Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Jeff's Turn To Shine

The week before Christmas, Jeff received a commission for a southwestern church painted in his dramatic style to be given as a gift. Of course his friend wondered if he could finish it in time for Christmas! So, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but an amazingly bold painting as the end of the week drew near.

Jeff chose acrylics because he knew they would dry lightning fast, and they were what he used on his other church paintings. It really helps to be familiar with your media and the color palette. Jeff painted for years with acrylics before he tried the oils. His art loving friend actually wanted to buy the "Zuni Pueblo Church" painting, but Jeff wasn't ready to part with that particular piece. Jeff reassured him that he could do something very similar and his friend was very happy with the result.

I was impressed that he has such a distinctive style. Some people love it and others don't, but it is something they always told us in art school you must have so that people could instantly recognize your work. He has held back for a lot of years because he got an initial response from someone that he respected that was somewhat negative. (I believe the term used was "horror show".) Lately, he has had some more positive responses, and this commission has been the best of all. I am incredibly proud of him and hope he will continue to paint more great paintings.

Jeff's Corner: "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Under The Surface

I made good progress on the second Petra painting, but I realized that in between all the cookie baking, snow shoveling, and other holiday commitments, I didn't enter a blog last week! Hopefully, everyone else has been just as busy and didn't notice.

I am coming near completion of this painting, and I feel like the color balance is much better. I had a friend comment that it must be just like paint by number once you get the black and white values in place. It might seem that way, but I still had to make a lot of choices to get the right colors. I tried an idea I read about recently where you cut a small square out of a white piece of paper and look through the square to really see the color you are looking at. This was especially helpful on the ground color because last time I kept seeing it as too brown and didn't get enough gray, blue and green.

The black and white underpainting does help a bunch for placement and it is kind of magical how all the colors seem to have the right value now and don't seem so overly bright and unnatural. Eventually, I may learn to do this by mixing the colors with enough black in the first place, but for now, I am really glad to have a tool that I know will work.

Some positive results from my fixation with painting cats is that I may have two more commissions from other folks who love their feline friends. I am delighted with the opportunity to keep on learning and provide people with something they will enjoy.

Jeff's Corner: You should see my paint-by-number Mark Rothko...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cats and Dogs

This fall I had a successful animal portrait titled "Cheech Puppy". At the time, I was experimenting with not doing a black and white underpainting first, and I thought this particular painting worked very well.

Because of that portrait, I received a commission to paint a cat named Petra. I started this painting without an underpainting before we left for Greece, so it was waiting for me half-finished when I returned home.

I had a goal to have this commission finished early in December and I went straight to work. Imagine my dismay when I was getting near completion and everything with the color just felt unconnected and "off". The leaves seemed too bright, the ground too chocolate brown, and Petra's eyes too green.

While we were in Greece, I did one painting of a black and white kitten I titled "Who, Me?", and I did use a black and white underpainting which really was helpful in getting a successful painting. Reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that I would have to start over with Petra. Even though it would mean an extra week of drying time, I did do the underpainting with black and white aqua- oils instead of acrylics just to see if the painting would have even more depth.

Thankfully, I already feel the painting is more unified, and I hope that when I add the color this week, it will maintain this unity. Stay tuned until next week...

Jeff's Corner: Underpainting? I thought she said black and white underpants!