Archive for the ‘ works in progress ’ Category

New Works, Eleven Images 2017

Sorry, but I am getting caught up here. The older works (and some of these while the were still in progress) are here: https://elevenimages.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/eleven-images-new-work-2016/

As always, if you’d like to inquire about the pieces here (or any other pieces on the site not marked NFS, of course) simple e-mail me at eaton.robertb@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, here’s what I have been up to since the first of the year:

I’m still working on the two previous pieces. Lately, I got a little side-tracked by something that interested me about doing the Sketching events. For those events, I have been working in mixed media (graphite, markers, paint, colored pencil). I started work on a mixed media piece on a roll of gessoed brown paper:

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Untitled work in mixed media on brown paper, 16″ x 30″, work in progress.

On the small easel, color-blocking a smallish piece in oil:

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New work, color blocking, oil and graphite on canvas, 12″ x 14″

 

Started a new piece. For whatever reason, I wanted to orient this canvas diagonally to make a 10″ by 10″ diamond shape. Like so:

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Blank canvas, on easel.

I began by sketching an idea in graphite, and decide on a mix media piece, using graphite, marker, and acrylic paint.

This is the first sitting with that painting:

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The Hummingbird, mixed media on 10″ x 10″ canvas, first sitting.

 

Did a little work yesterday, working slowly and exacting to get what I want here:

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Hummingbird, mixed media piece (acrylic paint, graphite, pencil, marker on a 10″ x 10″ canvas, second sitting.

 

It finally came together in the third sitting, really happy with this now.

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“Hummingbird” mixed media on canvas, 10″ x 10″  $135

 

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“Hummingbird” mixed media on canvas, 10″ x 10″  $135 (on easel)

 

Started working on two new pieces. Like the last one, this will also be joined by lengths of chain.

 

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Untitled, graphite and oil, 2 x 16″ x 20″ first sitting.

 

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Untitled, graphite and oil, 2 x 16″ x 20″ second sitting.

 

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Untitled (birb-something) oil and graphite on two 16″ x 20″ canvas, third sitting.

 

Worked for a little while on this one, it is getting much much closer to where I want it to be, but I will likely need another time or two at my canvas before I am ready to hang this one and let it dry.

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Untitled, graphite and oil on two 16″ x 20″ canvases, fourth sitting

 

Continuing to develop this piece, it is very close here, but I will likely continue working on it.

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Untitled, oil and graphite on 2 X 16″ 20″ canvas, fifth sitting.

 

…and on the smaller easel:

 

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Untitled, graphite an oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″, first sitting.

 

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Untitled, graphite and oil, 11 x 14″,  second sitting.

 

Final

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“At a Red-light in a Warzone” oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ final $205

 

I needed to push out some quick canvases to hit some of those lower price points.  Tweaking this one, but it’s done. It just needs a coat of finish, once it’s dried overnight:

 

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“Dispatches from the Life-ruiner’s Society” graphite and acylic on canvas, 8″ x 10″ (draft)

And development:

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in progress

 

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Dispatches from the Life-ruiner’s Club, graphite and acylic on canvas 8″ x 10″ $45

Began color-blocking a new piece:

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Untitled, graphite and oil on canvas, color-blocking.

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Untitled, oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ first sitting.

 

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Untitled, oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ (second sitting)

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“Those that Keep Watch” oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ $235

 

 

A little more minimalist that what I generally do, but so far I like how this one has started, quite a lot.

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Untitled, oil and graphite on canvas 11″ x 14″, first sitting.

Second sitting:

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“It’s not that way, It’s over here” oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ second sitting.

To finish out this piece, my feeling was a couple of touches were needed, to balance the image with a cool-ish color, but very subtle so as not to change the over-all tonal palette of the image. I think I got what I was looking for with this piece.

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“It’s Not that Way it’s Over Here” Oil and graphite on canvas, 11″ x 14″ $145

 

 

 

New works in progress. It’s been a while since I have done anything very large. A lot of my recent work been with 12″ x 12″ canvases, and 8″ x 12″. I decided I need to scale up, and I put three 16″ x 20″ canvas together for a total dimension of 20″ x 48″. Did the color blocking, and I have begun to move into building up the paint.

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“Untitled” oil and graphite on 3 x 16″ x 20″ canvas panels, first sitting.

 

This has been a slow practice in building color, at first glance, it may look like little has changed since the first image, but several more hours of building color have now gone into this one:

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Untitled, oil and graphite on canvas, 3 x 16″ x 20″, third sitting.

Spent some time on this one:

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Untitled, 3 x 16″ x 20″, oil and graphite on canvas, up close details

 

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shot 2, up close, details

 

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Untitled, 3 x 16″ x 20″ oil and graphite on canvas full image, second sitting.

 

Third sitting:

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Anguish is the Only Language in Which I have Proficiency” Graphite and oil on 3 x 16″ x 20″ canvas, third sitting.

A better look:

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Panels 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

 

The piece is done, and drying, I will post more images of the triptych when it is dried and attached via chain and ready to hang:

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The Triptych, (“Anguish is the Only Language in Which I have Proficiency”) drying.

 

Triptych, fully assembled, “Anguish is the Only Language in Which I have Proficiency” oil and graphite on 3 x 16″ x 20″ panels. Hung with chain, full dimensions: 20″ x 62″.

