Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Behind the Scenes

The photo above is of a corner of the small, former bedroom that I use as both a library and painting studio (most of my art-related books are on the wall opposite the one shown).

As I've mentioned from time to time, I majored in commercial art as an undergraduate and took a number of drawing and painting classes wherein the instructors were careful not to teach us much for fear of destroying our "creativity." After college, I dropped art to do other things that probably paid better. A few years ago I took up painting again. This was mostly because I was curious as to whether or not I might have been any good at it had I received any real instruction.

My main source of instruction is books, supplemented by visits to art museums and an occasional free demonstration at a local artists paint manufacturer. But it's all really a back-burner activity; I seldom paint, devoting my energy to studying art and writing about it.

If you look carefully, you'll notice that the paints I'm using are acrylics. That's because they are more convenient to use than the messier, slow-drying oils that would probably work better for me were I a serious painter.

I'm still experimenting with styles as the three paintings in the photo indicate. My subjects tend to be pretty girls because (1) I like attractive females and (2) people are the most difficult subjects to paint because viewers can immediately detect errors, so this is a challenge. (When seeing a painting of an unfamiliar landscape, viewers have little means for telling whether or not the artist got things right. But people have seen various kinds of other people throughout their lives and therefore have a pretty good idea what's right and wrong about an image.)

The lowest painting is adapted from a black-and-white photo of 1930s actress Jean Harlow; I made no effort to duplicate it, though it is similar to the original. The middle one is from my imagination. The one on the easel was begun using a black-and-white photo of 1960s actress Ursula Andress; I liked the pose and needed a nice light and shade reference. But as you can see, I painted an imaginary face bearing little detailed relationship to Andress.

Enough about my hack work; now back to our usual programming....

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