Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Oil Portraits

I have been working on a cp portrait commission, but also recently finished two oil portraits that I thought I'd post here. The first portrait is of Brian (my favorite model and test subject) and is on canvas. The second one is on Rtistx pastel panel. For my first oil portrait, I kind of just dove in and didn't pre-mix any of the colors, but rather mixed them as I went along. My palette was a complete unorganized mess for most of the time I worked on this piece, but it was a good learning experience. For the second portrait of Caitlyn, I tried pre-mixing a few colors I knew I'd use, but I also worked in a somewhat chaotic manner as I had to wipe all of the paint off the board after working for several hours because the panel did not absorb the paint in the same way that the canvas did. All in all I really enjoy working in oil because I tend to like to start with basic shapes and blocks of color, developing detail as I go.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goodbye to Winter Blues

Just in time for spring, I have sold Winter Blues and it is now officially in the hands of its new owner! I vividly recall creating this piece at a time I felt overcome by the blues and greys of the landscape, and I was very much yearning for spring. Still, I've heard people say (and I agree) that this piece has a bright and optimistic feel. Perhaps the spring bloom will inspire a future outdoor figurative painting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

This past Monday, March 9th marked exactly two years since I began my career as an artist, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to look back at my progress thus far. I am so thankful for the support and encouragement of my husband Brian, who also happens to be a very good model. Over the past two years, I have drawn/painted Brian in various techniques and media. Here I have posted a series of portraits of Brian, starting with quick sketch from 2006 and ending with a snapshot of an oil portrait I just finished.

pencil on paper, 2006

colored pencil on bristol board, 2007

colored pencil and water-soluble pastel on sanded board, 2008

pastel on sanded paper, 2009

oil on canvas, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Faces of Spring Reception

The Faces of Spring reception was a great success, with numerous portraits on display and drawing a large crowd. I am pictured above standing by my portrait; the other shot is of the crowd and gallery. In addition to the artwork on display, exhibiting artists provided portfolios of their portraiture. The exhibition will be on view through April 19th, 2009. For more information, see

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Colored Pencil, Pastel, and Oil

I recently completed two miniature portrait commissions (David and Isabela), and I found that working in colored pencil was well suited to achieving the detail I wanted in this small format. Although I have completed some larger portraits in colored pencil (Self Portrait with Tea is an example), I find that working with the small point of a pencil on such a large work can be tedious when working on areas of the painting that I wish to be less detailed or resolved. I do not usually start my paintings with detailed drawings, but rather simple sketches that provide the basic framework for the painting. Also, I find that my preferred method is to work very loosely in the beginning laying down broad shapes and colors, and becoming more resolved as I go. I was able to employ this method with colored pencil by using water soluble pastel crayons to create an underpainting in works such as Winter Blues.

Recently I have also been working in pastel, which I find more conducive to my style of laying down large areas of color. I use soft pastels almost exclusively, and can create smooth sweeping strokes or textures very quickly, and use the edges of the pastel for detailed work. Once applied, pastel can be blended very smoothly, a quality that I find especially useful when rendering children (Cate and Allison are two examples of my portraits in pastel).

This week I started my first oil portrait, and despite the huge learning curve, I am finding that it is quickly becoming my favorite medium for rendering portraits. Oil seems to be the most versatile, as I can start with an underpainting in sepia tones, or lay down large blocks of color, and still get the detail I want. I like that I can easily move the paint around the canvas, and come back to the piece the next day with the paint still wet. In fact, it’s so easy to manipulate, that I find it difficult to call it “finished”! Another benefit is that I work on an easel, which allows me to easily step back and continuously evaluate whether or not I am capturing the likeness.

My subject for this oil painting is Brian, who I also recently painted for my first pastel portrait. Next week I will post a photo of my progress on the oil portrait, and show a comparison of Brian in pastel and oil.