Friday evening. Once again I am taking figure and portrait painting again with artist Robert Liberace at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia. The Friday evening was a great class.
Rob’s class in the evening has grown to the point where we now fill two classrooms. I was pretty torn on which classroom to work in. Both model’s were great and we had one for three poses and the other for two poses. I opted to remain with John even though the model in the other room was dramatically lit.
Rob had us working on a grissaile underpainting. Once the shadows were in, he had us take black, raw umber and mix it with some white. The paint was not thick and of course not too thin. I know that sounds like a bizarre description but it should be all paint, and you don’t want it runny. He varied the amount of white to completely model the anatomy with the understanding that we would be ready to add very subtle color next class.
I ran in to some difficulties and I never really got to the black.umber/white stage. I was ok with that since it’s better to make sure your shadows are completely accurate before moving on.
I attempted plein aire painting again with my friends and their neighbor. They set up on Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria VA and everyone was painting something different. I chose to paint a pretty yellow flower shop and it was fun. This picture was taken right as I quit painting so the shadows weren’t there when I started painting. I did so-so on the final result but I feel like at least I am improving. One older man complimented me and told me plein airs were supposed to look primitive 😦
The comments I received from folks passing by were interesting. People I didn’t know would stop and say if they did or didn’t like the work; most are very encouraging and some were a tad smarmy. The most interesting questions I had were from a 7 year old who felt I had too many colors (yellow, red, blue, umber and white) lol. He was really interested in painting and it sounded like he had a real interest in art, so I really tried to answer his questions seriously.
I didn’t like the finished painting there and it’s hanging and drying near my dinning area. It still needs some work, but I happened to glance over at it this evening and I was surprised to see that it looks pretty from a distance (I am sitting about 10 feet away from it right now and it looks fairly decent). I will take a better photo of it and repost it later this week.
I learned that it’s a mistake to paint a building full on, kind of the same way that you’d want a sitter to be a three-quarters view versus full frontal when posing for a portrait. My shadows and trees weren’t dark and I didn’t spend enough time on the building next to the florist (the lady who lived there was thrilled to see her house in a painting!). I did ok editing some things out (cars some of the plants). So I learned some but most importantly had fun.
My friend’s neighbor did her first ever oil painting and it was great! We all had so much fun we decided to paint every Saturday while the weather holds. I can’t wait. Painting every day or every other day seems to be making a difference for me.