Rembrandt

I was so happy to find this painting online.

I was so happy to find this painting online.

It was in a show at the Getty Center titled ” The Promise of Youth; Rembrandts Senses Rediscovered.” They have a great article with some more paintings Rembrandt did when he was young.

The reason I was excited to see it is because I saw it before at the VMFA and tried to sketch it. I was stopped before I finished the sketch by a guard who told me no sketching was allowed. The reason I was told, was because they didn’t have the permission of the owner of the painting. It sounded weird to me because I saw an exhibit of Rembrandts at the High museum a couple years ago that was slam packed with people, and artists were in the crowd trying to sketch. I couldn’t even get close to the ones at the High. At the VMFA, I was alone in the gallery with these small Rembrandts, except for a few visitors. And when they came in, I backed up so as not to hog the Rembrandts. And yet, I was stopped from sketching this in graphite pencil here in Richmond, but there it is online for anyone to lift. I don’t get it.

 

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Richmond From Legend / oil painting and urban legend

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This is the story about the urban legend. When I moved to Richmond long ago, one of my first friends here asked me to drive her over to Southside to see her Dad. He was glad I brought her and wanted us to stay to eat. When he asked me about myself and found out I was new in town, he wanted to tell me things about Richmond that aren’t in the tour books. This is what he said.

“If Richmond is your home, you can go away. You can live and work somewhere else, but you will come back to live and work here again.”

I asked him if it was true and he said yes. I asked him why, but he didn’t know. I thought that did bode well for Richmond, because not every community has that attitude of expecting you to come back if it is your home. And it makes common sense too. Then I didn’t give it another thought for a lot of years until my daughter, Sarah moved to Atlanta.

Now, Atlanta’s a lot of fun, but it’s too far away, so I told Sarah about the urban legend, hoping she’d come back. She didn’t believe it was a true urban legend, but I said I don’t think the old timer made it up. Then one time Sarah was talking to a friend of hers who knows the urban legends here and asked about it. The friend said yes, it is a true urban legend that you will come back to Richmond. And she had another good piece of information.

How to Break Richmond’s Spell.

Dance Out of Monroe Park.

Isn’t that great?! I could do that! hahahahah !!

And here’s another good thing. Sarah left Atlanta and it looks like she might settle down in Norfolk, which isn’t Richmond, but it’s not too far and Norfolk is nice.

About the painting. WHEW!! That was difficult. A few years ago I wouldn’t have even attempted to draw it, but since I’ve tried to draw architecture a few times, I thought I could do it. The perspective isn’t perfect, but it’s not bugging me, so maybe no one will notice where I went off.

I had to work on it at home a lot because of the heat and humidity around here. It’s too hot out for your plein air painter. I got my colors mixed up at Legend and went back to check what I did at home against real life and made corrections. I wished the Legend Brewery themed show at Artworks was in the winter instead of Aug.

I painted the sky at home on a couple rainy days, from imagination.

The windows. I didn’t use my ruler for the windows, but I used my #2 round brush as the width of my lines. It’s easy to paint skinny lines if you paint in the couch with Maroger Medium. I hoped to catch the reflections. To check my lines I look down the edge of my canvas  the way you look down the edge of a piece of plywood to see if it’s warped. I had to try to paint the windows even though it was time consuming. The thought of the buildings without windows sounds nightmarish to me.  The city is more than just boxes made of steel and concrete. It’s layers of people working.

I wanted to paint the Federal Reserve so it would shimmer a little. So I did a layer of cool gray and let it dry. Then went over it with a glaze of warm white and scraped through it with a comb to show the first layer of gray coming through. And went over the lines with my palette knife scratching off more lines of paint.

The James River. I mixed up my colors on the floodwall. I didn’t copy nature, but arranged the rapids so some would fit in. Then I faked the river in at home.

Lucky Strike / oil

Metaphorically speaking, this painting talks too much.

Metaphorically speaking, this painting talks too much.

I painted it in the winter, but saved it till now for my show at the Glen Allen Cultural Art Center in June. I want to invite everyone to come out on June 2 from 6 to 9. They will have a lot of art and performances, food and drinks. It will be fun!

OK. What is it this painting won’t shut up about? The list goes on and on. I’ll tell you some of it. First it was about male and female, earth and sky, what’s timeless. It was about a beautiful view in a historic neighborhood that might be blocked by condos. The condo plan is scrapped for now, as far as I know.

Then it talked about Richmond’s history, the tobacco industry, and now, warehouses being converted into offices and condos. It told me, Richmond will never be invaded from that direction again, because the Indian Cincinnati

This is Cincinnati by Paul Di Pasquale

This is Cincinnati by Paul Di Pasquale

is on the roof guarding us. My view from the hill was to his back.

