March 29, 2012

"Gangsta Tupi in the Sunlight"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

More info tomorrow.

March 27, 2012

"Kerri and Chi Chi"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

I was going to call this, "The Tattooed Girl with the Dragon" because Chi Chi looks like a little baby dragon here. Perhaps more like a gremlin that has been splashed with water, if you remember your movie trivia. My friend Debby leans more in the area of fruit bat when describing her. This little girl was rescued from the shelter and did yeoman's duty as constant companion and protector (!?!) to Debby's father-in-law during his last months of convalescence and subsequent hospice care. Chi Chi's two compadres, if you can believe it, are a leggy Great Dane named Emma and Walter, the Wonder Wiener. If you think Emma (or Debby) rules the roost in this household, think again. Chi Chi doesn't take a back seat to anyone!

March 23, 2012

"Sunlit Nude in a Victorian Boudoir"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

A while back I was invited to a modeling session held in a grand Victorian townhouse belonging to a friend of mine. This friend is an accomplished photographer and a master at depicting the female form. He also belongs to a "meet-up" group of like-minded photographers. Since there were 10 or 12 of us at the shoot we elected to have two models and split up to find the perfect light and setting. One of the models was a seasoned pro who was familiar with the routine. The other was her novice friend, who I am certain was coaxed to come and try modeling with her. I can almost hear the, "Come on, it'll be fun!" She did her best, although her scared "deer in the headlights" look was ever-present. Another issue that one insensitive photographer took issue with was that the new model had a serious sunburn and tan/burn lines. Being a painter, it didn't bother me. I did contemplate painting in the tan lines but I thought she might look like an advertisement for Coppertone. I really like this little painting. The light is fun. This was another experimental painting I did using the Zorn palette and is the warmest painting I've done since I started using that limited palette.

March 21, 2012

"Missy and Walter"

Oil on canvas - 15" x 20"

This was actually my very first attempt at the Zorn palette for the Diana Moses Botkin March challenge. Although it lit the fire in me, subsequent small studies such as "Laura and Vincent" and "Sunlit nude in a Victorian Boudoir" had more of an over-all Zorniness. You can see by the lush(?) foliage out the window that Mary and Becky were right about the lack of a range of greens, although I find it works OK here.

"Study for Amy Angel"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

As you can see, I am still enamored with the Zorn palette. For more than eight years I have had a life-sized variation of this piece sitting in my studio. The statue is mostly finished in it, and the mirror. The loosely sketched in, ghostly figure of Amy has haunted me for nearly a decade. I think I can finally finish it now, thanks to Mr. Zorn. I kept this study loose, as I was more concerned with the flesh values than creating a precious jewel. although, frankly, I am quite fond of it. I call this "Amy Angel" because the statue reflected in the mirror reminds me of Angel wings.

March 15, 2012

"The Zorn Palette " - Diana Moses Botkin's Art Challenge - March 2012

"Laura and Vincent"
Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

Rather than go into a lengthy biography of the artist Anders Zorn (1860-1920), I have linked to a very good one by Mattias Sammekull. (Just click his name above.)

Sweden's answer to John Singer Sargent, Zorn is best known for his lush society portraits, sunlit nudes, bravado brushwork and his use of the so-called "Zorn Palette," a palette limited to just four pigments: vermillion, yellow ochre, ivory black and lead white. A perusal of his oeuvre would give evidence to the fact that he was not slavish to this limitation. Indeed, many tubes of blue pigments were found in his paintbox, but that could be said of any of us. I have dozens of tubes of paint that I have never, or seldom, opened. Perhaps this self portrait, showing him with this limited palette, started the whole thing. Who knows?

In any case, I am grateful to him and to Vicki Ross, who choose this month's challenge, for inspiring me to new heights. Indeed, I have not felt this electrified in a very, very long time. This challenge has provided the missing link for me, the piece of the puzzle that has been missing in my flesh formula. With the inclusion of cold greys and greyed out yellows, I am seeing in a completely new way. Although I did use a variation of Zorn's, my old palette was very dutch in nature, heavy on earth pigments such as burnt umber, raw umber and Van Dyke brown. The problem with a dutch palette, at least for me, is that it dries extremely fast and you can't paint wet on wet for very long. With Zorn's palette you have almost two days to move things around. While I am thanking people, I should give a shout out to whoever it was that gave me the tip about freezing one's palette at night to keep the paint from drying out and skinning. Good one!

Below are my fellow challenge artists' works for the month. I think the landscape painters had to have the toughest job of all as Zorn's palette, while perfect for figure and portrait work, is not well-suited for Mother Nature's vast spectrum. Brava!

"Pensive" 10"x 8" oil

"Water" 6"x 6" oil
Becky Joy ©2012

"Isabelle" 14" x 11 oil
Vicki Ross ©2012

"Travelers" oil 9"x7"
Mary Maxam ©2012

March 12, 2012

"JJ on a leather sofa"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

Just for fun.

March 6, 2012

"Roxy on the Beach"

Oil on museum quality Ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

There is an expression on Glee for when two songs are combined together. It's called a "mash-up." (Ooh, did I just out myself as a Gleek?) That mash-up moniker would be apropos of this painting as it is both pet portrait and seascape. I can count on one hand the times I have painted the ocean. Loyal followers may remember my painting "Out of the Box" as the other daily painting of the beach.

This is Roxy, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Last week her owners gave her a final hug and sent her across the rainbow bridge. For many months she had been fighting a form of degenerative myelopathy and since December had been using a doggy cart/wheelchair to take walks – which she thoroughly enjoyed. This worked well until she finally lost the use of one of her front paws. She continued to go downhill and they then had to make that terribly painful decision. I've been there too many times myself and know the pain they are going through. I hope they find some solace in this painting.

I wish you could see this painting in person. It is one of those rare paintings that pops off the canvas. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Corgis. I had a little guy named Pippin back in the 70's.

March 1, 2012


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

The fact that I feel I can post this painting, a surprise gift for a friend, with impunity speaks volumes about how last year was such a loss to my artistic creditability. The few faithful souls who clicked on this blog day after day, searching in vain for new work, were left mostly unfulfilled from May until year's end. I'm trying to not let that happen again. Voltaire, or Volt for short, is an American Bulldog and a real sweetie. Alas, once again the photo isn't nearly representational of the real piece. Subtle pinks and blues appear garish and disjointed...Arrrgh! David, if you do see this, it is really pretty nice.