Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More Sketches

Here are a few more of the value sketches in this project. These are not perfect. There are flaws in them that I will hopefully correct as I redo them for the painting but, they are adequate for the purpose I drew them. They are very helpful guides in the painting process.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Value Sketch III-The Children of SE Asia

Here again is the origional photo and the value sketch. This piece may actually include the other two figures in the photo. I do like the composition of the figures just like they are in the photo.
I will likely do one piece with just this child as well. those of you familiar with my work will see right away my intent to present a soft entry from the bottom of the canvas and the movement from two dimensional space to three dimensional space as I move upward. The areas of greatest contrast (where I will tell the story) are identified in this sketch. I will attempt to resolve the painting with lost edges at the top of her head and hope to use the locks of hair as the transition from positive to negative space. No I will not be drawing the top of her head. I will attempt to lose it into light washes.
the look of wonder on this tiny face is amazing. I hope to capture that wonder. Students: Give me some feedback on this blog as to whether this teaching approach is helpful to you.
This is the final painting. I used considerable lisence in the finish. In the end we are aiming at art not portraits. There is always a point where the inspiration must give way to the art. A portrait is only successful if it is first of all good art. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Value Sketch II-"The Children of Southeast Asia"

This is another recent sketch for the upcoming show this fall. I am posting these primarily for the use of my students so that you might see the source material and perhaps gain some insight into my creative process.
Value studies like these help me to establish familiarity with the subject and their story. Intimacy with the subject is important to my process. I simply cannot paint what I am not passionate about. More later.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Value Sketch for the "Children of Cambodia"

This is a value study for a painting that will be part of my upcoming show called "the Children of Southeast Asia".
This little one lives in a refugee camp on the Thailand/Cambodia border. She was born there and at this rate, she will live her whole life in the camp.
This sketch was done on a piece of 90# rag with a 6B pencil mostly. Value sketching can be an important part of the creative process. They are quickly done. This one took 20 minutes or so. This piece will be an important reference for me when I begin the painting. Already I have established lost and found edges, paper doll and sillouettes, lights, darks and middle values are addressed. The details that are significant to the story I want to tell with this piece are in place.
It seems to me that it may be helpful to you students out there to see the photo from which this sketch was done. Perhaps it will give some insight into my creative process. The values have been changed and the origional photo has been cropped in Photo Shop. Beautiful isn't she.
Well, here is the finished piece. As you can see, I invented a background in order to serve my purposes. On the right side my interest was in a lost edge into darker values. On the Left side a sillouette shape. Darks imposed over light backgrtound. I created a window shape above and to the Left in order to lose the upper Left into the light as a lost edge.
the child aged a couple of years in the process but, I think it is a successful piece anyway.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Born a Refugee

This beautiful little girl lives in one of the refugee camps in Thailand along Cambodia's North border. These refugees fled the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia of 30+ years ago and have never returned to Cambodia for fear of the Khmer Rouge who still live in Cambodia. With the exception of Pol Pot himself, none of the criminals responsible for the genocide were ever brought to justice.
This painting was done on a 9x12", 140# block of Kilimanjaro Cold Press watercolor paper. It was painted with a #10 round sable brush. I have finally become a fan of the sable brush. When I began to paint seriously I didn't have much money and satisfied myself for years with synthetic brushes. I used a good synthetic. Mostly I used the "Golden Fleece" brushes available from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff. I still don't have much money but, enough that I can justify the little more that it takes to enjoy a medium grade sable. Sables hold more paint and I really enjoy a good rich brush full when I am working.
For you students, I have posted a close up of the work so that you can see the how to. the rich deep color in this piece was done with Cobalt, Ultramarine and Burnt Umber mostly. Still no black. with this painting I have just about given up on trying to use Raw Umber to achieve vibrant darks. It just seems to go dead for me.
technically, this piece is a success. the entry from the bottom is soft and moves well from two dimensional space to three dimensional space. It is well balanced between two and three dimensional space. It represents an effective use of lost and found edges and lines, paper doll and sillouette objects. It is a good value painting in my judgement. The Deep rich darks effectively set up the lights. I also like the movement between abstract forms and the limited ammount of realism. There is just enough realism in this piece to be convincing enough to tell the story and no more. I like that.
The subject is a beautiful little girl. There was a defenite pathos in the subject that was first captured by the photo. I am satisfied that I was able to capture on canvas what I see in her well enough to draw the viewer in to the emotion I feel around her. As I have often told my students, don't paint for your own sake but, respect the integrity of your subject and then paint for the viewer.