Large Scale Figurative Sculpture

One of my favorite classes this semester is Large Scale Figurative Sculpture. It took me weeks to complete the armature for my four foot figure. Essentially, the armature consisted of three main parts, a box on wheels, supporting pipes and an internal wire armature to hold the clay itself.

I am currently working on the Bulking Up Stage. In order to mass out the form, I applied 100 lbs of clay over the entire wire armature. It is also during this stage that I am attempting to get accurate proportions.

At this point the sculpture is very rough and unrefined. As time goes by hopefully, the sculpture will look more and more human.

Figure study, Portrait, and Still Life

Here are some recent studies done this week.

This is a One session study of a clothed male model, done in Pyform's Life Painting class.
For the most part I am happy with the end results of this pieces. Mainly due to the fact I only spent about 2 hours tops.

This painting is the second session of a nude female model done within Jill's Basic Color class.
This painting started out as a really nice underpainting, then brutally tortured over the next few poses. Only until the last 20 min pose was I able to save it. Although the Painting lacks a finished quality, I felt it turned out ok for being the first time I have painted an African American using color.

This is my most recent painting which I am currently working on. This is the result of my wipe out within 2 hours of work. This painting, when completed, will be submitted into a gallery.
The Exhibition title is " Art of the Flower", located at the Philadelphia Sketch Club.

Pastel Drawings

Hey everyone!

Well, I'm sorry I kind of dropped off the face of the earth on here for so long...I have lots of work that I've meaning to post for a long time and I just haven't gotten around to it. This semester has proven to be a very difficult one so far for a variety of reasons which I won't go into on here, but suffice it to say, I've been pretty worn out from school and life in general lately. However, that's no excuse for not posting, and I will endeavor to do much better in the future!!!

These are two pastel drawings which I actually did last semester. The first is one of the final projects that I had to do for Scott Noel's Life Drawing class and the second is a two week drawing that I did in that same class. Pastel has really become one of my favorite media to work in; I'm able to work much more freely with pastel than with other drawing media...I also particularly enjoyed getting to work in color pastel on both of these two projects. Unfortunately, the resolution of the photographs here really isn't too great which I appologise for, but hopefully you get the idea.

Anyway, I have alot of other pretty major projects going which I will try to take pictures of and post about on here as soon as possible!!! Till next time!

More of Those Darn Pastel Studies

I have been doing more research on pastels and working on my technique. In the future, I hope to clog up the blog with more of these studies. It is amazing how valuable these little studies are in the lessons that they offer.

My friend Deb, just introduced me to a wonderful sanded pastel paper called Art Spectrum Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper. It holds much more pastel than the Canson Mi-Teintes paper that I was using.

In the two versions of my red pepper (one on Art Spectrum Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper and the other on Canson Mi-Teintes paper), you can see the differences between the working surfaces. Although it may not be apparent in my low quality photos, the color of the Art Spectrum Board is richer and the texture is less obtrusive.

Pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes paper

Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper

Still Life, Figure Paintings and Pastel Drawings

WOOOOO!!!! Its that time again. Here I have some drawings and paintings done throughout the week including some previous work done this year.

Here are some thumbnails done in still life class. I think I like the composition of these, but I plan on doing a 3-4 week painting so I will be attempting the entire still life. For being small quick studies I am impressed with way they turned out.

This is my most recent painting done in Pyform's life painting class. After my class had a long discussion about wanting to paint a clothed model, our teacher brought one in. This study was quite difficult due to the dark, baggy shirt he was wearing. Also I had to break out some colors I do not have on my palette normally. I also decided to challenge myself and not use any black since I have a tendency to over use it.

This figure painting was a one week study using a wipe out technique. I had a bit of trouble with the left leg, which was never fully resolved. I am happy with how the values turned out.

This was done in my materials and technique class. The medium is egg tempera on rag board.
I had a lot of fun with this piece, but I do not think I would per fer this medium over oil any day.

Here we have another figure painting done in one session. Our model decided not to show up and out teacher, Pyform, posed for us. The drawing is not as far I would have liked it to be but, I am pleased with the color and value control. Which from my understanding is the goal of her class.

This is the first drawing I have posted from Scott Noel's life drawing class due to the quality of the work. Even though this drawing is still poor quality, its better than most of the others.
Every time I throw another layer of pastel, the drawing get muddy. Which from my understanding is a paper issue. I hope to try out the reeves bfk to see if that improves this issue.
Here we have another wipe out done of the human figure. The torso turned out to be very flat due to the lack of dark and shadows. Overall, I am not to happy with how this painting came out. The values are off, the drawing is poor, and the composition is bad. I hope the next session will help.

