Just because I didn’t want to have NO posts in March!

It’s pitiful that I haven’t updated this blog in all of this month. So I’m trying to slip something in, right under the wire!

I haven’t done as much as I’d like, but still, I have done some painting. I just haven’t posted it. There are some commissions in the works (will post them later) and other stuff. I had some busy-work in other areas that kept me from posting to this blog as much as I’d like. I hope to correct that now!

Here’s a Work in Progress. It’s almost done, but still needs a few tweaks and corrections. It is not done—emphasis on NOT DONE!

8×8″ oil on canvas panel. Thanks to Reine-Haru for stock photo used as reference.

The thing that fascinated me about this portrait was the wonderful play of warm and cool on this woman’s face.

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New Paintings, New News!

I feel bad for neglecting the blog for a little over a month! But I was waiting for my “big announcement.” And that is, I am now being represented by a fairly prestigious online gallery, UGallery. I learned that I was accepted to the gallery a few weeks ago, but it took a while to get everything set up and actually have my art go “live” on the site. I wanted to wait until it was all a done deal before announcing it.

They say that about 10-15% of artists who apply to UGallery get in, so I’m flattered to be among those accepted. But I must take into account that any gallery, anywhere, has an idea of what niches they want to fill, and so if they don’t accept every interested artist, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rejected artists are “bad.”

My first day on the site was this past Thursday, and I was greeted on the main page with a graphic containing my cat paintings! Squee! Yes, I have no shame, I took a screenshot of it:

UGallery main page graphic. With my cat paintings! I thought that was cool.

To any fellow artists who may have questions about UGallery, I have only been with them for a short time, so I can’t say much yet. Other than they seem to be detail-oriented (that is a good thing), friendly, and attentive to artists.

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Ivory Skin and Black Lace

“Ivory Skin & Black Lace” 12×12″ oil on panel. Thanks to La Esmeralda Stock on dA for the reference photo I used as inspiration!

My latest effort. This was done on the “Artist” panel by Ampersand. A good panel, classified as “budget,” but also still archival. I have a lot of these panels. It has a dovetail slot in the back, so it can be hung as-is on the wall, or slapped in a frame. I love the dovetail slot feature, which is why I’ve stockpiled a lot of these boards. They are about 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick (I think 3/8″) and the sides of the panel are painted a complementary color, so if they are hung unframed, the edges of the board look finished (somewhat reminiscent of “gallery wrap” canvases, which can also be left unframed).

I enjoyed this painting and think the model is very striking. She’s great fun to paint. So dramatic! Her skin is so pale and light, I confess I had trouble capturing that adequately with my color mixing. I think I made her a bit more “pink” than she was in the reference photo, but hopefully she’s not too ruddy or flushed. (All monitors are calibrated differently, but on my computer display, she doesn’t look too red-skinned.)

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Pretty Boy

“Pretty Boy” 6×6″ oil on linen panel.

This is a bit of an experiment, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I didn’t use a model or a reference photo for this painting, but instead made it up completely from my imagination. While this portrait is not that unique (I make up faces all the time, for fun), it’s not typical for me to do what I did with the color on this one. Instead of simply inventing the flesh tones, the lights, darks, pinks, greens, warms, cools, I consulted a photo (with a different pose, with a different person) just to “get” the color. Not sure I was completely successful, but I think it’s a worthy exercise and made me really think.

After studying with Adam Clague, I am taught to look for the warms and cools on an object, as well as value, and what color is it (blue? green? magenta? orange?). One of the “rules” is that if you have cool lights, you have warm shadow. If you have warm lights, you have cool shadows.

I applied this rule (as best as I could) and so this portrait has cool lights (flesh tones with a more magenta tint are “cooler” than flesh tones with a yellowish tint) and warm shadows (I used a lot of Transparent Red Oxide in the shadows). While this portrait is just getting me started, it was gratifying and fun to do it.

The title “Pretty Boy” refers to my penchant to draw pretty people when I am inventing faces. I guess this harks back to my childhood, and all the handsome TV heros I grew up with, and sketched in my sketchbook.

EDIT: Ah, such is the life of an artist. A crazy, crazy artist. I pulled an “all-nighter” in my studio and tweaked this painting. And tweaked it. (And constantly updated this page with a picture of each new tweak.) I’m not saying it’s better or worse now, just “different.” Oh boy.

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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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Señorita, oil on panel

Back from a longish break (Colorado! I went to Colorado!). I did a fluffy cat painting the other day (need to create a blog entry about it) and tonight it is Señorita, a 10×10″ painting on panel.

“Señorita,” 10×10 inches, oil on panel

This is another painting from my “novela” series (inspired by the Mexican soap operas, you can read more about it at the bottom of this post). I liked her expression—emotional, but not sad, beautiful, and slightly dramatic. And with lots of bright pastel colors!

I painted this on a 10×10 inch panel, with a textured acrylic primer (“gesso”). It’s an interesting texture that I’ve learned to like—it’s not always what I want, but sometimes it’s interesting to use it. The panel is thicker (around 1/2″ thick or maybe a bit less) with a dovetail slot (you can learn more about dovetail slots here). You can either hang the painting on the wall as-is (with the dovetail slot) or frame it like you would any other regular painting.

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“Male Profile” and my new studio

I’ve been absent from this blog for too long! That’s mostly because I’ve been busy migrating all my stuff to a new, bigger studio.

I have waaaay too much stuff, particularly art stuff, like panels, boards, paints, brushes, and other art STUFF. My previous studio, while very cozy, was too cramped for all my STUFF. One day I snapped and said, “This is it!” and decided to move to a new studio, which is far roomier.

But first, a new painting. “Male Profile,” again using my fave model, Jason Aaron Baca (photographer Portia Shao).

“Male Profile,” 6×6″ oil on panel.

I tried to go with a looser feel in this portrait and think I like the direction I’m going. The palette was simple—I don’t think I technically used a Zorn Palette, but I did try to keep it limited. Really loving the limited palette these days.

Now onto the studio—it’s not huge, but so much bigger than my postage-stamp-sized previous studio. Not that I didn’t love that studio too (got a LOT of work done there!) but I was running out of room, fast. Something had to give! And this new studio can accommodate a computer & scanner, and even a little kitchenette of sorts (hot plate, dorm fridge, and so forth). Very conducive to getting a lot of work done, I hope!

View of Studio

This is just a small view of the studio, which still needs to have more STUFF schlepped in to it. I’m trying to be sure to protect the carpet from the oil paint, as you can see with the variety of rugs and so forth littering the floor!

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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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“Eavesdropping”

“Eavesdropping,” 6×8″ oil on linen panel (Gatorboard).

I finally had enough, it’s done, it’s done!

This is another painting from my “novela” series (which I explain better at the bottom of this post), where I explore emotions in more depth. I always enjoy doing these paintings—so many expressions to capture! Totally love it.

I fussed with this painting for a while (you can read more of my struggles here) and decided it’s time to let it go. Time to move on to another painting! Even with the frustrating moments, I still enjoyed painting this one very much.

This painting was also my first attempt at painting on a New Traditions Art Panel, which is a bit ooh la-la and high end (too good for me! Ha!) but I had to try them out. (I’m such an art materials junkie!) I liked the lightness and sturdiness of the Gatorboard (which is like a super stable foam board with an unbendable quality) and the linen was very smooth, but somehow it seemed to suck in the paint. A bit weird to paint with. I think there are probably other linens from New Traditions that I’ll like better. (And if I don’t, oh well, I still have RayMar and Sourcetek!)

 

 

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