Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day in Vermont

I had the privilege and honor of spending this past Monday up in Vermont with some great painters (and ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies).

I joined Daniel Keys, Michelle Dunaway, and Putney Painters: Rosemary Ladd, John Smith, and Lori Woodward Simons in the town of Ludlow to paint an amazing apple tree in bloom, and then later in the day, a picture perfect farm (with clothes on the line!). Throw in a little lunch and antiquing for future still life elements, and it was just about a perfect art day.

Daniel Keys was up giving a workshop at the Village Arts of Putney, and from what I heard and saw, anyone would benefit from the insights and techniques of quite possibly the next big "master". Keep an eye on this guy . . . his amazing still life's are just the beginning.

Michelle Dunaway was most recently a finalist at the Portrait Society of America's annual competition, and her body of work is truly some great inspiration for me (and for you) as I try and focus on more figurative works. (that's Rosemary Ladd standing next to Michelle above)

Above is all of us lined up along the road painting the large apple tree, and below are the two studies that I painted (about an hour and a half each), definitely rough and not frame worthy, but hopefully they are either a good start or color reference for some final paintings.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Schmid on patience

I have been working on a very large painting for just about 3 months now. I am determined to get it just right, and I'm going insane, painting and re-painting one section of the face in particular for the last month and a half. I only spend about 8 hours a week on it and I'm working at a crawling pace to make sure I'm doing it right. Before this crawling pace, I had re-painted the head about 20 times, expecting that each time I scrapped it down and re-painted it, the right strokes would just flow out as easily as other parts of the painting.

It for some reason made me think of Richard Schmid and his writing about patience. He touches on it lightly in his book Alla Prima, but when grazing through the book, I couldn't find what I was looking for.

After some searching, I found it in a word document I made a few years ago compiling Richard's old "Notes from the Hayloft" that he used to write on an older version of his website.
. . . some measure of perseverance and tenacity is necessary at various (and often unpredictable) times throughout a painting. Sometimes things go smoothly and I can simply enjoy what I am doing. Other times I slam into a problem and the only way out is to slow down to a crawl, concentrate until my teeth hurt, and bring every faculty I have to bear on getting exactly what I want, no matter how long it takes. It's more than simple endurance. It's real mental effort and the inspiration fairy has yet to appear at such times waving her magic wand of easy solutions. I alone must solve my problem. I have to clear my mind of everything else, think hard, analyze, explore my options, plan a strategy for the immediate situation, and then do whatever it takes. Sometimes it means scraping off what I have done and starting over again and again.

It looks like I should finish the painting sometime in the next week or two and I'll be so happy when it's done. For the rest of the spring, I will be doing some smaller paintings and some plein air . . . which I can't wait for.

If your interested in Schmid's old "Notes from the Hayloft" check out the wayback machine and click through the old versions of his site:*/