Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cats, cats, cats

These drawings are graphite on paper, ranging in size from 8x10 to around 5x7. They're studies for part of a commission I'm working on. Some of the fun of this is studying the anatomy of cats (and by extension, other quadrupeds). Most animals that go on four legs have similar articulations and bones, so understanding one helps a great deal with others. I partly accepted this commission because of the challenge of animal anatomy. I've painted a lot of subjects, except animals. So this is an opportunity to learn, and I'm treating it as such. These studies will probably not be part of the final painting, but they've taught me some very valuable things.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


A roomy and comfortable place to work is the dream of most artists, I think. These photos, taken a few days ago, show my newly-remodelled studio as I've been moving in. Note that there are still boxes to unpack and shelves to rearrange (I'm doing it a little at a time). The walls are a beautiful dark green that will complement skin tones.

There is plenty of room for storage and room enough to step back and then forward as I paint. You can see the model's chair next to the easel, a couple of work tables by the windows, and the cleaning station in another corner.

It's mighty good to be home.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Since it's February, and also because I did a painting of our other February president not long ago, I dug up a famou old photo to copy.

I was trying out some Blockxx paint today and decided to do a sketch of one of our past presidents. This is 8x6 on gessoed panel. I used white, yellow ochre, cad yellow light, cad red, a DaVinci red rose sample, Blockxx Blue (phthalo based), mars black, and raw umber. I toned the panel to about value 5 first, then just painted this alla prima.
Now that my studio is finally less cluttered, I've been working more. The next few days will be color sketches for a commission I've been promising since last fall. Then maybe a final touchup of a commission I delivered a couple of months ago.
At least it's warm in the studio.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Commissions are the life blood of many an artist's career. They're most commonly portraits, but once in a while someone is commissioned to do a picture of a home or a pet or even, rarely, a favorite car or motorcycle. I've just been commissioned to do a portrait of not one but three cats. Given that I've not done much in the line of animal pictures, this one promises to be challenging. It isn't that drawing and painting an animal is much different than doing a person or a still life; like any other subject, if you look critically, plan, and paint what is before you, you're likely to produce a reasonably accurate representation. In preparing for painting cats I'm doing a few graphite drawings of various felines. And just for practice on non-humans, I've been daubing away at the dog portrait on the right. It isn't complete, but nearly so. This is 8"x 8" on gessoed panel, the "sitter" is a friend's pug. I will probably give this one to the dog's owners.