Saturday, September 09, 2006

where I left off ...

Art classes start again soon ... So it's time to unpack my huge, backbreaking art-supply carrying bag from last spring and repack it for fall. Time to clean and replenish my palettes, and reassess my brush needs and paper choices--size and make and finish.

Above are two 10 x 14" pages of croquis (sketches)--Cornelia (she of the black tights; I did my best life painting so far of her back ... I'll include it in my next post) on the left and Jim, I think, on the right. These are probably 5-minute poses (going to keep better track this semester).

The croquis we begin the class with are usually the best work I do all day--low expectations yield the best results; annoyingly if you think of the corollary; I'm generally not happy with the longer poses--no doubt because it's a bigger "commitment" and I try harder ... which is all wrong. I have to plunge into the long poses with the same (relative!) abandon as I do these quick poses. That is the goal I am going to try to keep in sight this fall.

This is an unfinished longer painting of Jim, the last painting I did in my life class before summer. Since I'll never have the opportunity to finish this painting with Jim, I'm seeing it as almost finished as is! With a few judicious touches, I think it might look complete ... the problem is figuring out what those touches should be and then adding them! I rarely go back to a painting once I've put it aside ... I don't like to; I like to think a painting gains a certain momentum and going back later feels forced; I feel stymied since usually I just paint without thinking about it!

One thing I do like about this painting--see if you agree--is that, the more I look at it, the more it look like Dylan!

And last but not least: the painting I was working on in my all-day Tuesday class, where I paint with very talented and ambitious painters.

We meet at Carolyn's house and set up our own individual still lifes in her basement, where she has a treasure trove of objects to choose from. It usually takes half a day to select from the bounty ... and if you're lucky, Lois will help you! She is the very best making setups; watching her set one up is an education--the shapes, the colors; and then she paints beautifully ... and always on a full sheet (which is 22 x 30").

Which inspired me try: this unfinished painting is my first effort on a full sheet. It is nearly finished, but I do think I need to resolve some of the white space. I plan to extend the pale blue flowered drape into the upper left quadrant; after that, I'll reaccess--maybe it will need more, maybe (I hope) not.

In the Tuesday class, with the encouragement and inspiration of the other painters--they are a stimulating group!--I've been trying to select more challenging, complicated subjects. Before, I studiously avoided printed fabrics--which is a serious limitation if you're painting still lifes! As you can see in this painting, I'm struggling with it; I have to train my brain to not be impatient when I get lost in the print and the folds ... it's alternately frustrating and tedious. But when I look at a Matisse or a Vuillard, I know it will be worth it, someday.

I'll ask the other painters in the Tuesday group if I can photograph the paintnings they're working on for this blog ... Their work is various, but uniformly interesting!
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