Big Ears (Cat Head)

“Big Ears,” 5×5″ oil on Gessobord

This lovely kitty was painted in one sitting, which is a little unusual for me. Or perhaps this is my “new normal”? I had a 5×5″ piece of Gessobord and it needed to be used.

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Windswept

“Windswept,” 8×8″ oil on linen panel. Thanks to BirdsistersStock on dA for the stock photo used as reference!

I liked the expression on this model, and the colors in the skin, so thought it would be an interesting study!

The color scheme in this painting seemed to be predominately green, and peach. I like this color combo and had a lot of fun mixing the colors. 

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Plethora of Cat Heads, other news

I’ve been remiss in updating this blog, so let me get right to it. I’ve got some news and some art to post. First off, more cat heads:

“Dilute Calico” 4×4″ oil on panel.

“Long Whiskers,” 5×7″ oil on canvas panel.

“Earnest Orange,” 8×8″ oil on canvas panel.

“I am Siamese if You Please,” 6×6″ oil on panel.

As has been already firmly established, I love painting the cat heads. These particular cat heads were a joy! Lots of fun, very diverse cat “looks.” And I feel I’m just getting started! I’ve got a whole lot more cat head paintings in me! 🙂

On to other news, I am a “featured artist” on Daily Paintworks this month, because the unthinkable happened—I got an award! Me! Who would have guessed?

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TUTORIAL: Figure drawing, book recommendations, proportions

A break from my usual paintings of portraits and cat heads! There is a “tutorials” category in this blog, and today I am using it!

I have a painting student who is interested in working more with life drawing and figure drawing. I told her that I’d make a blog post with some book recommendations and other basic tips. This is that blog post! (Book recommendations are at the bottom of this page.)

A topic we’ve been discussing is that all-too-common bugaboo for many artists—getting basic figure proportions correct. Working from life or working from photos, it can get tricky.

It’s a common error for artists to make the head too big for the figure. I remember doing this when I took my first life drawing class. All my figures looked like horrible trolls with HUGE heads! It took a while to finally overcome this bad habit.

This is often happens because we emotionally “see” the head as the most important and unconsciously make it bigger. (We do the same when drawing faces, too. The features will be too big for the rest of the head, and new artists often make the forehead too short and the back of the head too shallow, because we focus so much on the features–eyes, nose, mouth—that the rest of the head is subconsciously viewed as “less important” and drawn smaller.)

To combat this common problem, and to aid all artists in getting the proportions correct, many art teachers have been teaching the “heads high” proportion standard.

From Loomis’s popular book, “Figure Drawing for all It’s Worth.” Click on image to see larger view.

The conventional wisdom is that most people are “7-1/2 heads” high.

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Levi portrait

“Levi,” 12×12″ oil on cradled panel.

I’ve been picking at this painting, nursing it along, and there comes a point where it has to be DONE. I think there might be a few dabs here and there I might add… but not now! Not today! Not tomorrow! I can’t take it anymore!

The back story on this painting is as follows.

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An homage to teachers…

(Please forgive me for being long-winded, but this is one post where I can’t  be brief!) TL;DR, I am very grateful to all my teachers, they changed my life and I can’t thank them enough.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time now, probably at least a year. Now it’s a lazy Saturday and I guess it’s time!

I think most artists, whether we are formally trained or not, are inevitably influenced by other artists, either through direct instruction, or books, or some other means. I don’t think any artist lives in a vacuum, where they never are impacted by the creative works of those around them, or from artists in the past. I don’t believe such a thing is possible.

In my case, I’ve had many influences, and most notably have been my teachers. They’ve come from different sources—art school, community college, workshop, private lessons… all were vitally important. And all have my eternal gratitude.

I thought I’d mention several of them here. There are some who have made a tremendous difference in my life, and others who were important and memorable. I wouldn’t say that the teachers who were the most profound to me, were “better” teachers—it’s just that sometimes someone comes along at the right time, and gives you something when you need it most. So, to you, what they did was immensely profound.

So, here’s my list of thanks to a few of these teachers, going back from the start.

Shirlee Prescott Morgan

(Known as simply “Shirlee” to me!)

Shirlee Prescott Morgan, my first art teacher.

I started getting serious about art when I was about 13 years old. I drew, mostly, and struggled with painting and color.

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