Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Denise at the Firehouse

I did this of Denise on a canvas I had gessoed over an old painting. The surface was a little slick and their was texture from the painting underneath. The slickness and the texture made me less shy about thicker paint and I worked in many layers and with opaque and transparent sections. I could have gone further but ran out of time. Karen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Denise, Deborah, and The Feather Boa

Every time I look at this painting I think of the wild west. Our model Denise brought a dress she formerly used to deliver singing telegrams. Diana set her up against a bright red background (it was a some fabric hanging from the foldable screen). Costumes aren't my thing, but even I have to admit the effect was dramatic, and it was a welcome change in our routine. I manipulated the background to make it more interesting, shortened the wall and added Deborah, who always draws these incredible portraits in pencil. In this 16 x 20" acrylic, what works is the clear emphasis on the model: saturated vs muted, warm vs cold, sharp vs soft, more detail vs less detail.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This was fun to paint because Denise brought a wonderful costume and a beautiful piece of red fabric, which we used for the background.

More work is needed on the hands/gloves, which are just barely plausible right now. The background also needs work, to bring out the pattern. I'll probably add some other colors to relieve the red mush. And, of course, the chair needs to be refined into something that looks like a solid, sittable object with real contours.

All of that will be pretty easy. More challenging will be the necessary work on the model's right eye. Something seems slightly wrong with it, but I can't figure out what, exactly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poet Karen

At first, one sees the person who is modelling; but little by little, all of the possible sculptures that could be made come between artist and model. Alberto Giacometti

I struggled with this painting! The right hand was in a difficult, foreshortened position. The left hand was somewhat hidden, but the visible parts were no less difficult. Resolving the hands took a good half of the six hours I devoted to this 24 x 24" acrylic. The enjoyable part turned out to be Georgianna's figure in the back, and the many grays in the background. In the end, I decided the hands were not going to stump me, and I kept at it until they came out ok. I worked on the hands and face, and then worked on the background if I got too tired. That's how I managed to finish. I figured if it did not end up a wonderful painting, I would at least learn something about painting hands in this position. Rebeca

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Rather than struggle with my hopeless portrait of Ricardo, I painted over that canvas. Vicki brought the pretty blue fabric for the background, which made all the difference.

This painting still isn't finished. The table, book, and pillow need refinement, as does the interaction
of the model's left elbow with same.

Overall, though, I think this is almost as successful as the portrait of Aurora. I feel as though I'm groping toward something like my own "style" of portraiture. It involves sharp outlines, smoothly modeled skin, patterned backgrounds, rich colors, and a large scale.