31 July 2008

AW-015

15" x 11", watercolour, 2002

This is one of the many paintings of Ashley Winning I have done over the years. They've become so numerous that I've resorted to numbering them, as I have with other series which are more or less variations on a theme. I've done a few other small paintings Ashley in that same spot and in the same top (but this is the only one of that group without her wearing glasses): AW-016 and AW-025.

I usually block in shadows and dark areas in my figurative paintings with violet and it looks like I may have gone a little too heavy with it in her face, making it look like she's been boozing. Still, it's a good likeness of her.


30 July 2008

Tongue in Cheek

20" x 16", oil on canvas, 2007

This Echoes series turned out to be pretty much the opposite of my initial conception (more than five years ago) of a rather ambitious project called Operation: Little Echoes. Instead of a dozen or so large oil paintings which are abstractions of the original figurative watercolours, I planned to do numerous watercolour paintings which would have been simply miniatures of the larger originals --with maybe some colour changes in the backgrounds and maybe multiples of certain paintings.

Clearly, I like this idea better.

This one's my abstraction of AW-015.


23 July 2008

A Shiver in My Bones



22" x 15", watercolour, 1998

I listen to music a lot when I'm painting and I have often used song titles as my paintings' titles. Sometimes they inform the mood of the picture beforehand in the early sketching phase and sometimes they're chosen afterwards to suit the finished painting.

This one is part of a line ("I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather") from a 10000 Maniacs song called "Like the Weather" from their 1987 album, In My Tribe.


Piece of Cake


40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2007

Being very familiar with the original watercolours these Echoes are based on, when I squint or see these abstractions out of the corner of my eye, I can "see" the original watercolour (A Shiver in My Bones).

I tried to match the overall colour scheme of the watercolour and found it the most challenging part of this project.


17 July 2008

mad.

22" x 15", watercolour, 1998

This is the painting Easy as Pie is abstracted from.

The watercolour paper used for it was 300 lb hot pressed (smooth) and absorbs water differently than my usual, preferred paper, 300 lb cold pressed (rough). The absorption rate of the smoother paper is quicker so you have to be very decisive about the colour you're about to lay down otherwise you've got about only three seconds to tamp it up with some tissues --and using a brush with clear water to try to erase the stroke is futile. This makes blending more difficult, but it keeps you on your toes.
Risky paper.
The rougher cold pressed paper, especially in the heavier weights, is comparitively more forgiving; tamping up colours, esrasing with clear water, and blending colours is more relaxing with it.

I remember how fascinated I was by the stripes in the model's sweater because they really helped to describe contours and shapes, but after doing the arms I felt I was being too literal and backed off when it came time to do the torso. In retrospect, this works to the painting's advantage as the lines lead your eye to the face and no lines below the face don't distract from it.

The word "mad." is written in charcoal.


15 July 2008

Easy as Pie

40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2007, private collection

This week is Echoes Week, but I'll be posting in reverse: large oil abstractions first, the figurative watercolours that they're based on after.

I've named the all of the Echoes after common idioms to unify them and slightly separate them from their points of origin. Outside of my studio during their creation, this is the first time they'll be presented together.

This is my abstract version of my original watercolour painting mad.


09 July 2008

Vespas



14" x 17", ink and wash on paper, 14" x 17", 2006-2007, bottom two in private collections

I've always liked the retro look that Vespa scooters still manage to maintain. Sleek and slick, their shapes are really fun to draw and paint.

I initially left the backgrounds of the two horizontal paintings white, but I grew restless with that so I laid in a watercolour wash to fill it out and help separate the scooters further from the bg while incorporating them further into it. Paradox? Maybe that's why the overall effect, although brightening the images, leaves me with a teeny bit of painter's remorse.