Friday, May 21, 2010

A day in the studio

This is my studio:

Notice the lovely bookshelf on the right. If you look really carefully you can just make out a red mug sitting on top. Shortly after I took this picture I knocked over the red mug which was newly filled with tea, and the rest of the afternoon was spent mopping up tea with paper towels, spreading everything on the shelf in the picture all over the floor and balancing books to stand on end so their pages would dry. It was a very disappointing day as far as painting goes. It would have been even more disappointing if I weren't at a bit of a standstill with my paintings. Here is the painting I've been working on the most recently (it's not quite finished):

It's come along much faster than my paintings usually do, and so I wanted to set it aside for a few days so I could come back to it with a fresh eye. I'm also working on a portrait of a juggler and a study of orchids. The portrait is a new challenge for me, not because I haven't done portrait work before, but because I'm working part of the time with the model present and part of the time from reference photographs. I am trying to work out a method of combining working with the model and from photographs that works for me, without losing the dynamic quality of a painting done from just from life. It's very easy to create a painting that feels very flat and static while working from a photograph; I'm doing my best to avoid falling into those traps. I would prefer to always work from the model, but as that isn't always possible, it seemed best to learn how to work other ways as well. I spent most of the day working on the portrait. Luckily, when I find the going really frustrating, there's always tea to spill.

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