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“Anguish is the only Language in Which I have Proficiency” oil and graphite on 3 x 16″ x 20″ panels, hung with chain (full dimensions 20″ x 62″), $650

 

 

This piece came together quickly, I will do a little cleaning the image up, but likely, it will be 90% done as of this image:

 

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“Aphasia (Blunt Force)” oil and graphite on canvas, 16″ x 20″ first sitting.

 

This piece may be done –I’m still deciding.

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Aphasia (blunt force) 16″ x 20″ oil and graphite on canvas second sitting.

 

Began color-blocking on a new piece:

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Untitled, oil and graphite on 2 12″ x 12″ canvas, color blocking.

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Untitled, first sitting, oil and graphite on 2 12″ x 12″ canvas.

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“She Has Constellations Within Her” oil and graphite on canvas on 2 x 12″ x 12″ canvas, second sitting.

 

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“She Has Constellations Within Her,” 2 x 12″ x 12″ oil and graphite on canvas, suspended with chain & hooks (final). $195, (on left), pictured here with its companion piece, “No One Got Left.” [sold].

 

New work, first sitting. A couple artist friends have suggested a very high-gloss varnish for this piece. As a result, I am probably going to clean up this image only slightly, –leaving the image mostly unchanged– and experiment with some varnishes. Stay tuned as I develop that process, I’ll be updating as this one is finished:

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“Don’t Let Your Light Go Out” graphite and oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ (first sitting).

An artist friend recommended I finish this work with a very high gloss finish. Finishing the work took a bit of experimenting –but I think I have gotten most of what I wanted. This is a piece that really needs to be seen in person.

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“Don’t Let Your Light Go Out (in memory of John)” 8″ x 10″ $180

Working on new pieces this morning, this was the first sitting with this one.

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“In Cold Spirals”graphite and oil on canvas, 16″ x 20” color blocking.

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“In Cold Spirals” 16″ x 20″ graphite and oil on canvas.

 

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“In Cold Spirals” 16″ x 20″ oil and graphite on canvas, second sitting.

 

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“In Cold Spirals”(final) oil and graphite on canvas 16″ x 20” $165

 

Some of the first new pieces this year:

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“Not All Wolves,” graphite and oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″, second sitting.

 

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“Not All Wolves,” graphite and oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″  final. $85

 

This one is shaping up to be a recent personal favorite, it’s name however, remain elusive.

 

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Untitled, graphite and oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ color blocking

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Untitled, graphite and oil on canvas, 16″ x 20 ” second sitting.

Nearing done, but I may still work on it some more. Right now it’s drying on my easel.

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“No One Who Wanders is Truly Alone”  16″ x 20″, graphite and oil on canvas, $180

 

…and on the second easel:

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Untitled, graphite and oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″, second sitting.

Still working on this one:

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Untitled, 10″ x 10″ graphite and oil on canvas, third sitting.

 

This one goes to the done-pile (tweaked a bit, but here):

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“Bedhead” graphite and oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″ $65.

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This Week (give or take) in the Class.

I’m going to try to break up the posts to progress every couple weeks. I’m still waiting to iron out the issues surrounding HIPPA (confidentiality) and showing student work (many students are doing fine work in the class). Until then, I will continue posting in class demonstrations. If you’re seeing this post the first time, my class is the blind leading the blind. I have struggled with a mental illness for decades. I’m celebrating my thirty-sixth birthday in a couple days. (August 14th) I am happy to be alive. I am happy to be teaching students in an inpatient psychiatric hospital that art can be a way to heal yourself, to grow personally, and to keep yourself well and out of hospitals.

The pictures are what I draw as I am teaching my students.


In the past week,(6/29-7/7) I’ve continued to focus on the use of color. Here are some more of the in-class demonstrations. I have based my lessons on a book I have borrowed from the library, “Understanding Color” by Marcia Moses. I’ve been using a couple of images by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch as out in-class examples, because Munch’s use of color is so striking of an example of the use of a limited palette.

Continuing the class discussion on color theory. I have been making art my whole life, and I’m picking up what I might of missed in my informal education, from what I take out at the library. My degree is not in art, so I am learning as my students learn.

We were doing split complimentary color schemes this week (complimentary pairs, pus an adjacent color on the color wheel).

My in-class demonstrations:

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Vincent Van Gogh, “Peach Tree in Bloom” reproduction. OIl pastel on paper.

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Color study. I gave my student the prompt: “Locals say, if you go you will still find her there waiting” Oil pastel on paper.

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Oil Pastel on paper, reproduction of one of my photographs, looking south from the Rennselaer train station.

Before our discussion of color, I did a simple exercise I feel is helpful for training the eye. I began the week by bringing in a bag of dried leaves from my yard. I had intended to encourage students to develop their eye for detail. This was an exercise I found useful, early on, as I was developing my own abilities:

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Leaf, charcoal on paper.

Shifting the discussion to color, I started with a simple geometric abstract, and encouraged students to use a limited palette in their own drawing.

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Abstract, oil pastel on paper. Students were encourage to use a limited palette. My example is dominated by the complimentary colors blue and orange, and green.

The next two examples are explorations/reproductions of Munch’s work. His general color palette and strong use of color worked well to illustrate aspects of color theory for my students.

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Oil Pastel on paper, Based on Edvard Munch’s “White Night.”

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Oil pastel on paper, based on Edvard Munch’s mural at the University at Aula, “The Sun.”

