Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sketch of Jame Riley and Bondo 12/2008

This is a 45 minute sketch of my two good friends. Jame is reading the book and Bondo (the fuzzy one) is , well, a cat that is especially lovable.  Bondo is my model for sociability as he will pretty much take a liking to almost anyone. His philosophy is that if your setting still, you must want company or something to play with and keep you occupied. He (Bondo) is a Russian Blue which makes him more dog than what one thinks of as typical cat behavior. He's all about being your best buddy.

In the case I don't get to say it to you directly, Happy Chanukah, which started at sundown today. Also Merry Christmas for those of you celebrating that special day.  Keep warm, close to those you love and be merry!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Stuff to check out!

On a roll here, with getting stuff out there for people to view, read, talk about and yes. even listen to. I've added a play list of music you may want to stroll through soon, say on a rainy winters day,
when you can just kick it and let the music sink in slowly.  This is a very eclectic mix of cuts from all over the universe so there will be just one or two you'll have to track down for yourself. Listen, comment and enjoy.

Along with the tunes I've posted some of my favorite places to stroll through looking at art and keeping up with what other respectable artist have to say!  Check out the list and explore some of the sites, you'll be glad you did. You can say what ever you like, but my thought is that there isn't one in the bunch that isn't worth giving a little time to while checking out their art and their head.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis the Season!

Seasons Greetings to all!  Yes I sent out an email card to all of you just express my thanks and acknowledge the fact that you make a positive difference in my life. The images for the card were taken here in my studio and I layed the card out in Adobe Illustrator. The story though is a little bit more interesting. 

What your seeing is the handy work of one of my Senior Students in Woodstock GA. Ms. Irena is from central Europe and is trained as a dessert chef.  She can do magic with chocolate (which she makes herself) and from time to time brings me a little treat to share with Laura, the love of my life. Laura is the chocolate fan, I enjoy watching her though.  Well, Irena out did herself this time and I thought it would be good to share her talent with the rest of you. I take no credit in their creation, just enjoying them.

Simply the message is that I'll miss seeing most of you over the holiday, but I'll be thinking of you and wishing each of you well. I'll look forward to catching up with you in 2009.

Send me an email of give me a call, your always welcome. 
Charles Scogins

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My alla-prima technique

"Tea for Two" is the latest in my painting a day series and was completed in about 4 hours total. It would have moved faster but for the fact that I photographed it at key points so I
could demonstrate my approach to alla-prima painting.  I've taught this direct approach over the years and found it very successful with beginning and intermediate students. I'll cover each step and convey the primary concerns of the painting at the point viewed. If you should have any question please leave a comment or email me from this blog page. I'll be happy to address anything that seems unclear.

The set up is critical, you have to balance the need for light to paint in verses dramatic lighting on the subject. To light the subject a single light source is best and will give you the deep shadows and extreme lights that are so exciting in classical paintings. I darken the room and only use two lights, a spotlight for the subject and a studio spot lamp I place behind me to act as a fill light to softly light the canvas. In this case it was placed behind me to the left so it wouldn't create any strange extra shadows or reflected lights in the subject.

This is the stage where everything will go wrong quickly if you don't take your time and think about what your doing. You are not trying to draw the objects at this point as much as you are
setting up the size and position relationships between the objects. To do this, take the time to measure and compare the size of each of the objects before you place your first stroke. If you have a cropping window use it to see the composition and figure out the placement of the objects on the canvas. In this case I chose to crop tightly on the objects because of the complexity of the Tea Set. If I had wanted to keep them simpler I could have pulled back and avoided painting much of the pattern on the ceramic pieces. The tight crop gave me a more intimate feeling which is a key part to the painting. The narrative for this piece could be about the quite relationships we have with those who are closest to us or the longing for that type of intimacy. It becomes the viewers story and you can make what you will of it which is important but for now we will stick to the technical aspect of creating it and discuss the esoteric values of painting later. 

Now that the composition and placement are set the next step would be to brake the components down into what is in shadow and what is in light. I have made some very basic statements here with an attempt at being sensitive to the value range and colors in the shadow areas of the subject.

Next I began to address the light side with the same broad general approach. Please note that I didn't try to paint around the pattern that will later appear in the painting. I simply looked for those areas of light and shadow and attempted to keep the value ranges separate. I also looked for some opportunities to begin to soften the shadows and place reflected lights in them such as on the lemon. It began to take on some form at this point and felt a little more credible.

Still working in the shadow areas I began to place the pattern on the ceramic piece in the back and the shadow side of the tea pot. I also continued to work on the modeling of the lemon.

I have continued into the light areas now bringing the pattern of the ceramics across into the light and adjusting my colors accordingly. I've also began to adjust the value and temperature of the lit surfaces.


This is fairly complete at this stage and in looking at it I was unhappy with the contrast between the teapot and other ceramic piece. It's always good to walk away from a painting at this stage and come back 15 or 20 minutes later to re-evaluate it. My final decision was to push the contrast and look for opportunities to add a little more color to make the piece sing.

After careful observation I noticed that the reflected lights on the shadow side of the tea pot were a yellow green and the deeper shadows had a violet or reddish cast to them. I also noticed more variation on the blue areas of the lit side of the pot. I pushed the piece to the back slightly darker to get the separation I was looking for. At this point I'm feeling the piece was a success. Give me another day or two and the flaws will appear. 

Don't worry, this is normal!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Keeping up with my commitment to paint and blog

Ok, It's December and I've not been following through on my commitment to post regularly on this page. You know all the excuses, too busy, holidays, etc.  So I'm going to modify my commitment. I will paint everyday (I've been good about that one) but the posting each day, well, I just don't have the energy behind that one for now. I feel if I can get on the computer once a week and attend to this I'll be doing well with it.

