Wednesday, May 21, 2014

life drawing

Joined a life drawing group last night: they meet once a month for four hours. I only made it through three before I was too exhausted to go on.
The models were a husband and wife, but in these 20-minute poses, I left him out.
It felt very awkward and difficult drawing a live model after having not done it for several years, but the challenge is one of the appealing things about it. After trying so hard, I can only get better (right?).


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

before and after

(10x14 sheet)
On the left: done before the Mel Stabin workshop; on the right: after.
Forgot to mention, and I'm sure it makes a difference--everyone always says it does, anyway--that at the workshop, and at home since, I've been painting standing up, rather than sitting, as I always had before.
More bouys. These first washes look a little to light to me; Mel says you should try to get the value right on the first go. Now I'll end up going back in and lose some of the freshness.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

mel stabin, days 3 & 4

 More starting and even less finishing on these two days.

I pulled this one off the block in frustration because I was unhappy with the reflection in the water. 

Here's Mel's demo showing reflections in water:

 For this one I went smaller, with not such dramatic reflections.
I got another, below, started, but then it was happy hour.

This is from a photo I took, and I was a little frustrated because I knew something was "wrong," but I didn't know what--until I photographed it and saw that the right eye is not in the right place!
Here's Mel's demo:

And my final attempt:
This is from one of Mel's great reference photos. I put in all the midtones wet in wet, as Mel does, making things that are the same value--like the man's legs and their shadow--one shape. Started to pick out some details ...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

mel stabin workshop: days 1 & 2

 May 5-8 I attended a Mel Stabin workshop in Cape May, third year in a row--and I've already signed up for next year. So I guess I don't need to say that if you have a chance to, you should take one of Mel's workshops: he's a wonderful teacher and a sweet person.
These are the paintings--all not quite finished--I did the first two days, trying to follow Mel's advice to connect shapes and pay attention to values. And also his oft-repeated admonishment, Don't screw it up.
This fisherman needs a face, and Mel thought I separated the hat from the head too much--he'd prefer to see one wash flowing into the next rather than a hard line since the values were so similar.

This one still need a lot of work: I have to finish the stairs and the large palm, then add shadows and darken the space behind the palm. I think some of the greens could use some darks too, but I should've added them when the paint was wet ...
Below is a close up of one of Mel's palm trees. he painted the fronds with four of five swipes of a flat brush, then dropped some color into the center and drew in just a couple of leaves.

The fence isn't done. 

I think this is done, though, because I'm not too happy with them, I'm tempted to try to "fix" the trees in the upper left.

As in previous years, we had a great group--excellent painters and a lot of fun to hang out with when we adjourned to the bar for happy hour after our daily critique.

Monday, May 05, 2014

now in bloom ...

Actually, the quince is pretty much over.

Carried a sprig of lilac up to my art room, but forgot my glasses and painted without them.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

more lilies

Another Easter lily painting, in progress, on my easel.
Over the last few days, several more flowers have opened up--I think there are five!--so I've got to get busy sketching those before they're kaput.

This is the painting from a week or so ago.  I thought to try lightly outlining the flower with a blue watercolor pencil and then pull the color out ... But, after applying the pencil, I realized I had not used the water-soluble ones! Had to wash in some watercolor ... and just stopped here.
After that, I thought, for my next one, I'd add a background first, to help me define the white flowers. Idea good, execution not so much: I should have used the background to establish a value pattern ... Right now it just looks a mess! Haven't decided whether to go on or not. It is light, so I guess I could add a darker background. I don't know: sometimes I just think something's not worth saving.

Friday, May 02, 2014


This is from a photo I took last summer when the white lilies in my yard bloomed. They are one of the best things I ever planted; every year when they open, I am dazzled.
Though, for painting purposes, perhaps I should have gone with pink or yellow, as I have a too heavy hand with color to convey "whiteness."