Monday, March 27, 2017

Pride of the Corps '74 - United States Military Academy

Pride of the Corps '74
20 x 24
Oil on Panel

If you asked my husband where he went to college he would reply "a small school on the Hudson in Upstate New York."  That small school is the Military Academy at West Point.  My husband never brags and never calls attention to himself, He just quietly excels.  He wore this uniform proudly for 4 years and wore an Army uniform proudly for 27 years. 

I painted this study to prepare for a larger piece with someone actually wearing that uniform.  I wish I could say it is my husband's uniform ... but unfortunately I am not a saver...I throw away, clean out, and get rid of stuff.  I was fortunate to be able to borrow this uniform from one of Bruce's classmates. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Amazing Grace - Guitar player

Amazing Grace
18 x 24
Oil on Panel

I am always looking for inspiration.  One of my favorite things to do is visit friends and relatives to see if they will model for me.  I come equipped with my hats, kimonos and other props to see what I can talk them into!  My cousins and I have "art days"...  since I moved away it may be a while before we have another!  During one of our art sessions the lovely Alice borrowed my camera and snapped some shots of her dad playing the guitar.  Christopher Russell has been in bands for years and now plays regularly at church.  I love this particular pose for so many reasons.  It is calm, the slight downward tilt of the head, the placement of the fingers and hands.  It is just everything I want in a composition.  I decided to put a glow around his head and as I glazed and added more colors daily, it really took on a life of its own.  Then I wanted to make it personal so I found out three of his favorite hymns and wrote the lyrics across the glow. 

Every painting I do is a learning experience.  I have experimented with glazing a bit but wanted to do more so I glazed the glow and also did quite a bit of glazing on the hands and face.  I wanted the face to have definite planes and temperature and color changes and I wanted the face to be the focal point with the rest of the piece out of focus just a bit.  I still have a lot to learn but with each painting I will push myself.  I am so excited about the future. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

copying at the National Gallery of art - Young Woman in a Kimono

beginning of my copy of "Young Woman in Kimono"
copied at the National Gallery of art in Washington DC

I recently spent a week in Washington DC and was able to paint a copy at the National Gallery of Art.  I became a copyist when I lived near DC and tried to continuously work on copying one of the master's paintings on a weekly basis.  Now as an "out of towner" I apply to copy for a week at a time...or however many days I can get into a gallery in a week's time. 

The copyist program is a wonderful opportunity to study the masters and learn as much as possible about strokes, colors, composition and the lives of these amazing artists.  I study the artist, their palette, their life and spend some time sketching the piece I am going to copy.  Once I get to the gallery I set up and begin.  I always start with a blank white canvas and just dive in. 

The painting I chose for this copyist session is, Young Woman in Kimono by Alfred Maurer.   I  chose it because it has a rich color palette of muted tones with bright swashes of red accenting the kimono.  I do love kimonos and have a collection of my own  that I love to paint.  I had not heard of Alfred Maurer and was excited to discover a new to me!  After checking out his work I must admit that the painting I copied is my favorite of all his works.  I feel very fortunate. 

This is where I am after a couple of long days of work.  I still have a way to go but my time in DC has come to an end and must stop work for now.  My options are to re-apply to complete this work or I can simply move on to another copy.  I will bring it home and make a decision after I digest what I have done. 

The National Gallery of Art is always an adventure.  While copying this gentleman introduced himself as a distant relative of Frank Benson!  How cool is that?  We chatted for a short while about my favorite work of Benson's "Margaret Gretchen Strong."  I fell in love with that painting when I first started painting and have loved it ever since.  It was exciting to meet someone who could have a great Frank Benson talk with me!. 

Another perk of copying at the National Gallery is the concert that was given at on the of atriums near me.  So nice to hear such beautiful music as I painted. 

I was also fortunate to have some friends stop by.  Since I am no longer in the area it is fun to catch a quick lunch and chat with friends.  The steady stream of visitors to the gallery are always polite but very curious.  I enjoy my visits immensely and look forward to my next visit.