Sunday, June 28, 2015

ANCESTORS - COLOR PORTRAITS FROM BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS

Thomas Urry Young

Sarah Ann Wilderspin
I have been making a lot of little paintings based on old black and white photos that I have found on the internet. These two people are part of my history - my great - great grandparents who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century in England and Ireland. I've been having so much fun with this series and now I am off on a whole new tangent.  I plan to create a gallery of family portraits for my nostalgia wall.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

TWO PAINTINGS FROM HISTORIC PHOTOS


I've been practicing my portrait skills by using old black and white photos as references. I supply the color and I try to work as quickly as possible.  I think that this exercise is a lot of fun and is teaching me to be faster, less uptight and more confident in painting. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A FAMILY PHOTO

I came across an old black and white photo of my uncle Sam, taken when he was about two years old. I felt compelled to convert it into a tiny color portrait.  This painting is 8"x6".  I find it really fun and useful to use a black and white photo as a reference for a color portrait.  I already know something about painting skin tones, so I can rely on that.  But since there are no colors there for me to try to copy, I won't slavishly try to render them exactly.  I tried to be a quick as I could with this one and had enough sense to know when to stop.  If I had worked on this any further, I think I would have lost all spontaneity and ruined it in a useless quest for perfection.  The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Feeling myself somewhat at a loss about what to do next, I decided to just practice some little portraits based on photos.  This one is 8"x6".  I think that this is a good way to rekindle interest and to do something fresh rather than endlessly toiling over the same few pieces trying to reach perfection.  This little portrait may not be perfect, but it is good.  Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PAITNING WORKSHOP WITH MAX GINSBURG - day six


The last day of the workshop was a Saturday.  I was so sorry to see it end.  Max set up a difficult pose for the model, Pat, who somehow managed to hold it all day with a few breaks. Max asked him to pose as if he were just getting up out of the chair.  This meant that Pat couldn't relax at all, but had to keep his muscles tense all of the time.  I'm not used to working on the same alla prima piece for an entire day, but I did it that day and the result please me.  Afterwards, we all went out to eat at a Greek restaurant in Astoria, Queens.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

PAINTING WORKSHOP WITH MAX GINSBURG - day five


Pat was our model for an all day pose.  I think I did ok with this one except for the torso being a little short.  Or maybe the thighs are a little to long.  It is really important to look carefully and work these things out in the beginning rather than trying to correct them later on.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

THE STORY BEHIND A PAINTING

COLLATERAL DAMAGE - 42"x34"
 I have been asked to write something about the story behind this painting - COLLATERAL DAMAGE - so here it is.  I frequently attend painting groups here in Northern Vermont.  Painters get together and pool their resources to hire a model, which few of us can afford on our own.  The model showed up with his own prop - an American flag, which someone tacked to the wall and he sat down in front of it.  THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY is the study I did that day.  It was just chance but the painting turned out to represent, for me, some poor innocent boy who was being sent off as cannon fodder.  I chose the title from the Kipling poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade".  At about the same time, I was practicing painting faces by copying pictures I saw in books and magazines.  RED, WHITE AND BLUE  was done in this way.  The magazine picture was of one of our senators. (I'n not saying which one)  The two pictures just seemed to go together.  I thought the politician was duping the young man into going off to fight a useless war that would somehow benefit the privileged classes and the rich and powerful.  I had two of my friends pose together so I could get the pose right.  I found the image of the gun on the internet.  The two children are kids I know and the grieving mother, I made up.  I wanted the background to somehow represent the USA, so the "amber waves of grain" became the stars and stripes.  Et voila. I think that it all turned out pretty well but there are still some changes I would like to make.
THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY  12"x10"


RED, WHITE AND BLUE 8"x6"