Thursday, March 31, 2011

Work in progress - Thayer's Angel Old Master Copy Step 2

NOTE: Carol Marine is coming to Aurora this December to teach a 5-day workshop. Early registration discount available now. Click here to register.

After taking a really close look at some very good photos, I think I have a good plan for this. Thayer's working method was very interesting. He often spent years working on a painting (not gonna do that) and mixed dirt into the paint (not gonna do that either). But the main goal was to let everything support the face.  The expression on the face was so important everything else was suppressed.

This is the first opaque layer. You can see that in the bodice I'm building up a rough, thick layer of paint for the light areas. But overall, his modeling has a sense of brevity to it. Only what is necessary is done. Overmodeling those wings, for instance, would detract from her face. So they are gorgeous, solid things, but only as much as they have to be.

Normally I would start with a series of transparent layers. Thayer appears to paint opaquely, with transparent glazes used to add accents in the final stages. Whew - that takes some doing for me, but I think it's good for my soul to give it a try. Alse he's got some very sharp edges in places where I wouldn't, even reinforcing those edges at the end. Well, heck, I'll try that too.

Am having a blast. Will continue next week. Thayer also went pitifully nutty. This I will attempt to avoid.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Facebook Breakup Song

Happy Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend.  Sometimes, when not painting, I like to massacre a perfectly defenseless ukulele.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Demo - How to Resin a Drawing or Painting

Resin is a luscious, addictive addition to my toolset.  It produces a deliciously thick and shiny finish.  It's very versatile - you can cast it in molds or pour it onto any rigid, sealed surface.  It dries overnight with a super-hard , smooth, high-gloss finish.

In my experiments with it over the last few months, I've cast it, made dimensional collage, and poured it over drawings and paintings (including my painted pendants).  You can see some of the work at

Here's a video demonstration of pouring resin over a mixed media drawing.  :-)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Alla Prima Fisher Price Fire Truck Demo

I recently completed this painting of a Fisher Price toy fire engine.  My little brother had one of these when we were kids.  It's the cutest thing - when you push it the bell rings and the lil guy at the front looks back and forth and bounces a little.

I was asked to do this by David Lewis of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum.  I'm a sucker for local museums, and said yes, and we should share the proceeds.  It's a really good museum.  The painting is up for auction right now:

There are lots of painters who paint toys - I am not one of them. But, I thought I might be able to do a passable job of it. The keys to making the painting succesful and looking like *I* painted it are this:
  1. Light it dramatically. 
  2. Place the focal point at approximately 1/3 the width of the canvas
  3. Get the bell in there (well, that was for me.  I love the bell.)
  4. Get enough of the ladder in there to look like itself without becoming a painting ABOUT a ladder
  5. Minimize the text (text draws the eye)
  6. Get the plastic color and translucency precisely right
  7. Get the proportions precisely correct
  8. Get it done in a hurry.  The show is April 9 and the auction needed to be before that.
To keep myself from going insane and/or taking a lifetime to paint this, I traced the photo reference.  You bet.  That's going to surprise a lot of people, but I'm starting to shift my focus from HOW things get made to WHAT gets made. I want a good, meaningful painting, by any means necessary.

Palette was: titanium and flake white, cad yellow, yellow ochre, WN Bright red (woulda used vermilion if I'd had any), burnt sienna,  perm alizarin, ultra blue, ivory black.  So, my regular palette + cad yellow and bright red.

Heres the demonstration of it being made, all sped up and time lapse for your viewing convenience. Cheers!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Well, hello there gorgeous...

Did you miss me?  I missed you!  And from looking at the stats, apparently there are like, LOTS of people looking at this blog that we moved 2 years ago.  But now it's sorta back.  There's so much ground to cover.

This won't be a daily post or anything like that, but occasionally, maybe weekly demos, blah blah, and manic encouragement from me to you. OK?

Great.  So glad we're back together. xo.

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Work in Progress - Thayer Old Master Copy Step 1

P.S. (Though I put it first) I have 2 new workshops.  End of May, 3-day flower intensive.  Mid December, Carol Marine for a 5-day.  Early registration discount -

I searched the interwebs high and low for someone else's WIP of a Thayer copy, and couldn't find one.  So here's mine.

11 x 14 oil on linen
Lisa Gloria after Abbott Handerson Thayer, "Angel" 1911

Of course, I have only digital images to go off, and they vary WILDLY in color and cropping.  The one I chose to use is this one:  Most versions of the painting blow out the lights so much there appears to be no modeling at all, but you can see it on Maulleigh's version, so I picked it.

My goal is to paint it the way he painted it, or at least try.  Without getting it stroke for stroke like you can with a drawing, I will say that I will give it my best shot, but can't really do it exactly the same way (especially since Thayer spent several years on his paintings.  That's not going to happen.).

If you click on the original size image and scroll around, it looks to be painted opaquely with some glazed accents added at the end.  But if you scroll down to the bottom left corner, where the blue background fades out, I think we're seeing a bistre under there.  Certainly his other paintings show thin bistre-type washins.  So, that's my guess, and I began with a brown underpainting, accomplished by mixing burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.  Even if that wasn't his method, it will certainly make my life easier to do it that way.

Step 2 coming this week.  :-)

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