6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord
The second painting for Buck County 6 x 6 show later this fall. Two down – one more to paint. I had fun with new textures I had to play with – leather, suede and velvet.
Being curious I Googled John McCormack and The Trumpeter and to my delight found a recording – from a vinyl – of John McCormack singing The Trumpeter in 1915 – 98 years ago. It is so good – it gives me goosebumps!
John McCormack sings The Trumpeter in 1915
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord
It seems that every realist painter worth his or her salt paints eggs at some point. It is almost like a rite of passage. Can I or can I not?!… I noticed this phenomena some time ago and knew that I too would have to paint eggs sometime.
And now I have. It was damned hard, just as expected. They have to be perfect, I discovered, and curve perfectly in the light or they will not look like real eggs – and that’s the whole point!
Eggs are an excellent assessment of one’s current skill as a realist painter. I know I will paint eggs again in the future – to see my progress if nothing else.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – SOLD
This little painting started last summer at a rummage sale at a church down the block. I always go and always get some great props there. That time I found 3 mismatched cups with their saucers. Mismatched and all, they still worked together very well, probably being from the same era. I asked the lady to keep them for me so I could pay for everything together and went to a books section.
When I returned to pay for them, there was Father John, the Rector of the church, standing there with these cups in his hands, and the lady explaining to him that the cups were put aside for someone else. Oops!! I don’t belong to this church, but I know Father John (and his schnauzer), just like you know people in the neighborhood. I almost had him sit for a portrait for me. Besides I did not want the wrath of God on my head… you never know 🙂 … So I said – please Father John, have these cups. And he said – no, no, you got them first! And we went on like that – back and forth – for a while, but in the end I got the cups.
Every time I look at them I feel a little guilty, but not too much. After all I did get them first. And nothing bad has happened to me either – Father John really is a nice guy :).
8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
This was one of those very rare paintings that practically painted itself. It happens sometimes, not too often, and I wonder what is the reason for this. This is the second painting that did this: I am working on it… mixing and painting…, and suddenly it informs me – I think I am done, thanks! 🙂
I absolutely love my patron for whom this is painted. C.B. contacted me through my online gallery and basically said some variation of the following: I like your style, why won’t you paint something you like and I will buy it. I nearly fainted – the best art patron in the world!
Painting this was smooth and logical and presented very few problems. I did have a little bit of a fuss with strawberries – I did not nail the color right away, and the texture was a challenge. It was an interesting problem to paint graphite and pen drawing in oil. I had fun with that.
The only difficulty I had was coming up with a title. Polling family members yielded several possibles, none of which had a WOW factor. I did a crowd-sourcing thing on Facebook (again), and what a great idea it was – I got a dozen excellent titles. Combining ideas from 3 or 4 different people I came up with this – What I Drew Last Summer.
And here’s the sketch that got painted in this composition. I drew this in cafe Metropolis while drinking tea and sketching with my friend Don Colley.
8″ x 10″ (20 x 25 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
Finished it today. At least signed it! Showed it to the client and she likes it! What a great thing! It is now drying, then will get oiled out and studied with great precision – I already see two spots that need some touching up, – then varnish and done.
This was probably the most challenging painting I ever attempted. Was even harder than the crinkled paper! Are you seeing all these ellipses? Those who are curious enough can count them and let me know.
The client asked me – How can you stand to let your pictures go? After all you put into them?
That’s a great question! I remember time when it was hard to part with artwork I made, but it changed. Some time around 2011 I started thinking of myself as a professional artist. This is what professionals do – we make artwork and we let it go into the world. That is if we are so lucky that the world wants to take our works.
And yet they never leave completely, do they, these sold paintings, commissioned images, pieces of our imagination? I may be working on a passage and it would be a slow going, and then I’d remember – I’ve done this in Fiddlesticks or in Waiting for Adam. I learned something invaluable in every painting. And then there’s another thing… I flew over France on my way to Israel a couple of months ago and I thought: one of my paintings is down there in Normandy. And I heard some news from Fresno CA the other day and thought: ah yes one of my paintings is there in Fresno – how about it…
So yes, I am happy to let them go. And to be paid for them too.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
Just finished Giselle yesterday. The painting is commissioned in honor of this client’s mother who worked as a seamstress for a dance company. In my mind I painted it for all workers toiling behind the screen-stage-platform with no spot light on them, but never-the-less indispensable. Just have seen Oscars, at least in movie business makeup people, costume people, hair people get recognition. I don’t believe in theater they do.