Each week I'll post images of what I've done and give an overview of what the pieces were about, thoughts, feelings, high and low points etc. I'll also post any events or happening in my process to reach out and make my work more visible to the world.

So you've scrolled through the new work for the week, enjoy and leave a comment if you see something you like, have some critical advice of just want to ask a question. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Better day, moving forward.

I ended yesterday with a few hours painting and produced a good solid little painting of avocados around midnight. Not a bad way to end the day!  

I had woken up early and got right to painting after a hard day yesterday. I started with a tangelo which I peeled in a spiral. I took some time looking at it from various angles with extreme lighting and settled on a composition that was landscape in nature. I started quickly checking the proportions and blocking in the shadows and light areas. Then moved into the mid-tones which pretty much completed the painting. I hit the painting again with the final layers of strong light and then found and restated the darkest accents in the piece. In all I was pleased with the result.  Even better the piece sold 5 hours after I had completed it.

Tomorrow brings the gallery opening reception and a chance to meet a larger circle of friends. If you read this please feel free to leave comments and any thoughts you might have. Your feedback is always welcomed. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday, Good Day, Bad Day, Tough Day!

Monday, Good day, Bad Day, Tough Day!  

That sort of sums it up for me right now. On a good note I got up this morning feeling focused and positive. I had had little sleep last night due to the fact that I was dropping off a sample portrait to the High Museum for an auction. I spent a good deal of the night designing a gift certificate for the auction and had a real struggle getting the colors to print correctly. It worked out though and I did get it in on time, after which I went to the Monday morning drawing group at the Atlanta Artists Center.  The model was Angie and she was wonderful to paint. For that time at least any troubles I had seemed so far away. Maybe that's why I keep at it, to experience that peaceful feeling when the rest of my world seems to be in such turmoil. 

The High Art Day's Auction was over by 4pm and I went back to pick up my sample portrait. No word yet on weather the gift certificate sold. I'll hear in a few days. I hate waiting to find out about stuff like this. I did sell one small painting today from a show that opened last Friday. I'm hoping for more sales as time goes on. The show will be up until mid December.  Junor Gallery is having it's opening this week as well on Thursday so I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. 

First, let me say thank you to everyone who responded to my email notice about this blog. Many of you had suggestions of how to make this engaging to those who would follow it, keep it fresh and keep them wanting to return. I will be following many of your suggestions, by adding content and links to other sites that talk about Art, Painting and living a creative life.

The main focus of this blog for me though is to have a platform to show and discuss the work I'm creating. Revealing my thoughts about the pieces as they develop and getting comments from all of you, I feel is important in my finding a direction for my work to move in. I hope it will also help me find a voice that has been missing in my work for too long. Like most creative people I have my own judgments about my work and sometimes don't really know the motivations that make me want to create it. I've taught for so long that I probably over analyze the process and just need to turn the thinking part of my brain off long enough to let what's inside come out in the paint.

Where all this leads is anyone's guess. I'm betting it's going to be a fun ride though and along the way I hope to make some friends, help others to get painting or expressing themselves. I personally think we just don't have enough creative thinking and rebellion in the world, so stirring the pot as it were could only come to some interesting creative solutions and help us think about freeing ourselves from the boundaries we keep putting in our own way.

Today I have 3 small offerings I created over the weekend. I'm happy with the results and have tried to up the challenge from my previous couple of pieces. What these have in common is my effort to make them less symmetrical, to lead the eye across the canvas to a destination where a story is revealed. I'm hoping to engage the viewer, to begins a conversation in which the viewer can participate by filling in the details and making the story more personal.

"So Good"(Shrimp with lemon wedges) was the first of this group. It was a challenge to get the feeling of things being wet. To accomplish this I had to be careful with my value relationships and place the high lights carefully.

"Tasty - Arkansas Blacks" (Apples) is very much about telling a story and engaging the viewer. It uses a simple device of a progression across the canvas to carry you to a conclusion. Like most stories it starts out innocently enough, is then faced with some sort of challenge (being cut in two) and finally left to wither and dry up like bones in the desert.  That's my story, you can read your own into it.

"Showing some Independence" is another narrative piece. I weighed the composition heavily to the right and let that one lone grape add some balance all on its own to the far left. I feel like that grape most of the time.

If you'd like to see these pieces in person you can visit Junor Gallery in Decatur GA.  They are having a opening reception this Thursday from 6pm till 9pm.  I will have nine pieces in the show and yes they are for sale. So showing up an buying some art would be appreciated.  Gallery details are as follows:
Junor Gallery Fine Art  
  A Royal Season
November 20 - January 15 
    Opening Reception
Thursday Nov. 20, 6 - 9 pm
114 E Ponce De Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030
Sun. 12-5 pm
Tues., Wed., Fri. 11 am-6 pm
Thurs. 11 am-7 pm

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm uploading some new pieces I finished. I've been painting at least one of these a day and thus far happy with the results. Feel free to comment, I'd be happy to know your 
thoughts. This is part of my painting a day series that I intend to continue till I build up my eye and skills and
I can turn off my brain and let it flow.

Getting started!

OK, time to dive in and start getting my art out into the world. So here is my first step in creating this blog to share with friends and others who will become friends. I want to connect with people who have a love and passion for painting and the arts. Weather you are a collector, gallery or artist I'd be happy to hear your ideas and thoughts. I'll be posting work on a regular basis as well as my thoughts, experiences and happenings with my art, teaching and adventures.  Please feel free to comment, share your thoughts and just stay in touch.