Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Class Work: Art Student Hanna Painting in Class

This was the last class before Spring Break. At first I thought we were going to do a figure painting after homework critique. It turned out that figure painting would be the class after the Spring Break. It seemed I was not the only one misunderstood the arrangement. For the rest of the class today, we were told to further work on our homework. Many students had their morgue saved on ipad or cell phone, so they simply improved their painting by checking what they had collected on ipad or cell. I had completed my homework. In addition, I didn't have my notebook with me. Therefore, I decided to paint the student Hanna, who was not far from me in the crowded class studio with tables, chairs, and all kinds of easels. It was really a quick sketch but she and other students seemed to like it.

While Carl the instructor was critiquing our homework, I took some pictures. I post here a couple to give you some idea about the class.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Plein-Air Oil Sketch: Mrs. Foster's Oak

I promised Mrs. Foster that I would make a printout of the painting of her boat ramp which I did a few months ago. I did have made a copy and left it in my car for quite some time. Today I told myself that I had to make a special trip to her farm and deliver the picture to her. 

I knocked on her door for nearly a minute while her puppies were busy barking behind the window. Through the window I saw her come slowly with a walker. Obviously she wasn't walking very conveniently. When she opened the door, she smiled and said, "You don't need permission to paint. Anytime you want to come to paint, you are welcome. When I showed her the picture, her face lit up. it was a surprise to her, evidently. She looked at the painting and names the things there in the picture.

Then I began to search for scenes to paint, but it became so windy, I had to retreat to her carpool and set up. The oak was right in front of me.

Sketch: Patient at Aspen Dental

Hi, everybody:

I went to the dentist late yesterday afternoon. I was the last patient. There was only one lady before me. Here she is in the sketch. Long to go out doing plein-air painting but there are a few items of mortal business to take care of no matter how dreadful they are. Tomorrow's class will be the last one before spring break. It will be figure painting. I plan to do more plein-airs next week if there ars no meteors coming into my life like the one Russians had recently.

I recommend to you, especially elderly friends, to read the article Why Our Medical Bills Are Killing Us in March 4, 2013 issue of Time magazine. It is outrageous how the medical profession is bleeding us to death and Obamacare is simply beating around the bush, or, using an old Chinese saying, "scratching your ankle outside the boot." No wonder my lawyer friend says, "That is why doctors wear masks."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Acrylic on Canvas: Summer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

This is a homework for my painting class. It is an acrylic painting on canvas. I selected the subject is because I liked the postures of the figures. The four Amish children form an excellent group which implies the balance between unity and variety. there is a strong sense of rhythm. Even though it is from a photo, when I was painting, I experimented with colors which interact with each other in sun. It was fun to sweep brushes across large canvas. It's just a study, but it brought memories of my adopted home state Pennsylvania. I was always fascinated by the peaceful Amish Dutch when I was there. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Portrait: Retired Police Officer Jerry

Today, I went to portrait studio at VAC Center Punta Gorda. One of the models who posed for us was Jerry, a Punta Gorda resident and retired police officer.  Just a practice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Plein Air Paintings

Carl's Water Garden
Oil on canvas, 18 x 25

Two Art Students in Painting Class
Oil on canvas, 12 x 16

Our painting class instructor Mr. Carl Schwartz has an exquisite water garden at home with large goldfish swimming in the pond which was surrounded by all kinds of plants. A small wooden bridge divided the pond into two parts. Each f the students had to complete an 18 x 25 acrylic painting of a scene he/she selected in his garden in two week sessions. Last week we were allowed to paint only an hour and a half and then left our paintings in his home so that there would be "no cheating". we were supposed to continue to paint and finish the job today. I arrived there 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. To my surprise, most students were already there painting. When I went inside to get my painting, Carl said to me, "You did really quick last week, but don't overdo it. Add some warm colors and then stop. I'll give you an extra canvas for you to paint after the break for class critique." So I did two paintings instead of one. However, the second one was really a quick sketch. I believe it took less than an hour. I promised myself to paint figures in sun even if just a sketch -- still feeling itchy about Joaquin Sorolla's sunlight and wanted to challenge myself. I asked the girls how long they were going to stay. The girl sitting on the ground said that she was waiting for someone who was still painting and she would stay there as long as her friend was painting. I didn't remember her name even though she was also in my drawing class last year. The name of the girl who stood painting behind her was Maria. I happened to sit next to her when I dropped into the class on the fourth week when i was back from New York. I felt good when I was sweeping my brushes across the canvas as quickly as possible. Hope you like them both.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Two Plein-Air Sketches I Did Today

