:

1.  Probably not draw before painting.  If I draw the subject, I'm already attached to it.

2.  Use a wider palette.  I have colors in my box that I don't even touch.  I have no idea what they can do.  

3.  Do more abstract work.  I watch my son mess around with watercolors, pouring paints wet-into-wet, and he makes the most amazing effects.  I don't really know how to do wet-in-wet.

4.  Practice with bolder tones.  Go for the darks first.  Really dark.  

Doubtless there's more.  

God I love painting.