More Studies

I started a new charcoal drawing this week. It took me a long time to nail down the pose and I had just started shading when the session ended. However, I will get a chance to work on the drawing next week. I will probably add some background elements to give the drawing more depth.

I got outside to paint when the weather got nice and made a few tonal studies of trees. I did eventually add color, but those attempts are not worth posting.

Four Foot Sculpture

In my Large Scale Figurative Sculpture Class, what started out as a large lump of clay became a four foot male figure by the end.

I quickly learned how important a thorough understanding of anatomy is to a figurative sculptor. I just as quickly learned how little I really knew about anatomy, despite having taken two classes of it. It is one thing to draw muscles, but it is something entirely different to recreate them in 3D.

This class was great because I learned a lot about how muscle groups overlap and entwine. As usual I had some trouble capturing an interesting gesture, which left my sculpture stiff and rigid.

My main goal for next year, when I take this class again, will be to focus on the movement and gesture of the human figure.

Bulk Up Stage

Landscapes And Figures

The wet Spring weather finally gave way to a sunny day this week. I gladly took the opportunity to paint outside. When I paint outside I prefer to use Water Soluble Oil Paints. As opposed to traditional oil paints, Water Soluble Oil Paints allow you to clean your brushes and palette with water. This makes clean up easy and less toxic than using OMS (Odorless Mineral Spirits).

I avoid/limit my use of Mineral Spirits (even OMS) and other harsh chemicals whenever I can. When I am painting in school or in my studio at home, I always clean my brushes with Vegetable Oil plus soap and water. I guess I am one of those paranoid artists, but I feel that it is important to know your materials and to avoid/limit ones exposure to harmful chemicals.

Tree study in H2O Soluble Oil Paints

I am still getting down to the city once a week to draw at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. For students, the price is unbeatable (six dollars per session).

Here is a drawing that I did in one session. I am trying to work quickly and not fuss too much. Unfortunately, I made a poor cropping decision and chopped off part of her head. However, I am beginning to really enjoy charcoal. With charcoal you can fill up a page quickly and it allows the artist to make interesting marks.

Next week will be a continuation of this pose. I plan to stick with Charcoal, but I would like to try a different technique.

Charcoal Study 18X24

Water and Oil

  • I've set for myself a personal goal of 30 small (5x7" to 8 x10") oil paintings by the end of June in order to get myself to relax and just PAINT, trying to loosely block them in and just go for it. No worries, right? Seven and a half paintings in, "relaxed" would not be a word I'd use to describe myself. The first few were moderately successful and I have high hopes for the landscape (yes that green painting is a landscape) whenever I decide to return to it. The last oil I worked on, the amaryllis plant on 5/12, showed me why I can not work from photo reference, at least not for what I'm trying to accomplish. The half-way point for that painting just looks forced and awkward (Another fault is that I increased the surface to 11x14"). Shortly after that debacle, I decided to take a break from oils (for at least a week) and focus on watercolors. Lo and behold, a relaxed work that is successful in my eyes. I think I'll stick with these little watercolors for awhile and see where they take me.

Summer Break

So far, my main focus over break has been drawing. I am still working on my pastel and oil studies. When the weather gets nice I plan to spend my time outside painting.

During the school year, I depended mainly on the pencil. Graphite is a medium that I am very comfortable with. I love the control and the subtle value shifts that can be achieved. However, I have ignored the wonderful expressive world of charcoal. Over the break I am determined to draw in charcoal as much as possible.

I am taking a life model session down in the city. This is a great opportunity for me to experiment with charcoal.

24X18 Charcoal

Charcoal Study of Wooden Horse

Pastel Study on Canvas Board (red acrylic ground)

In-Class Pastels

In Al Gury's life drawing class we focused on doing large figure drawings, with any type of drawing material we wished. I chose to work with pastel, specifically, grey scale. I was hoping that this would help me develop and control using a narrow scale of value to achieve a dreamy, atmospheric drawing. This was definately something I struggled with. In the last working week, I had finished my drawing and decided to do a small color study. I think it was my most successful piece for the class this entire semester. I wish I'd started using color sooner and done a larger drawing, but at least now I know what I'll be working on this summer...

The tan paper showing through on the bottom corner was unintentional (and also not nearly as noticible up close) but I like the effect and would like to work on controling it more.

On this one I experimented with leaving bits of the tan paper showing through. While working on it in class, I did not notice those horrible streaks of it along the was meant to focus more in the top right area, flowing into other parts, with the effect that it was almost a warm light falling onto them.

I will definately do more of these in color...

Watercolor or Watercolour?

I'll apologize right off for the horrible pictures, but here's a glimpse of my recent foray into the world of watercolor.

portrait in oil, figures and still life

I'm trying to figure out which things I have posted and which things I haven't. Finals have ended and I was fortunate enough to have received two awards during the Spring Prizes. The first was an endowment. I will write more about these after the award ceremony Friday. The other was a special mention for my self-portrait which I posted above.I'll try to take a clearer photo in daylight tomorrow. The rest of the paintings below are unfinished works from classes. As I go through my stuff, organize and purge, I will take pics of the things I haven't posted.

This last painting is from the Desiderio workshop I attended a few weeks ago.

Another Semester Ends

Another semester has ended, which means I am getting closer and closer to a private studio next fall. I can hardly contain my excitement! With fewer classes I will have more time to focus on my own interests and artistic direction (which I feel has gotten clouded and lost along the way).

The past semesters have flown by. There were some tears, periods of frustration, and a lot of failed paintings, but in the end the lessons that I have learned are invaluable.

I only have a few simple studies that I am willing to show for this weeks post.

Soft Pastel on Canvas Board (Burnt Sienna Acrylic Toned Ground)

Soft Pastel on Canvas Board (Acrylic under painting: Red under painting for peppers, Green under painting for cloth, Blue tone for background)

Graphite 18X24

Oil on Canvas Board