Monday, May 26, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Jonathan in Hammock (oil, 12 x 16)

This morning it was Jonathan's turn to pose for me. He also lay reading in a hammock, but not the same as the one his brother Henry did. His hammock was in a more lighted area, especially when the orange brick ground reflected the sunlight.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

En Plein Air: Orange Cones (the Construction Site of I-75 New Ramp to the SW Florida Airport)

Oil 9 x 12

I tried to get rid of the bad feeling from having to complete the plein air painting at home from the pictures I took last week. I felt I had to go to the construction site again to refresh my sensation of the sunshine. That is why I went again this morning.

I meant to paint the heavy machinery on the construction site with strong reflection of the sun. However, when I got there this morning, I could not find an acceptable perspective. So I decided to paint the dirt road which was formed by the heavy machinery and trucks trampling back and forth on the the dirt piled there. This is the first time I feel strongly impressed by the magnitude of highway construction.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Henry in Hammock (Oil, 12 x 16)

Henry is the second child of my friends Pen and Woody. He is an avid reader. While I was painting him this morning, he was reading a Roald Dahl's book in a hammock.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Anthony (Oil, 20 x 16)

Anthony is a regular model at VAC Punta Gorda. Even though I saw him a couple of times at the Center, I never got a chance to paint him. As far as I remember, he usually came when we needed two models. Wheneve we have two models during the busy season, chances are models show up after we have set up. Most probably in the past, I always happened to set up at the site for the other model instead Anthony. Today we used only one model and it was Anthony. I didn't know what he did for a living. Some people told me he made jewelry. If so, he must be a jewelry artist. As we were painting, I could not but speak my mind and told Anthony that he looked like Willy Nelson. It turned out that I was not the first person to say that. I got his likeness all right, which alone is not enough to please myself any more. It's not my best, but as practice, it's all right.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

En Plein Air: Woody Working on His Sailboat (Oil, 9 x 13)

As planned, I went this afternoon to Woody's docks while he was working on the sailboat. It was a beautiful day, with low humidity and a little breeze which made it really comfortable staying outdoors. My purpose was to paint people in the sun, maybe inspired by Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida. Of course, the best place is the beach where the sunshine, especially the reflection is strong, but I was dreading the crowd. The quick sketch is not focused on people. Just a study of sunlight.

Monday, May 19, 2014

En Plein Air: Roaming Around His World (Oil, 9 x 12)

As I told you, I was unable to complete on the spot last Saturday the painting of airport reconstruction and had to take home and finish it in studio. During and after I finished the painting, I had an uncomfortable bad feeling. I liked the first half I did at the airport. Even though it was only a little toned, I felt good about it. When I tried to finish it at home, I felt as if I was not painting but doing some kind of tedious labor. I lost the inspiration I had felt out there in the sun. It seemed for the first time I truly understood why Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida almost moved his studio outdoors to the beach. That is why I felt lost when I completed the painting. I felt I needed to do something to regain my sensation out there in the open. Yesterday afternoon I went to my friend Woody's dock to fish while he was fixing a sailing boat. I mentioned that I'd like to paint him working on the boat. He told me to come back Tuesday afternoon when He would be working on the boat in sun. I was happy to hear that and planned to go there tomorrow (Tuesday). For this afternoon, I tried to prepared myself so I went to my other friends Dennis and Rocky's farm. Finally, I decided to paint their pony with only two things in my mind. That is, I want an accurate form and authentic sensation of the sunshine.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

En Plein Air: Airport Reconstruction (Oil, 11 x 18)

Two weeks ago when I was on my way to Gulf Coast Town Center to paint and passed by SW Florida Airport, I was impressed by the Magnitude of the construction project. It seems that another highway is under construction leading to the airport. The new highway is meant to cut across Treeline Blvd. at the entrance of the airport. The yellow sandy dirt had been piled like several  mountain ridges stretching out all way to the horizon. Without any vegetation to cover on top, the sandy dirt was so glaring and bright that it was difficult to open my eyes. So I decided right away that I would come here to paint.