Over the past week, the class focused (mostly) on using perspective. In most of the classes over the past couple weeks I have also been teaching students to mix color and have been teaching the to work in water color.

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From pictures I took as an adolescent at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. Water color on paper.

(Explanation of caption under the painted image: I wanted students to think of their lives before they were ill, and the kind of person they were –or might be, if they recovered from their mental illness. I had brought in photos I took of the Grand Canyon when I was an adolescent, before I was diagnosed and before I knew I had a mental illness. I had all the students caption their image with something about themselves. My caption reads “before I was ill, I was creative and adventurous.”)

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Barn, water color on paper. From the book “The Welsh Hills of Waukeska County” by Pat Byrne

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Charcoal and Water-color on paper, reproduction of Paul Klee’s “The Conquerer”.

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Tree-lined path/road. Based on a photo from the Welsh Hills (Byrne) again).

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Original image, water color on paper. Based on the house where I currently rent, Albany, NY. Perspective lesson

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Charcoal on paper, study/review of face and facial features. My students ask that I draw and older man.

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Perspective study, based on an image by Gustave Caillebotte, (“Paris, a Rainy Day”).

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Figure study, “Officer in Riot Gear” oil pastel and charcoal on paper.

New works, 2014-2015

Keep checking back. I am trying to start the new year off with a lot of new pieces. The newest canvases are going to be towards the top. With the majority of my work back, I am building up a portfolio and have plans to show multiple places concurrently.

Two new works started:

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New work, untitled, first sitting, 11″ x 14″ oil on canvas

Second sitting, and it got a name:

 

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“Mindfulness Through Starvation” 11″ x  14″ oil on canvas, second sitting.

And this one:

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New work, untitled, first sitting 16″ x 20″, oil on canvas

 

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“Do Hearts Find Jagged Edges?” 16″ x 20,” oil on canvas, $165.

 

Second shot, on the easel:

 

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I hope to have a chance to work on these again before I head out on the trip to Buffalo Thursday morning. I am playing a live music set out there. I am not sure how close I made it to my goal of doubling my inventory before the end of the year, but I know I am well on my way with these couple here.

 

Working on the piece:

Photo on 1-4-16 at 7.16 PM

 

Two new works started:

Started to block out the canvases,

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″

 

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

 

Then both, after a first sitting:

 

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Blocking in main colors, after first sitting

 

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Second sitting, “A Maelstrom Will Love You In its Time” oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″ $345

 

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After first sitting

 

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“Stay The Oracle” oil on canvas,  8″ x 10″ NFS.

 

Canvases are piling up:

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Current work space, ’15

 


12/18/15

Started two new works today. Also, I titled one of the pieces from the previous session of painting I wasn’t sure was done. It grew on me when it sat, and I don’t think it needs to be worked further at this point. (scroll down to see “Memory Was a Predator”)

Here are the two pieces I worked on today (blocking color):

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Untitled work, Oil on canvas, 4 8″ x 10″ panels/canvases

 

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Untitled, first sitting, oil on canvas, 18″ x 20″

You notice that I this point both works have precisely the same color palettes, ultimately, you’ll see, they end up going quite different directions:

(after the end of the first sitting):

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“Teach a Man to Grind an Ax,” second sitting, oil on canvas 18″ x 20″

Got to a second sitting on two of the recent pieces today. They are both now finished. I intend to bring the works in (when the are dry, next class isn’t for two weeks) to make a comparison between different color schemes. One of the paintings ended up dominated by green/blue/yellow (analogous) and the other by red/pink, /blue/ (essentially a triadic color scheme):

Here is the first:

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“Teach a Man to Grind an Ax (He’ll Devour for a Lifetime)” oil on canvas 18′ x 20″ $155

 

 

You’ll see the other take on a loose analogous color scheme:

 

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Untitled, oil on canvas, 4 8″ x 10″ panels.

 

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“Simple X” 4 8″ x 10″ panels, oil on canvas, $248

 

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Untitled work, Oil on canvas, 4 8″ x 10″ panels/canvases

[on to earlier posts]

 

I have a particular exercise in mind with these two canvases. Something I want to experiment with myself, and then have the students in my class reflect on and talk about. When I am further along in both works I’ll get to explaining what I am doing here…

Thanks for reading.

I have two pieces I am working on today (12.5.15). I started both pieces today after the class:

 

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New work, blocking color, untitled, first sitting. Oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″

Second sitting:

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“Set to Spark”11″ x 14” oil on canvas, $205

I may do some additional tweaks on this one, but I think it may be done. I’m really happy with how this one went.

 

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New work, as yet untitled, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

 

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“Memory Was a Predator”, second sitting, oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ $$185

Did some color blocking on this new one today, (as yet untitled):

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New work, oil on canvas 18″ x 24″ color blocking

Later:

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Blocking in the negative space…

 

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Second sitting, earlier today…

 

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“Just Sweep Up the Casings, We Open in 5″ (final) oil on canvas, 16″ x 20” $235

This piece, which I started a couple days ago, I think is now done:

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“Icon: Our Lady of the Dissolution” oil on canvas 11″ x 14″

 

This one came together quickly, done in two sittings. “Red Planet Psalm”

 

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Final, “Red Planet Psalm” 11 x 14″ oil on canvas $95

 

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“Red Planet Psalm” oil on canvas, 11″ x  14″ $95

 

 

A recent habit I developed is to block out shapes and color on a new canvas with whatever color is left from a previous canvas. So, when the last canvas seemed done, I took a small canvas and scratched this out.

