Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Thinker - Strong Powerful Woman

The Thinker
24 x 30
Oil on Canvas


Back in the day there was a TV show called "Dobie Gillis"  I used to love that was about a young man, Dobie and his sidekick Maynard G. Crebs.  Maynard, or Bob Denver, went on to Gilligan's island fame...but I digress.  At the end of every show, Dobie would sit next to a statue that resembled "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin.  The image of Dobie sitting next to the statue and wrapping up the theme of the show has stuck with me all these years.  Those fond memories led me to name this piece "The Thinker"  It is part of my "Strong and Powerful" women series.  

After I completed the piece I took a quick photo and brought it into an app on my iPhone call "Value Viewer".   The app has become invaluable to me as I sort my values.  When I brought "The Thinker" into Value Viewer I was very happy.  The lights and darks are exactly where I want them to be.  I love the lost edge on the left and the way the pearls lead the eye down and across the canvas.  

I usually work on two or three (sometimes more) works at a time.  This is the beginnings of one of my Military Life series pieces.  I love painting series of works and this particular one is near and dear to my heart.  As a the granddaughter of a Naval Officer, and Air Force Brat, Army Spouse and Air Force Mom I have a close connection to all service members.  My goal for this series is to depict my memories of military life...with the help of those currently serving.  I will elaborate more on this pictures when I post the final painting. 

 And Finally...this one just started...This one will be part of my "Strong Powerful Women" series.  As I scheduled this photo shoot it made me very aware of timing...If you miss the week you want to shoot a pregnant woman...the pregnancy may be over and an opportunity lost.  I had scheduled a shoot for this particular woman's last pregnancy...but waited too long!  Lesson learned!  I will also be elaborating on who this woman is when the painting is done.  

That is what is on my plate!  What is on yours?  Do you work on more than one piece at a time?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Riley Patrick Hock

Oil on Raymar Panel

My second grandson, Riley Patrick Hock, was born in January.  He is, needless to say, perfect in every way.  When I received this picture of him I wanted it to be the first portrait I painted of him.  

We hope to visit soon and I will try my best to get his three year old brother and him together for a photo shoot!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Women with a Parasol by Claude Monet - Copying at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC

This is where I am on my "Woman with a Parasol" by Claude Monet copy.  I worked on the grass quite a bit today and the sky...clouds specifically.  I am pleased with my progress and feel like I have learned so very much.  Monet's palette is becoming more comfortable and mixing the colors I need coming more easily.  The loose, seemingly random, brush strokes are still a challenge, but I am able to capture the feel of the piece if not match stroke for stroke.  All in all it is a wonderful experience. 

While painting I looked over and noticed this little "copyist".  What a doll.  I quickly pulled out my cell phone and asked the lady next to me...."may I take a picture of your daughter"? She was very happy and said I could!  After I snapped the shot she said "But that is not my daughter"...REALLY!!! So I asked the crowd who she belonged to and got permission to keep the photo.  Not to be outdone the first mom said..."here is my daughter and she is drawing too"...I gladly obliged by snapping some more photos.  

As I was painting, of course I get a lot of comments and thank heaven most of them are very complimentary.  One man looked at the original Monet and said "You missed a spot"...I am happy that I was quick enough to say "actually HE did...mine is correct"...hahaha.

The top comment of the day came when a young, around 12 year old,  girl told me she thought my version of the painting was better than the original.  I told her that was my favorite comment of the day.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Painting demonstration with Teresa Oxaca at Principle Gallery

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a painting demonstration by Teresa Oaxaca at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria,Virginia.  

The demo was to start at 5 pm and it began right on time.  Teresa first set up her model and canvas.  She was doing a sight-sized portrait so she set up her canvas directly across from her model.  Michael Mattice, a local musician, was the model...his music was featured as Teresa painted.  

While Teresa held her palette to paint her paint tubes and palette knives and supplies were stationed approximately 6 feet back from the canvas.  A spot marked by blue tape.  After almost each stroke she stepped back from the canvas to view her work from the taped mark.  It was magical to watch her glide back and forth touching the canvas and then evaluating her work.  

Watching demonstrations is always interesting.  Teresa explained that she chose the sight-sized format because she thought it would be better for the people watching.  She walked back and forth giving everyone plenty of time to witness the work as it evolved.  

Teresa painted in 30 minute increments with 5 minute breaks.  The model, Michael Mattice, never left his chair...his rest was just to close his eyes.  During Teresa's breaks, which were barely 5 minutes long, she answered questions and met and talked to her audience.  

Teresa was kind enough to explain her palette and procedure as she painted.   The whole demonstration was videotaped and will be offered on the Principle Gallery's website as well as Teresa's.  Occasionally Teresa would take a small mirror and place it just under her eye, perpendicular to her face, to see the painting upside check for any changes she might want to make.  

Here is the finished piece.  It was a fabulous event.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Woman with a Parasol - Claude Monet - National Gallery of Art

Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet
Copied at the National Gallery of Art by Maria Bennett Hock
Work in Progress

I continue to paint and learn and learn and paint.  As I arrived at the National Gallery of Art on Wednesday I noticed the crowds seemed to be quite thin...I anticipated fewer interruptions and more work done!  

Today's work entailed tackling the grassy hillside...again.  It has been a challenge.  Monet's palette is getting to be more familiar...I am getting comfortable mixing the colors and adapting to his style a bit.  After working most of the morning on the greens I decided to work on the clouds a bit.  I first had to darken the lady's dress and brighten the sky around it...get the values correct before I could tackle to brightness of the clouds.  

If I were to choose the most difficult part of painting this piece it would be to try to match the spontaneity of the brush strokes.  It is said that Monet completed this piece in one setting so I imagine him moving furiously through the piece placing brushstrokes carefully but quickly.  To reproduce that same spontaneous feel is a challenge.  

When I want to get an idea of how I am doing I pull out my cell phone and look at my copy next to the real thing through my viewfinder.  It shows me values and shapes. I have to step back to see everything...and that is when the tourists get me!!!  I can stay pretty focused at my easel but when I step back I get asked questions, get comments etc  BUT ...the topper was today.  A young man asked me how to oil paint. I told him to get some paints and just start...take lessons...just dive in.  He kept pressing me for what colors to purchase (the three primary colors, white and black to start), what to paint on, (boards, canvas paper, whatever you can get to start) and how I learned (practice, practice, practice).  It look me a while to skirt around him and get back to my easel!  Ah the hazards of the amazing experience of painting at the National Gallery of Art!   I need to pinch myself to make sure this is not a dream!   

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eris - Goddess of Mayhem

Eris - Goddess of Mayhem
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar panel


Eris Goddess of Mayhem will not be reigning over the Mayhem show at the underground gallery in Crystal City April 28 - May 31, with the Opening Reception on Friday, May 2, 5-8PM.  I am sure it will be a fabulous show!  

When the show was first announced I struggled with how I would interpret the theme.  I was sure there would be a lot of chaotic, frenzied artwork and I knew painting a portrait, albeit an imaginary one, would be a risk and possibly not fit into the look of the show.  I am still glad I painted her...and I do love the painting.  It has a super hero/villainess  sort of look to it.

As I struggled with the theme, my son, Michael visited and helped me decide what to paint.  He found can read more about her HERE.  Once I settled on the concept...Eris holds a golden apple...I needed a model.  An emergency call to my daughter in law, Marissa, and a request for her to put on her red dress and hold an apple resulted in a quick iPhone picture that was the inspiration for my painting.  

It was fun, it stretched my imagination and fits into my series of strong, confident women.  

Now on to the next challenge!