Saturday, December 28, 2013

Student work at the College of Charleston

Here are some images of student work from my Drawing I class at the College of Charleston:
 (sorry the names are omitted, I look through so many portfolios at the end of the semester, I don't write down who did what!)

full value charcoal drawing of a chair
Line drawing of flowers, pencil
isometric drawing, boxes
skeleton drawing, pencil
copy of John Singer Sargent, charcoal
1 point perspective drawing of bedroom, pencil
charcoal, drawing of your hand
thick and thin contour line drawing of a single flower, pencil
figure study, ink wash
self-portrait, charcoal
figure study, charcoal powder and charcoal
self-portrait, pencil
still-life, modelling form, charcoal
figure study, conte crayon
self-portrait in curved mirror, charcoal
still-life, modelling form, charcoal
drawing architecture in the landscape, pencil
still-life, full value rendering, charcoal

Friday, November 8, 2013

St. Philip Street progression

   I've pretty much reached the end of this painting. It's a fairly large painting (30" x 34.5") and I've been working on it regularly for about 2 months. An earlier post showed the prep work that went into it, but I've also documented the progression of the painting from start to finish. I've been doing this for a lot of paintings recently. Initially I thought it would just be fun to see, but for me it also provides a map of where I've been with the painting, and hopefully, where it is going. Each photo documents a painting session (give or take a few) which is usually about 3 hours. I did most of the work in the studio, but returned to the site to paint from the motif about 3 or 4 times. It's hard to do a painting this large on site... it takes a long time to set up, you're bound by weather conditions and the wind is always a disruption on rooftop paintings. At a certain point the light changes too much over the course of 2 months, so there's a lot on invention and relying on photos in the studio anyway. I think it's about as resolved as I can make it at this point, and I want to submit it for an exhibition soon. Here's the different stages with the final image when I stopped:

1st layer; washes of color over gesso. Used an actual size mock-up drawing to guide me
Thickening the layers of paint as I go; still fairly thin
Return to site, capturing the light and correcting the drawing
Adjusting the color in the studio. It's amazing the difference in color between outside and inside
Creating a surface density for the sky
Return to the site; working on the atmosphere from foreground to background
In the studio; blocking the cloud formations in from photographs
Back on site; clarifying things once more
Building the surface in the studio
Developing the clouds more; balancing 'looser' passages and 'tighter' passages
Final stage: noodling, straightening, balancing...the maddening part
   So at this point it's being put away. Sometimes when I put a painting away for awhile and bring it back out, what needs to be fixed will jump right out at me. There is a story I read about Claude Monet, who was known to want to go back into paintings after they were sold, sometimes many years later. Collectors didn't want him to view the work they had of his, because he would almost inevitably want the piece back so he could work on it more. I totally understand...a painting is never really 'finished', it is usually just stopped.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Interior

   Here's an interior painting I'm working on right now. The idea came a few weeks ago while my daughter and I were watching a movie together, and as I came back into the room from the kitchen, the entire painting appeared to me in a flash. The motivation behind all my work is a desire to capture some sort of emotional response to the world; sometimes I have to dig for it and find it, but in this case, it hit me all at once. That's usually when I'm glad that my IPhone is in my pocket, so I can pull it out and take a quick shot to capture the moment. The next day I did a pencil sketch in the room and figured out the size of the canvas I wanted to use:

pencil on paper; 9" x 11"

   After toning the linen, I then proceeded to block the shapes in with a palette knife and large brush, striving for the overall light and mood of the painting:

oil on linen; 15" x 20"
   After a few sessions set up in front of the motif, the original vision for the painting began to emerge:

   I used the initial photo of my daughter as a reference for her portrait in the painting. I'm slowly starting to introduce the figure into my interiors, while still holding on to a sense of mystery and quietness in the work. Here's where it stands so far:

finished; 15" x 20"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Steeples, Triangles and Diagonals


     Here are some sketches for a new painting I'm planning. These were all done on site, and include a variation on slightly different angles of some buildings downtown. Once again, this is a rooftop parking garage scene; usually where I park when I go to teach drawing at the College of Charleston. This angle caught my eye: the deep canyon of space rolling back and ending at the back of St. Matthew's church (for some reason depicting the back of a church, rather than the facade seemed like an interesting idea). The vanishing point falls to the left of center, along a deep space where the eye follows the sharp diagonals like a bowling ball towards the center pin. There is a repetition of triangular shapes and a diagonally receding series of church steeples. I'm looking forward to the raking light of Fall and recreating this scene in the studio. I've yet to determine the final size, but around 3' x 4' is what I'm imagining...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Front Yard (progression)

   Recently, I have started documenting some of the larger, more sustained paintings in the studio through photographs. Each photo usually represents a single painting session (sometimes I miss one...) When I photograph the painting, it allows me to see it in another way; in this case, condensed through the photographic 'eye' verses my own eyes. By shrinking it down (and sometimes flipping it around on the computer) I'm able to see the image in a fresh way. Of course, I do this in the studio too, sometimes looking at the painting in a mirror from across the room, or painting some passages with the actual painting upside down on the wall or easel. I guess I find it interesting to see how a painting 'gets built', and I hope you do too. Here's the latest one, "Front Yard":

Final state: 22.5" x 27"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sketching on the road

     Since I've been traveling a lot this summer, I've had some big gaps in my studio time. A few larger paintings still need to be finished up, and some new painting ideas that need to be worked out. My family and I went on a long trip back to the northeast (Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Long Island), so what I usually do to keep my hand and eye moving is some sustained sketchbook drawing. I usually try to devote at least 30 minutes a day to these, sometimes longer. All are in pencil and the size is about 8" x 11". It's a nice way for me to document a trip and also keeps me engaged with the creation process.