I went there early this morning, thinking nobody would come to work. After I set up on the roadside and began to paint, I heard someone whistling at me from the mountain ridge behind. I turned around, a guy wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses got out of a pickup and made a gesture asking if I was painting. I nodded yes and he gave me a thumb-up signal. I guess he was something like an assistant manager on the construction and happened to come on Saturday to check on the site. Obviously there were lots of machinery and construction materials there.

Half way in my painting, another guy stopped his truck. He seemed to be something like supervisor. He apologized to me and said he had to ask me to leave the site because people were coming to work  and it was dangerous for me to stay there. He suggested I come to paint tomorrow when nobody was working. I didn't want to make another trip so reluctantly I took a few pictures and completed the painting at home.

In this corner, there is a bulldozer, a gas tank, a shipping container and a garbage bin. I didn't know why the bulldozer had its hood up. Since I was unable to visualize what it looked like with the hood down, I simply painted as it was.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Jess (Oil 20 x 16)

This is the second time I painted Jess. Like usual, I took to VAC only a size 16 x 20 canvas paper for a head study since most of times models came simply wearing their daily dress, nothing dramatic or theatrical and/or sitting in the high chair with no specific postures. I didn't anticipate to do figure painting. Today, Jess came in a beautiful red dress with a hairband and Trudy brought from library an easy chair. Before we started, Trudy asked f anybody would like to do a figure since the situation was different and Jess was dressed up. At first, I was hesitant since 16 x 20 was really too small to do a figure. When I looked around, everybody seemed to be still doing head study, not responding to Trudy's call. So, I told myself, what the heck, I'll do it. I didn't have clear edge small-size brushes, so it was a little difficult when I was working on the face, but I enjoyed doing that. Some kind of experiences.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

En Plein Air: Back Home at Leisure (Oil, 7 x 11)

Two days ago when I was painting Entrance to a Kingdom on Styles Road, I noticed way back there was a pond with a boat docked there. From the distance, it seemed to be the kind of twin-hulled party barge next to something I would not call a dock. It looked like half a bridge. I believe it was built there for agricultural purpose. Judging by the PVC pipes attached to it, my guess is that they could be connected to a water pump during the dry season. However, when these two things were together, I felt there was an aesthetic attraction in their combination like a ballroom dance couple.

This morning I drove directly into the kingdom and knocked on the door of the palace. the king's name was Paul. He recognized me and said he remembered me painting across the street two days before. I said it must be he that drove an 18-wheeler in there with a full load of hay. He nodded yes with a smile. I asked his permission to get inside the fence to paint my picture. At first he was a little hesitant saying that would be a liability with the cattle in there.I assured him that I painted in cattle farm before wth cows around me and would not get him in trouble. Finally, Paul agreed but cautioned me about the black bull. I set up under a big oak. Of course, on my way in and out, I had to watch my steps and avoid stepping on cow cakes.

Monday, May 12, 2014

En Plein Air and Sketch

Yesterday afternoon I went to Bell Tower Cinema to see the movie Railway Man, which seemed to have received good reviews. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by it. It was pretty bloody for sure, but the story could be better even though it was based on a true story. Before I entered my movie hall, I did a sketch on a lady sitting in the snack hall with children. Her posture was a little awkward since she was trying to do something on the table while sitting at a right angle.

Encouraged by my discoveries last time on Tuchahoe Road, this morning I was curious about the other part of the road, so I purposely turned left into the road instead of turning right as I usually did. I didn't drive too far on the road before I came to an intersection with a street named Styles Road. The name tickled me and, therefore, I immediately made a right turn to see what styles I could find. I came to an entrance of a farm, the tin roof of its house was glaring deep in the dark woods. The contrast made it even brighter. So I set up across from the entrance and made this painting.

Entrance to a Kingdom on Styles Road
Oil, 10 x 16.5

Saturday, May 10, 2014

En Plein Air: Old Oak (Oil 10 x 16.5)

This is an old old oak on the McIntoshes' farm. As far as I remembered, I had painted oak trees twice before. I was satisfied with neither of them. I believe the problem was I didn't really pay attention to the form of oak trees, taking it for granted that I knew how to paint tree branches. In fact tree branches twist following their specific logical way. Therefore, this morning I took special care for its form. I studied and drafted carefully the tree branches. 

