Another Market Study

June 30, 2010

Market Day, Annecy, France - acrylic & pastel on corrugated cardboard, about 12x15 in.

I have about 400 great photos from my trip to France, but the ones that appeal to me most as subject matter for paitnings are of the market in Annecy. France is a beautiful country, even in the rain, but in terms of what I prefer to paint, the market is by far the most interesting. The colors of the stalls, figures and awnings converge to make abstract patterns that translate very well into dynamic compositions filled with movement.

I plan to do several studies such as this one on cardboard before I go on to a large painting in oil on canvas or gessobord. I really want to push the abstraction in these, seeing where an even looser approach might take them.

I have nothing against realism, my older work is far more realistic than my current paintings. Yet while I can appreciate the technical expertise, it seems as though those who have the skills do not push the envelope when it comes to subject or individual expression. Of course this is not the case for all realists out there, and there are a handful of realist painters whose work is truly expressive and unique. Perhaps what I find most bothersome is the readiness to jump on the bandwagon that anything not done in a representational style is not valid. Good art comes in all forms and styles, putting one down to promote another serves no purpose, diversity is what it’s all about.


Study for a future painting…

June 28, 2010

Study of Market, Annecy, France, acrylic and pastel on paper, 5x7 in.

This is a study I will use in conjunction with a photo I took of the market in Annecy to create a large oil painting. I have many photos of the market and cafes in Annecy that will translate nicely into paintings. I hope to keep them very loose and semi-abstract. The colors of the market stalls, awnings and crowds in the cafes suggest  interesting compositions and color harmonies. I found Annecy to be the most interesting in terms of subject matter for painting. While the other areas we visited were lovely in their own right, they were not as crowded or urban in terms of environment. While I can appreciate the beauty to be found in a rural environment, for me there is nothing like a city to create rhythm and movement in a painting.

Pastels Workshop Tomorrow at NJ Visual Arts Center

June 26, 2010

Philadelphia Cafe, pastel on pastel mat, 9x7 in.

There are still a few spots open in my Intro to Pastels workshop to be held tomorrow, June 27 from 10 am to 4 pm at the NJ Visual Arts Center in Summit. Surfaces and techniques for working in both soft and hard pastels will be demonstrated and discussed in detail. Registration fee is $100, call the art center at 908-273-9121 to register, or simply register at the front desk tomorrow morning. Hope to see you there!

Greetings from France!

June 19, 2010

in the garden of the guesthouse, Chelieu, France

I am teaching a plein aire workshop this week in the Rhone Alps of France! Our weather could be better, but we have seen some beautiful places and have still managed to get some painting in. More photos when I return on the 22nd! 😀

Intro to Pastels Workshop, June 27, 2010

June 14, 2010

flower study, pastel on LaCarte, 9x12 in.

I am having a full day pastel workshop at the NJ Visual Arts Center on June 27, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop will cover all the basics of working with both soft and hard pastels on sanded paper. Working layers, color mixing and composition will be covered in detail. Registration fee is $100, to register, call the art center at 908-273-9121.

Using Form to Divide Space

June 11, 2010

studies of bottles in acrylic on paper

These are 2 little demos of bottles done in acrylic on paper. The point of the demo was to illustrate using form to divide compositional space without focusing on the objects as narrative subjects. In other words, using the geometric forms contained in the bottles themselves as well as sub-forms in the reflections to divide up the space. Sometimes this is a hard concept to grasp, students find it difficult to let go of “what” they are painting and just focus on the forms created by positive and negative spaces.

I try to emphasize values first and then apply color once there is a balance of dark and light in the composition, as well as a feeling of depth and dimension. Color can then be used expressively without fear of losing the forms. Sub-forms can be treated as part of the objects or to create brand new forms for a more abstract look. The choice is up to you as the artist, only you know how you want your piece to look–more representational or more abstract–your choices can stray as much or as little as you like from what is actually in front of you as the subject.

Painting Patterned Fabric & Drapery

June 8, 2010

Patterned Fabric study, oil on canvas, 16x20 in., painted alla prima directly from life

This is an oil demo from a few weeks ago that I never got around to posting until now. The demo was about painting patterned fabrics alla prima in oil. The red cloth was draped over a divider giving it a nice swag drape. Underpainting on this was done in burnt umber, palette for the color portion was alizarin, cadmium red light, yellow ochre, naples yellow, cobalt, burnt umber and titanium white. Beginning with the dark areas of the folds first, I blocked in the darkest shadows using alizarin and burnt umber. Into this, I added some cadmium red light and yellow ochre. For the lightest parts, I used cad red light and naples yellow to create a teracotta-like red. The pattern was applied last, taking care not to allow it to overtake the forms by becoming too busy. In shadow areas, patterns are always less prominent, this is achieved by using less contrast between the values of the shadow and that of the pattern. In the lighter areas, the pattern is more apparent, so more contrast in values is applied.