And before I was finished with the painting, it got on the subject of good guys and bad guys, and the strange conversations I had with them when I was up there working on the painting. Funny, the cop didn’t ask me if I saw the perp, and the perp didn’t ask me if I saw the cop, so I didn’t tell either that the other one was there. It’s too much to type, but if you have the time, I’ll tell the story.

About the Indian, Richmonders will remember seeing him glaring down from the eaves of the Diamond and striking terror into the other teams. Now you can see him from Dock St. I think he looks great up there, but he’s out in the weather.

This is what I remember from high school. Cincinnati was an ancient Greek who got drafted into the army and had to leave home to fight. He was so outstanding in battle that they won every time, and then they wanted to make him king. He said, “No thanks, I’ll go back to my farm.”

Fearless in Poe’s Garden / oil

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The opening of the upcoming art show “Poe’s Enchanted Garden” happens with their “Unhappy Hour” on May 26. You should go, it will be good.

Chris S. at the Poe museum told me the cats worked together and caught a squirrel. They had it cornered. The garden was set up for an event with a huge white canopy and tables with black tablecloths. The cats dragged their victim into the formal set up!  Later, I wondered if it was a wedding, and if the bride fainted at the sight of the squirrel’s murder. It seemed somehow appropriate for the Poe Museum.

The Redbud trees and Tulips are from my memory. Redbuds are bushy little trees, and there’s no room for one, but I put them in the scene, because I think Poe might have liked them. Just imagine they’re espaliered. hahaha, yeah, I espaliered them for Poe with the magic of art.

I  tried to draw that planter  4 or 5 times on paper. Every time, when I got home, I’d look at it and think, that’s close, but not right. So I traced my sketch and tried again on another paper. Finally, I got it to look  symmetrical and right proportionally, then drew it again on the canvas. I was still making corrections with paint, until I decided it was close enough. The planter has a little green bush and some pansies, not Tulips. I wanted to put Tulips in so the painting could have a line of bright red flowers.

It’s a great thing about art, you can make changes to a scene if you want to. A plein air artist doesn’t have to record the scene as it is in real life. I’m using naturalistic colors and values by mixing my paint outside in natural light and trying to match my colors to what’s there. That’s what makes it look like “Realism”.  If you go to the Poe Museum, you will be able to see how much this differs from reality.

 

 

Sky High Flowers / oil

I used my artistic license-a lot.

I used my artistic license-a lot.

First, I eliminated a few trees that didn’t seem necessary  to paint. A tree on the left was blocking my view of the door, and a couple other trees were filling up the sky too much. Then I moved those big flower pots off the stage and put them in the grass there ( with the magic of art). The Daffodils aren’t really there, either. I faked in the shadows on the walk.

See the photos below stripping off the layers of paint all the way back to my underpainting, and photos of the scene as my camera sees it. You can compare my naked eye’s perspective to the camera’s perspective.sky high flowers glazes

This photo shows the background and wall finished with the tree and flower pots still in the underpainting stage. I did my underpainting in the complimentary colors. The flower pots are blue green in real life, so I underpainted them in orange. The tree is a warm color, so I underpainted it in cool gray.sky high flowers underpainting

This photo shows my underpainting in complimentary colors. The green grass is red at this stage, and the pink sidewalk is green. The blue sky is underpainted in a peachy colored gray. all on top of my violet tinted canvas.

If you compare these photos, you can see how I changed the color of the stone wall from warm to cool and back to warm again. That’s something you can do with oil paint if you use glazes, that you can’t do with another kind of paint, or process. all the layers and changes the painting goes through help to give the illusion of depth. The last stages of adding color are close to what I see in nature, and some of the complimentary colors still show through. It looks like the violet is showing through, to me. I don’t know if you can see it on your computer, but it’s under all the layers influencing everything. The violet is a hard color to kill. I like the way it shows through so many layers, but it’s not VIOLET anymore. Do you know what I mean?

I used Alvi’s Maroger Medium, and painted my glazes in the couch. If you want to paint like a master, (hey, why not try?) You neeeeeeed Maroger medium, and paint in the couch, like the old masters. Start with thin glazes and build up more opaque layers on top. Start in the background, and get that to look right with the middle ground before painting the foreground. If you want your light areas to come forward, you have to take the time to work on the shadows first.IMG_1666

The tree on the right is my Magnolia. The flowers were gone by the time I took this photo.  This is how the scene looks to the camera. If I painted from a photo, my painting wouldn’t look up close and personal. It would give the painting a cold distant feel.

Can you see in the photo, rings going around the bark of the Magnolia? That’s a detail I overlooked. I was talking to a gardener, and she told me the rings are made by Sapsuckers!! It looks like the rings belong there. The gardening lady told me the tree is still healthy.IMG_1657

Here’s a photo of a few flower pots on the stage. I put the Tulips and Daffodils into my painting at home on a rainy day, from memory.

Under the Weeping Cherry / oil

weeping cherry

Welcome to my secret hideout!

