Morning Visitor

 

Imagine this - it is early morning and 5 below zero.  You stumble down to the kitchen to make some coffee.  While at the kitchen sink, you find that you are nose to nose with a snowshoe hare!  I couldn't believe my good fortune.

I ran to my studio and grabbed the first piece of pastel paper I saw along with a stick of vine charcoal and headed back to the sink.  I figured a quick gesture was all I would get... but maybe two drawings if I was lucky.  As time passed, I realized that I was actually getting time to do a decent drawing and the hare was still there... get the pastels!!!!  

I try to define what causes me to want to paint something prior to working.  Of course, I was in a huge hurry, but it was so clear what was most intriguing to me.  Both the hare and the snow were white, but one was a very cool white and the other very warm.  It was an extreme contrast. Bingo!  I was motivated even without some coffee!

 Morning Visitor     Pastel     8x9

Morning Visitor     Pastel     8x9

I think that due to the cold temperature and air movement, my little visitor decided that seeing movement through the window was a lesser evil than moving away from the building.  He did keep a close eye on me though, which I tried to get into the painting.

To add icing to the cake, Bob Bahr, previously editor with the Outdoor Painter Online Magazine picked up the image on social media and did a little blurp on my morning visitor in the January 16, 2017 issue!  http://www.outdoorpainter.com/parting-shot-rare-hare-sighting/

It was my lucky day!  

   

   

Playing with Figures

I have long wanted to work more with the human form.  It is something that I just do not seem to get around to tackling.  I do frequent life drawing classes and have even attempted working in oils while studying the figure.  That being said, I have never tried to develop a painting using figures... until now!

 All in a Day's Work     Oil / Canvas

All in a Day's Work     Oil / Canvas

The irony is this painting started out as a series of drawings done from an apartment window over morning coffee.  While visiting, I couldn't believe my good fortune that I could see down into a construction site while all of the workers were heading off to their daily tasks!  It was intense, early morning sun which cast shadows of a multitude of colors... I was in HEAVEN!  I did not have my paints with me, but did have my every-ready sketchbook!  I took photos, but found that most of my information for this painting was gathered from careful notes and sketches of figures and their shadows. Mind you, they were very crude and simple drawings... but enough to convey my own excitement to me at a later date.

I stuck to my original idea for the most part.  The focal area was the figure in front of the dark shadow.  I included the shadow to the left of him as well as his own shadow.  For this reason, I gave this area higher contrast with the building behind, more details and shapes that I attempted to connect.

I struggled a little with whether to get 'ruler' straight with all of this construction, but felt that it would enhance the painting to leave lines freehand and a little lopsided.  The front table definitely had that going on already and I felt that I wanted a sense of human quality in all of the geometry. 

The added painting bonus was the textures!  I wanted to do the whole thing in concrete, it was so fun to paint!  I even broke loose with a palette knife.

I am inspired to get to work on some more figure paintings!  In the meantime, however, I have the good fortune of attending a Jill Carver plein air workshop next week... Life is full of great learning opportunities!