Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Plateful of Apples

Hurray, today was my second class with Christina Debarry - and I'm loving it more and more. Christina is a wonderful teacher, and I really like all the other students in the class as well. And what *fun* to get away from drawing the human figure, and get to try still lifes instead.

Not they are easier, by any means. While I was trying to do the drawing for tonight's set-up I found myself almost half yearning for a nice simple human torso to draw, .

No, not really! I mean a human torso would have been easier - but I wouldn't have had as much fun. Instead I agonized, but I had such a great time anyway because I was working on something I loved - eating my ice cream, rather than eating my broccoli - as I called the life drawing classes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Legs 2

I'm really trying to move away from figure studies - so this Expressionism class may be my last one at the Montclair Art Museum, and I only took it because I was told students did work on still lifes in the class. I guess part of the class is supposed to be still lifes - but initially we are working with a live model again, grrrrrrr.

So I tried to just go for an abstract feel with this one, just sort of having fun with colors and shapes. I tried for a more stylized approach and from that standpoint I'm not unhappy with it. It did make it somewhere bearable at least.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Wick House

Landscapes are way out of my comfort zone. I'd love to be able to do them, but have not had any instruction in them, and struggle on my own. Trees and leaves are a struggle, I have issues withe the grass, the ground, the plants - any growing thing.

But I was inspired to try one after my new teacher, Christina Debarry, said she is putting together a show this summer at the Bernardsville Public Library, and suggested that we students could put a painting into the show. She said it should be a landscape, and of something recognizable from around the Bernardsville/Basking Ridge area. I was out that way yesterday after my doctor's appointment - and decided to try a landscape from this photo I took of the Wick House at Morristown National Historical Park.

I'm not completely happy with this. Last year's PSNJ show was about 98% landscapes, and this looks so amaterish compared to the pictures in the show. I hope to work on this further and get it looking better, but figured I'd post what I've done now at about the 2-hour mark.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flowering Quinces

Hey, I did it. I got signed up for another art class, and this one is for pastel still lifes and landscapes, taught by Christina Debarry. It will be a struggle since it starts at 6 PM on Wednesdays, and meets 40 minutes from my home, and I don't get home from work until about 5:30, and then have to walk the dogs and change clothes before I can leave. So I'll be missing class time every week.

But already I love the class and Christina, and the facilities are amazingly gorgeous too. We had a choice of two still life set-ups to work from. LOL, I was so used to getting a break every 20 minutes when the model would get up to stretch that for a brief moment I wondered why we were not being given any breaks, until it occurred to me that the flowers were not going anywhere, and I could just take a break whenever I wanted.

So it was fun, and totally different skills. Trying to do flowers, or a glass vase, is a completely different skill from trying to get fingers right, or the correct or intersting skin tones. Naturally now that I see the photo I see some problems with the vase and the way it is sitting on the table -things I didn't see last night. But I'm posting anyhow as this is a new venture for me. And I like it so far.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Model Background

I'll say one thing about the art class last night. It took the instructor an *hour* to get the model set up in a pose. Now how crazy is that? We're paying for class time of 7:00-9:30 PM, and the instructor spends from 6:45 until 7:45 to set up a pose with the model. Everyone who knows me well knows I'm "Speedy Gonzales" in the art department. I would have had my model posed in 5 minutes tops!

So we students, who had all struggled to make sure we were early or on-time for the first day of class had to just hurry up and wait. But while the instructor and model conversed I figured I could take advantage of the situation. They had a very nice backdrop set up for the model to pose against - so while I waiting I did this "still life" of the backdrop - only about 30 minutes of work on 12x16 Canson, so just a warm-up reall. But at least I got part of my wish to be able to avoid doing the human figure.

Red Robe

I am so bummed. For three years now I've been taking life drawing classes - and I hate drawing people now as much as I did when I started, so was so excited that a new class was being offered called "Experimental Pastel" that was going to concentrate on still lifes and landscapes - taught by Christina Debarry, PSA, and former President of the PSA. I love her work. How cool is that?

And then last week I got a notice that the class had been *cancelled* due to LOW ENROLLMENT! Only two people signed up to take the class. So the museum suggested I could take either "Representational Painting and Drawing" or "Expressionism". I said the first is the one I'd taken for three years, and I loved the instructors - but I just HAD to get away from figure drawing and yearned to do still lifes. So I was told the Expressionism class allowed you to use any medium, and that students did still lifes there, so I took it!

And got to class last night and found a ........ LIVE MODEL! The instructor said they had done all still lifes last session, so she was mixing up and and now having live models. Grrrrr, I'm so bummed, and there is no refund once a class has started. So once again I'm stuck doing what I have come to hate more and more - so I did another one of my headless wonders last night. By cutting off their heads I can sort of treat the models as more of an abstraction, which makes it a bit more bearable for me. C&C always welcome - though I still hope to get completely away from painting people.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Panic mode

I finally decided I needed to try out the Pan pastels that I had bought at a 40% discount last fall, after seeing a demo at Jerry's. They seemed fun, but I was not sure how I would like them in actual practice.

And I'm still not sure! Well I mean I know I'm not crazy about them, but maybe they just need more "getting used to" time. I just used a sheet of Canson, and threw a couple colorful things onto the small round table topped with a wooden lazy susan that I have in my studio. The Pans do cover the surface admirably, with a nice creamy texture, but I found them hard to control. I didn't like using the little implements you use to apply the pastels.

So to finish this off I had to break out my sticks, so this picture is only about half Pans. I don't much like the picture - but I was not really going for composition. I just wanted something colorful to try with the Pans. And even in the less successful pictures there is usually something to like.

In this case I'm quite happy with how the lazy susan turned out. I usually get terribly wonky elipses when I'm drawing freehand, but in this case I think the ellipse looks quite good. :-)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Going to the Dogs

Our church had an auction where members were supposed to donate their "time and talents" to be purchased by others, as a scholarship fundraiser. I auctioned off a pet portrait, which a church member purchased as a Christmas gift for her daughter and son-in-law. I told them I needed a photo to work from, and it took them a year to choose a photo! But they finally did, and I finally got around to doing the portrait. So here it is, and I hope they'll like it. :-)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lady in Waiting-near the end

Will this be my last nude? Possibly. My dear teacher Alex is returning for the spring semester, but will not be teaching the evening class, only two during the day. That means I can't take his class, but it leaves me free to take another wonderful new class being offered called "Experimental Pastel" -which will be taught by Christina Debarry, PSA. I'm really psyched.

But in the meantime we had our pregnant model make one last visit. Wow, hard to believe there is just one baby there, LOL. As usual the "regular" version can be seen at Wet Canvas