Here is the 2nd session of my still life. The metal tea/coffee thing ended up getting wiped off due to EVERYTHING going wrong with it. I wish I had more time to work on it now that I know what was wrong with it.

Going Slowly

I do not really have have much work to show this week. Despite the fact that I am working non stop, nothing seems to be getting done.

This painting was completed in Al Gury's portrait class. I have been trying to let my brush strokes show, which for me is a very difficult and uncomfortable task. The urge to over blend and over model a form is very strong.

As I am learning more and more about my artistic preferences, I find that I am drawn to paintings where one color family dominates. In this painting for example, I like the pink on pink color combination.

Portraits, Still Lifes, and live figures Oh My!!!

Once again folks its time to post what I have been up to during my semester. Here are several studies I have been working on throughout the past two weeks.

This is a color/value study of a nude figure done in Jill's Basic Color class. This is clearly not one of my best paintings, but I feel one can learn just as much from a bad painting then good one. Using only a palette knife, the objective was to establish the correct pigments on the figure and cloth using only a prismatic palette and a palette knife.

This is a single session wipe out done in my still life class. Theres not to much to say for it at this stage. I think the values still need some work as well as the construction of the form, but overall I feel this is a good start and im looking foward to fixing my mistakes next class.

This is my most recent figure painting, done in Jill's Basic Color class. This pose will be lasting for three weeks. Todays goal was to construct the form, decide our composition, and establish the background, which was resolved, but this photo was taken before I finished for the day. I am happy to see some strong figuritive anatomy in this under painting. Next week I will focus on tweeking my proportions and throwing down some values into the painting.

This is a single session painting done in Pyform's Life Painting class. This particualr study lacks in some proportion which can be seen in the feet, arms, and torso, but overall her motion is captured and most of the values were pretty close to what they were.

This is another single session wipe out done in my Still Life class. I feel some of the forms have trouble sitting on top of one another, but that seems to be due to some poor perspective choices. These will be fixed once I begin adding more paint to the surface.

And last but not least. This is a portrait done and the most recent Dirty Palette Club meeting. I struggled hard with this painting, mostly due to the surface rejecting my paint most of the time. All in all I like the final effect. Its not really how I would normally go about a painting, but
I like it none the less.

Ecorche and an Oil Painting Portrait

Aaaaaand the beat goes on. Here we go with more cell phone pics. I'm sorry but the fact is I never remember the damn camera. If I do wait until I remember the camera it takes me two weeks to put a post up.

The setup for this portrait was troublesome for me because it was such strong artificial lighting and a boldly contrasting costume. Without getting too deep into apologizing for the picture quality I would like to state that this photo does NOT depict the parts of the painting I am unhappy with. Somehow this feels patchy and disjointed to me. I am also struggling to maintain the purity of color in this that I would like. It began as a pickout, followed with direct color application. I intend to experiment this semester with a process far more dependant on the underpainting....but, I'll explain that if I ever get around to it.

I LOVE Ecorche. This class is so entirely laid-back while still remaining intensely informative. You just let that flow wash over you and push along. I wish I could accurately describe the environment in one of John Horn's classes... that's gonna have to do.

*Added more crappy cell phone pics*

Jan Baltzell

Here is a 2 week charcoal drawing, 22x30, that was done for Jan Baltzell's Thursday morning drawing class. The pose was quite a challenge; she requested that the model alternate sitting on two chairs on opposite sides of the table, every 10 minutes. So the model's right arm is shown twice in my drawing. We did this type of one model/alternating pose the first 2 weeks as well. This exercise really helps to hone our sense of spacial relationships, the way we deal with memory, and deciding what is necessary for the completion or success of a drawing. Jan Baltzell is an excellent professor who encourages and helps us to explore what we are most interested in terms of drawing or what makes us tick, whether that be an interest in line, atmosphere, texture, etc. She emphasizes what she calls "passages" within our drawings, pushing us to create pockets and inlets and outlets through which the eye can travel.

Next week she is taking the whole class to Philly's famous Reading Terminal Market (famous for its Amish pies and donuts, cheesesteaks, produce, and everything else you could ever want to eat) to do some sketching, I suppose for a larger drawing. It's going to be something else to try to pin down a composition in all of that commotion. Perhaps I'll go for Duchamp's futurist Nude Descending the Staircase approach and attempt to depict all of the hustle and bustle at once.

The above charcoal was done on Rives BFK paper, which is pure heaven. During my year at the Maryland Institute College of Art, it was the only paper I would work on. It holds the charcoal like no other and feels like velvet to the touch. I've come back to working on it now, because even at 5 or 6 dollars a sheet, Rives makes all the difference.

