After another long absence, some updates, awards, etc

I have neglected this blog (as well as painting), but it hasn’t been without a reason.

Some old (but still exciting) news is that I got some recognition from the Art Muse Contest for April 2016. Thank you so much to the judge! I was a finalist in the “Emerging” category and also got the additional honor of being eligible for Gallery Representation. Pretty cool, and I am honored and thrilled!

“The Greek Artist” 12″ x 12″ oil on panel. Finalist in the Art Muse Contest! This is a portrait of a fellow artist who has strong Greek roots—a detail that brings him great pride! I snapped an impromptu photo of him while he was attending a figure drawing session. The photo made a good basis for a portrait.

“The Greek Artist” also got a “Fav 15%” from the Bold Brush awards, so that was also very cool.

There were a couple of other honors, and I need to update my “About Me” page to include them! This Spring was especially good to me.

And for other news… the last several months I’ve been quiet on this blog. I also haven’t posted any new paintings for sale on DailyPaintworks or UGallery for quite a while.

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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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“Quizzical,” and various other updates

“Quizzical,” 12×16″ oil on cradled panel

I’ve agonized over this painting long enough, so even though I believe it’s not “quite yet” done, I am calling it DONE! I can’t take it anymore! This painting is more like abandoned, rather than completed.

This is just a study, slightly larger than what I usually do these days (which are mostly little daily paintings of 8×10″ and smaller). While 12×16″ is far from large, it seems “big” to me!

So, back to “Quizzical,” the subject of today’s post.

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Hot and Cold

“Hot and Cold,” 6×8″ oil on Gessobord. Thanks to XNB Creative of DeviantArt for the stock photo used as inspiration!

Another exploration of cold and warm light playing on the face. I used a full-body stock photo as reference, and had to really zoooom in on the face, but there was a lot of fascinating information in the flesh tones! There’s also a bit of drama in the lighting as well. I found there were subtle pale blues in the highlighted side of the man’s face, and some warm burgundies and purples contained within the shadows. I left the collar and hair very loosely rendered, because I was most interested in the colors of the flesh.

It’s painted on Gessobord, a favorite “guilty pleasure” painting panel. I keep obsessively collecting Gessobord. It’s a hardboard panel with a wonderful, smooth eggshell-textured white coat of acrylic primer on top. I love this painting surface but try to control myself and don’t use it all the time!

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Splotched Kitty Head, plus a Work in Progress

“Splotchy Kitty Head” 5×5″ oil on Gessobord. Thanks to Nikkayla on DeviantArt for the stock photo I used as reference!

Another month, and some new works! Yes, there has been a lapse of paintings for this blog. It was a busy few weeks. But I’ve still been hard at work, painting!

This cat head painting was a particular challenge, because of all the . . . splotches. Our family calls calico/tortoiseshell kitties “splotched” kitties, because of all the multitude of colors. Well, actually my dad called these type of cats “multi-color.” We can’t just call them “calicos,” now can we? 😉

The challenge in this painting was representing the splotches on the surface of the cat, while still representing the form and dimension. I hope I succeeded in that. It certainly did make me think, as I painted!

In addition, here’s a work in progress painting. Hopefully it’ll be done in a day or two. Not much to say yet about this one, other than I’ve enjoyed the drama drama drama of the pose!

WORK IN PROGRESS. “Ivory Skin 2″ (temporary title), 12×12” oil on panel. Thanks to La Esmaralda Stock of DeviantArt for the reference photo used as inspiration.

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Jason in Shadow, oil on Gessobord

“Jason in Shadow” 5×7″ oil on Gessobord. Thanks to Jason Aaron Baca (model) and Portia Shao (photographer) for the stock photo I used as reference.

I classify this as oils, but to be more specific, I used fast-drying oils (alkyds) on this painting. They are one particular flavor of oils and have been around for a while. (Read more rambling from me about them on this post.)

I’m a big fan of Jason Aaron Baca’s stock photos on DeviantArt. So much drama! Dramatic poses, dramatic lighting, what’s not to love? So here’s another little oil sketch based on one of his photos.

With this painting I was working again with trying to capture the light and shadow, and of great interest to me, the warms and cools. He had a lot of cool tones in the highlighted parts of his face. I’m also working on making more pronounced brushstrokes, more strong and visible. I love bold brushwork and want to get more proficient with that!  So exciting!

So, another one done. Put a fork in it! Now onto the next oil sketch. I have several in the works!

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“Stare” oil on Gessobord

“Stare,” 8×8″ oil on Gessobord. (Buy original from DailyPaintworks.) Thanks to djwar93 of DeviantArt for the stock pic I used as inspiration!

I forgot to post this painting earlier. It was completed in August. I loved the intense look on the model’s face, but when I compare my finished piece with the stock photo used as reference, I realize that it ended up being more “inspiration” than a literal reference. I changed the expression, the intensity, the contrast, a lot of things. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still obviously painted from that particular photo, but the jawline, the shape of the head, and the tilt of the head, among other things, were all changed. I don’t consider it a good likeness of the model anymore. But I have no intention of changing it.

