Saturday, February 5, 2011

portrait study

There is a portrait drawing/painting group on Fridays. We just share the model costs and paint away.
I love it. However, I've been unable to attend because of still not having a car. So, yesterday,
I worked up this little sketch from a photo of my friend Roy.  He and his wife Nancy run the art supply and frame shop in our home town back in the New Hampshire.  They are always doing above and beyond for everyone that comes in the shop. Both in their 70's, you would not know it by the amount of energy they project.
Nancy had sent me this photo of Roy because he had fallen down his cellar steps and gotten a nasty black eye.
So when I decided to try to paint from this photo, it was a challenge to work around a bruise that covered about
half of Roy's face.
Portrait work is still very much a learning process for me. But I enjoy it immensely.   One of the things that I am slowly figuring out is to keep all the edges soft - no hard lines, at least in the early stages. Especially in the mouth area, I think this is important to keep it from becoming harsh.  I still struggle with skin tones and just about every other part of portrait painting, but there is something about trying to capture the essence of someone that is so intriguing and wonderful that I just have to keep trying.It's always a humbling experience for me to post these studies.  But I'm not proud, we all have to start somewhere.  Maybe one of these days, I'll get good at it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Keep Two Puppies' Attention and a Painting

As you can see, food is a great motivator.  (it sometimes works for husbands too).  Here is little 9 week old Marley, our newest adopted pup.  And 9 month old Gibbs, who has turned out to be about 20 pounds bigger than the vet predicted and still growing.
Marley and her sister were found, having been dumped in a ditch down in Albuquerque. (what is the matter with people?) They were extremely malnourished, and maybe not even weaned yet, as they tried to nurse on the fingers of the kind folks who rescued them.  I would not have adopted another puppy so soon after getting Gibbs,but I couldn't resist. She is, from appearances, mostly German Shepherd. She's doing great, though still thin, but healthy now and her coat is getting softer and thicker.
Gibbs, who might be the sweetest dog in the whole world, is we think Shepherd/lab/rottweiller (is that a rottie face or what?). We found him in a shelter in CO at 5 mo. old.  He has been a big influence on Marley. I credit him with house-training her, as he has taught her to go out the doggy door.  Of course, he has also taught her how to sneak dirty socks from the laundry basket and drag them outside under the deck.! They keep me busy.
A friend noted that this photo is a snapshot of our daily life here. Yes, true. that's me in my purple leopard print fleece pajama pants. Working in my pajamas is one of my favorite things about being a painter!
Then there's the ever-present cup of coffee.  My friend asked if that was deodorant on the table.  It's actually Icy Hot - still treating my beaten up body from the car accident.  The remotes.. well, that's mostly Steve's thing. Under them are the Ultrarunning magazines.. our other passion in life.  Along with that are my running shoes drying by the pellet stove and the snow boots to go outside and get more firewood.
Way back in the background is a painting I have just finished. It is about to be printed as the publicity poster for a series of trail races here.
 Here it is.. it's a view from a local rocky outcropping known as the "Overlook" - back in November when the aspens were still golden and the snow hadn't covered everything.  The furthest hill in the distance is our local ski hill.  I don't ski but it is a great place to do killer hill repeats for training!