Followed by another portrait. This one is of Dionne Warwick. Again, we love the light and shadows on the face and hands. As in the painting above, there is something timeless about the subjects. You can't quite place them in any era, can you?
Like last week, we couldn't resist putting our subjects in a story. Picture the two people above facing each other and in a relationship. What is their story? Bill's abstract below?
As opposed to this abstract of Bill's. It's so festive and happy. We think it calls to mind a ticker tape parade or a graduation with mortarboards being tossed in the air.
And here is the couple's therapist! Actually, it's the latest in Elaine's series of People I Don't Know, but it could be a therapist. He's got that interested "Tell me more" look. And yes, she's using only three colors (so far), but they are deeper and warmer colors than usual. One more thing.... look closely at the diagonal grid lines. They are a drawing aid that several of us are trying out to achieve more accuracy.
We're thrilled to have Steve back. He's also using a grid for the first time. Here are two sketches. In one, he uses a 1/2" grid; on the right, it's a 1" grid. These are figure studies, designed to fit some unusual frames he's found. And we're glad to note that he's planning to use the Hawaiian rocks to create his own paint again!
Following is a perfect example of how to use a grid and how to paint a portrait—the right way. It's time for Sara's annual birthday self-portrait. She starts with a photograph and grids it, preparatory to a series of studies.
First, she uses the grid to do an accurate pencil sketch.
Then, Sara uses one color to do a value sketch....
... before moving to a full color study. The benefit is that as Sara does multiple studies, she becomes more and more familiar with the subject, freeing herself to concentrate on other things. Look at the way she's managed to model her features and clothing with layers and blends of soft color.
Tony is also painting portraits in a series. He's finished his WWII veteran; we love the composition, the colors and the background, but Tony isn't perfectly satisfied with the face.
... so Tony is doing a study of the face (below). The colors are very minimal, but already we love what we're seeing in the modeling of the face and the expressiveness of the features, especially his eyes.
Tony also worked on his fields of lavender. The additions are subtle, but really enhance the feeling of distance. We can't wait to see it finished.
We feel the same about Tony's Chicago landscape. Viewed from the top of the Art Institute, this sensitive painting features some of the most iconic landmarks, beautifully composed.
Ellen is back from a vacation and she knocked out this quick study of Bryce Canyon to commemorate her trip. Just look at this extraordinary sketch. Everything about it is perfectly suited for the subject—the colors, the warmth, the brushstrokes defining the landscape features. It's a little jewel.
We couldn't let Mother's Day go by without a beautiful mother-and-child, could we? Ellen paints this delicate portrait of her newest grandchild. It's soft and subtle and the very essence of watercolor. It feels very much like Mary Cassatt.
Another of our favorite themes is the vacation scene. Madeleine finishes this colorful painting of Mexico. Between the colors and the textures, this feels like such a happy place!
In a change of pace, Madeleine began this cooler, more northern maritime scene from Ireland. Look closely at the lovely greens and the dry-brushed rocks. All that's left is the water—and that's Madeleine's specialty, so it will be worth the wait!
Susan's painting touches on many of our themes—it features water and splashing children in Los Angeles. Notice how lively the children are. And the wet-in-wet colors. This is the very spirit of happy summer fun.
You were probably expecting us to say that summer means corn and show you the next in Ken's Corn series, weren't you? Well, you'd be wrong. The Corn series has abruptly ended and Ken is returning to his first love.... cats. Here's a study of a cat's eye, where Ken loosely applies striped brushstrokes to the fur.
And here's the painting, where he moves to pointillism instead of stripes. The painting seemed to call for it! But notice the way Ken uses a grid to draw his subject?
Finally, we know you were wondering about Beth, our newest artist. Here's her graduation painting and it's magnificent. The carrots are perfectly textured, as is the romaine. The pepper has the color and waxy sheen of a pepper and the deep green velvet makes for a perfect fabric background. What does this mean? She's an amazing artist and we'll be thrilled to have her come back as an old master.
As we've been hinting, we'll be back on June 10 and hope you'll join us then. We'll have more portraits, more grids and more vacation scenery—all the themes we've been exploring.
Meanwhile, we're taking up a "daily creativity" challenge. We can do anything we want (paint, draw, write poetry) for any length of time (as little as 5 minutes), but we'll try to do it daily. Come back and see what's happened!
Upcoming events and important announcementsOpen Sketch date. You're invited to join us on Saturday, May 20 from 12:00–3:00pm at St. Gregory the Great Church. Artists, writers, architecture buffs and anyone curious about the church are invited to spend some quiet time for sketching, painting, photography or contemplation. A church tour guide will be present for any with questions.
St. Gregory the Great Church
5545 N. Paulina
Church entrance is on the corner of Gregory and Paulina;
one block west of Ashland and one block south of Bryn Mawr
Saturday, May 20