Wednesday, April 21, 2010
You know those lazy days, in weather just like most of us have been getting to enjoy, when you might lie down for an afternoon cat nap and the sun is flooding in the windows, maybe there is a slight breeze, and you get that dozy feeling? The rest of your week may have been hectic and stressful, but for that stretch of the afternoon you feel - satisfied? That is exactly the feeling I am going for in this painting.
I told you a few days ago that I am working on two paintings simultaneously, and this is the second. It is a long way from finished, and I am hoping that I will be able to convey with the brush what I see in my mind! I painted the baby in the picture because, the theme being "satisfied," I pictured a little one who just filled up on milk and was all warm and dozy, laying in the safest and most comforting place in the world - on mama. Of course, the sweetness of the baby adds to the mother's feeling of satisfaction.
I keep thinking, as I am painting, of how unsatisfied people seem to be anymore. So restless. I include myself in this too, at times. We all seem in a hurry, on to bigger and better things. Of course, all of it only leads to stress and chaos. I know when I get that way, the one thing I am in need of is the Great Shepherd to lead me to a quiet place of contentment - hearing from His Word and finding satisfaction and rest for my soul.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
he makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads beside the quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I know - a picture of an old man probably wasn't what you were expecting to find on my blog...but this isn't just any old man - it's my father. I have had this photo sitting in my art area for a couple of years thinking some day I should try and paint it. I love the photo. I love the texture in the wall behind him and how he sits off center. I love the expression on his face too. It captures his personality to a tee.
My dad is eighty two and lives in Colorado. He has led a really interesting life and when I look at this photo the lines in his face seem to almost tell his story. He is a child of the depression era. He left home at an early age to pursue music. He has traveled all over the United States playing in bands. He plays the trumpet, the trombone, the piano, and he sings. When he was younger he mostly played in the "big bands" and then somewhere along the road he joined up in the midwestern polka culture and traveled with several polka bands and had his own band for a time ("Bruno Randles and the Six Fat Dutchman" - sort of catchy, don't you think?) For those of you Iowans, you may have heard of The Leo Greco Band - this was the last band that he full time traveled with. Leo Greco still has a Sunday morning radio show on one of our local station and sometimes I will tune in on my way to church and occasionally catch my dad singing.
He married my mother and together they had ten kids, of which I am the last. My mother was an incredible artist who began teaching my dad about art and low and behold - he had talent! My mother passed away thirty years ago but my dad still paints. In fact, not a day goes by when he doesn't paint. He lives amongst the mountains now which is perfect because he loves to paint western art.
It is a strange thing to see your parents age. My dad is, for his age, in really good health, but he is eighty two. I just learned recently that he now has to sometimes use a cane. I can hardly wrap my mind around that! I don't get to see him too often, so when I do I am always surprised to see the effect of time on him. (Truth is, he's probably thinking the same thing about me!)
In my mind, my dad always looks like this photo. Which is probably why I have had such a desire to paint it. So last week I took a stab at it. I haven't gotten far, but I don't hate what I've done so far:
For those of you who tune in to my blog every so often, you might remember that I am really a novice when it comes to portraits. But it is something that I am interested in using to stretch myself a bit. So I am enjoying the learning process. Even now as I put the photo of the painting on line, I can see some areas that I need to fix. For one thing, his face is too narrow maybe, and his neck too long and thin. I think moving his left side collar over might help. Also, his eyes are real problematic because they are so dark and shadowy and squinty.
For all of my art friends out there (or anyone with a good eye!), if you have a suggestion to help me with this process as I go along - please! share away!
For some strange reason, I actually started this one and another painting on the same day. I don't know if it was the spring air that made me feel like an over achiever or what, but I did. I am planning on going back and forth between them to give my eyes and mind a chance to get refreshed after looking at the same thing for too long. This post has waxed long - I think I will save a peek at the other painting for a few more days. Until then - enjoy the beauty of God's creation that is popping up all over!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I'm so thankful for another mini break in our school schedule so that I have had some time over this Easter weekend to work on and complete my "big" project. It just sort of came together these last few days. I am glad to say that after about twenty layers, I finally feel like it is the cool white with blue undertones that I was wanting. I had been so frustrated a few weeks back because it felt like the blue that I was only wanting to use as a cool shadow had somehow taken over the painting! I think I shared a few posts back that I have a love/hate relationship with my favorite blue paint called Prussian Blue. It is a really beautiful transparent blue that I use a lot, especially in the background. But it is also intense and therefore can easily begin to dominate. It was definitely a learning experience in this painting to get it balanced correctly with the white. This is particularly difficult because white is very opaque so you begin layering with lovely transparent colors and can easily ruin it all by adding white. I feel like a learned a lot and am pleased overall with the outcome . And I guess that's what it is all about, isn't it? Now onward to new projects!