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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Letting Out The Wild Beast

Work in progress, oil,  going for the wild coloring of flash photography. 

While this beast is a bit more wild than when I started, he's still not wild enough.  This occurred to me last week after staring at the three headed portrait for months as it hung on the studio wall.  At first I thought it needed more blue and before I knew it I wanted more pure color everywhere and let  the likenesses be whatever; Timidness was not a trait of the Fauves. This realization brought  back my original idea:  a colorful, loose  painting of three grotesque heads.  I used my three sons as references of course.  This is the type of thing you want to keep in the family.

My energy and enthusiasm returned after my lung cancer scare and side effect  bum leg from being in an .awkward op pose for hours, I am slowly getting back into the studio with a slow painting process:  the Venetian technique.  The pace of it, is just right for now.  I am doing a portrait of my friend's husband who passed away a couple of months ago.  He was a lively fellow who played a mean guitar and taught others to play as well.  Music was his life.  This is the reference I'm using. The photograph was shot by his wife. It stands on it's own as a beautiful piece of work.  The guitar takes the picture to another level, more worldly.  I like the serious, professional look on this man's face.  It's the look all of us have when deep in concentration at the easel.  The Venetian approach suits the subject.

Then there's the thirty minute daily drawing challenge.  I had let it slide longer than I should, but I was in a funk.  Not anymore, these drawings were done in 30 minute sessions.  Of course, both of them were not finished in that time span.  I think it's clear which ones were a dash off and which one was not.  My challenge, my rules--and they bend depending on interest and what's up.

Nan, Beach People Series; 30 minute daily drawing, graphite, 8" x 6"

Sour Puss, Beach People Series; 30 minutes daily drawing, graphite 8" x 6"

Selfie in progress using Conte,  30 minute daily drawing that will get more time. I'm looking for upbeat.


  1. Great post....lots to look forward here. I love your friend's husband's photo---that will make a wonderful painting. Your drawings are wonderful, as always. I enjoy that color treatment on your son. Glad you are feeling better!

    1. Much better thank you! Working out again. Dieting off all the feel-sorry-for-myself pounds I put on and back in the studio, which I have cleaned up and simplified! I don't like using other people's photos, but the dramatic lighting of this one grabbed me as did the artist's expression of complete concentration on his music. It was more than a photo of an old man playing a guitar, it was a glimpse at a man who was a maestro in his lifetime. The Venetian, or the Flemish, approach seemed right. Gestural would have made light of his devotion. What approach, process, i choose has always been determined by my emotional reaction to the subject.

  2. I agree with Celeste. Lots to look forward to.
    It is amazing to see your different approaches with your art and to also hear you are back to the Venetian Technique.
    Good photo to use with it. This is going to be interesting...

    1. Long road the Venetian traveled, but slow and steady. The photo isn't the greatest detail-wise. Half his face is obliterated by the light. The other half lost in darkness. That will need some fixing. My boys was always intended as an experiment. There's something about the rough distorted painting I like. I have just been too timid to push it all the way. ( a case of your trash isn't trashy enough, a critique I got once on a trash found object sculpture). Perhaps because they are my boys and there is a likeness? And the manner of my drawings have always been suggested by the nature of the subject, how the subject strikes me. With such inconsistencies, it's a damn good thing I didn't choose this path as a career! Consistency is what I admire about your work Julie.