Thursday, July 22, 2010

Painting in Veils - Progress

This summer I am taking an oil painting class at Space 301 Gallery, taught by Kimberly Krause, a fine young artist and friend here in Mobile. She is sharing with us a painting technique she learned from Benjamin Shamback using a grisaille and glazing methods, similar to methods used by the classic master painters (e.g. Rembrandt and Vermeer, to name a few). We first create a "monotone" underpainting, by mixing warm and cool "greys" using complementary colors (I used burnt sienna and ultramarine blue) and lead white. We were identifying the lights and shadows (values) and letting the lead white form an impasto-type underlayer for texture. I was not too sure about what I was trying to do, but apparently the most successful or interesting results come when you get various textures and "happy accidents" using the lead white, neutral shadow colors and turpentine.

The first night we created a grisaille underpainting of a deer skull and bowls - the subject matter was mostly white/neutral colors.

The second night we created a grisaille underpainting of a colorful sunflowers/mangos still life.

The third night (this week) we practiced the glazing technique over the sunflowers grisaille painting (creating a thin "couch" layer of glazing medium, with thin layers of dry oil paint then scrumbled over areas of the painting and then rubbed out, and then successive thin layers of dry oil paint lain in, scrumbled and partially rubbed off). You can totally wipe out some glaze layers for hilights. The overlayment of color glazes are supposed to provide a luminosity to the paint. Then you can apply "impasto" paint as desired to finish off the painting.

I don't think I was that very successful with the glazing on this painting, since my underpainting seemed too dark and/or my glazes were applied too thickly. But I think I now have an idea of what to do with the next painting - at least we'll see if that is the case next week. Next week we create a grisaille underpainting from a live figure model. Should be fun and a different twist.

This is a challenge to learn a new technique while also trying to learn the special quirks of painting with oils. But just practicing using oils is helping me be more comfortable with the medium, which is what I wanted to accomplish after all.

I'll post our further progress in this class after our figure session next week!

Monday, July 12, 2010

SALSA 2010, Etc.

Well, I entered a couple of my cow paintings into the SALSA 2010 exhibit at Space 301. SALSA is the South Alabama Survey of Artists exhibit - a new regional show of contemporary art. My "Sweet Home Cheese Farm Bull (Baldwin County Cow No. 1) was accepted and I delivered it to the gallery last Monday; and the opening reception was Friday during the 5th Anniversary LODA Artwalk. It was a steamy but wonderful night to celebrate the downtown Mobile Arts scene. My friend Kathy Friedline, her husband Mark, and I made the rounds. Festivities were all along Dauphin Street, from Cathedral Square Gallery on the upper end; to the Art Gowns Project at Mobile Arts Council, a colorful, abstract exhibit of works by Mark Davis, Wanda Sullivan and JoAnn Cox at The Paper Wasp, and the SALSA exhibit at Space 301 on the lower end; as well as several other gallery venues in between. Street musicians were everywhere, and I especially enjoyed the Bay City Brass group. Here are a few photos from Friday night.

Kathy took this photo of me by my bull painting.

The Bay City Brass Band in Cathedral Square.

Bertice McPherson with one of her sculptures - she won an Honorable Mention award in the show!

Jami Buck's beautiful abstract piece.

Lydia Host's interesting figurative sculpture.

Mary Elizabeth's wonderful collage with a Nancy Drew theme.

Saturday we had our Figure Group and a new model (Mason), who had a lengthy resume listing his professional modeling experience - he turned out to be a great model. After our drawing session, Mary Elizabeth invited the group to her place for a light gourmet lunch followed by yummy homemade ice cream.

On Sunday I woke to discover a photo of my cow painting was posted along with a few others in the local newspaper Arts Column coverage of the SALSA show - which was a nice surprise. My artwork has now been accepted into two recent regional shows (University of Mobile Juried Exhibition and the SALSA 2010), so maybe I can now be considered an emerging artist (?). I don't really care so much if I sell my art work or win any awards, but it does give me pleasure to have people recognize and appreciate my art.

Later Sunday, I attended a video on Miniature Art at the Mobile Museum of Art (sponsored by our Alabama Miniature Art Society as an educational outreach program); and then rushed on to the opening reception for my friends Janie Brown and Carolyn Greene. They are holding a joint exhibition at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. They had a nice show and a good turnout at the reception. My friend Kathy Friedline and I are scheduled to show here together in October; and my friend Jami Buck will show there in August. This is turning out to be a fun place to show your artwork, even if it does not provide much public exposure. I'm including a photo from the reception. Carolyn and Janie in front of Janie's artwork.

Another busy art-filled weekend here in Mobile!