Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"The Time When Love Was New" - 18" x 24"

Finished at last! I've been working for weeks to get this painting finished for the Boat show at Wally Workman Gallery in Austin. The deadline for getting it to them is tomorrow, the 28th. I got it framed, boxed up and on it's way yesterday. Hopefully they will get it in time. Don't you just love that blue Adirondack chair on top of the houseboat? By the way, I took the reference photo when I was in Seattle a little over a year ago. I love the flowers on the row boat but have no idea what it was going to be used for. It did strike me as being romantic so I gave it a romantic title.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Three Pears" - 6 x 8"

You never know what you might find if you move
things around in your studio. I was cleaning up the
shelf where I keep my unfinished paintings and
found this painting I had put away to dry. I had

completely forgotten about it.

An afternoon with Sherrie McGraw...

Photo 1 - The set up

Even though I did not see it, I was told she had the lights off in the room, using one lamp for her light source, when she arranged the objects for the set up. That makes perfect sense if you want to know how the light looks like when it hits the objects. She did say she takes a lot of time when she creates her set ups. "The goal...", she said, "...is the idea that inspires the painting since we are painting light. In part I am setting up the shadows so the light can be revealed. If you take time you'll know why you are doing it and what you want to do with it."

Photo 2 - Blocking in

She starts her paintings with mass rather than line.The reason is to determine what space the mass occupies on the canvas. She said, "...linear drawing is another language; the language of line. In doing mass you don't have an attachment to what you place on the canvas so you can easily remove it. If you start with line you are attached to it."

Photo 3 - Space is important. She continued, "The goal is to paint the relationship you see in all the objects rather than painting the objects as they are. In the beginning you want to lay it in so you can visualize the whole painting. Start with a neutral color so you can size and place the objects."

After the blocking in...

Photo 4 - She started working on the little black vase, basically continuing the blocking in but with the local color. After that she added color to the background.

Photo 5 - In this photo she is setting the light. She said the light is used to key the background value. Everything is in relation and relationships are what you are painting. The background should be light enough so that the pot is silhouetted and dark enough so the peaches are lit up. Here she is setting up the "run of the color", the abstraction of it. Once you do that then you can make it a peach...how much color or lack of color. She said, "When you do something take the time to see what actually happens."

Photo 6 - Sherrie said, "There is no way to understand or get better if you don't organize and understand what you are seeing. You don't want to get honed in on one spot. Keep your eye on the whole setup and the effect of the whole painting."

Placing the objects...

Photo 7 - Here's she is laying in local color but still determining space and mass. She talked about carving out which is moving the paint to make what's in front stand out. If you'll notice she's painting with the tip of the brush. That amuses me since I use a brush like a pencil. She did, of course, address that.

Photo 8 - She said, "Painting the parts can make you lose the sense of why you wanted to paint the painting anyway. Shapes are the language of painting." Which goes back to what she said about thinking about the whole painting all at once.

Photo 9 - Since the meeting was only a couple of hours with a 30 minute break in between I think I can safely say she did this much in an hour and a half. Of course the painting is not finished, far from it ,but she said you do this much then you spend the next day refining it and adding the details. One more thing, she said, "Painting is not a technique or a style. It's a way of understanding paint and how it works." Very interesting Sherrie. Thanks so much!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Boat" show at Wally Workman Gallery

I've been away for a while because I'm trying to finish an 18 x 24" oil painting for a gallery show which will open at the Wally Workman Gallery at the end of the month. It's been slow going and a stretch since the largest painting I've done in a while is 8 x 10". Wouldn't you know I'd pick something very detailed and complicated. Once it's completed I'll post it.