In the middle of painting, I saw a cowboy on horseback waving to me in a distance, so I waved back. Then he rode across the pasture coming towards me. As he was riding nearer, he said to me, "I thought it was Dennis." I smiled and responded, "I am Dennis's friend." The cowboy's name was Michael. he was the McIntosh family's neighbor. He asked if he could come to see my painting and, when I said yes, he circled around me on horseback. He praised me for the painting and then went on with his pleasure ride.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Artist Trisha (Oil, 20 x 16)

It was Punta Gorda VAC's Portrait Studio day again. Today's model was Trisha. Quite a few people here painted her before, but it was my first time. Overall, I felt it was OK. I got her likeness all right. I tried to control tones. Even though the outcome seems OK, but I know the tones and strokework were not precise enough to be always satisfactory in the first touch. When you need to repaint the same spot, the effect usually is not the most desirable. Like Jeffery Watts says, every stroke has its story.

Compared with many other artists' organizations, I believe Punta Gorda VAC is one of the best in this region. It is well organized and people here are friendly and helpful in spite of the fact that sometimes I do feel it is a little too relaxed and break times are often stretched. Considering socialization is also an important part of  life for most artists who came to VAC, I accepted it as a reality. As long as it is not your private studio, you have to put up with other people's needs. That I understand. However, there is at VAC an old gander whom I believe I mentioned  before in my blog. He often gets on my nerves. He lives in Punta Gorda so he is an early bird to the portrait studio. He likes to set up his easel right under the model's chin. I believe he could count models' freckles if he wants. Then he takes picture of the model with a camera. For the rest of the session, he mainly paints from his camera.

 He is very gentlemanly to ladies. Sometimes, he offers his hand to female model in order to help her step down the high chair when it is time for a break. When a lady artist comes, he often moves his easel to make room for the lady. Once he did that for a lady and, as a result, he came to stand in my path of vision like a billboard in front of me. By then, the studio was packed full and I had to move to the wall and ended up doing a profile of the model.

Today, during the model's last sitting, I knew I had a lot to catch. I needed time to put final touch to her hair together with the background. I also needed to smooth out some spots on the face and so on. By then the gander was done. He skipped the model's  last sitting and was putting away stuff. It is not unusual some artists would finish their work earlier than the session was over. However, this guy was eager to share his work with the lady painting in my left-hand front. When he came over, he totally blocked my view. I reminded him that he was in my way but he was too concentrated to hear me and stayed till he finished sharing. Once he was done, I thought that was it and went back to my painting. Unexpectedly, he came over again. This time I had to yell loudly, "Excuse me, but you have blocked my view." And not till other artists joined me in yelling did he realize he stood in the wrong spot. I am not sure if it was a symptom of senility or he was a born lady pleaser. God!

Friday, May 2, 2014

En Plein Air: Rocks at Harns March Preserves and Artist Judy Usavage Painting en Plein Air

I went with Lee Plein Air group to paint at Harns Marsh this morning. Altegther there were four people, Velda, Danny, Judy and I. I didn't go deep into the woods since vehicles were not allowed to drive all the way in and I had so many things to carry with me. I didn't even take the umbrella along considering it was pretty cloudy in the morning. I picked the rocks to paint. When it was finished, I switched to paint Judy. It was the first time I met and painted with Judy. We started at 9 AM and by 11:30 AM I was done with both the sketches. When it got windier, I was, fortunately, almost done. And having learned my lesson before, I used a large paper clip to clam the palette to the easel, so there was no accidents when it became windy except for a couple of times, I ran to chase my blown-away straw hat.

Oil, 9 x 12

Oil, 11 x 14

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Rose (Oil, 20 x 16)

Rose sat for us today at VAC's portrait studio. Somehow she looks like frowning her eye brows in the portrait. I believe I got her likeness in spite of the fact that an old lad of VAC came up to whisper in my ear: "Your portrait looks prettier than she is."