 Fort Myers Beach
Oil on panel 9 x 12

Land Not Yet Developed in Florida
Oil on panel 9 x 12

Last night I was studying Joaquin Sorolla's paintings, especially those about people in or by the water. He is a master of handling light and color reflected in shaded part while the sun was making the whole environment hazy and glowing. Suddenly I got an almost irresistible impulse to paint water. So this morning I hopped into my car and drove to Fort Myers Beach. On my way there I realized the whole country was still on holiday. Oh, Heck! Why did I pick such a day to go to the beach again?  It happened last Labor Day with so many people that I couldn't even find a parking space. Well, this time I was going to paint people any way. I had to comfort myself this way. There was another lesson I learned today. Next time if I am going to paint people on beach, I think I should use a larger panel. 9 x 12 is OK for landscape sketch but not large enough to show the reflection of light. I didn't feel very comfortable there, so I did a quick one and went home. 

Since I didn't get my time worth for the trip and the guilty feeling made me feel like wanting to make another one for the day. I thought of a road next to the timeshare resort. This place was supposed to be very desirable for home builders since it was located next to the golf course. Unfortunately, the resort was almost out of business and the golf course kind of deserted. No one was thinking of developing this area for now. When I was biking, I I was hypnotized by the beauty of the reeds in the setting sun. The dusk was falling on the top part of the weeds which formed something like a veil of fog shimmering in tremulous light. I didn't hesitate at all before deciding where I should go to paint my next picture for the day. The light changed so fast. By the time I put things back into my trunk, everybody on the road already had their headlights on.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Oil Practice: Hilly Street

This is the largest canvas which I have painted so far. The painting is an assignment of my painting class. The requirement is a "finalized full tone layout composition for 30'' x 40'' canvas on Values."
The scene is from the area where I did painting last summer. It is a town named Edgewater in New Jersey. it basically sits on the cliff which overlooks the Hudson River, facing Manhattan, New York. Usually, I don't like painting from photos. I took the picture as a kind of reminder to myself to paint the scene later. I love hilly streets. I may have got the feeling from driving on curvy and winding mountain roads  in Pennsylvania. I always enjoyed the beauty hilly winding roads. I selected this photo in my collection because of the rich variety of lines and shapes in addition to the values. I like the sensation of moving large brushes across the canvas. I did experiment with color values. However, there was not much of creativity involved in the painting besides acquiring some experiences.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Visual Dialogue: How Should I Tell Her? (A Passenger on New York Subway)

Back from Punta Gorda portrait studio, before I washed all the brushes, I suddenly felt like doing a quick study. So I quickly did this sketch for an hour and half. Simply enjoy doing that.

Portrait Study: Billy, A Young Man with a Little Goatee

Billy was one of the models who posed for us at Punta Gorda VAC. He was an interesting figure: a fair-skinned young man with a little goatee. Everyone said I got great likeness with him and I felt I did process prettty smoothly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Visual Dialogue: Fishmongers at J-Mart, Flushing, Queens, NY

This is a study of "fat on lean", or the control of oil to pigment ratio, which I did at home. Inspired by Quang Ho's visual dialogue of restaurant chefs. I got this idea when I was shopping at J Mart, New York. It has been a goal of mine for quite some time to do oil sketches with animals and humans in reality as my subjects and I need to give myself a head start and this study is part of it. In fact, the cows I painted at Eden Winery was also a practice for the goal. I want to paint as fast I can.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homework: Surfers

These sketches are homework for my painting class. The requirement is "studies for the exactly the same subject in different techniques." Since I missed the first three weeks of the semester, I didn't know exactly what techniques were supposed to be used. Acrylic was the required medium for the course but mainly it was opaque. I tried to either mix colors on the palette before applying to the paper or apply colors without mixing first. I also tried to use acrylic like watercolor or with ink wash. One of them was made in oil pastel, just an experiment.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Plein-Air: Cows at Eden Winery

Cows at Eden Winery

Tourists at Eden Winery

Ms. Penny Fox, a Cape Coral Art League instructor, organized today's plein-air outing at Eden Winery, Alva FL. I joined them in the activity. I went there earlier than the group. After looking around, I decided to paint the cows. I knew the cows at Eden Winery always roamed freely over the farm and were not shy of people. I saw them lying behind the wire fence. When I set up my easel, they didn't seem to be bothered and continued to lie there. Or maybe because of the fence. Like Robert Frost says, good fence made good neighbors. I did the oil sketch pretty quick. When Penny found me at the spot around noon, I was almost done with it.