 

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“Red Planet Psalm” oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″ first sitting

 


Blocking out canvas # 3 that I have been working on this weekend. By working on I sometimes mean just I am thinking about what needs to happen and letting it incubate. Obviously a work in progress.

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“Eat the Heart” 18 x 24 oil on canvas.

second sitting, building up color and negative space:

“(if you love a thing) Eat its Heart” oil on canvas, 18 x 24, second sitting.

This canvas seems to be failing to thrive.

Third sitting with the new piece, I think it may be done, perhaps just a little cleaning up and intensifying color:

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“Eat the Heart” 18 x 24 oil on canvas.

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on the easel

 

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Eat the Heart (todos vosotrus padres eran tótemas) 16″  x 20″ $185

Should you be translating, I am meditating/editorializing on my own role as a father/parent.

 

 

New work, “The Bloom, see pictures for details:

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“The Bloom” oil on canvas 11″ x 14″ $145

This piece slipped right out of my hands and became a very different thing than what I intended. But it just hit the done pile. It’s hanging on the wall to dry. The image isn’t great, I’ll update with a better image when I remember to use flash…

A shot of the new piece with better light:

“The Bloom” oil on canvas 11″ x 14″ $145

Started a new work. Yes I’m doing two new canvases at the same time. This is the first sitting. When this dries, I’ll start ratcheting up the intensity of the colors. The color needs to be corrected slightly. (the palette is by request). This work is not for sale.

New work NFS

New work NFS

second sitting:

New work, second sitting NFS

New work, second sitting NFS

Essentially, all I have done at this point is to outline the shapes in the image with a mixture of Ultramarine blue, ivory black, and panes grey. It is giving it the effect I am looking for, however, this piece is close to done, when the outlines are dry, it’s back to work on the shapes.

Third sitting with the new piece. The title I am leaving for it’s owner to disclose. The most enjoyable part of painting this piece was that to get the effect I was looking for I painted meticulously with very thin washes of paint mixed carefully on my palette. Generally, I paint quite heavily but this allowed succeeding layers of paint to bleed and show through. I’m going to take another look at this in the morning under natural light, but I think I am ready to call this one done.

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New work, third sitting, oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ NFS

update 9/20/15

Started a new piece, yet untitled. I am slowly building up the paint. I blocked out the shapes a few days ago and got around to cover the canvas. It’s a small canvas (11″ x 14″). It’s starting to come together, the paint is thich in several places, so I will probably wait for it to be a little tack to being working on it again.

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New piece (untitled) oil on canvas 11″ x 12″
First sitting.

Second sitting: I loved the colors in this, but as I started the second sitting, I felt some darker colors might give the image some depth and movement, there will probably be another sitting with this one as well:

new work, oil on canvas

new work, oil on canvas

new work, oil on canvas, second sitting

new work, oil on canvas, second sitting

Update: 8/8/15

Started a new piece. I did a lot in just one session, but it isn’t done, it seems flat. The contrast isn’t deep enough, though these are the colors I decided I’m using. The piece is tentatively titled “The Murder Slug,”–based on gaming lore that the significant human told me about: one of the lord of the nine hells is described a slug like creature. Hence the name. The topic came up after a recent semi-weekly table-top gaming session. And yes, I am a thirty-seven year-old that plays table-top games and I feel no shame about it.

First a picture of the image alone, and then myself with the canvas.

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Image of new piece 16″ x 2o” oil on canvas.

In this image, an intentional optical illusion (of sorts) begins to be apparent. The devils in the lore accompaning the game are always deceptive and shifting shape, so this became something I was working on since the first sitting with the piece.

Myself, with the new canvas, a work in progress...

Myself, with the new canvas, a work in progress…

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Got to a second (then third?) sitting with  “The Murder Slug (in the house of filth)”. The piece took on a life of it’s own, especially after I told my partner I thought it might be done, and then she made a few suggestions. As I had sort of envisioned the painting the main are I wanted the viewers’ eyes draw to (ie: the murder slug) was sinking into the back ground. The color scheme remained mostly the same, but the composition wasn’t working out with the background remaining as mostly a washed out white and burn sienna.

“The Murder Slug (in the house of filfth)” oil on canvas 16″ x 24″.

After my partner’s feedback, I realized I have to go darker, and I worked in a lot of Prussian Blue and burnt sienna. This finally, not only made the sort of optical effect I had intended, but also drew attention to the center thirds of the canvas to create nice movement in the piece (remember my original comment was the piece was too flat with not enough movement.

Here are a couple images of the (hopefully finished) piece:

(third sitting)

(third sitting) “The Murder Slug (In the House of Filth)” oil on canvas, 16″ x 24″

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“The Murder Slug” on my easel.

Update, new piece, 2 sittings, “Science-Fiction Double-Helix Picture-Show” 16″ x 20″ $140

Science-fiction double-helix picture-show, on the easel

Science-fiction double-helix picture-show, on the easel

Another shot:

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Science-fiction Double-helix Picture-show, 16″ x 20″ $140

Update: This is the finished piece 18″ x 24″ oil on Canvas $185, “The Sentinel”

“The Sentinel” oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ drying on my easel.

