Saturday, April 27, 2013

Battling with roses

I just finished a long battle with the vase of roses. It's gone on for months. I am not a flower person but I thought I could probably paint roses. Since they wilt, I've used four different groups of roses.

One of my first mistakes was leaving extra roses in the vase that I didn't intend to paint because I wanted a lot of leaves. That turned out to be confusing as I'd forget which ones I was drawing, get the stems mixed up, etc. 

I was too lazy or rushed to draw all the leaves exactly. I schmeered them in and then did some refinement, but not enough. Leaves need to be specific in order to look like leaves. 

I painted the roses over and over and over, in all different shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, greys, beige and browns. I tried adding chiaroscuro to make them look 3-D. I finally re-thought and re-drew them in petal-by-petal in paint. 

They were still not right. I schmeered some paint over some of them so that they would go back in space and become atmospheric. That helped.

I painted in delicate, frilly edges and shadows, but they still looked odd (and did not match the rough, casual feel of the rest of the painting.)

Finally, I knew the new shapes well enough—I went over them with a bunch of pink paint, quickly, while squinting, just dabbing at them with a large brush, making them blockier, and trying to make them feel like roses. Three are sort of in focus. The actually look less like roses then before, but feel more like roses.


What have I learned?
– Must be specific, not general, not lazy
– Look until you really understand the shapes in 3-D
– Paint loosely and confidently
– Hold the feeling in your mind while you are painting 
– Paint what you love!

early versions

this one was cute—maybe I regret the guitar.

Logistically I had to keep the two rabbits separated from each other and from the flowers and the guitar (so that tends to throw the proportions off).

Now that I painted the blue guitar, it is for sale. Nice Gibson 135, fantastic sound and sustain, easy reverb, nice set up ... I just don't need it anymore. Any takers?

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Like many older artists, I have thousands of dollars invested in slides and duplicates (and internegs and 4x5s). Thousands and thousands of dollars. One of my friends kept a copy of them in the safe deposit box. Now, I am getting rid of them.

I had beautiful slides but the conversion to digital was awlful -- even though I know Photoshop very well -- awlful. The color on everything on my website is horrible and none of it is large enough in pixels now.

Yesterday I started rephotographing everything I care about in digital, as I wanted to put them together in a book of some kind. I like to do it outdoors in the shade to get nice colors. Ok, fine, everything will look better. Luckily since 2004 everything has been digital.

But what to do about paintings that are long gone? Some collectors I can contact but don't think I will contact many. I don't want to find out how many pieces got damaged or disappeared or whatever -- I don't want to know. And some collectors are anonymous.

So my collection will be a bit weak -- people often buy the best pieces.

Now -- off to crop (and slightly distort) hundreds of images in photoshop !

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