Monday, December 28, 2009

Finished Painting of Lena

I finished this painting of my granddaughter, Lena, just in time to frame it and give it to my daughter, Karmin, and her husband, Tom, for Christmas. I had to make up some leaves and move a branch around. There are are lot of pointers in the painting which hopefully draw the eye to Lena's face.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lena Painting Stage 2

Lena's right hand in the photo was too "posed" (all fingers perfectly aligned). I decided to change the hand and ended up looking at my own hand in a mirror and redrawing Lena's hand. Ultimately, I made only a few changes which, to my thinking, improved the look. I learned that small changes can make a big difference in my judgement. The tree gave me (is giving me) lots of trouble. I started putting in a lot of detail to attempt to capture the texture of the bark. At some point I decided that there was too much detail and smudged out (and erased) a lot of the work. When in doubt simplify. I am also learning that it is important to carefully study objects before attempting to paint them. When I get going, I begin to make up the texture. Unless I really know the object from study, I cannot capture the texture or essence of the object. Slowly, I added some of the detail back. The tree is still bugging me. I just read a quote from Sally Strand, "The lights carry the color, but the darks carry the painting." Now I'm concerned about the darks (trees left and right) and how they will or will not support Lena. My fear is that the dark trees with their detail will steal attention away from Lena. We'll see. Back to work.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lena Painting Stage 1

This is the beginning of a portrait of my granddaughter, Lena. The portrait is being painted with pastels on paper. My process starts with a drawing on rather cheap paper (newsprint). If my corrections are destroying the paper, I may use a light table to trace the drawing onto a fresh piece of cheap paper where I continue to make corrections. Once I'm satisfied with the drawing, I'll again use my light table to trace the final drawing onto tracing paper. On the back side of the tracing paper, I cover just the lines with soft, white pastel. The tracing paper is laid on pastel paper and the lines are delicately traced in order to transfer the image to the pastel paper. If the lines are traced with too much pressure, the transferred lines are difficult to cover or erase during the painting process. I have to remember to trace with just enough pressure to transfer the line to the pastel paper. The white lines in the above "start" are traced from the tracing paper. Since errors and distortions occur in this tracing process, the white guidelines on the pastel paper have to be checked and corrected. If time permits, I'll show the progress of the painting in subsequent blogs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Portrait of Granddaughter Carson

This is a portrait of Carson Brooke Schafer, my granddaughter. Carson is the daughter of my son, Andrew, and his wife Lauren. The painting is pastel on Wallis paper and measures about 22" x 32." There is no one photo that was used to create this painting. Carson's head is from one photo; some of Carson's hair was made up or taken from different photos; Carson's body is from another photo; the chair is a neighbor's chair which was painted purple; the texture, color, and grain of the wood in the chair is from an old bridge; the flowers were found growing up someone's mailbox; and the cushion was invented. The color and texture of the chair was changed to "match" a chair at Carson's home. Carson has beautiful hair which changes color in different photos and in different light. I was unable to capture that color in the painting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drawing Profile Composite

This is a recent drawing I hope to turn into a painting. The drawing is from different images I've seen in magazines and on the web. The general body shape is from one picture and the head is from another picture. I had little trouble with the face and overall body shape. The arm, however, was not clear in the photo, and was difficult for me to get right. I had to consult figure drawing and anatomy illustrations to get it close to being right. I love drawing and the challenges drawing presents. We'll see where this goes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Most Recent Pastel Painting

This painting is 22"x 32" and is painted with pastels on Wallis pastel paper. It might seem strange to hear that this is called a painting since it was painted with dry pastels. Pastels are nearly pure pigment. They are like oils without the oil or acrylics without the acrylic medium or watercolor without the water or gum. The picture is of Brooke, who is flying over wet sand at the beach. Brooke is the daughter of Bryan and Robin Berning. Bryan, my nephew, took the photo from which the picture was painted. Robin is in the background of the painting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Painting from Burridge Workshop on Color

This is a painting I did in a workshop given by Robert Burridge, who does wild, very colorful abstract paintings of flowers, landscapes, and people. See his website at The workshop focussed on his methods of determining color arrangements for painting (his Goof-Proof Color system). His style is very loose and in that respect unlike my usual method of painting (tight). I'm trying to loosen up.

Here is a landscape painting using Burridge's Goof Proof color system and loose painting approach.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Acrylic Painting for Monteluz Christian Retreat Center

This is my most recent painting. It is an acrylic painting (3 feet x 6 feet) on canvas. It was a gift to the Monteluz Christian Retreat Center, near Valencia, Spain. The painting reads from left to right. The theme of the painting is "for you" (PARA TI). Jesus suffered "for you" (cross and crown of thorns), conquered death "for you" (white area showing a risen Lord), and now lives "for and in you" in times of difficulty (green and dark blue images), in times of joy (red and light blue images), and in everyday life (gold family image). The jagged white area showing a risen Lord also refers to the tearing of the temple curtain at the moment when Jesus died on the cross.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mural Painting at Monteluz (Valencia, Spain)

At the end of September 13 people from our church in upstate New York visited Monteluz, a Christian retreat center near Valencia, Spain. For a week, we painted murals on the walls of Monteluz and developed strong, spiritual ties with each other, the Spanish people who run Monteluz, and with Christians who support Monteluz. The beauty that we experienced was by far ... by far .... by far ..... greater than anything we put on the walls. We'd be the greatest artists around if what we painted matched the beauty we experienced. Some of our painting efforts are shown below.

This picture shows the bottom of the stairs which is at the entrance to Monteluz. Murals were painted on the walls of the stairwell, dinning room, and conference room.

Showing middle and upper stairs. The hills in the mural are patterned after the hills surrounding the retreat center of Monteluz. Monteluz means "mountain of light" and is shown in front of the sun. There are three people on Monetluz with outstretched arms casting cross- shaped shadows on Monteluz.

Looking toward the top of the stairs. The stairwell, being at the entrance to the retreat center, was designed to welcome all people (silhouettes) and bring them closer to Christ who is pictured at the top of the stairs.

This picture shows the lower hall and the upper part of the stairs.

Lower hallway next to the stairs and entrance into the dinning hall.

This tree was painted on a wall of the conference room.

The walls of the conference room were faux painted. Just a few images were added to the walls. Also, new curtains were designed, sewn, and hung.

The credenza was refinished and fruits of the Spirit were added in Spanish and in English.

Jesus calming the storm. Dinning room.

Men fishing. Dinning room wall.

Franny (dressed in black) painted the portrait in the picture. This was a gift from Franny to Christina (with glasses) and her son. The portrait is a picture of Christina's husband who had recently passed away. Most of the artists on the trip contributed small works of art to be used throughout Monteluz.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Shot

The purpose of this blog is to connect with people who love making art. I will be posting my thoughts and artwork in an effort to stimulate communication about my creations and about art in general.