Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Every Child

I imagine you are as tired of this one as I am but I'm finally happy with it. I had to rearrange my studio to finish it because wet oil paint reflects light and in the afternoon, the light is in my studio is too strong even with the blinds closed. I moved my easel so it doesn't not face the light. This also allowed me to place my old iMac beside the easel to bring up the reference photo.

You may notice that I have reworked the child's hair, added white to the fork, his shirt and to great grandmother's blouse. I have decided the child in this painting is every child my sister has held and comforted...her children, her grand children and now her great grandchild. 

Great Grandparents, oil, 20x20 inches (Version 7-24-18)
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Sunday, July 22, 2018

High Heels

Earlier today, when I thought I was done painting on this, I had a nice long phone conversation with a good friend and while chatting I saw five things that needed changing. When the phone call was over, I printed a small image of the painting and marked it up with the changes. Went back to the easel with the change sheet in hand and made corrections. Now, I think I'm done except it is such a bright day in Seattle I may have to reshoot this when it is cloudy and overcast for correct color and contrast.

High Heels, oil, 20 x 16 inches
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Acrylic Underpainting for High Heels

Friday, July 20, 2018

My memory problem

I have long been an advocate of painting landscapes from memory. My theory is that by a certain age one has many "memorable" scenes in their mind. I've gone through periods of painting this way and it has been fun to see what happens.

For the past couple weeks I've been working on a figurative painting from a family photo of my sister, her husband and their great grandson. My goal was to NOT create a likeness of the specific people but a more abstracted approach. However, when a likeness of my sister (the great grandmother) appeared, I felt the need to get a likeness of the great grandfather too. On to the child and my memory problem.

I was a teenager when my sister married and began having babies, two girls then a boy. I spent a lot of time with those little kids. They grew up and had children of their own. Then those children grew up and along came this child I'm trying to paint. I am not well acquainted with this little boy but I do have the reference photo. However, for the past week I found myself painting a face with the likeness of the child's great aunt (the second born of my sisters two girls). Yesterday, I had a moment of painting the child's grandmother's face as I remembered her as a toddler. Aaargh. I just want to paint what I see in the reference photo but apparently I have visual memories of his relatives that have been in my mind for 60 years. Hmmm....this is a problem.  Going back to it this morning to try again.

One hour later and I'm walking away. It isn't anyone I recognize from my memory so I'm trusting that it is the great grandchild I intended it to be. *Note: Fine tuned this and reposted 7-24-18

Great Grandparents, oil, 20x20 inches
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Progress on Great Grandparents

Yay! I survived the acrylic underpainting stage (seen in my last post) and spent an hour yesterday morning with oil. Considering the many hours I spent getting a likeness of the child's face, obliterating it was a pleasure. I am after mood, play of light, color and shape relationships and edges, both lost and found.

Worked on this again today. Took the great grandfather's face farther than I will want it to be in the finished painting. Once again, my need to see a likeness before I paint over him.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Dreaming of bread...

I have spent most waking hours of several days working on the figurative piece shown as a line drawing in my last post. I had, what I thought was a good idea: to paint an acrylic underpainting and then work in oil on top but I have run into a big problem (besides my negative attitude about acrylic).

The reference photo is my sister and her great grandson. The likeness of my sister looks GREAT. Her grandson does not. I am determined to get his little face right but it is taking many days of starting over and over...and over.

I am more challenged than I have been in a long time. It is exhausting. You may remember one of my posts that included a recipe for overnight Artisan bread. I mentioned eating the whole loaf if your painting wasn't going well. I love bread. It is one of my comfort foods. Last night I dreamed of carrying a huge stack of warm bread, taller than I am,  and eating those that touched my mouth. Very delicious and comforting.

I figure these are my options: 
1. Stop and declare defeat (that's not going to happen).
2. Blame it on acrylic (I might do that but I'm not there yet).
3. Put the grandchild to sleep as I did in the last photo so I don't have to deal with his eye and what he is thinking. (Hmmm...)

The story of this painting hasn't been painted yet. It is about the plate of food on the table. My sister was in mid-bite (food on fork on the plate) when apparently it became necessary to pick up and hold her great grandson. Aha! I just had an idea. I will call my sister and ask what was was going on. 
....One hour later....she says she always stops mid-bite if something comes up that she would rather be doing. She remembers the child walking over to her so she picked him up. Back to it...

...Five hours later...
I think I can sleep tonight without dreaming of bread. I have been painting with my most student-grade acrylics. I got so desperate that I brought out my professional acrylics and gave the medium some respect. So, basically, I changed my attitude yet again. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Am I living the art-life I intended?

Coming full circle back to figurative work? I'm thinking about this.

I just posted a lot of words on my Golden Years Blog about living the life I intended. Click here if you want to read them.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Back in the Studio today

Ah....s u m m e r!
My main focus has been the gardens and I am starting to miss my Studio time. Yesterday, for a  short time I put on my favorite painting apron and varnished a couple oil paintings. I am pondering a new painting series (that is why I have been awake since 3 AM today) and hope to get started soon. I hope you are having a relaxing summer.