Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Year

A new year, and as this year rolls in, like each new year this century, I'm mildly surprised to have lasted this long. Since September I've delivered several portrait commissions and completed three of an ongoing series of portraits of department chairs at my university. This one is 16x12 on panel, done from life over a period of several months.





In the same period I've been working on several other projects, including a group of works dealing with world hunger. Here are a couple of them, each only 8x6 on gessoed panel. I did these as two-value studies, an idea I filched from James Gurney (see his blog, Gurney Journey online at http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/ ). These were done using ivory black and titanium white over a ground toned with raw umber to around value 5. These kinds of studies are teaching me a great deal about how to render form without being "picky"--that is, without using tentative, small strokes instead of thinking about form and about value. Painters who can master that kind of idea--economy coupled with bravura brushwork--are the most appealing to my eye. These days painting is (or should be) more about the paint and often less about faithful rendering. Sub ject is important, but if one seeks photographic accuracy, take a photograph. A painting is much much more. The tone of the panels was actually overlaid onto old sketchwork--hence the varied look of the backgrounds. (As always, you can click on the small image to view a larger version.)
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