Friday, May 29, 2020

The Biggest Challenge - Challenge #4

There are a lot of challenges in this piece, some of which I haven't quite figured out yet.
However, it is pretty obvious that the biggest challenge is painting the Peter Paul Rubens painting.

If it weren't enough hubris to even attempt to do this, I am also painting it at an angle! I've been staring at the empty space in the gold frame wondering where to start. As an expert in procrastination, I've made myself a cup of tea, wandered around the studio, checked on my music selection, rearranged the day's brushes, petted our two cats, and looked out the window at all the spring greenery.

Then sitting down in front of my easel, there was still the empty, taunting, unpainted space inside the gold painted frame. I had no idea how to start.

Okay. Let's pretend this painting is not hanging on a museum wall as one of the ultimate painted representations of Daniel in the Lions' Den. It is just a story and I like telling stories. If it were my painting, how would I start? Like most paintings, I would start with the background.

Usually I would continue painting background to foreground but I wanted the foundation of the base in before I started on the subjects.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Challenge #3

Challenge #3 - Frames
When one is painting a museum masterpiece, painting the frame accurately is just as important as the masterpiece. Not only does a well-painted frame increase the illusion of depth, but the type of frame on the museum piece is known. It would be so much easier to make up a gold-ish frame, but the authenticity of my painting would be diminished.

Much of the frame color is a mixture of radiant yellow, yellow ochre, cadmium lemon yellow, and titanium white. I chose to paint the small frame first and while I was there, finished that painting.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

How long does a painting take?

Well, this piece is going on 8 years. In 2012, I made another trip to the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. I've painted paintings of paintings before and thought it would be fun to do another.
One particular masterpiece caught my eye. Of course, it is particularly complicated! Since 2012, the idea of using this painting as a backdrop has been circling around in my head. Every now and then I would think of it. About 4 or 5 months ago, a compositional idea came to mind.
As I reviewed my reference a couple of weeks ago, one particular shot of two people looking at the painting seemed to fit in to my concept.

Challenge #1 - The Drawing
Days were spent deciding on the composition (I looked at thousands of my lion reference photos) and drawing the masterpiece's subjects on the gessoed board was difficult. My painting is not very large so drawing the detail to aid me with the painting took a lot of time. I changed out one of the heads of the couple looking at the painting. The next day I realized the idea I had to start with was better so I redrew the head closer to what I originally had.

Challenge #2 - The Wall
I have never painted a wood wall before. In my previous paintings of paintings which were hanging in a museum, the gallery walls were painted. After wondering why I was doing this, I mixed numerous color batches staying with warm wood tones. Yellow ochre, burnt umber, raw sienna, and burnt sienna were used as base colors and I started with the upper left of the painting.
The light cast above the painting on the wall was cooler and there I used some burnt sienna mixed with ultramarine blue, lightened with titanium white.

Once the upper part of the wall was finished, I painted the wall's trim and worked my way down to the floor.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Roseate Terns

From May to late August, some beaches on Martha's Vineyard are home to nesting terns. Common terns, least terns, roseate terns, and a few arctic terns return year after year to lay eggs and raise their chicks near the abundant ocean. Each year I enjoy my trips to see terns and other species nesting on the island.

While roseate terns are often mistaken for common terns, their more streamline body and long forked tail lend them a particularly graceful look while in flight. The summer grounds of roseate terns range from Long Island to Canada's northeast provinces with wintering grounds in northern South America. The European roseate tern spends its winters as far south as southern Africa. This tern species, like most, gets around.

As stay-at-home, safer-at-home, and limited openings remain in places throughout the world, a hopeful future seeped into my painting composition. I wanted to create joy in free-wheeling flight.

You Are Now Free To Move About The Planet
14" X 24"
Original Oil

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Nostalgia, Hopeful Future

In working on the compositions for a July show for the Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha's Vineyard, the roles of nostalgia and hopeful future have been in my mind.