Friday, January 18, 2013


that is all there is to it.  I am taking this portrait class.  So I can take it and leave before a kids bedtime I end up watching said wonderful kid all day so that I really don't do much art but this class.  And this class is making me uncomfortable.  The way that the teacher paints in this class is actually not something that I aspire to.  He is a great painter, very technically agile and the people end up looking just like themselves but when he asks who I am looking at right now as a figurative artist I am answering "Amy Sillman" or I suppose I might answer Daniel Heidkamp who is an artist I am really enjoying lately too.  and yet none of my work looks that way, it looks much closer to my teacher.  And in class I am deliberately doing it that way.  And although the painting kind of looks like the guy I am disappointed in the colors, and don't particularly care for the way it is painted.  But I am taking this class because I feel that maybe I will learn something, and i have, at least about values.  This painting veers into something I dislike when I paint from life which is that I make a persons skin look like a mask.  I had kind of gotten away from this in the past few years, and yet it seems to have come back in this painting.  He doesn't necessarily look like a mask, more like a very smooth sculpture.  Which maybe is an improvement?  But I can't help but think that I hadn't painted like this for awhile.  I wish I had more models to work on and I need to start going to the open studios to work too.  Ah well.

Friday, January 11, 2013

taking a class.

oil on canvas, 11" x 14", 2013
I am taking a painting the head class at the Scottsdale Artists School.  I was really going back and forth about taking it.  I was actually nervous.  It gave me a good perspective of how it is to be a student, which was interesting after being a teacher for three years.  We worked on a value study where we blocked everything in and then slowly built in other values.  I kind of liked this even more before it had more values, it was pretty abstract.  But it was an interesting study and something that I would never do myself which was the point. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

desert botanical garden

"Desert Botanical Garden," January 9, 2012

oil on canvas, 22" x 22", 2013

So I got a chance to finally paint at the Desert Botanical Garden today.  I have never completed a painting that is this big in "plein air".  Although looking at this painting i have some issues with the right bottom corner.  I really could not get that cactus.  Anyway, I am still pretty happy to have done it.  It took me 5 hours and I haven't painted for that long in forever so I had fun.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Happy New Year

My resolution this year was to start up the painting a day thing.  But I am very rusty, and similar to when I did this in 2011 it took me a little time to gear up.  My facilities are not really the same.  Instead of a studio I have a couch, or a little desk in a garage.  And my time is spent differently right now.  But I have realized that I need to have some sort of discipline every day or I won't get anything done.  What I would like to do is draw a person every day, and in that spirit I started on a few self portraits.  I am the easiest person to get to model, so it seemed a natural fit.   I experimented with watercolor self portraits and they were a little lacking, and a little embarrassing.  I normally wouldn't mind, I have posted some embarrassing things on this blog that I normally wouldn't.  Either these are so embarrassing I just can't do it (which I think might be true) or I have just decided to be more discreet. 
So instead I thought I would show you a couple of paintings I have done around where I am living and a drawing of a model from the Scottsdale Artists School and a new friend.
Here is my first oil painting of the year.  I hadn't painted with oil for a long long time....three months.  and I haven't been regularly painting for a year so I am a bit rusty.  This image is of the roof behind my Dad's house.  The woman who lived in this house just died a month ago which I guess might have added to my interest in painting it.  But I have always had to look at her roof from my Dad's backyard and have always been interested in the fact that she has solar panels up there.  Plus, on this trip I noticed that she had some owl decoys to scare away birds.  The blobs in the middle are the owls.  The roof is a bit far away.
January 3, 2013

 5" x 7", oil on panel.

Being in Phoenix there are older people all around.  And the woman who lives right across from my father is also mature.  And so I painted a view of her house a few months ago and thought I would share:

Jackie's house.
6" x 6", oil on panel
i actually really like this painting.

This guy had some awesome hair.
14" x 17", colored pencil on paper

and this is a new friend of mine, Susan, she graciously agreed to come over and let me draw her.
14" x 17" marker on paper

I have been working in colored pencil when I go somewhere to draw and I am maybe feeling more enthusiastic about colored pencil than markers.  Although I like working with both I have always been a little uncomfortable about the light fastness of them.  Regardless, I really enjoyed making both of these portraits.