Monday, October 28, 2013

Footlit Flapper

My model from Monday became a flapper on Friday.
Tesa did a marvelous job this week posing for artists.  Modeling for artists is much different than modeling for photographers.  Much harder, would be my guess.  The model and artist work together to find a pose that is a good design and also is thought to be natural and comfortable enough to hold without moving for long periods of time.  In real life, no pose is really that comfortable if the person is conscious.  Tesa was perched high on a hard chair with a bright light shining right into her eyes.  As the morning wore on, the artists found out that she had been quietly enduring a constant pressure on her ribcage from the position of the chair; she never let on.  In our group, every artist member has served as a model for the group in order to feel what the model feels.  That experience makes this particular group very empathetic toward its models. 
I don't know if you will ever see a finished painting of Tesa the Footlit Flapper.  I am so very busy right now trying to finish the paintings for the show: painting, varnishing, framing, and even writing about each painting.  We are going to try to have a book to go along with the show. 
Don't forget, 6 December from 6-8 will be our opening in Houston!  Here's your invitation:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Invitation to Power & Peace

This is the ad in American Art Collector magazine, the November issue, which just came out.  They also included our show in a section called "The Savvy Collector's Guide to Upcoming Shows," under Texas (link below) and wrote about it in "Small-Scale Masterpieces," with three more paintings!  We're having invitations made but if you want to come, please come!  Don't wait for an invitation; we will have the reception on 6 December from 6-8 pm and would love to see you there.

The link to the Savvy Collector's Guide is:

Come and let your soul be recharged by an evening of wine and cheese and original oil paintings. There should be something for everyone: figurative, landscape and still life paintings, all united under the common light of “Power and Peace.” The paintings in this show reflect a high idea of action and energy within calm and peace. The changing light, the ephemeral quality of nature, the transitory yet purposeful presence of man: the subjects that have drawn artists and art lovers throughout all of history can draw us together this December in downtown Houston. Be there or be square!

Cloister Gallery is a downtown institution and one of the city’s most cherished lunchtime destinations. Jamie Mize and Dan Tidwell have been feeding Houstonians out of Reynolds Hall (the Great Hall, the Cloister) since 1981, and the famous Treebeard’s fare brings hundreds to their campus every weekday. Be one of them!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

North Shore Nymph

The weather is perfect right now.  In Houston, the weather is always a little on the perfect side for some people: never too cold in the winter and a friendly, "close" kind of humid heat in the summer that makes your skin stay young.  But in the spring and autumn, the weather is absolutely perfect, no matter who you are.  It was very hard to stay in the studio and teach today, with the cool air and the flirty sun calling from outside!  But I did already get to paint out this week, with my new model, Tesa.

I met Tesa when I was registering students for the fall semester.  She was interested in being an artist's model and had already read three books on modeling!  She did an outstanding job as a plein air model for me.  She will model again on Friday in the studio for our Market Street Painters group, only then she will be a flapper from the 1920's.  For our day though, at a nearby lake, she dressed as a water nymph.
Here she is, taking a picture of the painting of herself:

 The fun and challenge of painting at a park like this is all that goes on around you while you are working.  The in-and-out clouds, the busy ducks and geese, the bugs and boaters and children (and parents) all conspire to pull your focus away from your job.  Tesa stayed focused on my face and I tried to stay focused on her face and my canvas. 
This painting was done with four colors (plus white): transparent oxide brown, ultramarine blue deep, cadmium red and cadmium yellow pale; the same palette we are using in Oil Painting 101 this semester.  The wonderful thing about a limited palette is the automatic harmony that you have.  No matter what you paint, you are drawing from such a limited source, all your resulting choices are related and so go well together.  My mind is always a little blown that so much can be done with so little.  Yet our printers only have a few colors and our television sets only have a few colors so it shouldn't be quite so surprising. 
Well, here is the sketch of Tesa, the North Shore Nymph:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scout Arriving, 24x30

Some works call for reverie, others invite revelry.  This painting was the latter sort.  It was large for me and required standing and sometimes a little dancing to execute.  The subject matter also was the opposite of quiet and even my brush found a new dance step on this one.  Here's a close up of the scout's accoutrements, which I was hoping would catch the movement and action: 
I am doing several paintings in response to a Civil War reenactment that I got to see recently.  This scout, sword at the ready and pistol drawn, came bounding into my view right as the participants were preparing for battle in the background:

The attitude of the horse and rider together created such a beautiful mark against the smoke and sky, an abstract movement of forward momentum and back-straining to stop, only one foot touching the ground… it had to be painted.  My hat’s off to the Third Texas Cavalry Regiment of Civil War Reenactors!  An inspiration on so many levels. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Little Gypsy Girl, 14x11

Maybe you recognize this little girl from Follies & Foibles, published in July. She suffered some insult but was not permanently injured in the process.I wish you could see the painting in real life instead of seeing the digital image of it. Digitizing these soft and subtle passages makes them so harsh and vivid, adjusting the temperature and values just enough to remove the romance, it seems. The joy of this painting is in the very delicate cool tones in her face, juxtaposed against the bright warm sparkling bangles of her headband. The bedecked little gypsy composes her look and is set for the day, having just been dropped off by the wagon that is disappearing in the distance. 
This silhouetting with only the rim lighting of the figure reminds me of calligraphy, the old-fashioned kind with the large Chinese characters done with big round brushes in black ink on white parchment. I have a couple of those and even though I don’t know what they mean, I appreciate their stark beauty. Maybe from across the room the abstract character of the little gypsy girl reads, Freedom.