Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's the hardest subject to paint?

toddler portrait - Nancy Van Blaricom

Toddler - watercolor, 8"x 6"

After finishing the dog commission I posted last week, I think, by far, that a portrait has to be the most difficult subject for me to paint. Because we have met this person or studied the likeness we strive to make sure they are recognized as that person. The features need to be recognized by friends and loved ones. The portrait needs to be personal. And that's why I think they are the most difficult subject for me to paint. But, when I see work done by talented artists such as portrait and figure artist Peggy Habets they make it look so easy.

This painting is of an adodrable grandaughter of a woman I worked with, one of my first portraits done a few years ago.

Where did I go wrong?

sketch-2006-Nancy Van Blaricom
Looking back at a sketch I'd done a few years ago I have to wonder what this was all about. I hadn't finished this sketch when I put it away for the day ... week, month, ok, truth be known it's been 3 years since I've picked it up. And now when I attempted to add some finishing touches I'm pretty lost. I had neglected to make some important notes, such as:

  • Time of day. Was it morning, afternoon or evening? I should have written this information in a margin.

  • What direction was the sun coming from? A small arrow in one corner of the paper would have helped with this. How could the sailboat be in that much shade?

  • What was the temperature when I started this sketch? It appears to be a hot sunny day by the color of the sand and shadows of the trees in the sand, but, I really don't remember. Another small note in the margin would have helped.

  • Where was this? It looks familiar to me, yet I can't remember the name of this cove.

As you can tell, I'm not in the habit of taking notes when I sketch, but, I think if I would write some improtant facts down on my sketches it would in turn help me 'see' those important details in my paintings.

Do you have any suggestion's as to what else I should note when sketching? Do you take notes when you sketch? Are your sketches an important part of your paintings?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beau - Commission completed

Beau-Nancy Van BlaricomBeau - watercolor aprox. 8" x 9
Matted to 11" x 14"

I've completed my commission of Beau. I was pleased with the results of this portrait and although I don't often do portraits, this one came together pretty easy. He's a handsome Australian Sheep Dog and it was a pleasure to try to capture his look on paper. Note, he has one eye that is pink and the other is black.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Tribute To Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Night-Van Gogh
I received this in my mailbox while I was away. If you haven't seen it yet I think you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

"Starry Night A tribute to Van Gogh . The song was a tribute to Van Gogh. This is so worth sitting and watching....You'll marvel at the song and paintings! I Heard the song many times before, but until I saw this presentation, I was clueless that this song was written for Vincent Van Gogh, as a tribute by Don Mc Lean, in the?seventies.It is rumored that Van Gogh's painting of the 'starry nights' was painted during the time he was in an asylum and that he sold only one painting during his lifetime as he was not recognized. That's perhaps what caused him to fall into an abyss of depression which eventually led to his suicide ......... how tragic to have felt so hopeless and misunderstood in spite of being so gifted! Sit back and be enthralled by the works [paintings] of Vincent Van Gogh. "

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home from holiday...

Seal - looking cute, bumming for some herring in the northwestern inland marine waterwasy of Washington
It's been a wonderful 3 weeks on vacation, but it's now time to look over my photo's and see what I can use for painting references (not to mention getting back to work on my commission's). I took a lot of photo's that should help me learn more about painting water. Here's a photo I took of a seal that was asking for herring from some fishermen. Isn't he cute? He might make a good painting subject don't you think?