Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Energetic Linda (Acrylic, 20 x 16)

Linda was Punta Gorda VAC Portrait Studio's model this morning. She is a happy lady and a hearty laugher. Only by talking to her for ten seconds or so would you not miss her optimism and confidence. Her laughing is contagious and makes people around laugh with her. During our brief conversation in break, she told me she was retired now. And she started working as a nurse. Later over her career she was involved and developed several business projects. I forgot most of her business endeavors but remembered the last one she mentioned. It was the local hospice service. Since she is such a lady with confidence and happiness, I give her portrait the title: Energetic Linda. Trudy and I found a piece of vermillion red cloth this morning and we decided to use it as background for a change. It turned out to be not bad at all. 
Before the portrait studio began, Marilyn came and gave me a newspaper clip. I was surprised to find my photo was with the story in the paper about VAC's John Singer Sargent Festival. I felt flattered. I remembered both front-desk Kathy and Director Michelle reminded me a couple of times that I didn't have picture taken yet with the painting I donated. Everybody involved had his/her picture taken, so I didn't feel anything. It was really a happy surprise to see the picture with me holding Sargent's Spanish Dancer.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Captain Mike Working in His Cabin (Acrylic 20 x 16)

This morning I went to the Rogue Dog to paint Captain Mike. Before he agreed to pose for me, Mike had concerns and doubt if he could sit still for too long. After I assured him that he could do whatever he wanted as normal and didn't have to sit still for me, he accepted. It was an interesting experience for me, too. My Julian easel took the whole space of the hall way. The source of lighting was the two lights on the wall over Mike and the screen of the computer. Mike was writing science fiction while I was painting him. It was also the first time I saw someone dictating to the computer instead of typing on keyboard. It was an alla prima sketch in acrylic. His wife Ally said I got his likeness. It was really a good study experience. Hope you like the painting.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Punta Gorda Artist Harriet (Acrylic on UnGessoed Paper, 19 x 24)

Today at Punta Gorda VAC Portrait Studio, our model was artist Harriet. To me it was an experiment with the paper. I used a 19 x 24 Strathmore Bristol drawing paper without even coating it with Gesso. I read an article which says you can virtually paint acrylic on anything. Therefore, I didn't Gesso it to see what it turned out to be. The result was not so good. The problem with paper not coated in Gesso was the fact that  the paper absorbed water so quickly that I was unable to change or cover the mark of the stroke made when my brush first touched the paper. Now it is clear that you may paint acrylic on anything but it has to be Gessoed or maybe at least a layer of underpainting. I usually made two in one, that is, I mixed Gesso with an acrylic paint, say, pink, with a handful of children's craft sand to increase its texture-expressing capacity.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Alla Prima Acrylic Painting and Sketch: Michelle and Susan

Acrylic 19 x 24
This afternoon it was my first time doing portrait studio with Ft. Myers Beach artists. Before the model Susan arrived, Michelle volunteered to pose for us. It was about a minute or so. I think I caught her image. it looks interesting. That is why I post it here, too. Ft. Myers Beach portrait studio is two-hour session instead of three. In fact, we had only three 20-minute sittings, so the actual working time was only an hour. In a way, I think it's good. I always believe it would be a problem if an artist has too much time on hand for a painting.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Process of Painting a Small Yacht at Woody's Boatyard

The above is a process of today's en plein air painting A Small Yacht Docked at Woody's Boatyard. I kept track of these steps of my in order to help myself reflect on it later on. It is an acrylic 10 x 16. As a matter of fact, it took me a lot of time painting the boat itself in terms of proportion and shape and, of course, how to simplify its details. It was totally a practice to paint boat again because I was deliberately playing with acrylic paint, trying different way of mixing and thinning the paint to the right level for color transition. I also practiced how to remedy the transition if paint was dry already. I tried to dull color by coating a thin layer of different color. Anyway it is a practice. Otherwise I would not have done this boat.