Pastel Practice

I have never worked in pastel before, so I decided to give it a try. I chose to work with Rembrandt Soft Pastels, which are the most expensive pastels that I could afford. My palette consists of a warm and cool version of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, as well as some earth tones, Caput Mortuum, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna plus Black and White.

Because pastels do not mixed until they are blended or layered on the paper, I had to buy a few tones of each color to make sure I could produce a range of values. The costs quickly added up.

I feel that many of my drawings and paintings lack movement and gesture. Since pastel seems to be a very loose, expressive medium, I hope this will help bring life into some of my drawings.

In order to get a feel for pastel, I am working on a series of simple objects. I did three apple studies trying to isolate different pastel marks.

An apple made using Vertical strokes only

An apple made by blending with my finger

An apple made using cross hatching only

Self Portrait study

This weekend I spent my time completing a self portrait for the Student Exhibit. The last self portrait I had done using (acrylic paint) was about a year and a half ago. The improvement I have seen come out of this portrait makes me feel great. Here below I have the steps taken throughout the painting. (Oil on Masonite) (8x10)

1. Image one is the finished block-in/wipe out. Looking back at this step I wish I had spent a little more time focusing on structure, due to the struggle I had in the next steps.

2. The second image was the focus on color, value/light. I felt I did a good job nailing the background, hair and clothing, but the face still needed to be changed.

3. The third image was done with detail work in mind. This was Issue number Uno. I discovered later on that I rushed into detail way to soon, (relaying on my block-in) after a crit by Mike Manley and Dave Golas. A lot of structure was incorrect, and with a little more Patience and better observation, this would not have taken as long.

4. The fourth image is a strong improvement of structure. I soaked in the advice of Mike Manley and grabbed my biggest brush, pre mixed my paints, and dived in there big shapes to repair the facial features.

5. Image five is the final results of the painting. Due to my deadline and drying time, I had to call it quits. Overall I am very impressed with the results and amount of improvement on my part.

oil painting on panel, using mediums, deadlines

Sometimes writing can be a cathartic act. I hope that's what this will be for me today. Ok so, I guess I'll start with the good news. Awhile back, a friend and I were discussing how success hinges on your willingness to make the attempt. For instance, submitting to a show in the first place. The self portrait from my last post which I submitted to the exhibition at the Plastic Club won first place in that show. It was a welcome surprise and proof that our theory holds weight. As a result I have been taking the time to look around at local opportunities and the truth is I could stay overwhelmingly and blissfully busy without any trouble. I have glorious lists of contests, exhibitions and other opportunities to provide solid, tangible goals for my paintings that will ultimately provide the initial steps to becoming financially successful as an artist. Sounds lofty, doesn't it? It isn't that I don't believe it, I do. It's just that you have to actually do it to make it real. I missed two deadlines this week. One on Friday and the other tomorrow. They were my deadlines, I am still very much on top of my schoolwork. So in way, I only disappointed one very critical person in this whole equation. Me. I am pretty disappointed in myself and there is no cure for that other than to pick myself up and start working again. Like painting, this life is going to be very much about trial and error.

So, let's talk turkey shall we? I missed the first deadline because I refused to face an old nemesis. Writing. I have always had trouble sitting down to write. It's just that part that's hard. I don't fear a white canvas but a blank piece of paper...anyway, I procrastinated on the essay until I had sufficiently sabotaged the whole venture. It was childish and ridiculous.I know the cure for that one and I am slightly acquainted with it. It's called self-discipline.

The other deadline was a painting. Now I worked on this. In fact, I lost quite a bit of sleep working on this. Lemme show you:

Look at them! I know they're ugly but, let's face the truth here. I took these just after I reluctantly admitted this was not going to be ready in time and I was entirely unhappy with it. So I was beginning to scrape the paint off. I wish I had taken a pic prior to the scraping. I was working on panel again. With the self-portrait, I was totally enamored with the smooth surface of the painting. I could lay the paint on and seemed to latch onto the surface quite well after the initial coat. This time it went on fluid and stayed that way even after subsequent layers. The only thing I did different was that I used my medium earlier in the process. In fact I used it to seal my drawing and underpainting. I believe that I effectively destroyed the absorbency of the panel. I didn't realize it during the self-portrait but, that was the characteristic that made that made that painting work so well for me. Maybe learning how important that is to me was worth all of this trouble. I only know of one solution to the problem with my current panel though. I need to sand back down and rebuild it.

Still, I am left conflicted about tomorrow. I should be dropping off a submission for a show. The problem is that I don't have anything I'm excited about entering now. I'm open for suggestions.