Another shot:

“The Sentinel” oil on canvas 18″ x 24″ $335

This is my second sitting with this piece, tentatively titled “Sentinel” (until I have something I like better (oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″):

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Oil on Canvas 18″ x 24″

Worked a second sitting on the new piece (tentatively titled “The Sentinel”). It’s coming together, but my feeling is it may be getting a little too representational. It recalls, for me slightly, some of Klee’s works in that direction though it was common for Klee, if he painted a figure, for the figure to take up far less real estate on a canvas. Here it is after the second sitting (on my easel):

“The Sentinel” Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 24″

More images coming as I am working on them. Which is becoming a major part of my week this week. […] Finally, a better image of the new piece, “Specters” oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″

“Specters,” new oil on canvas

There’s still two new works that are hanging at the art on eight gallery right now, that have not been photographed yet. Hoping to add images of those soon. Make inquiries through the contact e-mail in this web-sites about section. […] The reception for the Art on Eight Gallery was this past Thursday. Thanks everyone who came to look around and see what I have been up to and the work that Ben (who shares the show with me) has done. A coupe people who were unable to attend the reception have expressed interest in trying to get in to see the gallery at another time. I will confer with my contact at the building to see if such a thing is possible. Thanks everyone for your support and enthusiasm.

“To Realize You Dropped it.” oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″

“To Realize You Dropped It” is a companion piece to “To Love a Falling Object” (the making of which is described below). The two were intended to be very similar. Both are currently on display at the Art on Eight gallery, and have gotten a lot of positive comment. As the show was coming together, I was trying to avoid hanging the gallery with too many older works so the focus would be on work I am doing now. There’s another small piece that I still do not have a proper photo of, “A Tired Script,” (oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″). For another blog, I snatched  a photo of myself next to my easel as it was drying, so you can see that here:

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artist, with “A Tired Script”

There’s (yet again) a black canvas currently on my easel. As anything happens with that, I will continue to update here. […] Update, first sitting with a new oil. First sitting with a new large oil piece. I did several new works before the Art on 8 show, but, since my digital camera met an untimely end, I don’t have images of the new works that went in the show. Also, since I don’t have any digital camera other than what’s on my MBPro. Since this is a first sitting, the colors are faint, and somewhat hard to make out in this shot.

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First sitting with New Painting, oil on canvas 24″ x 36″.

Even on a snowy, blustery winter day, I try to take advantage of what natural light I can get. The next sittings are going to intensify the areas of blues and greens, as well as the area that’s rather the focus of the piece, the side in the image that is dominated by yellow ocher. […] Started a new oil. I’m tentatively calling this “His Eye is on the Swallowed.” (2 images) This was my first sitting with this piece. Oil on gessoed canvas. 16” x 20″. After this, as I do sittings with this, I will just be fixing the color and contrast, –tweaking the image. This one came together quickly.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

“His Eye is on the Swallowed,” oil on canvas, drying on my easel.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

His Eye is on the Swallowed, drying, first sitting.

[…] Mission complete. I don’t have a firm title for this, but “To Love a Falling Object,” so far,  is the working title. It’s done, for sale, and I hope to be exhibiting it when the right opportunity arises. Trying to put those opportunities together now. Interested parties see the contact in my about section. Here’s a couple images:

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On the easel, “To Love a Falling Object” 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas.

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Detail, “To Love a Falling Object” 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas.

[more images as I worked on the piece, and other new work continue below] I’ve started new works for upcoming shows, and so on. This one is oil on canvas, 24” x 36”. Photos show how I blocked areas of the canvas into light and dark and started building up the sections. 111_4244 Starting… 111_4245 Detail… 111_4246 The work so far, (first sitting). [update: second sitting] Working on the new oil. It is yet untitled. Here it is after a couple hours this morning:

Oil on canvas, work in progress, untiltled, 24

Oil on canvas, work in progress, untiltled, 24″ x 36″

Tonight I did a third sitting with the large (yet untitled) oil. I may still do another sitting, but lightening the highlights and deepening the contrasts are bringing the piece together nicely, in my mind: Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.40 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.43 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 8.58 PM Photo on 7-13-14 at 9.05 PM … Second (as yet, untitled work): The idea for this was developed from the Tumblr.com blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References Reborn (see here: http://fucktonofanatomyreferencesreborn.tumblr.com/post/85055323385/artists-subject-prompt-1). I began with using a sketch I had done previously, the source material for that was The Northampton Historical Society’s book: “The Life and Death of a State Hospital.” Here is the sketch (original photo by Sherer) 111_4163 Hospital Ward hallway, pencil on paper, based on the photo by Tom Sherer.

I adjusted the storyline to suit the back-drop I was creating, and made a few modification on the sketch image I had drawn. The piece is nearly done. The over-all effect is very much what I wanted. There’s a lot of detail work, and since I had some tubes of incandescent paint, I decided to experiment with incandescent copper (Golden acrylics) and incandescent gold. This afternoon I worked on it again (after this picture was taken) and the walls and foreground are much darker and look less washed out. Aside for bringing more light at the back of the hall and around the figure, I am mostly pleased with today’s progress. Also, the discarded item is another detail I intend to work on when next I sit down to finish this.

Here’s an image, from this morning:

Acrylic on Canvas, my work based on prompt 1 from the blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References, it's a really great blog and you should probably follow it.

Acrylic on Canvas, my work based on prompt 1 from the blog Fuck-ton of Anatomy References Reborn, it’s a really great blog and you should probably follow it.

