Evolution of a Portrait

First stage with blue ground and outlines in raw and burnt umbers
Addition of beard and shadows
Broad colors of skin tones laid in
More detailed lights, darks and middle tones applied
Beard and more details added; tones blended to more realistically express features
Almost completed: shirt and background elements added

Starting and Finishing

I have been working on this painting for approximately 1 1/2 months. Today I went over some areas that were bothering me: some were too dark, and some edges were not crisp enough. I like the delicate balance between correcting areas and leaving some slightly imperfect. I do this because I enjoy the process of looking at art, specifically drawings, when I gather insight into what an artist was thinking by examining the various marks made. I have posted the beginning charcoal image on canvas I started with, and the final painting.

Two Men with Image of Hecate the Greek Goddess of Magic, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

Two drawings

in charcoal on canvas. The beginnings of two paintings, with many corrections already, and many more to come.

Charcoal drawing on canvas, beginning of untitled painting, 24 x 30 inches (in process)
Charcoal on canvas, under drawing for Three Graces, 30 x 40 inches (in process; Sammie the puggle in foreground)

Today’s work

I love where this painting is taking me; I worked today on the sky, and mountains and moved two figures up and further back.

Ballet, or The Evil That Men Do, 4th day, oil on panel, 11 x 14 inches

Slow painting is better

for me. If I rush, I may miss important details. The painting contains the process, through lines, forms and subtle color combinations. Each carries their own complements and discordant elements. All parts of the painting are in motion: lines, planes, areas of color. Nothing is set in stone, but constantly evolving. The learning is in the progression. Each new stroke or value leads me forward. I don’t want to force these, so I am letting each time I work on the painting be the impetus for me to study, meditate and then put brush to canvas, or in this case, panel. The images below are the first sketch and the 7 times I have worked on the painting thus far. I also include three of the progressions. To be continued…

Mostly Finished

There is more to do to make the blue sky look better, but overall am happy with the way this turned out. I feel sometimes as if I am chasing an elusive butterfly, trying for perfection and always falling short. However, these fellows look pretty good, as imperfect as they are.

A Beautiful World (in process)

of color, specifically the color of skin. My hard work and almost obsessive attention to subtle color and value changes are worth the effort. I have used other methods to create a world, however at this time this process is right for me, and how I wish to express what is beautiful. In a noisy world, it is especially gratifying to create something wonderfully nuanced.

Wine and Art Trail

I took part in the Bucks County Wine and Art Trail competition for 2022. Here were the entries. There will be an upcoming exhibit at Freeman Hall in 2023. In the meantime, I have the flowers on view in the Fall Salon Show at Freeman Hall in Doylestown until October 2nd.

Pretty Bird Farm Flower Bouquet, oil on linen panel, 2022
Buckingham Valley Vineyards and Winery, oil on linen panel, 2022
Wycombe Vineyards, oil on linen panel, 2022

Mentorship Class

I am taking an inspiring course with the insightful artist Elody Gyekis who is mentoring a group of us to take our work to the next level. The monochromatic and color studies have been painted in the last two weeks while the portraits were completed prior to the class. ‘Cat’ won an award at the 93rd Juried Show at Phillips’ Mill. The award presentation was an awesome highlight of an otherwise difficult year.

Monochromatic study, 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas, 2022
Color study, 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas, 2022
Cat, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas, 2022
Alex (AJ Minter) among the sunflowers, 20 x 16 inches, oil on canvas, 2022