I joined Penny's group at lunch time. Jay the winery manager came to let everyone taste some of their wine. There were quite a few snowbirds who came to visit the winery. I chatted with some of them and made a few sketches. the one above is just one of them.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Betty

Today I went to Punta Gorda's portrait studio session. As usual, in wintertime, there were two models. When I arrived there, the models were not there yet. So I set up my newly constructed guerrilla easel at one location. I wished later I set up at the other location because one of the models was Betty, of whom I made a portrait in acrylic about two years ago. There was nothing against this soft-spoken old lady. I just hoped to have more variety and could have painted the other model who was new to me. Anyway, I painted Betty again. She looked older than two years ago when I painted her last time. Of course, we are all getting older all the time. You may compare these two paintings in my Painting Gallery of this blog.

I am still learning how to control the thickness of paint very skillfully on the canvas so that I can totally free myself and give full attention to color interaction. Even though I didn't felt the freedom as I did yesterday with the acrylic painting of Scott (partly because of the new easel), I believe I did learn something with this one about handling oil paint.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life-Size Portrait: Scott

This is an alla prima acrylic portrait in Carl's painting class. Scott was the model. Carl interestingly arranged the light source lower than the model's eye level. Scott sat on the table top. Since I stayed quite a distance away from the model, I had to keep putting on and taking off my glasses. The good thing for me to paint without glasses was it forced me to block in large chunks of color and not to mind details. However, when I needed to see more clearly the details I should focus, I had to wear them. Of course, I knew I have to clean my eye glasses frame.
Last night, I watched carefully online Carolyn Anderson's and Quang Ho's paintings in an attempt to remember how they handled color transition and edges. Some students stayed behind me today in class. They tried to see how I processed the portrait. Before long they gave up, saying after their eyes left my canvas to take care their own and then came back to look at my picture, they didn't know how I got that step. I honestly told them that I didn't know myself, but simply remember the three adjectives with which Carolyn Anderson described what she did at the beginning of making a portrait. They are "fast, bold, and loose."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ink Wash Drawing: Flamingo Dancer

I love ink wash drawing. It is very expressive and free. Therefore, today I made one again. Of course, as you may tell, it is not totally ink. For background I used acrylic to give it a stage effect. I like the posture, too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Acrylic Painting Homework: Buggy Ride in Snow (Central Park, NYC)

The painting was an assignment for my painting class. The requirement for the homework was, according to the syllabus, an 18'' x 24'' full color in Impressionist manner with layouts/visual ideas for major projects. I was late for class and had missed three weeks. The instructor was very nice. As an elderly student not working on any degree programs, I was permitted to attend the class as an auditor. However, in the past three weeks, all the students in class had already accumulated a sizable morgue for assignments except me. Fortunately, I took quite a few pictures when I was in New York. Besides, I was lucky enough to catch the only snowfall in New York during my stay there.

I believe the time was between Christmas and New Year's Day. My wife and I planned to go to MET to see the George Bellows' Exhibition. We both had our cameras with us, thinking we could take some pictures of his paintings (It turned out that picture-taking was not allowed for the show because some pictures were privately owned). On our way there, it began to snow heavily. The Central Park looked very beautiful so we changed our mind, believing that we could find another time to see George Bellows but not the snow-covered Central Park. We both eventually took quite a few good pictures. Therefore, today, I simply picked the one I thought would fit the requirement. As an artist, I had been strongly influenced by both French Impressionists and modern American Impressionists such as Carolyn Anderson and Quang Ho. As I was painting, I tried to remember their teachings. Carolyn Anderson did some in-depth research on how our brain interprets visual information our eyes have received and how important the handling of edges is. The picture is the largest landscaping picture I have ever made: 18'' x 24'' in acrylic. Hope you like my "Impressionist" painting.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oil Sketch: Cattle Shack on Highway 78

The farm was on SR 78. One mile or so further down the winding country road was the Owl Creek Boat Works. When I got there, I saw a large number of cows including some calves on the grass. The whole scene looked very bucolic. However, when I got out of my car, the cows just slowly moved away from mo till they totally disappeared into the farthest end of the farm. Maybe because I banged my car door when I came out or these peaceful animals were simply  too obsessed with their privacy that they were offended by intruders. Anyway, I felt pretty hurt and had to paint the farm without a single cow.

It was painted on a 9 x 12 panel. Altogether it took about 2 and a half hours. Well, I tried to paint out of the effect. That is, I wanted to paint it the way it looked at 9 AM of the day. Because, before long, the roof of the shack was in the sun. there were evident changes in lighting. I think iIcould have painted a little faster.