Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Catwalk", 8x10, oil on board, Vincent Van Gogh, Sunsets, cats, nasty cats, Cedar Key, plein air

"Catwalk", 8x10, oil on board

What do you do when a cat struts into your plein air sunset painting?

You paint him, of course!  (Or her.)

In this case it was a "her" and what a character she turned out to be.

We rented a home on Cedar Key for a few days recently, just to get away from it all. Cedar Key is an Old Florida- type town that hasn't changed a whole lot in a hundred years.

There are gorgeous sunsets and sunrises each day, mud flats and oyster beds galore, and plenty of decent fresh seafood to boast of on Cedar Key. On one particular gorgeous Florida evening, we brought home a take-out of fresh oysters, clams and blue crabs from a local restaurant. That's when we met "Jill", the ugly and nasty cat that lived next door to our rental.

Sadly, I confess that I am to blame for the fact that we could not get rid of her after that night, because I was the one that could not resist that miserable face and so I fed her some seafood.

Jill then attached herself to me like a parasite, and after that, I literally could not paint or enjoy the sunset on the deck without Jill by my side. One particular night I decided to paint the sunset. The gnats were really annoying, and so I determined to do a quick little piece that would give me notes for a larger work in the studio.

My efforts, however, were interrupted continuously by Jill, who definitely wanted a piece of the action.

Jill made her way up the deck as though she owned it, like a model on a catwalk, showing off the latest Ralph Lauren masterpiece. Without warning, Jill suddenly dove onto my wet palette, and  with an equal lack of warning I unceremoniously dumped Jill off the deck and onto the mudflats directly below.  Lucky for her it was  low tide.

Jill was not to be deterred, however. She cleaned herself off, and made her way back to me, not to be put off by a little oil paint, mud, and rude human treatment. Eventually after being ignored, she settled down and made herself comfortable in a chair by my side, but not before I finally gave in and stuck her into my sunset painting.

The painting is rather Van-Gogh-esque, probably because the contretemps between myself and Jill was enough to make me want to cut off her tail and my own ear. The latter of which was a direct result of the meowing that occurred each night when I shut her out of our vacation rental without nary another piece of crabmeat to speak of.

I hope if you ever visit Cedar Key, you will enjoy its beauty, minus the benefit of a diabolical cat named Jill.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"White Bonnet", 14x11, oil on board, paintings of children, children in costume, Renaissance child

"White Bonnet", 14x11, oil on board

It's been months since I painted a portrait but this week I felt that I needed a change from the landscapes I had been doing. I enjoyed painting this darling child a few years back, when I painted "Renaissance Child" and so I decided to try her again this past week.

I used a very different technique this time, attempting a much more impressionistic approach than my previous attempt. I was very happy overall with her face, though I suspect I'll be continuing to work her costume a bit more in the future.

Here is a close up of her face. If you click on the image you can see the detail better. You'll see that there are many spots of broken color applied  and some very thick passages of impasto in the light passages:

I hope to try more experiments with this style in the future.

This past week I was very pleased to receive some samples of new art materials from Jerry's Artarama. In the box was a set of Pro Stroke Powercryl brushes in various sizes. After painting with these brushes all day yesterday I was shocked to find out that they were NOT Chungking bristle brushes at all! They were wonderful synthetic substitutes having all the same qualities of firmness, springiness and paint absorbancy that I normally find only in premium hog's hair bristle brushes. I went to Jerry's website and found that these brushes are recommended for acrylic painters. I can say with confidence that I would also recommend them for oil painters for the reasons mentioned above. Although these are synthetic brushes, they handled the paint with the degree of structure and firmness that I usually require in painting the opaque passages of my work. They also worked well for the transparent passages!They are currently on sale at 55% off at Jerry's. You can go here to read more about the brushes and place an order.I do recommend these fine brushes by Creative Mark!

In addition, I also rec'd some samples of Lukas oil paint. This is not a brand that I would normally think of using but I was very pleased with the overall consistency of the paint. I tend to switch back and forth between different brands of Titanium white because I am never perfectly happy with the overall consistency of the brands I have been using. Lately, I had been mixing Permalba white (which is extremely gooey and watery) with Winsor and Newton (which is far too dry in my opinion) in order to get the overall firm but not dry consistency of paint that I desire. With the Lukas titanium white, I found I had a perfect consistency! I also used some of the cobalt violet mixed with transparent oxide red to get some of the neutrals for the background and for the neutrals in her face. I really liked these paints and noticed they are very affordable and I will definitely purchase them in the future! Thank-you Jerry's Artarama! I look forward to trying the other materials that were sent to me in the near future.

To see the painting I did of this little child 5 years ago, please go here, and if you have a chance, please let me know which one you like better!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

"The Sexy Lady", 8x10, oil on board, fishing boats, Cortez Fishing Village, Cortez Florida, old florida

"The Sexy Lady", 8x10, oil on board

I was out at Cortez Fishing Village today and decided to paint "The Sexy Lady" who never seems to leave her spot in front of the dock next to the Star Fish and Company restaurant.

It's the first time I ever painted this not-very-sexy boat, but it was certainly not the first time I've painted at Cortez.

I've painted a lot of boats there at Cortez, including Mr. Chris and The Rebel and Company. It's a great place to paint, and the seafood at the restaurant Star Fish and Company, usually is quite fresh, though expect a long wait during Snowbird Season.

It was good to be back out in the fresh air!