Hope to be able to post either one of these as finished pieces within the next couple days. Morning sunlight tends to give me the best light for painting. I try not to resort to spot lights in my room in the middle of the night –as I did when I was a kid. Worked on this piece, again, this morning. It’s getting there, there’s mostly details left. Also, it has a working title:

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Acrylic on canvas, “Found Where Her Tormentors Never Rested.” For sale, inquire.

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canvas 3, untitled, built around some blue and burnt umber left over from another piece.

Commissions Progress Page

There are few things that give me satisfaction like delivering a commissioned piece to a client or friend that requested the work. I have not updated this page so often as I should, unfortunately. I have been very fortunate to have done several commissioned works in the past year. Some are included here.

Another commissioned work, and this one I enjoyed so much. When people approach me about commissions, I am often really surprised in a happy way with the ideas people come up with. A friend, who is a practicing Zen Buddhist, wanted me to do an image in the style of Buddhist religious iconography, but using the Nintendo character, Kirby, as the central character in the image.

The final image:

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Kirby, as Buddhist Iconography, Casein Paint, Acrylic paint and graphite on a gessoed wood board. In private collection.

To prep for the final image, I did the following studies:

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Study, “the Buddha” Casein Paint on Gessoed paper.

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Kirby, study, acrylic paint on Gessoed paper.

 

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8-bit Kirby, study, acrylic paint on gessoed paper.

 

 

 

This work was a lot of fun to do. Aside that it was being purchased by a very good friend, it was a deeply personal work in many ways. Also, the client’s requests about the work meant I used painting techniques very different from how I usually paint. I definitely learned a thing or do, doing this particular work.

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Commissioned work, I am going to have to check with the buyer, because I forgot the title I scribbled on the back. Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 24″ in private collection

 

The next piece was also a joy to do. Sometimes, when I am approached about an idea the buyer has a very specific idea of what they want, –down to materials and the actual image. I do enjoy, though, when the direction for a commission is a little more amalgamous I have have the go-ahead to play and experiment with my typical style. This was one of those works. I had little direction other than to do something in my style, but include crows in the image.

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“Mother of Crows” acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″ NFS

On the SWPA page, I put out there I was doing commissions. A friend asked that I do one of the small works of Albany’s long-time alternative music hang-out, the Fuze Box.

The Fuze Box was a rescued Art Deco building and one-time White Tower Hamburgers location. White Tower was a Wisconsin-based competitor of White Castle, the first store opened and the company peaked in the 1950’s. Most of the original details in the building are still present: the molded glass and chrome, as well as signs advertising the buildings history before it was reused as a night-club. Long-time Albany scenesters still remember the days when the club was the QE2, and hosted live all-ages shows, as well as alternative dance nights.

So, a venerable historic structure in its own right, the Fuze Box/QE2 has been an anchor of Albany’s nightlife as long as pretty much anyone cares to recall. My friend, James, wanted an image to commemorate the Fuze Box and commissioned the work. I started doing preliminary sketches this morning.

A bit about my process: any commissioned work, or a serious work I do generally involves a few sketches. The sketching allows me to work out problems and practice the image before I start the actual work. I encourage my students to practice their ideas with sketches on paper before they truly start a piece. In this case, this is a mixed media color study and architectural study of the White Tower building (as it was in 2006, this image is from my own collection, taken with one of my many digital cameras I have owned over the years).

The sketch:

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The original image I am working from is below:

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I’ll include images, with the permission of the buyer, of the full work when it is done. If you’re interested in commissioning a work, use the contact information in the about page.

[update]

Working on an architectural drawing of a highly symmetrical Art Deco building is proving to be a challenge (not an unwelcome challenge, by any means, but still a challenge). Hopefully, I am not trying the patience of my buyer by taking my time and doing a score of preliminary sketches to get the end product right.

Last weekend, I went out with my point and shoot and took a couple night-time images to make a composite image for the final product. Today, I am working off pencil sketches of the various angles.

here’s today’s sketch (pencil on paper):

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I have permission from the buyer to include the work, which he just picked up today, on my blogs here. I did two versions of the Fuze Box image, and James, in turn, wanted both images.

So here they are drying on my easel (the source images I used are above):

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Thanks James, and I hope you enjoy the images!

Good friend and fellow odd human Seamus approached me about doing a painting for his girlfriend, Sid, who is likewise a super-cool human. What Seamus (being a Star Wars fan with a command of apocryphal and character lore I do not, sadly, have) wanted was a re-imagining of The Jabba the Hut scenes in Star Wars, with his cat, Sif, and he and his partner as characters in the piece. So, Jabba the Sif, became a thing. I drew four or five character studies, and then began painting what was one of the most fun images I have ever committed with acrylic paint to a canvas.

I have used the image with Sid’s permission.

Jabba the Sif. Acylic on canvas. Commission and birthday gift from Seamus to Sid.

Jabba the Sif. Acrylic on canvas. Commission and birthday gift from Seamus to Sid.

Thanks Seamus and Sid, I am glad you enjoy the finished piece.

Regardless of how quirky the idea, I am glad to take commisions of whatever you are looking for, and will do my best to fit materials and time within a budget you can afford. If you’re interested in a commission, use the contact in my about section on this blog.

The Class

For those that didn’t know, I have spent the last several weeks teaching an art class within the Capital District Psychiatric Center. My goal is to get funding to expand a program that makes fine art classes a part of mental health treatment both inside and outside the hospital in the city I live in: Albany, NY.

