Posted on 2 Comments

Adjust, Adapt, Accommodate – Painting through Challenges

After several months of adjusting to challenges on several fronts, things are settling down and I am returning to painting in oils. In early February, I had the first of two surgeries on my hands, to create a new joint for the base of my thumb. I chose to have this done on my left, non-dominant, hand first, so that I could plan for the disability I will have when I am recovering from the same surgery on my right thumb later this year. The surgery I had is called a CMC arthroplasty, and I am fortunate to have nearby one of the best clinics in the country, the Andrews Institute of Orthopedics right here in Northwest Florida (thank you Dr. Steven Kronlage!). I was not comfortable using my oil paints when I started painting again, what with the mess I usually make and my left hand not being of much help, so I switched to watercolor paints for a little while. Below are a few of my watercolors painted en plein air during weekly outings with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters.

2016-0302 Village Church

2016-0309 Dune Impression

2016-0309 Dune in Bloom

2016-0309 Windy Dunes

2016-0316 Monet Ferns

I tried out watercolor canvas in my studio for the first time, and I liked it very much. After spraying several light coats of Golden archival spray (matte), the painting can be framed without glass, so the watercolor painting is open to the viewer, instead of being separated from the viewer by glass. I painted the painting below in the studio, to submit to a Cultural Arts Alliance show of watercolor paintings which Melissa Brown and I are coordinating for the A+Art Committee, whose mission is to showcase CAA member artists’ work in our Art in Public Spaces program. The show will open with a reception at 5:00 on April 1, 2016 at the Bayou Arts Center, 105 Hogtown Bayou Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. It will show through June 1, 2016.

2016-0304 The Red Boat
Click painting for purchase information.

I went to the local figure drawing session CAA holds every two weeks, thanks to Nancy Nichols Williams’ persevering efforts, which was managed by Liza Snyder this week. I should draw more often, to stay in practice, and I am looking forward to a reduction in my work hours at my job so that I can do just that. Below is one of my warm-up sketches from this week.

2016-0322 Avatar Light

And finally, this week, I broke out my oils again, after 7 weeks away from them, for the weekly painting session with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, on my friend Erika Stoyer’s backyard patio. My left hand now is strong enough to be able to wipe my brushes when I am cleaning them during the painting. The day was overcast almost the whole time, with the sun peeking through just as I was finishing up.

2016-0323 Genoa Patio

Posted on Leave a comment

Line Quality and Lost Edges

Joan Vienot I was privileged to be the guest artist at the figure drawing session at Studio b. this week while our regular instructor was on vacation.  My focus was on line quality and lost edges. Joan Vienot
Sometimes  the edge between the two shadows becomes indistinct.  The same thing can happen with light areas, or for that matter, any two similar values.  The edge becomes “lost”.  The artist knows it is there, and the temptation is to draw it, but the piece generally ‘reads’ better and is more interesting if some edges remain lost.  Lost edges require the viewer to participate, to look longer, to figure out what’s going on in the picture.
I showed some examples by Andrew Wyeth, in which he used thicker lines, thinner lines, and darker and lighter lines, changing line quality  midway through a line.  I also pointed out how he sometimes left edges completely undrawn, implying a line by edges of other shadows, or by creating a different value behind, so that the “line” was the edge of two values.
I asked the artists to leave some edges undrawn, or “lost”, and I have posted here a few of the drawings that demonstrate the concept.
Nancy Nichols Williams Celia Rose Jameson
Nancy’s blue shadow covers the top of the right leg, the cast shadow, and the left side of the model.  The edges are lost in the shadow.  Celia’s shadows do the same.

Steve Wagner’s drawing also has some wonderful changes in line quality, some lines disappearing into nothingness, others obscured by light or shadow.

Denis Wintersong
I also have included a couple of warm-up drawings by Denis Wintersong and Steve Dagg, which show line sensitivity before I gave my spiel, so I can’t take much credit — these all are accomplished artists, and all I did was give them something to think about, that they probably were already doing anyway! Steve Wagner

This being my first experience as the guest artist for the group at Studio b., I was honored to be in the middle of such talent and energy.

Steve Dagg