Friday, October 18, 2013

En Plein Air: Woody and His Family's Paradise (Acrylic, 12 x 16)

This morning I went to Woody's paradise. He and his family have all to themselves an island on the Caloosahatchee River. Evidently they have found an oasis for themselves in today's chaotic world. His two children are taught in home school by their mother. As an educator, I have to sigh for our public school system. Obviously their mother is a good teacher. The two children are very well-mannered. They love music and fine arts. Woody and his wife spend a lot of time with their children. They seem to watch every step their children take before they grow into adulthood. I hope all the children can have as much love and happiness as they do. Their house is quiet and secluded in woods. I painted boats because of my obsession. Likewise, this morning I also painted their house.
One of my friends, after seeing my painting and reading the story of Woody's family, sent me the following poem by Yeats. I think it illustrates so well how I feel about life that I'd like to copy it here for sharing:

The Lake Isle of InnisfreeBy William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Jane of Punta Gorda (Acrylic, 20 x 16)

This was the first time I painted Jane at Punta Gorda portrait studio. I appreciated Trudy's effort to verify models' poses. When I got there this morning, Trudy had already prepared an armchair for the model. Since I painted the figure, I knew I was pressed for time. To me, it was always a good thing if I felt the pressure of time because this way my brush would totally follow the feeling and there would be no time for me to think or fuss about unnecessary details. Painting became spontaneous. My best works were almost all completed this way. Of course, I mean studies, that is, practice, not creation. I haven't seriously created anything. I am not ready yet. I look forward to the time that I think I am ready. I make clear distinction between the two.

When I was finished with the painting, Jane came over to look at it. She exclaimed, " Wow, it looks like an Impressionist work." I did handle the color in an analytical sense but didn't associate it, at least not consciously, with Impressionism till she mentioned it. Looking back, I realize it makes sense because I believe Impressionist artists made most of their paintings in a similar situation in terms of time. As I often said, I simply enjoy the process of painting and don't care how it eventually comes out. Never I did  pre-meditate a style for painting. Of course, it doesn't mean that in the process, masters' works or styles have never come to my mind or that some mental associations with their themes or works have never hit me. If they do, they just happen naturally.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

En Plein Air: Ft. Myers Beach by Junkaroo Restaurant (Acrylic, 12 x 16)


This morning I went with Ft. Myers Beach Plein Air artists to paint the beach. It took me two hours to paint it. Junkaroo is within walking distance from FMBAA gallery, so most of us simply walked there. The pinting was just a warm-up practice for me. I have registered to participate in the Paint the Beach Festival, beginning on Nov. 4. I also plan to use acrylic. Oil would be a little too messy since our works will be framed and put on display right after we finish them. I haven't used acrylic for almost a half year. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

En Plein Air: Schooner at Woody's Boatyard (Acrylic, 12 x 16)

This morning I went to my friend Woody's boatyard to paint the schooner docked there. Basically I am painting out of the effect. When I got there, the sun just touched the tip of the masts. I knew it wouldn't last long, so I tried hard to remember the effect of the morning sun. The schooner was huge. It reminded me of Van Allsburg's The Wreck of the Zephyr, which was one of the favorite books I used in my Children's Literature class to illustrate how the author/artist implemented perfectly in the book principles of design and logical use of visual art elements. As a matter of fact, I was also carried away by his imagination in the story. Sailing had been a dream in my early years. Painting boats also helps soothe the regret inside for the unfulfilled dream .

Friday, October 11, 2013

En Plein Air Painting: At Leisure (Acrylic 12 x 16)

I know some of you may have been waiting to see the portrait I did yesterday at Punta Gorda VAC. We painted our regular model Photographer Nancy. If you scroll down my blog's Painting Gallery, you will see the portrait I did last time of her. Even though, toward the end of the session, my fellow artists complimented me on the portrait and she was so happy to see it that she came over to give me a hug, saying, "You always got me. I really like it." when Nancy saw her portrait, yet I knew I had a bad feeling about the portrait. I didn't think it even reached my average quality. I understood the reason why my friends liked it was because it looked like Nancy. Honestly, catching likeness isn't too difficult a thing to me. I had higher expectations for myself and didn't think its color was clear enough. I dragged too much when I was painting it and I knew I was in trouble. Whenever I have a situation like that, what I usually would do is trying to make another painting to my own satisfaction. That was why I made the painting today.

