Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gypsy Dancer 2

Pen & Ink
9.75 x 5

This is the second in the series. I think they make a rather nice pair.

Gyspy Dancer

Pen & Ink
9.75 x 5

I used to do a lot of pen and ink work, but have gotten away from it for some reason. That will have to change. Silverpoint and pencil are great mediums and each has its own beauty, but ink has a quality that neither of them has. Between the three, I don't think I need to look into any other drawing media. Well, maybe charcoal for bigger things, but I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

In this, the first of two drawings, I wanted to capture the movement and the attitude of the model. I really need to thank Sophie for being so expressive. This pose and subject seemed to need more power than silverpoint is really suited for. Pencil might have worked, but I wanted the bolder marks that ink gives. I hope it captured it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Oil on canvas
14 x 36

It's another lovely day here in the midwest, cold, windy and snowing. I'm officially tired of winter so I thought I'd drag out a summer scene and maybe warm up these old bones.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hand study in silverpoint

7.5 x 5.25

This seems to be appropriate with Valentine's Day on the way.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Wild Iris

Egg Tempera
10 x 7.5

Here's another of my intimate landscape series. This is from the same day and same place as the previous post, just a little further down the hill.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Intimate Landscapes

Egg Tempera
10 x 10

When you take a walk in the woods it's easy to miss the forest for the trees. But look closely, there are a lot of little things that can be quite fascinating. For years now I've tried to find the beauty in the small things as well as the total landscape. As a result I've come up with a series of what I call "intimate landscapes." Wild flowers are the most obvious example and their quiet beauty among the dead leaves and downed trees deserve some attention.

In a couple months the wild iris will again be blooming. This particular scene is just a small part of an entire hillside that is literally covered with them. It's really pretty hard to walk there without stopping to look, but I've watched people go by without even noticing. Maybe I'm making too much out of it, or maybe I feel it's my job as an artist to open their eyes to what's around them. Either way I'll keep looking. If you like this one, stay tuned, more to come.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Head Study

Silverpoint on blue prepared paper
7 x 5

This blog was subtitled paintings and drawings so I suppose it's time to post a drawing. There's not much to say about this little piece, just a little study in silverpoint. I love that medium, unfortunately it doesn't always translate to the web very well. In real life it has a subtle quality all its own, and as the silver tarnishes it gets even better.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Old Masters and Vermeer

Oil on panel
16 x 14

I don't do as many master copies as I used to, but one slips in now and then. I'm sure you recognize this one as Vermeer's "Woman with a Scale," at least I hope you do.

I've always thought there were three reasons to do an old master copy. One, to learn everything possible about how a particular painting was made. To do this right, you really need to have the piece you're copying right in front of you because photography just doesn't give all the necessary information. This is probably the most worthwhile approach though and should result in the knowledge of how the paint was applied to get a particular effect. You'll get into materials used, mediums maybe, brushstrokes and transparency of layers among other things. Not easy to do right, but if you really want to learn how someone worked it can be worth the trouble.

Two, to practice a particular technique that would work well on the painting to be copied. This technique may or may not have been used in the original. That's closer to what I'm doing here. I tried to stay as close as possible to the original, but having never seen it, there was a lot of guesswork involved. On the other hand I did learn quite a bit about glazing over a monochrome underpainting. So why go to all the trouble of copying a masterpiece when using the technique on a painting of an apple would do just as well? I just liked the image.

Which brings us to number three, you just like the image and want to copy it using whatever materials and techniques you already know and are comfortable with. There's not much to say in favor of this other than if that's what you want to do, go ahead. I must admit there are a lot of paintings out there I would love to have, but I find myself a few million dollars short even if they were for sale. So I could either buy a print or do a copy. Personally, I'd rather have a copy.