I’m not the only kid who likes this tree. I was sitting on a root mixing up my colors and saw a boy come over to the outside of the tree. He was probably around 8, I guess. He stuck his face in a big clump of flowers and shook his head around in it. A lot of petals fell and he watched them come down. Then he left and rejoined his group. I don’t know if he saw me through the branches, or not.

I thought it was pretty cool, the kid loves nature too.

This painting went through a lot of changes. You can see the process in the photos below, stripping off the layers all the way back to my underpainting, with some talk about the old school ways of  painting, which is glazes painted in the couch, with Maroger Medium.  I’ve looked at this painting for weeks now, and can’t decide about it. I need fresh eyes to tell me what you see. IMG_1641

This photo shows the white flowers painted on, with the tree and branches still in the underpainting phase. I had to finish the background before the tree bloomed, because the white flowers should be on top of the background colors. And then the branches are on top of the flowers.  I started weeks ago, because this tree blooms fast, then it’s over in a few days and covered with green leaves. So my background was dry before I put the white flower glazes on top of it.IMG_1639

This photo shows the background finished with some lines painted in to plan my branches coming down. I wanted the viewer to be able to see some of the background through the branches. That’s why I need fresh eyes to look at this. I know what’s in the background, because I painted it. Can the viewer see the steps, pink trees and Daffodils? This painting is all about the Weeping Cherry, though, so, I planned to cover a lot of  the background. IMG_1635

This is my underpainting in the complimentary colors of what I planned to use. It’s on a violet tinted canvas, which is influencing the colors. The part I wanted to be green grass, I underpainted in green’s complimentary color, which is red. I used a brownish red. And the ground under the tree, I wanted to make  a warm brown in the light and gray in the shadows, so I underpainted in with green. I underpainted the sky in a peachy orange. The violet is showing through. You can see where I scribbled some shadows under the tree with charcoal, but I wasn’t happy with that, at this stage, and changed my shadows later.

the Dark Horse Unfettered / oil

color theory experiment #2

color theory experiment #2

If you’d like to see the process of layering oildarkhorse glazes paint in glazes, see the photos below, stripping off the layers all the way back to my underpainting.

This step shows the horse’s head moved higher on his neck than my model. And he’s now underpainted in reddish brown.

I’m calling the foreground grass finished at this point. I had a devil of a time with it.  It was difficult to mix the right color, and one day I put a glaze over the grass of a more yellowish tan and later, wasn’t sure if it looked ok.  So I left it overnight to decide the next morning. When I got up the next day, that color looked sooooo bad on there, I almost went back to bed. hahahahahhaha So I used turp on a paper towel and wiped the offending tan color off before it was too dry, and tried shades of green again, which looked better. That’s one thing I like about painting this way. You have time to make corrections, and you can totally redo a large area.darkhorse, glazes

This photo shows the sky and background vegetation finished.

The foreground grass is still too choppy, but ok in the showing of depth, because I grayed it up a little behind the horse, and didn’t gray the green in the foreground.

I don’t know how much you can see on your computer, but that paint is on there thick.

This is my 2nd layer of glazes on the sky. I painted it on with brushes, then went back in with my palette knife to blend the edges between the colors a little. The palette knife made a texture like icing a cake. I left the texture in it.

Then for the background vegetation, I mixed up a neutral medium gray. a tan with gray, and reddish gray, and painted on blobs of each color. Then came back in with my palette knife and scratched lines through the colors to make a grassy or tree like texture. Some of the violet ground shows through.

I went to green on the foreground  from the reddish brown at this stage. Totally flopping the spectrum on the grass. Hoping that makes the green nice and bright.

darkhorse, glazes

This photo shows one layer of glazes in pink and blue on the sky, and one layer of glazes in reddish brown on the foreground. You can see a stripe of gray behind  the horse.

When I did the glazes on the sky, I painted into the horse’s head with my sky colors. I almost obliterated the whole head. Also I cut into the horse’s body with sky colors. Not a problem. I wiped off some of the paint so I could estimate where his head should be. It took the green off all the way back to the violet tint.

So, at this point, I have a green horse, that I want to finish as reddish. And a reddish brown ground that I want to finish green. Both the horse and the ground are painted in the complimentary colors of the finished colors I wanted.

The violet tint on the canvas shows through a lot at this point. Even when I’m finished, and the paint is thick layers, I still think the violet is influencing the way the colors show up.darkhorse, glazes

This photo shows my horse underpainted in green. After I finished the underpainting, I decided to move the horse’s head up to a more natural position, which means, this is going to get painted over. You can see the violet tint on my canvas. I couldn’t wait to kill the violet, so I went over the sky area with a neutral gray. Some violet is showing through. And it makes the neutral gray look greenish.

I think this color experiment came out better than my 1st try with the horses I called Wild and Free. I’m going to try the violet tinted canvas for one more painting.

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