Friday, October 30, 2009

Practice seeing

6"x8" oil on linen panel

Thought I'd have the "Late Sunday Morning" done by this week but remembered I have a "miniatures" show at a gallery in NC I need to create work for. I also decided I want to get out of the studio and paint those buildings on site for a day. Finishing that painting will have to wait until mid November.

So this week I worked on enlarging miniature things and in the process practiced really seeing....

When I draw or paint I discover things I've never seen before... I noticed alot of things in my travels during the day, but seeing, that's another matter. For the minitures show I thought is would be fun to find everyday items that I use and take for granted. A clothespin for example. Have you really seen a clothespin?

Alot of my work is painted from photographic reference. I certainly would never knock using photography as a tool. Thomas Eakins used photographs as a tool as did many other Masters. The problem happens when the artist hasn't had enough experience drawing or painting from life. You see things while drawing/painting from life you just don't see when working from a photograph.

If you use photographs as a tool try to find some things around the house to paint from life and really see what you might be missing.

Happy drawing & painting!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Edward Hopper

Self-Portrait, 1925-30 Oil on canvas 25 1/16 x 20 3/8 in. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

A couple of years ago I painted a fellow at a local "landmark" restaurant here in Spartanburg, SC called the Skillet. I called it Morning News. When I paint or draw something there is always a combination of emotional interest and design interest that captures my eye and inspires me. In this case there was this wonderful landmark of a restaurant (I read in a newspaper when I first moved back home that the building/shopping strip the Skillet was located in would eventually be torn down and redesigned and rebuilt.) and the great design of the figure against the background and counter.

To make a long story longer.... when a friend saw the painting in my studio she remarked that it reminded her of Edward Hopper. That comment piqued my interest so I (alway the student!) did some research on Hopper.

In 2005 I had the opportunity to visit Hopper's childhood home in Nyack, NY when I was attending at week workshop with Burt Silverman in Upstate, NY, so I of course knew of Hopper. As I researched him more I did feel a connection with some of his subject matter - the world that he lived in - the hotels, motels, trains, highways, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and offices around him.

Early Sunday Morning, 1930 Oil on canvas 35 x 60 in. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

I decided to paint a group of building in Spartanburg's downtown area (one of which was my Step-father's Drug Store which was the first painting I painted upon returning home, Heinitsh Walker.) which are inspired from Hopper's "Early Sunday Morning" I've created sketch in my Moleskin Sketchbook with waterproof uniball, then I colored it with watercolor. On the easel is a 15"h x 30" painting which I'm trying to photograph the process.

Hope to complete the oil painting by next week and post the process. So on the the easel.... happy drawing, and painting. Be inspired and learn from the Masters