Tag Archives: artist in Bruges Belgium

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #07, the mixed technique

I completed this mixed technique panel this morning in about an hour and one half. It forms part of the larger mixed media project described here.

A piece of me #07, the egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #07, the egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #07, the mixed technique over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm. or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

I think it’s one of the most beautiful ones yet. There’s a lovely range of values with a simplified yet harmonious contrast of hues (the warm yellow-orange fields tend to push the warm gray shadows towards their complement). The architectural details provide a graphical contrast of curves, lines and larger open fields. Since it is (or will be) a panel that fits into the far background of the greater composition, I tried to be careful to not make the shadowed elements too dark. (Of course, when the final painting is assembled some adjustments can be made, if necessary). Write up on the mixed technique here.

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #42, the mixed technique

Fifth in the mixed technique series of the larger mixed media project. An abstract wall composition with a fan shaped shadow on the right side. When I prepared this with pastiglia I sculpted it using a painting knife, as I imagined how a plaster wall might feel. The shadow was not sculpted to look or feel differently because after all, its just a shadow.

A piece of me #42, egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #42, egg tempera underpainting

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #42, the mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

On the right the egg tempera underpainting. On the left the final after one working session in oil.

Write up on the mixed technique here.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #62, the mixed technique

Fourth in the mixed technique series of the larger mixed media project. (You can read more about the mixed technique but clicking the category link on the right.) It’s consistently amazing to me how quickly these images come together – but only because I have spent months preparing the earlier layers. So this is a sustained argument for the power, saturation and luminosity attainable through an indirect technique.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #62, egg tempera underpainting.

A piece of me #62, egg tempera underpainting.

This particular panel was fun because it was lightly sculpted using pastiglia and because compositionally it contained the top edge of one of my shoes. That created not only a different texture but also a stronger warmer hue inn addition to a set of stronger values. Here on the right then is an image of the egg tempera underpainting and the left the final achieved through one layer of oil.

Write up on the mixed technique here.

A piece of me #16, egg tempera over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #16, egg tempera

A piece of me #16, egg tempera over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #16, egg tempera over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This is one of the more interesting spontaneous compositions of the overall project. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure what the long haired girl was doing. Then it hit me, of course, she’s taking a selfie! How 21st century.

The dice-roll treatment for this panel stipulated collage and egg tempera. These are two elements that are almost antithetical to one another. Collage is coarse and heavily textured. Egg tempera is quite refined, subtle and also accentuates any irregularities in the substrate. Thus I anticipated that this one would be challenging. But in fact, as I began laying in colors and calibrating value relationships, the coarseness of the collage didn’t create too many problems, au contraire, it actually enhanced the design (for the most part), which of course is what I had wanted (but couldn’t expect).

Another aspect of the composition is the way it reads as landscape. There are clear foreground, middle ground and background elements. That meant that I needed to modulate my values in such a way to enhance the “landscape” experience. So, given all the givens – of a very contemporary subject mattered panel –  I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels.

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #61, egg tempera

A piece of me #61, underdrawing in india ink

A piece of me #61, underdrawing in india ink

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A piece of me #61, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Saturated shoes! I had almost given up on this panel because I was having a difficult time getting a warm saturated tonality. So I had put it aside for awhile to let the previous work cure, hoping the surface would be more receptive after a few days. Today I laid on a couple of washes in venetian red, which is a very warm and saturated pigment, and the shoes began to dance! Literally. Well OK, the inspiration could have been Tina Turner on my iTunes but still, I swear I saw them dance.

The black and white underdrawing on the right, the fully colored developed painting on the left. A full overview description of the whole project is here. A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel.

A Piece of Me #36, egg tempera

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel.

A Piece of Me#36, egg tempera over collage on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

This panel was challenging in three particular ways, first, the flesh tones. Here I decided to follow the Renaissance protocol of underpainting the hand in the upper right corner in terre verte (earth green). It’s a lightly saturated, translucent pigment, so I laid in two coats (over the underdrawing), then proceeded to warm it up through modeling. It took quite a few washes to bring life back from the dead but in the end you get a flesh tone containing many nuances you might otherwise struggle to achieve.

