Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Cloudy Morning on a Ficus" and "Ficus on a Cloudy Morning"

These two paintings, each on approximately 20"x24" shellacked hardwood boards, are my two takes on the same morning scene. On the left, I painted the sky, then outlined the tree limbs. On the right, I painted the tree limbs. There are bits of green and glimmers of light in each, in honor of the courageous acts of those who speak out, everywhere, despite great peril to themselves.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some of Monday's Drawings

These are drawings from life, done in my sketchbook on Monday. The first was a 5 minute pose, the second some 3 minutes poses, the next is a 5 minutes pose, and the last, a 2 minute pose. I used mostly Conte sticks for these; one has inks, too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ficus on a Cloudy Morning

This is an oil painting on hardwood, approximately 20"x24".

Yesterday morning, after going to Gelson's to pick up some bagels and lox (because if you give a dad some garlic-scallion cream cheese, he's gonna want the lox and bagels), we went farther east on Green, close to Hill, to an area with larger, undecorated ficus trees. I painted this from one of the photos I took yesterday morning of the trees. (The garlic-scallion cream cheese is my own version of the addictive, Pinnacle Bagel cream cheese. Pinnacle Bagel is in Greenwich Village, so not available for our morning walk.)

In my own version of rule-following, I'm not posting this with the tree sketches from life (see June 20 post) because I used a photograph.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tree sketches

Vivien Blackburn at paintingsprintsandstuff has a challenge going to draw trees from life. This is my first stab at it, a marker drawing done of one of the trees outside the yoga studio I go to. If I get around to any others, I'll post them here, as well.

Note: As you can see, I've just noticed the link icon on the toolbar.

Update: The first two sketches are from this morning (June 30th), in my hilly backyard.

For tree paintings inspired by this challenge, scroll up to my June 27th post and my July 18th post.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Most recent versions of "At the Museum" (36"x18") and "Trees at Night" (24"x20")

June 19th update: I've posted the earlier versions of each painting directly below the newer versions, at the request of Altadena Hiker and Pasadena Adjacent.

I've been working further on the paintings I started recently.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Called for Jury Duty

Yesterday, I was called for jury duty downtown. The jury room was crowded with prospective jurors, so all many of us did all day was wait and periodically listen in vain for our names to be called. This left plenty of time for reading, chatting on cell phones, snacking to excess, catching up on homework, puzzle-solving, nodding off, and in my case, sketching. By the way, the hallway walls outside the 11th floor jury room, at Clara Shortridge Foltz criminal courts building, appeared to be tiled in Heath tiles--am I right? On the trip home, I also took the opportunity to ride the Metro's Gold Line for the first time--amazingly pleasant.

I also had plenty of time to catch up on reading.

This, Alberti on Painting, translated by John R. Spencer, is what I mainly read, though I also read a history of courts and juries complied for Juror Appreciation Week and parts of the recent fiction issue of the New Yorker, left behind by another citizen. (It has a preview of R. Crumb's Genesis illustrations.)

I got through the introduction, Book One and part of Book Two of Alberti, before we were dismissed from service. So far, it is a fascinating work by Alberti, an early 15th century citizen of Florence who was truly a Renaissance man. Among his many interests was painting, and he wrote two versions of his treatise on painting, one in Latin, for potential patrons of the arts, and one in Italian, for the artists to use to learn to paint differently. Artists did use it, and his theories influenced the painters who came after him.

Briefly, in Book One, he teaches one-point perspective to artists (geometry for artists). His is a mathematical approach to painting in perspective, as opposed to an observational one (which is the route his contemporary Brunelleschi took, according to the translator's notes). The decription lacks illustrations and examples, which apparently Alberti provided in person. Later painters, including Leonardo da Vinci, fleshed out the instructions in their own works.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Book One lies in his references to "miracle" paintings he has shown to his friends--the miracle not being subject matter, but the realism with which he portrayed scenes, so that they felt they were looking at real scenes. Spencer (the translator) concludes that Alberti, set his painting in a box in such a way as to force the viewer, looking through a hole and also holding a mirror, to see it from exactly the right point to maximize the illusion of three-dimensionality. (This is a 1966 translation, so it is quite possible that this theory has been rejected or revised since then.)

Here's the most current version of Karate Student at Night. It's also posted alongside the first version, at the earlier post. I've mainly worked on the doors, handles and student.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oil Sketch of Blue Girl

This is a 10"x14" oil painting on canvas, painted from life in about early 2007, in an uninstructed painting workshop. I believe I used ultramarine blue and titanium white.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Girl and Boy at the Museum (work in progress)

This is an 18"x18" oil on canvas, that I'm painting from another cell phone photo from my recent trip to Paris, specifically the Musee d'Orsay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some of yesterday's drawings

This is the third consecutive week I've made it to a live figure drawing session. Once again, short poses, five to 25 minutes. These sketches are on 6"x12" paper, in ink (two with highlighter) and, finally, pastel and crayon. Note: On June 11, I added more pastel to the last drawing and replaced the original with the revised version.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

At the Museum

This is a less blurry photo of the painting from my June 8 post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

At the Museum: 36"x18" oil painting in progress

At the right is the beginning of the painting. I've positioned the main shapes on the canvas and the basic color distribution.

At the left is the painting in its present state. I was in Paris this March for a few days and had a two day museum pass. So it was museums morning and night for those two days. This is painted from a cell phone photo I took at the Musee d'Orsay. (In my determination to travel light, I left the camera at home, so I have only a few cell photos of the trip.) It was my first visit to this beautiful museum, a converted train station, that houses much of the artwork of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trees at Night

This is an oil painting on a shellacked hardwood board, about 24"x20." Another Pasadena Old Town scene, this time off a side street, at the side of a parking lot.

I was inspired to paint these trees by a recent post by Vivien Blackburn, at paintings prints and stuff, of trees she had drawn and painted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Karate Student at Night (work in progress)

June 14 update: On left, the most recent version.

This is an oil painting on 36"x48" canvas. It's another Green Street night scene, this time of a student at the karate school, that I am painting from I photograph I took while on the same walk that resulted in the painting, Discord on Green Street.

There were two students and a teacher in the studio. The students were blindfolded and doing moves that their teacher called out. This is a painting of one of the students, just gathering himself to move.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some of today's drawings

These are all on 6"x12" paper, done from life. The first is charcoal pencil plus pastel, the second ink in a brush pen, the third ink plus highlighter.