Oil Portrait of Baby Toa; Painting with Joy and Freedom

Portrait of Baby Toa, oil on linen panel, 10x8 inches

Portrait of Baby Toa, oil on linen panel, 10×8 inches

I really enjoyed making this painting of my friend’s grandson Toa. The biggest challenge was working from a cellphone photo taken in a carseat in the dark where his skin looked dark and bright orange. Fortunately I was able to see some other snapshots with better skin color.

I’ve been taking a new approach to painting; focusing on the joy of creating and letting go of the internal “committee” that demands perfection. I have accepted that my work will never be perfect and that perfect art bores me anyway. A bit of wonkiness, even in a portrait, is ok with me, if I feel I have captured the spark of the subject. I’m painting for myself; if it pleases someone else too that’s a bonus, but not at all a requirement. Giving myself this freedom has completely changed my life.

Below are my initial sketches, a picture of the setup with the photo, and an early stage in the painting.

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Six Self-Portrait Studies

2017010-Self-Portrait_#6, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 15x11"

Winter Self-Portrait #6 (but really 7), oil on Arches Oil Paper, 15×11″

Painting quick self-portraits seemed like a good way to work through my feelings while supporting my elderly mother in hospice, especially with my limited studio time and energy. The most recent, #6 above, is my favorite so far because I focused on finding light, beauty and strength rather than darkness (and because I omitted my frown lines). I used a limited palette of titanium white, yellow ochre, venetian red, cobalt blue and a little Gamblin Asphaltum and a cool white light bulb.

Studio set-up with mirror

Studio set-up with mirror

Here’s my funky set up with the big mirror  propped up on a dresser drawer. In all six of these self-portraits (above and below) I focused on capturing something of what I was feeling in a short session (3- to 4-hour studies) without worrying too much about getting a true likeness. Read More

Bits and Pieces (while falling to pieces with a cold)

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Sunflower and Pomegranate Studies, oil, 5×10″

After I did these two studies on one piece of Arches Oil Paper focusing on values (started with transparent earth color underpainting), I caught a nasty head cold. I feel super lousy and haven’t had the energy to paint but I’ve done a couple sketches, below.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8x10 moleskine.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8×10 moleskine.

Drawing helped take my mind off my sneezing and nose running like a river.

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11x8

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11×8″

I think I made his hand too small. Here’s his photo on Sktchy:

Life Drawing: Portrait of Beebe R.

Portrait of Beebe R., Pitt Monochrome pastel pencils , 14x11 inchesWe had the lovely and vivacious model Beebe R. today in figure drawing. She did a fantastic job holding the long pose. I worked for about an hour and a half on this one, trying to stop at the “less is more” stage instead of the “Ugh! Way overworked!” Stage. 

 I can see many things I’d like to adjust (and experimented doing so after class in ProCreate with a photo of the sketch on my iPad (below). 

Portrait of Beebe edited in ProCreate on iPad.

Portrait of Beebe edited in ProCreate on iPad.

Obey! You Must, this Kid, in a Cap.

Sketched in pencil from photo on Sktchy, 10x8"

Sketched in pencil from photo on Sktchy, 10×8″

Another quick post of a recent sketch done from an inspiration photo on Sktchy. I love the app and I love drawing people more than just about anything. Pears and bowls and pretty landscapes are great, but nothing can match the joy of drawing people for me. Below is the reference photo. I’d intended to add color but liked the black and white version too much.

Photo reference by Adam Vitry on Sktchy

Photo reference by Adam Vitry on Sktchy

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