What attracted me to this particular stock photo was the expression of the model, as well as all the variety of colors in his face—the pinks, neutral greens, and even some pale lavenders. It was a challenge trying to capture all of that in the painting. Not sure I succeeded completely, but I tried!

I used Ampersand Gessobord this time, which has a luscious, smooth, eggshell-like surface. I love it. I don’t always want to paint on that type of surface, but it is one of my favorites. It works especially well with smaller works.

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Hooded Man

I don’t quite know how to explain why I chose this subject. I liked the expression and thought it was dramatic and evocative, I guess.

“Hooded Man,” oil on panel, 8×10 inches. Credit goes to djwar93 on DeviantArt for the stock photo I used as reference.

There was a lot of time spent on the values, shadows, and some on the colors (which areas were cooler, what areas were warmer?). The expression of the man came together on its own; he seems at times to me to be merely intense, thoughtful—other times he seems angry and sinister. I’ll let the viewer decide!

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Black Hat

“Black Hat” 8×10″ oil on panel. Thanks to Cathleen Tarawhiti on dA for the beautiful photo I used as reference!

The latest effort, only I’ve been picking at it and picking at it for a while now . . . I don’t know why some paintings are like that. There are the paintings that come together in a few hours, and then others that I have to revisit and fix this and fix that. Why why why? 😉

I liked the simple color scheme in this one (lots of black and grey) and the drama of the pose.

A very limited palette was used on this one. I maybe used some magenta or perm. alizarin crimson somewhere, but for the most part I tried to limit it to Zorn: White, Black, Vermillion (Cadmium Red Light), and Yellow Ochre. There wasn’t much need for many more colors than that.

I used an 8×10″ acrylic-primed panel from Dick Blick, it’s got a canvas-like texture which I kind of like!

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Indecision

“Indecision,” 8×8″ oil on panel

I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with this one. I loved the drama (drama, drama, drama! 😀 ) of the expression and the pose. I tried to keep the brushstrokes loose, but sometimes that doesn’t always work out.

The panel was primed with an oil-based primer, which makes it so nice for wipeaway and texture, like you see in the background. I first covered the whole panel with a thin wash of a brown, which I then wiped away, keeping some of the color to stain the background and also to show the texture of the priming brushstrokes.

The expression is a bit ambiguous. Is she afraid, scared? I think she is indecisive, ready to make a decision and not sure which way she’ll go. But interpreting her expression is up to the viewer to decide.

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Hidden Heart

“Hidden Heart” 9×12″ oil on linen panel. Many thanks to Jason Aaron Baca (model) and Portia Shao (photographer) for the reference photo!

This is a “put a fork in it, it is done” painting. I do like it, but I also think there comes a point where if you pick at something too much, you ruin it. I think I’ve reached that point.

I actually started this painting a few months ago, for a Valentine’s Day painting challenge (we had to do a painting with a “hidden heart” in it somewhere). I returned to tweak a few more things on it just a few days ago. And now I think it’s time to call it done, even though, as always, I see things that I would like to tweak some more. But there’s a limit, right? And it’s time to move on. Right? 😉

It does seem like I do a lot of paintings of Jason Aaron Baca. And I do! He is awesome. He’s a highly popular figure on DeviantArt.com, where he has a plethora of reference (“stock”) photos available for artists to use. I have been collecting these photos for a long time now and am on a roll, doing a series of paintings from some of them. I love the drama of some of the shots!

The painting is on 9×12″ linen panel, by Fredrix. It’s classified as “archival” (meaning it is durable and won’t fall apart before its time). Fredrix has archival boards available in linen as well as cotton, and the linen ones have the option of being primed with either acrylic or oil-based primer. This painting was primed with acrylic, if memory serves.

There’s something quite sublime about the texture of linen, I can’t describe it exactly, but I like it very much. I’ve stockpiled quite a few of these boards for future use.

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“Roman Youth”

“Roman Youth” oil on panel, 6×8″

I did some final tweaking to this painting and I think it’s done!

For some reason I had trouble with this; perhaps it’s still “not right,” but I believe in letting go eventually and moving on to the NEXT! So that’s what I will do with this.

Again I used a reference photo from Jason Aaron Baca (model) with photographer Portia Shao. I love his photos because there’s so much drama there. I love the drama! He’s so generous to make his stock photos available to artists.

With this pose there was a slight “searching” or “beseeching” expression on his face, which I enhanced. I did a few slight adjustments to his features (just to mix it up a little). I hope this will make for a somewhat arresting portrait.

Painted with oils on another Sourcetek (I think—or was it Raymar? I think it was Sourcetek) panel. I love the texture of these panels. I covered the entire panel with a thinned-down layer of Transparent Oxide Red, which I wiped away in some spots (to paint in the face and flesh tones) but I left much of the Oxide Red still there. I think it worked as the background.

 

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