The second challenge was “imposing” the original design over the pre-collaged surface. Of course, the collage was based on the original design, but due to the coarseness of the collage materials, it’s by no means exact. So I had to look carefully at the panel and decide what to emphasize and what to ignore.

Which led me to the third challenge, how to create a three-dimensional modeling of my leg in a way that works for this panel as well as the final image, i.e., where is the thrust? Because in a general sense, an abstract painting is a form depicting either the essence of form or formlessness itself. So, each panel I create can (at least theoretically) be successful as an abstract painting in its own right. But from my experience of this approach, particularly with the human figure as the overall subject matter, the resulting assemblage may be quite interesting (in a tactile sense) while the figure (as a three dimensional form) reads flat. That’s why I’m trying to pay attention to overall formal aspects like that now.

You can read a description of the full project here. A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #21, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.

Now the egg tempera pieces are starting to become more complex. This one still has some basic “abstract” shapes but the importance of chiaroscuro in the foreground is becoming more pronounced. This one took me more time, so also more patience while it challenged my skills. For example, achieving the dark black area on the left is already difficult in egg tempera. The medium itself is translucent, the brush strokes dry almost immediately upon contact with the gesso and thick impasto strokes are inadvisable for technical reasons, so blending just isn’t an option. Achieving a field of an extremely dark value or saturated hue then requires the build up of countless layers of light washes. It’s a very meditative technique. You have to love it. Impetuous temperaments, be forewarned: don’t even think about scaling this mountain. You can read a description of the full project here. A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

A Piece of Me #46, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 inn.

A Piece of Me #46, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #46, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 inn.

A Piece of Me #46, egg tempera over pastiglia on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 inn.

I completed this panel, #46, in the egg tempera series yesterday. It was an intriguing piece to paint since I was applying lightly tinted washes over an already sculpted pastiglia surface – that had also received its preparatory black and white underdrawing in india ink. So in one sense, I had my work already cut out for me. But in another sense I had colors to coordinate and to balance, as well as textures to enhance. Compositionally, the design of the piece is quite strong, an almost white, emphatic vertical thrust on the left (the leg of my linen pants) which needs to balance with a series of tinted trapezoids (floor tiles) on the right. Luckily, there was some drapery top left whose hues and values echo some of the  shapes on the right. The pastiglia quickly and easily enhanced the chiaroscuro I wanted to add to my pants leg. I’m happy: this stands alone and, I think, will integrate well in the final assemblage. You can read a description of the full project here. A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.

Figure Drawing, October 14, 2019

Last night our model was Soeren, one of our regulars. He’s really long and lanky. You can’t apply “normal” proportionalities to his figure, for he has a large and bony head, also big feet and hands, so he presents a particular kind of challenge. Last night I was lucky to snag a few keepers from the longer poses and also to find some of the gesture drawings interesting enough to keep.

Also, I had an interesting experience tonight of dropping my kneaded eraser in the middle of the sepia colored paper drawing. Couldn’t find it. Had to make a choice: continue without my trusted third hand or give up on completing the drawing? So I let go of my safety net and found my eraser afterwards. And the drawing worked out anyway. 🙂

Two fifteen minute figure drawings.

Soeren, folded. Conté crayon on tinted Canson paper, 32.5 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 in.

Soeren, Conté crayon on tinted Canson paper, 32.5 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 in.

Five four minute figure studies.

Charcoal on tinted sketching paper, 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.

Charcoal on tinted sketching paper, 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.

Charcoal on tinted sketching paper, 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.

Charcoal on tinted sketching paper, 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.

A Piece of Me #51, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5/1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #51, egg tempera

A Piece of Me #51, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5/1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #51, egg tempera on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5/1/4 in.

Here is #51, next in the egg tempera series. It’s an abstract design (of a section of a plastered wall) that, at first, had seemed deceptively easy. But, in fact, the area of gray and white depicted on the far left required integration, that is, it stood out like a sore thumb until I had supplied a light echo to it on the bottom, right. They say a missing word can cause a poem to bleed. I find the same is true of a painting – no matter what the subject matter. Alternatively – when it’s successful – a work of art is driven by its own inner unity, to which the artist must kneel. An overview of the whole project can be read here.

A technical write up of the lessons learned about egg tempera in this series of panels here.