I constructed vintage-style wooden ironing boards for an installation piece titled Engrained (A Woman's Work is Never Done. Construction was very confusing and one of them doesn't fold up properly, so it's an ongoing project, editing each one from the next. I don't measure much, out of impatience, so each board is very different and provisional.
I participated in Metropolitan Art Council's annual Flat Out Under Pressure contest again this year. I think I used about 18 out of 24 hours to paint. I attempted some Baroque underpainting shortcuts with acrylic, but the results were a lot closer to a plain grisaille.
Late last week that I was invited to partake in a portrait painting workshop with Anthony Conway at Greenville Center for Creative Arts over the weekend. The workshop was an intense session of live-model painting. I only made it to two of the three sessions, but completed 3 paintings. I was introduced to the qualities of the painting medium, maroger, which we were instructed to use on the canvas before any paint. It wets the surface really well, and made the process of plotting out the gesture much quicker.
Another surprise to me was the consideration of skintones as gray above all else. I generally think of a grayscale grisaille as totally separate from a color layer, but that doesn't work for an immediate alla prima method. The grey certainly puts emphasis on areas of color, and I will continue painting with that notion in mind.
There were three high school students in the workshop, made able to attend by a gracious sponsorship by the Beach Ball Foundation, and supplies for them provided by M. Graham & Co., and Suburban Paint. It was exciting to see them dive in with seemingly less inhibitions than the adult students. It especially made me recall how I approached painting at that age and how I came to understand certain techniques and observational skills, but also my frustrations with painting & my expectations of my own ability, then versus now. It's not a smooth road, that's for sure.
I'm excited to announce that I will be judging the Artfields Portrait Contest this year on April 30th. I do wish I could compete again, but am eager to see what happens this year. While competing myself, I could not observe the other participants' process, which I am excited to watch this time around. Here's an update on how the 2015 competition progressed:
Twenty-four artists competed in the first round. I was horrified to find that I had forgotten to bring any form of turpentine when I arrived! I washed my brushes in handsoap between rounds. This was my first painting, next to my model. I think she said she was nervous about modeling. I forget that it's not such a common activity outside of academia.
Twelve artists were eliminated after round one, and twelve continued. I think there were 3 artists to a model this time. This one was my favorite. I got a closer view of the model, and he seemed much more comfortable than the first one. The way he settled in his seat, the pace at which he breathed, and the gaze he held gave me a better idea of his personality and I think it was conveyed in the painting.
I didn't get a good photograph of my last painting, unfortunately. Only six artists went on to the third round, all painting from the same model. I was really worried during this one because I started with a black primed canvas and my paint wasn't opaque enough for a good 30 minutes. Somehow it came together in the last 10 minutes. The model told me afterwards that the painting had the expression that her husband calls her bitch face.
If you were present and know of any other photos of the competition, I'd love to see them! And I encourage all portrait artists to enter the 2016 competition here.