Thursday, August 26, 2010

New York skies

July 20 24x36 oil, copyright Erica Keener

A quick trip back to Manhattan for this one.  Actually, it was painted several weeks ago, but the paint is so thick it has taken a long time to dry.  It's been awhile since I've done any of my abstracted sky paintings, and this one didn't start out that way.  Based on a photo I took from the terrace of our hotel, I originally intended to include a building under construction.  It was a beautiful clear day and the clouds were reflecting in the windows and showing through the unfinished skeleton of the structure.  But as I started layering the blues, they just sort of took over.  Usually a two hour stretch at a time is enough for me - my back gets tired and I start to get bored - but this time I went for about 3 1/2 hours before I quit.  The paint just kept getting thicker until I was almost sculpting it.  Too bad I didn't think about using a palette knife - I'll have to try that next time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Figuratively speaking...

One Minute Poses 18x24 charcoal, copyright 2010

It has been nearly 15 years (when I was in college) since I've done any figure drawing from a live model, so when the Preble County Art Center began offering Life Drawing I jumped at the chance.  Figure drawing was one of my favorite art classes and I've missed it, especially since it is rather difficult to draw one's own back!

I've gone twice now, and have made a few discoveries.  First, I am quite rusty and can definitely use the practice.  Second, I need to pay more attention to proportions - the heads tended to get too small.  Third, I really need to work on hands and feet - these are even more difficult for me than faces.  

On my Facebook page I've made an album of the drawings and plan on adding a couple of pieces each time I go to see how much progress has been made.   It should be an excellent opportunity to gain some experience.

Friday, August 13, 2010

That's how I roll

As I was recently contemplating a failed pastel of New York (aka a "wiper"), I had a bit of an epiphany about how I work.  I'm really not much of a planner.  I know this doesn't seem too revelatory to those who know me well, but bear with me.

After trips to New York City and out west, I was determined to do a series of paintings based on photos I had taken.  I gave it a lot of thought, went through photos, cropped them and played with images.  In other words, I spent a lot of time planning them out.  But looking back at all my paintings, these aren't the best ones.  The best ones are those that I had no idea I was going to paint until I stepped foot in my studio.  A few involved some minor planning - I did take the time to crop the photo of the brownstone, but it was only a few minutes before I started on the canvas.  And although I had considered the nautilus, it was an impulse the day I finally decided to paint it.

So, lesson learned.  I will have more paintings of the southwest and New York - when I feel like it, not when I think I have to.  Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go paint...something.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Corner storefront

Corner Storefront 8x10 oil, copyright 2010

There seem to be a lot of these storefronts on the corners in New York, and it was the arched windows of this one that caught my eye.   The entire first floor of the building consisted of these arches, and the symetry of it intrigued me.  It is actually a rather ornate structure which I simplified quite a bit.  It is also faced with a pale colored stone block which made for a monochromatic painting.  I took a some artist license and converted it to brick for more color.  This painting was done quickly as I wanted to give it a sketchy feel, almost as if it was plein air.