Struggled with this session. Model’s skin, her dress, and the cover on her chair were all similar tones and values. Plus she was sick and kept saying she might hurl, which was distracting to the big sister side of me, as I ran round trying to get her mints, Coke and a bucket in case she lost her cookies. Other challenges: room was hotter than hell and glare on my palette made it hard to tell what I was mixing. The beauty of painting live, I guess. First world problems. Still, one of my favorite models and the painting does look better than the photo was able to capture. This model reminds me of Ophelia, an idea which I tried to incorporate into the painting conceptually. Looking forward to refining this study further. 11×14, oil on linen. Painted at the Scarab Club of Detroit. 2 hours.
Forced to take a couple months off due to that all-encompassing life drain known as moving. I’m a bit rusty, but happy to be getting back to what matters: painting. Great pose yesterday but difficult because lighting sources were not well controlled and she was lit all over. Still, there are things about it I like. 12×16, oil on linen.
Trying to share the journey as honestly as possible. That includes paintings that are not always the best I can do. Yesterday, we had two models who moved a lot. I don’t quite have the skill level to compensate for that. Yet. Something to work on. Still, I think the costumed one (14×11) is a decent start and I rather like the nude (12×9). Both oil on linen.
If you paint plein air, you have probably observed this: that early in the day or toward sunset, the light changes more quickly. I was doing this painting at Belle Isle close to sunset and working furiously. I kept rubbing my eyes. I could not believe the amazing light on the grasses; it was as if they were on fire. No color I had in my pastel box was even close to the color of the glorious light. If I added white, it looked too cool; if I added any other color, it looked too dark. So I began darkening the other colors around the grasses to get the effect, working as quickly as possible as I began to lose the light.
Inevitably, this is always the moment when somebody stops by and wants to chat. A very nice woman came up to me, complimented the work in progress and kept talking away. I told her I would chat, but I had to keep painting. Most people leave after watching for a couple minutes, but she did not. So after about 10 minutes, I told her I had an exhibit currently and handed her a postcard inviting her to my reception at the Scarab Club. The postcard features nudes, btw. She looked surprised, hung around for a couple more minutes, then handed me a pamphlet. At which point I realized that I had solicited a Jehovah’s Witness before she had the chance to solicit me, lol! I think she appreciated the irony as well, because she and her husband were laughing really hard as they drove off. My brother is a Witness; I don’t mind them. They’re always respectful; just trying to live up to their faith. I hope someone is being nice to my brother and his family when they go door-to-door.
Anyway, it’s been a couple weeks, and I cannot stop thinking about the fiery light that night and how my colors were so inadequate for the task. It was astonishingly beautiful. I felt some kinship with Van Gogh, and how he wanted to gouge his eyes out because his paint colors couldn’t describe what he saw. I guess it was close enough; this piece sold at my reception to a fellow painter and a wonderful supporter of the arts in Detroit.