Archive for September, 2008

The Jazz Man- New Painting

September 22, 2008

Skin tones. Not skin colors. That’s what I was going for with this one.

The Jazz Man 8X10 oil on panel

Limited palette: ultramarine, alizarin, raw umber, titanium, black and letting the values of light and dark define the features.

I sketched first with vine charcoal on a tinted canvas.

I went at it with squinting eyes to let the contrasts be prominent and laid in the darks first. Then went back into it with lights and mid tones.

Squinting eliminates detail and lets the brush strokes loose.

I did some softening of the colors and features from this step to arrive at the finished one above. If kept at it, I’d have not known when to stop, short of trying for eyelashes. I wanted to capture some essence and not get hung up on details….

It’s been raining for days and after the dry dust bowl we’ve been through the entire summer, we’re now getting 10 inches of rain in 2 days.

In between curtains of falling water, I took clothes off the line and was met by this guy, who also espoused squinting ……

Our local tree frog. In a planter under the clothesline.

Extreme Home Takeover

September 16, 2008

This is a female Antillean Bull Finch.

She’s merely adding her flourishes to an already existing nest, which was just laboriously completed and inhabited by a completely different breed of bird: the Bananaquit– our territories’ official bird, below.

Bananaquit photo courtesy of Judy Wolfe thanks, Judy.

I watched this bird build its’ nest, one unidentifiable strand at a time, weaving thin threads with its’ beak ( try tying shoelaces with one hand…) and repeating this for days until the beginnings of a nest started to form.

Hundreds of flights, arranging strands with the precision of an atelier dressmaker, fashioning an entry opening in the bottom of the nest so she can fly under, up and in her home. Safe from predators.

Other aggressors that would want what she worked so long to have.

She settled in, both she and the male taking turns with the finishing touches. Having finished to their satisfaction, they left to find food.

They came back and found the little lady in the top photo, busy re-arranging, modifying, usurping their rights, deciding that she knew what was best for herself and her own family rights and the hell with the others.

Now homeless, the bananaquits have to start this laborious process all over again.

I guess this makes the female bullfinch the official hostile home takeover agent.

Better keep your eye on that other female takeover agent. Seems to be a portent of a parallel of reality.

Thought your home was yours, your rights protected or that you mattered? A lot of bull in that finch.

No art to post- politics is enough to make your blood boil and your hands shake.

Watercolor of Water Color- A Painting in the Incubator

September 12, 2008

I’m not a watercolor artist but I like using them for quick, studies before I start a painting. It gives me some idea of placement of figures, relationships to each other and their background, and some color balance.

Saw these two brothers at a pocket beach and liked the way big brother turned to look after his charge and the way the little guy followed in his steps. Great to have trees on a beach- you can jump behind a bough and shoot anonymously.

Needs some adjusting in the twist of the big brothers’ body at right, but now I can see it.

Consider this a partial WIP, and when the finished painting is ready, I’ll post it. Maybe this will get Bill of “ On Painting ” off my back for a few days……..

A must mention here of Mike Rooneys‘ blog. I asked him a question about color values and he didn’t just give me a perfunctory answer. He gave me a tutorial- a set of Cliff Notes, a mini Wikipedia of instructions on how to learn to see color better. Please have a look at his blog, see his wonderful paintings that are filled with light, and observe how a flatbed truck can make you wish you could paint one like this. And then chief those same notes about looking at color.

I learned the difference between zoom and digital zoom on my new camera. THIS is digital zoom.

Get a room……

They did, and it happened to be our deck.

August Sun- New Painting

September 1, 2008

August and September. It’s hot. You do the physical work in the early morning or late afternoon.

9X12 oil on linen

Sometimes you have no choice- the works’ got to get done. I was taken with the contrasted colors of his red t-shirt, the cool, blue pool ( not mine…..), and the white hot concrete around the edges. Like an iced, frosty cola, the shadows showed me where the cool spots were. August Sun– seemed appropriate.

Noel Coward does a very saucy, perky rendition of Mad Dogs and Englishmen , here:

And then you can add to those two species who don’t know enough to stay out of the midday sun, this extraordinary creature that popped out of one of my plants when I hosed some in the backyard. I don’t know who was more shocked! I’d never seen anything this, well, GREEN!

Learn more about Green Iguanas here:

She’s a juvenile, already about 12″ long, was serenely checking me out, waited for me to come back out with my camera, and then ( the best part ), she took a piece of pink guava from my outstretched hand and ate it!

Now I may have to spend more time out in the midday sun….