Wednesday, February 27, 2008

News: I will be teaching a still life workshop in my new studio on March 15th and 16th. Class size is limited to five students. The class will run from 10-4 Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $75 for one day or $130 for both days. Oils or drawing materials only - sorry no acrylics or watercolor. Anyone interested should contact me through the comments section or go to my website and send me an e-mail.
This is 99.99% finished (the front sleeve needs a smoother transition from light to dark). More on this piece later...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A great model who can hold a one minute pose for five; a piece of soft charcoal with just the right amount of grab; I love to draw.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Finished it. This one really sunk in on me in places (the whole blue-black velvet cloth and the area under the table); I will have to wait until I can varnish it to see the full effect. I am pleased with this piece and think it came out reasonably well. It is fairly large, 30" x 36", and is a satisfying addition to the pile for my fall show - feels good to have a big one in my back pocket.

I changed the way I think about finish with this painting. Instead of thinking about finish as a separate stage I tried to incorporate the finish into the painting from the beginning; rather than ask myself the question "what more can I do?" I asked "what does it need to be finished?" Readers of this blog know that for the past two years I have struggled to finish paintings. I would launch into a painting with purpose only to wander endlessly within: I kept seeing new paths, new vistas, new ideas and felt I had to explore every one of them. The 30" x 36" still life I did for my last show took me two months to finish. With a new show coming up, I am trying to cut the Gordian knot, to move straight through a painting like an arrow launched from a bow (very Zen and the Art of Archery, not I have ever read it...) This one took about a month. Better.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Vissi D'Arte, Vissi D'Amore

This is not a new painting. I painted this when Tom and I were still living in New York City, about 15 years ago. We lived in our 500 sq. ft. studio then; I did this painting standing in the kitchen. Tom was occupying the middle of the studio working on a still life and he was taking forever with it. For a few weeks I fiddled with landscapes in a corner while I waited...finally I decided to just paint him painting.
I am glad I did: this is one of my favorite paintings and one of the few we have kept over the years. I gave it to him on our tenth wedding anniversary, a few months after we moved to Vermont, in memory of our first decade togther in our little studio.
We both love opera and Tom is particularly fond of Tosca (I think because the hero is a painter). In the middle of the opera the soprano sings a great aria "Vissi D'Arte, Vissi D'Amore" which means, roughly, "I lived for art, I lived for love" For years I told Tom I was going to put that on his tombstone. One Sunday afternoon in Vermont I went for a long walk; when I came home opera was blaring from the studio. I peeked in, only to see Tom, up on a ladder, lettering a beam with the motto "Vissi D'Arte, Vissi D'Amore".
He has his own blog now, Dammi i colori (guess what opera that is from), the link is on the left, check it out.