Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Struggling With Watercolor

One of the things that is bothering me about my outdoors watercolor is that there doesn't seem to be any place to rest ones eyes. They seem to be about to many things and I think I need to see about toning down all that green. I need to really look at the shapes and values and make them more simple.
In one way I look at these and say to myself I tried all I knew and it doesn't look good, that can be disheartening. On the other hand I'm glad that I have an idea of what I need to change.
I have not visited the museum for some time. It would be a good  idea to spend some time looking at some paintings at the Met.

Both these paintings were done from the same spot. Both were fun to do but the resulting paintings were a bit of a let down. Well, if anything I look forward to going out to paint again being conscious of the changes I need to make to my picture making approach.






Small sketch I did today during my lunch hour. I'll be back to
visit this spot looking to see how I can paint this keeping things
simple. Hopefully the weather will be nice again tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Subway Drawings

Another batch of subway sketches. I have been riding the New York City subways for so long and like any one that has ridden the subways for any length of time have seen many things. I've seen a man get tackled by a passenger because he snatched a woman's chain off her neck, (I latter found out that the man who did the tackling was a friend of mine. He held the man there till the police arrived to arrest the chain snatcher). A man walked up to me very early one morning angrily complaining that while he fell a sleep on the train someone had stolen one show from him. He couldn't understand why only one show was taken. When he finished telling me his story he turned around and limped away.
Another time I was coming home late from work, having done overtime. I sat in a fairly crowded car. At some point four to five young men walked in from one of the other cars, they wore hoods and their lower face's were covered with handkerchiefs. They stood at the front middle and end of the car blocking the doors. Everyone in that car understood that something was about to happen, but before anything could the train pulled in to the next station, the doors open up and everyone exited the car. The train pulled away with only those four or five masked young men in the car.


Those are some of the lighter stories I have. I have seen arguments, fist fights, and people crying openly. 
When I sketch the people on these trains I hope that the drawing doesn't just look like a man reading a newspaper or listening to his Ipod, or a woman reading a book. I hope that some individual character comes out to give a sense of life beyond the drawing.




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sketching On Rainy Days.

Been a rainy week so far, and I'm looking foward to painting more outdoors. I want to do more than spend my lunch hour sketching in the park, but that kind of time is going to have to wait for the weekend and some scheduled days off in the second week of June, (City Island in the Bronx is calling me, look foward to painting there).





Till then I'm going to have to satisfy my self with those lunch brakes and these sketches I've made from a combination of old sketches, (top left), and photo refrence I took at the scene. The result being  the painting at left.



Because of the rain I was not able to go out to the park for my lunch break, so again I relied on some photorefrence I had of my Mom, (I'm able to close the door of the printroom I run and have my lunch undisturbed).

 There are other paintings I need to get back to but I confess that my enthusiasim tappered off a bit. I'm hoping that as I keep on painting I'll be able to wake up that entusiasim again.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Painting Through A Tuff Week

There were so many distractions this week it was difficult to keep up with some of the projects I started the week before. Family came first so what work I could complete were a couple of sketches in the park and the self portrait in gouache at left which I stayed up late into the night to do. I'm thankful for that lunch break I spend in the park almost everyday, weather permitting.
No matter whats going on I try to continue to work on something. To take the time to do what is a big part of who I am. I don't know why but painting outdoors always makes me feel better for the experience. whether what I do turns out good or bad the experience of painting outdoors is always is a calming experience. The only difficulty being that I need to avoid calling attention to myself, it really is a private time for me, a chance to get away and be me.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sketching / Keeping Busy

I have one hour to sketch during my lunch brake. I run to Battery park and try to find a quiet spot with something interesting to paint. There's a building there that is being renovated that I think has a lot of character. The first day I went to sketch it, (left), I forgot to bring my pencil so I sketched it in watercolor with no preliminary drawing. One hour was not enough time so I thought I would come back again, (with a pencil). The next day it was a lot cooler and very windy. The wind nearly blew my sketch book out of my hand. I had to fight to get something on paper. I did as best I could and I touched it up latter with opaque water color. I was not satisfied. The next day it rained, the day after that I was out there again. The resulting painting was better but I'm still not happy. I'll be back.




This was the second sketch I did. I took some photos so that I can add to it when I got back home but I didn't want to try not to lose the feeling that this was sketched out doors. I wasn't happy with it.






I went back again. I feel better about this one but I'm still not satisfied. I don't think its the subject but the way I'm using the medium. I'm looking at this as a way to define what I want my watercolors to look like. As a result I come home to my books I've purchased over the years to look at the watercolors of David Levine, John Singer Sargent,  Winslow Homer, Dean Mitchell, Joseph Zbukvic to see what I can learn from the painters I admire.

I'm sure I can blame my dissatisfaction at the drawing of the subject as well or maybe just not thinking out ahead of time how the subject sits on the page. Either way, more reason to continue to try and solve this, there is so much for me to learn from the experience and I still find the subject interesting.




I also had time this week to keep busy either sketching myself or people on the train or from my imagination. It was really about trying to do something everyday till I can get back to the painting of my son I was working on last week. The only real time I have for those oils is the weekend- so that's what I'm going to do after I finish here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Painting Finished Another One Started






I was able to finish this portrait of my wife over the weekend. The kids have grown up enough that I feel its safe to lay out my oils. Bellow is a map of the painting in progress. I've never really made a drawing of a painting before I started painting, other than a quick thumbnail sketch of what I intended to paint. I always use to go directly to the painting. I think having done the drawing helped me a lot with this painting, having solved the drawing problems to the best of my ability before hand I had a plan as to how I was going to paint the portrait.




The top left and bottom right were copied from a scanner the other two shots were taken with a digital camera since the paint surface was still wet. Since I did the careful drawing the painting problems were more about color and paint application.
The drawing is graphite on paper and is larger than the finished painting which was done on a small panel.















Here's another painting I started in between the drying time of the other portrait. This was after one day and it is a portrait of my son in his little league uniform.