Again for those who didn’t know: this is a goal for me, because I know when I was inpatient in CDPC, art groups were important to me as a way to rebuild my life in the hard times I was having. The art groups were something I looked forward to each day when I was inpatient. As  teacher, I want to use art to help troubled people do what I did: get out of the hospital and live better lives outside of the mental health system. Mentally ill people can live full lives, hold jobs, and stay well. We can and do recover. I feel like art can help mentally ill people do that, and I am not alone in that belief.

In that spirit, I’d like to show some of the in-class demonstrations I have done. These are sketches and things I did during the class, demonstrating for my students, art techniques and skills.

It’s my hope that my students not only develop their own skill, but find ways to make art a part of thier lives once they are back living in the community –professionally, or non-professionally.

Art is important. I know from looking around my classroom, art is important to helping struggling people heal.

Some images:

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Bulletin board of my student’s work

 

[update] 5/21

This past week the class has been working with mannikins (croquis) I was able to purchase with the grant money I received. The class has really latched on to drawing with croquis. This past week, I have been encourage students to pose the croquis and talk about an incident in their lives. The class has a two-fold purpose of not only teaching art, but as an informal part of the students therapy and recover from significant mental illness (all students are currently admitted on an in-patient basis). There are two images from this (my in-class demonstrations):

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

 

The first sketch: a student described a family member who had overcome addiction.

 

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

 

The pose is meant to describe a student’s experience during a recent depressive episode.

 

[update]

Adding some new works, older sketches and works are towards the bottom of the post.

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Acrylic on paper, student prompt was to represent what “trouble” meant to them, based on a podcast from “This Modern Life”. Related to a San Francisco cafe whose proprietor struggles with Schizo-effective disorder.

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Fayette Michigan, abandoned town and now a historical site. Watercolor on paper.

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Lake Michigan, near Escanaba, Michigan. Watercolor on paper.

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Sketch, charcoal on paper. Portraits.

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Oil Pastel on paper. Prompt for this was encouraging students to depict “Safe Spaces”

[…]

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Sketching architecture, reproduction of Van Gogh’s House at Arles.

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Architectural study, perspective example. In this case a very quick study of the corner of Clinton and N. Pearl St. In-class example.

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Study, landscape, another Van Gogh reproduction.

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Study of Paul Klee’s “The Red Balloon,” from a lesson on using color and abstraction/ non-representational drawing.

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Architectural study, from the book “Hudson Valley Ruins.”

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Portrait, study. From a lesson about composition and placement of facial features.

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Studies: faces and facial features.

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Study, portraiture, faces and facial features.

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Placement of facial features and composition.

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Manet’s work “The Old Musician” has been a recurrent theme in my sketching. In this case, the “dread-locked cow-girl” is based off a figure in the Manet piece, and swaps the gender of a figure from Manet’s work.

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Study, dog

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Study, infant.

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Study, tree trunk.

First, a figure study. Study of a child playing, including an illustrated armature (left). In class demonstration.

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Reproduction, Paul Cezanne. Working on landscapes, explanation of horizon line. Oil pastel on paper.

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Mini-lesson: The Ten Minute Sketch

It wasn’t that long ago I was teaching in a classroom 40 hours a week in a subject matter that was unrelated to fine art. The simple reality for a lot of creative people is that a great deal of our days are spent doing things other than create art to pay our bills. So, with that in mind, the single greatest block on an artist’s creativity can be the simplest of stumbling blocks: “Do I have time for this?”

With this in mind I thought about ways that creative non-professionals and even professional artists can kick-start their process. I’m calling this example the “ten minute sketch.” It involves sectioning a piece of standard 8 x 11 1/2 sketch paper in your sketch book into four sections (the sections will be roughly the size of 4 x 6 note cards I was taught in high school to use to take notes for research papers).

Generally, I have encouraged my past students to “scale up” (ie: increase the size of their drawings and art) and to use a full sheet of paper for each piece. However, –this time around and in the interest of time– the idea is to create a smaller image that can be done more quickly as it will require less detail. Since this is meant for a sketch book exercise, it’s ideal for pencil or charcoal. Those who wish to may choose to work in color, but if you want to keep to the time limit (a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule by any means) you will simplify your drawing by working in one color, or with a limited palette.

Here is my example from last evening:

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My partner, Muse. Pencil on paper, 3” by 5”, from my sketch book.

Bare in mind, this is an exercise designed to help get the blood flowing. You need not agonize about small works not intended for sale. With the small size you will want to keep your details simplified.

I choose portraiture for the topic of this sketch. The planes of the face are generally simple enough to sketch in this small a size. Subjects that are more intricate and have a great deal of detail might take a great deal more time.

Whether or not you work in areas unrelated to your art, the most important key to being happy creatively is good time management. Set time aside each day to be creative. Whether your ten minute sketch is done in ten minutes or not is not important. The important piece of doing this exercise is getting over the notion of being “too busy” or, “not having time” to be creative. This is a mental trick more than anything else.

Get out there, have fun and create!

Cultivating the sketching habit (II)…

Some more recent sketches here. Many more are due because I am developing ideas for some of the small works I plan to do:

[explanation: I’ve recently become a lot more disciplined in doing regular sketches of images that I find interesting for whatever reason. When I was a kid, or a teenager, it was a natural thing to just pick up a sketch-book and treat whatever I saw. I sort of lost that habit in the business of being an adult. Now, as I am producing more lately, large complete works, it’s all the more detrimental to maintain regular practice sketching small ideas and things that I may want to turn into larger complete works.]

