Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 9, 2008 Oil and Water

Here a few of the "starts" from the portrait painting workshop this week.

Well I have not blogged lately as there have been too many distractions going on to be able to update my blog. I have been doing my duties as the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National Slide Chairman for the past month. The show has been selected by our juror Ratindra Das ( it appears it will be really a great event. The opening reception will be at the beautiful Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson on Pascagoula Street. I still have some paperwork to attend to on that project but otherwise my job is done. I have been attending this week an oil paint portrait workshop, and it is taxing my brain, not to mention there is not enough botox and restylane in the world to correct these squint lines I am forming. I don't do portraits in my artwork as a general rule but I thought this would help me with my figurative work and in seeing values more clearly. I have not painted in oils in probably fifteen years and it has been an experience. One thing I learned is the oil paints do not go bad, most of my paint is at least fifteen years old and older and it has performed very well for me.

I must admit it was daunting to try oils again and especially a portrait workshop at that. It was quite a challenge to try and reproduce the model precisely, after so many years of painting in a more abstracted realism. I felt a confinement that I cannot quite put into words, it was almost a censorship type of feeling. I was terribly uncomfortable with it until the third day of the workshop, and for some reason at that point I began to understand the internal struggle I was having was counterproductive to me learning anything from the workshop. The lesson here is to try to enjoy the moment, whether you are struggling or whether you are painting as if it is second nature to you, it is all gain if you can let yourself see it as exercise for the mind. I did enjoy painting in oil for its tremendous attributes, although I could not help but wish for at least one nice liquid brush stroke on the canvas just to make it feel more normal to my hand. I have posted the "starts" I got in the workshop as that is all there was time to produce. I must add we had some great models, we had a young white female , an older asian man, a middle aged black man, an older white female, and older white male, and a young black female, which gave us the opportunity to study the variety of skin tones and textures in paint. I believe I learned a lot from the workshop and I am glad I took a week off to take the workshop. My point here to others is don't get stagnant in your work and a good way to avoid the stagnancy is to branch out and take a workshop or study some medium you do not normally use. I went to our life drawing group today and it was like a new beginning for me to draw the model, as I now had another arsenal of thought to flow through my mind as I drew the model. Variety is truly the spice of life.
Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!

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