Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marissa - study

12 x 12
Oil on Raymar Panel

I am having such fun with these studies.  They are relatively small so I can work them up quickly.  It is a great way to work on folds of fabric, shadows, body shapes, proportions…just all aspects of painting. I also think about color, harmony, contrast, and work on mixing colors for highlights and shadows…well I could go on and on.  I love these exercises.

Marissa has always been such a kind and generous model for me.  I love painting her and know that she is ok with me exaggerating her hair…color and style!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Masked Ball at the Opera by Edouard Manet - Copied at the National Gallery of Art

Masked Ball at the Opera
by Edouard Manet
Copied by Maria Bennett Hock
National Gallery of art
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

The is the final version of my copy of this painting.  I believe I have taken it as far as I can.  I have certainly learned a lot.  A lot about mixing blacks and shades of black, angles of hats, positioning of figures and, of course, the importance of a sound foundation before beginning detail work.  

Manet sketched this scene on site.  He finished it in his studio often asking people he knows to pose for him. It is also believe that Manet is featured in this piece.  He is one of the top-hatted party attendees looking towards the viewer.  A final bit of trivia is the signature…it is located on the dance card that has fallen to the floor in the lower right of the piece.  

As I study the masters and their techniques and really delve into the details of individual paintings I am amazed at all I find out.  I cannot wait to begin my next piece.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cornered - the Lady in Red

Cornered - Work in Progress
16 x 16
Oil on Canvas

I am working on a few things right now…exciting events coming up and always lots of painting to do.  This painting is from the photo shoot I did with my daughter in law, Marissa.  She is always so kind agreeing to pose for me…sometimes I can even get her to sit so I can paint from life.  Painting her from life always influences my work with photos.  This picture was taken in my dining room where the light is just perfect.  I fear my dining room table will never see the middle of that room again!  

One of my best friends was able to come for a visit from the Boston area.  We spent her time here visiting galleries/museums, touring monuments and painting.  It was a perfect visit!  The weather cooperated somewhat…at least we didn't get wet…but nothing could dampen our enthusiasm for our art chats! 

The final day of her visit we spent in my home studio.  Having never oil painted before she was hesitant to try but I encouraged, cajoled, and prodded until she agreed to try.  

This is her VERY FIRST oil painting ever!  She did a fabulous job!.  I set out the palette for her and then just made a few marks laying in darks to get her started.   After that she dove in with fabulous results.  She asked questions and I was pleased that I knew some of the answers and I tried to provide insights into things I have learned to make the painting go more smoothly.  

So Patricia Hutcheson Burkhardt is my first official art student.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Marissa - Study for a larger painting

Marissa  - Study for a larger piece
10 x 10
Oil on board


I am working on small studies for larger pieces.  These studies help me figure out what works and what needs to change.  Recently Marissa, the model, posed for hundreds of pictures to use as sources for future works.   I also paint Marissa from life.  Painting from life gives me a good reference for when I use the photos.  

When doing the studies I also work on just placing in the dark and light colors to create shapes.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Marissa - study for a larger piece.

Marissa - study for a larger piece
10 x 10
Oil on board


I was fortunate to be able to take many, many photos of my daughter in law, Marissa, for an upcoming series.  I want to focus on figures, anatomy, and facial features and she was kind enough to pose in different outfits and lots of interesting poses.  I will paint her from life and use photos as references when she is not available.

This particular painting is a small study…I want to paint a larger piece and wanted to make sure I like the pose, composition and background.  I will probably make the figure smaller on the canvas with more room over her head…but I am pleased with the placement of her features.  I will probably finish this up tomorrow and then do one or two more studies before I begin on the larger pieces.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bluesman - portrait of a harmonica musician

17 x 25
Oil on Canvas


I have a very musical family.  When we get together there is usually a lot of singing and playing of instruments.  At our last family reunion my brother, Richard, showed off his newly learned harmonica skills while my other brother, Dan, snapped some photos. I love the darkness in this piece that leads to the glow around Richard's white beard.  

The photo was used with permission from Dan, who is a professional photographer.