[note] I’ve decided to begin loading new works towards the top of the page, so it’s easier for readers to see new works, rather than scrolling past ones they may have already seen to see the newest pieces.

I am currently teaching an art therapy group three times a week, and looking for opportunities to do similar work elsewhere. Sharing my sketchbook in this way might seem a bit odd, since most artists tend to pretty jealously guard theirs. However, it’s become an important part of my pedagogy to encourage students to pay attention to their pre-drawing process. Many of these sketches are basic and rough ideas. Sketches are supposed to be where you problem-solve, they are supposed to be flawed and have problems. That’s the point. Ideas (should they make it to a final work and be hung in a gallery) do not arise fully-formed and perfect. They have a life before that. They start off malformed and imperfectly executed, –and many ideas wither on the vine and die. Being honest about that part of the process has become an important way to make creating art less intimidating for my students.

 

Some recent sketches:

7/9, I always encourage my students to pay attention to “pre-drawing.” In that spirit, this was a practice I did in the twenty minutes I was waiting for the class to start Thursday of the photograph of the train tracks looking south from the Rennselaer train station.

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Pencil on paper, train tracks, looking south from Rennselaer.

 

Two recent (from my sketchbook, 6.25.14):

First, an interior view from the cafeteria/common area in the psychiatric hospital that hosts my art class. I usually arrive at about 12:30 for a one o’clock class, and since I had no pressing business before the lesson started, I spent about 15 minutes doing this architectural study:

psychiatric hospital, sketch of interior/common area.

psychiatric hospital, sketch of interior/common area.

 

Today is one of the days I take my eight-year old son to the library. Normally, I goof around on the wi-fi, but today I opted to use the time to sketch instead. I needed a break from tech anyway. Two sketches of buildings around the Bach Library branch:

Residence, New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY, USA.

Residence, New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY, USA.

 

And this is the rear of two buildings I sketched from the patio area behind the library:

Rear of buildings, near New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY, USA

Rear of buildings, near New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY, USA

Adding two today (6.13.2014)

The first was a practice in my own sketchbook of a Van Gogh piece I was using to teach a lesson in perspective. It’s frequently helpful for me to sketch on my own and work out problems before I teach anyone what I’m doing:

sketch, done right before class, pencil on paper

sketch, done right before class, pencil on paper

Second image, I was feeling in a whimsical mood this morning, so I drew Edgar. Edgar is a diminutive, plastic foam Halloween decoration that has decorated my apartments for many years.

"Edgar," charcoal on paper.

“Edgar,” charcoal on paper.

 

Again, from the book “Hudson Valley Ruins” (it’s a beautiful book, the history in it and the images are top-notch.)

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An abandoned car, from the book Hudson Valley Ruins. (above)

 

 

 

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This should be a familiar sight to people who frequently travel from Albany to NYC: The Yonkers Power Station (abandoned).

In my current class, which is a “therapeutic” fine arts group held in a hospital, I drew this sketch to the prompt I gave my students, “And then the fire went out. No one noticed.”

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Quick architectural sketch. Image from the book “Hudson River Ruins” (Ranaldi, Yasanik [sp?]) The picture is of Fedralsberg, an abandoned ruin south of Albany:

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I have also been doing some figure studies:

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figure study, pencil on paper

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figure study charcoal on paper

Another in my series of images drawing Eduard Manet’s “The Old Musician

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A reproduction of G. Klimt

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And second, Timmy of Nixon’s Spirit:

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So, I am doing a lot of sketching as pre-planning for larger works:

These are the two pieces I posted yesterday I was interested in essentially “tinting” with watercolor:

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Study/sketch, pencil on paper. Pollock and Klingman together near the time of the artist’s death. Photo from a NYTimes article.

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Two small sketches: above is a figure study of a Libyan opposition fighter.

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Figure study, elderly woman with a rake. Pencil on paper.

The following two images I am planning to do further work with. I will do a similar thing as I did with another small work –an image of a depression-era man selling chestnuts from a vending cart. That piece I drew in pencil, and then tinted with watercolor. I am hoping to do that over the next couple days. I will post the results once I have an opportunity to do so.

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This is a reproduction/study of Edouard Manet’s “Madame Michel-Levy.” I am starting more and more to keep Manet as among my favorites of the Impressionists.

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This is an image of a TV/entertainment mogul. I found the image in the NYTimes. For whatever reason it made me think of the song lyric scribbled next to the image.

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The last image is of a young woman, Shawna Timmonds, who was profiled in a NY Times article.

More to come, soon…

These were both in-class demonstrations (charcoal on paper):

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(Note the lines and marks made as I illustrating planning and pre-drawing techniques)

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Hope to have some more of the recent sketches out of my sketch-book soon. Here’s one of my ideas from the SWPA series…

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Sketch for the SWPA.

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In class demonstration.

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In class demonstration: placement of facial features.

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Based on a photo from the New York Times.

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For class, sketching hands and feet.

A piece riffing off Edouard Manet’s  “The Old Musician,” it is a series I am considering for the SWPA (see for explanation here: https://elevenimages.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-small-works-progress-administration/)

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Here’s a couple more sketches (in color). This piece is pencil and colored pencil on paper. I was working with a student on using color in shadows:

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This piece is also a pretty good color study, this time in oil pastel:

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