I didn't go to Patio De Leon Plaza with Lee Plein Air Group because I painted the place before. I was thinking of going to Meloy Hay Co. again, so I drove to Highway 80. Suddenly, in Alva, through the cracks between oak trees I saw a fairly big boat on water. I remembered I noticed the place sometime ago on Google map and wondered why I had never paid attention to this hidden part of the Caloosahatchee River which almost came upon Highway 80. Therefore, I made a U-turn and pulled my car to the water. It was a beautiful area and even perfect for an artist because of the oak over me like a huge umbrella. I set up to paint. In about a half hour, a guy named Woody came out of the door in a fence. It turned out to be his property and I was trespassing. Woody was very friendly and let me stay to paint. Besides, he gave me his phone number and said I could call him whenever I wanted to paint there. When I was finished, Woody invited me to his boat yard beyond the fence. My! There was a luxurious yacht, a colossal three-mast sailing boat and some small ones. Lucky me, I guess. Woody was in yacht business.

Today's painting in acrylic is OK. At least, I didn't have any more of the bad feelings from the portrait. I always tried to control the blazing effect of acrylic paint, which, sometimes, reminded me of the unreal color of High Definition TV. You know what I mean. That's why I usually prefer oil if I have to pick one medium. Last Wednesday at Ft. Myers Beach, I commented on my own acrylic painting I did at Salty Sam's Marina by saying, "It looks a little too commercial." Jo Ann asked what was wrong with being commercial. Good question! Later, when I thought it over, I would say: If a painting is too commercial , it is somewhat like a pretty girl being coquettish. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a girl's coquettishness. However, I'd like to see more of the beauty inside.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

En Plein Air: The Tropical Breeze Casino on Dock (Acrylic, 12 x 16)

It was Ft. Myers Beach Art Association's Plein Air Painting Day. I went to Salty Sam's Marina this morning. I had painted the building before. For a change, I chose to paint the boat docked down the stream toward the Estero Blvd. Bridge. Not till after I finished the painting did I find out that her name was Tropical Breeze Casino. I was surprised and had the question: Was it  true that gambling was allowed here at the Ft. Myers Beach? Jennifer helped me search online with her smart phone. It turned out the boat was registered at Key West. It came to Ft. Myers Beach only seasonally. And I don't think people can board the boat here to gamble. Thank god.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

En Plein Air: Two Workboats Docked at Bowditch Point Park (Oil, 9 x 12)

Yesterday morning I went to Bowditch Point Park. It was a scheduled activity with Lee Plein Air Group, but I didn't see anyone else. Not did I go very far from the parking lot before I saw the two workboats docked there. I didn't know the technical terms of the boats. They were not for pleasure, for sure. Just a practice.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Alla Prima Figure: Rick Without Moustache (Oil, 20 x 16)

Rick is our regular model at Punta Gorda VAC. Today he posed for us again. The reason I used this title is because he had his moustache last time when he posed for us. If you go to the Painting Gallery of my blog and scroll down, you will see the portrait I made under the title Rick, the Biker. As a matter of fact, the portrait let me win an award last fall. Rick said it was the first time in 30 years that he shaved off his moustache, so it was also the first time for his son to see him without moustache.
For the first time, as far as I know, VAC Portrait Studio had a model posing like that. It was all because of me. I was so sick and tired of painting the kind of pose in which the model always sat in the what I called the movie director's personal chair that I considered not going to the portrait studio every week if it went on like that. Finally, I suggested to Trudy, a soft-speaking nice lady who happened to be our Portrait Studio leader, that we do something about it. Trudy was very open-minded and supportive. Therefore, we rolled out from the storage the mobile mini stage which usually the live drawing group used in the evening. I put away the movie director chair. Instead, we used a step ladder with a cushion on the top to make it comfortable to sit on. Rick was a great model, very professional. Unlike many others, he would go back to the pose immediately upon hearing the timer ringing which indicated the end of the  break even though quite a few of my fellow artists had not come back yet. I did this quick oil sketch. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

En Plein Air: Harns Marsh, Lehigh Acres, FL

Oil 9 x 12
This morning I went with Ft. Myers Beach artists to paint en plein air at Harns Marsh. I wish I could have walked further to paint. It was a quick sketch, taking only two hours.