Sunday, 7 March 2010

Rembrandt Homage I

After spending so much time on my finicky Cup and Lemon Painting which took lots of phases to complete, all I wanted to do was let rip with an expressive charcoal 'something'; quick and easy and fun. Why I ended up processing a realistic homage to a Rembrandt self-portrait doesn't seem to make sense at first, but I started this work, loose and free, attempting to capture the basic form and likeness and then it just became more and more closely aligned with the original in all its aspects. I was working from an A4 size photograph of the painting on to an A2 piece of cartrdige paper. I wanted 'big' so I could free myself up from the rigours of painting on small formats, but I hit a snag, and I learned a lot from this. I was aware from the start that this up-scaling of the original would be challenging but I didn't know how just how demanding an exercise it would be. I couldn't get it exact, and Rembrandt's nose is wrong, but practice and investigation of rendering accurate proportions and measurements will get me there eventually. What I found hugely interesting was just how dramatic and stark Rembrandt's values are in contrast to one another. His darks are really dark and it took hours of standing back and saying to myself "nope - it needs more cross-hatching there" and then standing back again and finding out that even more shading was necessary. I'm leaving it alone now as there is just too much charcoal on the paper to make any adjustments. Another nice part of this experiment was not having brushes and palettes to clean up. Lordy, I'm getting lazy. Now, off to vacuum the charcoal dust of the carpet.

"Rembrandt Portrait - Variation I"
Charcoal & White Pencil on Cartridge Paper - 16.5" x 23.5"

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Guess Who? Work in Progress.

I've stopped posting works in progress, because I felt they made my blog look untidy, but I just felt like posting a detail of this charcoal drawing I was working on tonight. It is going fairly well, but after sitting back and looking at it for a few minutes I can see exactly what the mistakes are. So I am back to work on it tomorrow after the fixative dries. Charcoal is magic stuff when you get the hang of it. I had been doing some sketching in the past few weeks and they were all complete trash and that is where they ended up. I am just hoping I can 'hold steady' and keep this one from ending up in the bin. More tomorrow hopefully, and hopefully this one is clickable.

"Portrait in Progress" (Detail)
Charcoal on Cartridge Paper

Monday, 1 March 2010

Art Shop - Re-posted. (Clickable Pics).

In trying to make something of this painting I realised that for the first two months of this year, I have been painting 'against myself'. I haven't been 'in the flow' so to speak, and even though that is true from time to time for everyone alive trying to navigate this mundane plane, I really find that when it comes to painting, my expectations for success are probably too high. To be fair to myself, I am only painting on weekends at the moment, and I cannot get anywhere except in fits and starts.

I took the photograph of this local art shop at night just after the rain and liked it so much that I decided to turn it into a painting. Not wise. Capturing that strange yellow light on the pavement and the effects of the flourescent starbursts against the dark was very difficult. I've left it in this 'sketchy' style as I have decided not to take it any further. I have learned all I can from it. I also couldn't get the canvas as taut as I would have liked and I am fed up with canvas as a ground. I like panels, so I am not going to test canvas any more. I think I am also going to give up painting such large areas of darkness as this has proved to be almost impossible to photograph because of the glare.

"Art Shop"
Oil on Canvas - 14" x 16"

The Inspiration.