I learned an interesting technique while working on Giselle – painting translucent fabric. Really neat! I did quite a bit of work on transparent stuff, reflective stuff before – yes! But never translucent stuff until now. Apparently you can just physically mix the hue from underneath and hue from above and it tricks the eye just enough for “willing suspension of disbelief”. But then you still have go after it with glazes or dry brush or both.
This painting also was under a self imposed deadline as I am holding tickets to go on my yearly trip to Israel to visit my family. The painting had to be finished at least 10 days before my departure to allow enough drying time to be able to varnish and ship it. Yikes! Now it better cooperates and gets dry and ready to varnish by March 7 or I am in trouble.
Each: 6″x6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – commissions
These two are commissions. The client saw them and approved, so I can show them to you. The two paintings were commissioned together to work as a pair or a diptych.
It turns out painting a pair is a fairly special project. Right away during the drawing stage I realized that blocks have to match in size – not a problem, but not something that you need to consider when painting a single painting.
When I started painting it quickly became apparent that I have to treat them as one painting. When I worked on surface of the mirrored table on one painting and then tried to match the color a few days later for the second painting – it turned out to be very VERY hard! It is much easier to do the mirror and the background for both paintings at once using the same color mix. Same goes about painting the visible wood of the blocks. Also if I painted blocks’ faces for 9-Rabbit on a sunny morning and faces for e-Bird on a overcast day – the color harmony would not work and I had to make adjustments in my lighting.
It is a rare opportunity to work on a pair and I am forever grateful to J.D. for it.
Oh, see this really cool block with a skull on it?… I invented it. I don’t have a block with a skull. But J.D. collects skull images so I made up one for him.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
It took a lot longer than anticipated, but I finished it this year! This is a very important painting for me and I wanted to do it right and took my time. This is my first commission. And an international one at that.
With this year almost gone I see many of my artists friends doing a recap. I read them with great interest – people have accomplished great things, painted significant works, showed work in important places, taught numerous students, and thought up amazing innovations. I thought to myself I must do a year-end post as well.
So here it goes:
It was a great year – 2012. Here’s to a better one in 2013!
8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) oil on gessobord panel
The whole time I was painting Fiddlesticks I was remembering “Odessa Tales” by Isaac Babel. If you haven’t read this, hurry – you are in for a treat … you can thank me later. It is better in Russian, that being the original language, but the English translation is very good too. I bought the English version for my husband who does not speak Russian and he laughed his head off from cover to cover :). He is still quoting from it all these years later. Anyway, “Odessa Tales” was the originating influence for this painting.
I did not have any major painting discoveries during this work. I did confirm for myself that my homemade medium recipes work better for me than various readymade mediums from the store. I make a Lean medium for my first color pass and a Fat one for my second and later passes. Now I have a collection of fancy brand mediums that I don’t use anymore.
6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) oil on gessobord panel
Something was right about this idea, or composition, or colors, or whatever… because it painted like a dream. Easy and smooth, without difficulties or usual anxiety, the colors and shapes just played along agreeably and it was all finished before I was ready to make a conscious decision about that. Ha! – it was ready to be signed.
But then I realized that I don’t have a title. I did not panic… so it would take me a day or several to think of it. But a good title was eluding me… I made my family think of the title… no, it was not happening for them either. After a few days of struggle with something that is usually so easy I made a decision – I would crowd-source it. So I put the painting on Facebook and called out to my friends.
In 8 hours I had 23 gorgeous titles! I had titles from as far as Australia, Singapore, Ireland, Israel, Canada, East and West coasts…. In the end I chose the title that came from two blocks away. Mary Lanigan Russo, my friend and neighbor and an urban sketcher from Chicago, suggested “Yesterdays”. A couple of hours later Jim Bumgarner, an urban sketcher from Tri-Cities WA, suggested “All My Sorrows Seem so Far Away” and thus settled any doubts. I have amazing friends!