Mischtechnik 2016 A Loving Portrait

Who doesn’t want to live forever?  I thought it was time, before my delightful hubby and I get too wrinkled to attempt a portrait of ourselves.  I love Lucian Freud’s work and think he was incredibly skilled but I didn’t want to wait until we are like this self-portrait he did that can be seen in Vienna.  I of course then had to watch a video about him and his art, and found he was a great fan of Cremnitz White, which I have on order.  This is a lead based white paint, so don’t eat in your studio while using it.   The video I watched on Lucian Freud can be found on YouTube here: A Painted Life   I love the emotion he conveys although he obviously was a haunted and tortured individual who didn’t play well with others.

lucian freud self portrait

Back to my painting.  My husband and I went out to our favorite French restaurant and dressed up for an anniversary one of the staff took a fabulous photo of us.    I decided to use that as my reference photo, along with peeking over my wine glass at dinner, an assessing, did dear hubby have a few little crows feet, how did the cleft of his chin look in profile?

A book I referred to was

Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form by Eliot Goldfinger.

 

This year, I used a marble based gesso to cover my boards.  The white is so white it hurts your eyes. If you are just tuning in you might want to read my post on Mischtechnik.IMG_0339 (Copy)

Next I spent a fair bit of time looking and reading about the anatomy of the face and neck.  And then spent a couple of weeks on an initial sketch.

JandDsketch (Copy)

And here is the initial glaze, I used iron oxide red.  It was still wet in this photo.

janddglaze1ironoxidered (Copy)

Meanwhile, as I wait for this to dry, I’m reading another book and learning even more about portrait painting.  It has an excellent section on blending colors for the skin.  I’m only half-way through, but I’m sure this will be a better painting because of it.

Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications

by Suzanne Brooker 

 

The next step, after it was fully dried, was to work on the highlights creating more tones, with the egg tempera.  I freely thinned the egg tempera with a little cold pressed linseed oil, so I could have different shades of white.  Some I used undiluted and some thinned.

portrait iron oxide with tempera (Copy)

And of course wait.  I usually keep a second painting going and work on that while I’m waiting.  This year its a semi-abstract in acrylic paint that has lots of free movement and invention and dries fast.  The antithesis of this.

Another glaze, this time I used transparent yellow ochre.  In the past I used a bright primary transparent yellow, but I like the warmer tones of the earth reds and yellows.

portrait transparent yellow oche (Copy)

Ah, finally we are starting to see some of those magic mid-tones arise out of nowhere.  I had on a top that was covered in black sparkles and I want to show that, but I’m not sure whether I have a handle on it.  I have a few points of light on it, but I’m not sure if they work yet.

Here is the white tempera on the highlights after this glaze.

good white over ochre (Copy)

Now the blue glaze.

blue glaze good (Copy)

Technically I should do another layer of the white highlights, but I like where I am.  I am going to start glazing local colors as soon as this dries.  Oops…I forgot to take photos of a couple of glazes.  Don’t worry you didn’t miss much, just the first coat on the walls, shirt and shawl.

work-in-progress-skin-white

work-in-progress-pink-tones

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judyanddan-portrait

 

The Power of Nature

This is another larger one at 36 X 48 inches in size.  I wanted to capture some of the aspects of nature without making it relative to size.  At the bottom I have painted some pollen grains that I think have a wonderful abstract quality.   This painting is bright, without being overwhelming.  If you look carefully you’ll find a tiny homage to the first video game I played and also a pair of my tired eyes after painting the many very tiny details this painting holds.

The Power of Nature

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest-

…Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest–
…Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Because sometimes you just have to paint pirates.   For your enjoyment “Pirate Bay.”

blog pirate bay

 

Reach for Peace

As the holiday season approaches, more then ever before, am grateful for the peace and plenty that I have.  I feel very lucky to have been born in the United States.   These thoughts and the turmoil that has been occurring in the world were on my mind when I painted this.  This is a large piece, 36 x 48 inches, acrylic on canvas.  I titled it ” Reach for Peace”.    The constellation in the corner is Columba, which is Latin for Dove.  And the white poppy has been a symbol of peace that was first used after World War I.

reach for peace II

Let it Flow!

