I wanted to share with you what I feel is the perfect way to spend a day, most especially a wonderful Sunday. My good friend of many years Shane McDonald has began a figure painting group on the weekends at his studio located at the Artists Resource Center in Marietta Georgia. Shane and I have known each other for years and began our friendship through a group he hosted for almost 15 years. Over the years I've found a home with that group of artists and have come to view them as my family. It is for me one of the strongest connections to any group of people I've thus far enjoyed in my life. It is also where I happened to meet the love of my life, the lovely Ms. Goodman, "aka the LMG". Though time keeps marching on and relationships and friendships change I still feel deeply connected to the members of this group. We've all seen each other through the ups and downs of life and have a long and comforting history with each other. With the help and support of each other we have all grown and improved our skills as artists and visual thinkers. I was raised as a military brat and was constantly on the move for most of my early life till I reached adulthood or at least I was able to vote. A gift like this was something I thought I'd never have or expected. Thankfully, I've settled down a little in my life and proven to myself I could indeed have some long term relationships with other humans. I credit this mainly to the fact that they are a very tolerant group who has learned through the years that some music, laughter and good times making art and the addition of a few glasses of wine can see us through almost anything. It is to each of them I wish to say many thanks my friends!
We seem to always follow the same process each week during our 3 hour session. We begin with a series of gesture drawings lasting approximately 2 minutes each. This is a clay coated panel I was using and attempting to capture the proportions and movement of our lovely model Stephanie. Some models I find I always get a great session from, others not so much. Stephanie was someone I hadn't worked with before today and I will tell you unabashedly that she was magical as a muse to me and others in the group. She was graceful and fluid in her movements.
Just perfect! I prefer to paint generally and I always use a brush and a little paint to do my gesture sketches. I've been fairly successful at selling many of these, as they become rather abstract representations of the human form. I try and take a little care in composing the page out of these short poses.
Once we are warmed up so to speak we move on to a long pose which the model will hold for the rest of the session in 20 to 25 minute intervals. I was very happy with this effort and it came together rather quickly. I mainly concentrated on the figure, mirror and placing the carpet. After the model left I added much of the background elements. I was working on a clay board panel for this piece as well and I have to say that this being my first time trying them, I found both good and bad things about the surface. The clay quickly drinks in the oil mixture, which makes it harder to manipulate or change. The good news is that this cuts down on the glare from the lights which might be useful for painting outdoors. I found that until I had several passages of paint on the surface it was extremely difficult to move or blend the paint. Even with a rather thick passage it was not long before it sat up and became difficult to work with. Over time if I keep using this material I'm sure I'll find a work around.
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Till next we meet, I wish you laughter, love, good food, music and plenty of art!