Recently I’ve been working in two styles, one is the egg tempera based one I’ve discussed in previous posts and also a more abstract one, that I’ve been working with in acrylic. I find it very hard to settle down and just do one style.   So I’ve decided to try and focus on just two for a while (if I can).  I’ve been playing with drawings that I draw to convey some sort of motion and then I add color. I find that these are best expressed in acrylic, that dries fast so I can keep my shapes clean and sharp.    I greatly enlarge the small sketches and start playing with the images I see on the canvas.   Some sort of magic happens when I make the initial images larger and I start seeing new shapes and images arise in the negative space.   Here are two that I have finished in that style.   So for the winter, let it flow and let it grow.

The top one is entitled “Reach for Peace”  and the next one is “The Power of Nature” and both 36 x 48 inches in size, the third one is “The Mating Game” and is about 24 x 30 and the bottom one “Ride the Wild Seahorse” and is 18 x 24 inches in size.

reach for peace II

The Power of Nature


small the mating gamesmall ride the wild sea horse

Mischtechnik II: From an Ugly Duckling to a Swan

This was the second Mischtechnik painting I did.   There were a few stages where I really felt like I had created an ugly duckling that just wasn’t going to work.  But here they are from start to end.  I didn’t take a picture toward the end of every single step, so know there were a few more steps than shown.  In contrast to my first painting, this one was done on board.  My post on making egg tempera or emulsion can be found Here.

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Title: Apparition of a Local Form (above)

Another playful one I’ve done in this style (I’ll skip all the steps as I gave you above) is The Monster in the Closet (below).  What if there were monsters in your closet and what they really wanted were your accessories? (Grin).

the monster in the closet

Light and Nature

This series is an exploration of light in nature.

Morning light

Dawn

Beyond

Farther

A Soft Vision

Lately I’ve been playing with paint to express emotion and a softness of vision. I rather like how these pieces are coming out. Take a look.

I call this one Beyond and it was inspired by a train ride through the Alps.

I worked another version of it in “Memories on a Train” below.

I liked how Beyond came out, but I admit I love color. So I did “Farther”.

I continued in this vein with a slightly more fanciful topic in “Enchanted”.

I think I’m going to explore this “soft view” approach for a year or so and see where it takes me.

The Trickster in Love

After painting the owls, I was wondering what to paint. I had a vague idea that I wanted to do something with a fox. Again I stood in my backyard pondering several different ideas when a fox ran across the yard! I’ve never seen a fox in my backyard before! It happily jumped at the rear bushes, snagged a tasty sparrow and was off! Poor little sparrow. This spring, as a result of a smaller sparrow populations I had a bumper crop of raspberries and even native New York blue birds nesting in the yard.

The fox is also known as a trickster. So beware the gifts he may bring.

But I digress. Without futher ado, here is The Trickster in Love.

The Kleshas

I recently finished this painting on the Kleshas.    In Christian philosophy, we have the seven deadly sins, that might keep you from finding a state of grace.  There are both yogic and Buddhist approaches to the Kleshas and the flavor is slightly different and they define them a little differently.

I came across the Kleshas during studies with my yoga teacher.   They are:  abhinivesha (fear), asmita (false identity), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion) and avidya (ignorance).

There are many images for the Kleshas but of not in a Western cultural context.  I wanted to create something that those studying yoga in the West could use to understand and meditate on the Kleshas.   I did this painting as a gift for my yoga teacher.

The figure is standing on one foot to represent that if the Kleshas are not addressed she remains off balance.   I tried to make the figure a healthy looking woman, rather than a model or a magic goddess throwing off sparks, but the you encountered in the mirror every day.  The figure is not clothed, as you must take away the outside masks of costume and artifice to overcome these obstacles and know your inner self.

Each hand is in a mudra that is associated with the chakras of the kleshas.  The icons for each klesha  have the color of the chakra they are over.  From top to bottom, they are ignorance, avoidance, false-identity, attachment and fear.