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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Making Valuable Use of Time

It's Important to Take Down Time

The baskets begin to take form

I just read an article published by Scientific American, titled Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.  Click HERE to go to the article.  Basically it tells us we need to take time away from our work to nap, vacation, rest, all to recharge our mental energies, enthusiasm for what we do, and our creativity.   It's a long read, but a good one.  Think I will go out for a row on this spectacularly clear, calm fall day to recharge.  How about you?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Portrait Work.

It's Not All About Painting.

Right now it's about the research and well, really it is all about painting.  Last week I was scheduled to be in Washington DC doing research through the Smithsonian Museum for my series of Indian Women Paintings, however as we all know our government is shut down which meant the research was not going to happen.  Trip cancelled.

Dat so la lee

It's ok, there is plenty to see and read in Reno, Carson City, and Tahoe in our wonderful museums here, and they are open.  Also the Smithsonian Anthropology Department directed me to incredible on-line archives that are completely time consuming and fascinating.  

And then I am reading reading reading my way through several books.  

And yes, I am painting.  Here is how portrait #6 looks after additional work on the body and belt areas.  If you are familiar with my rock paintings you will notice the handling and technique of the body remain within my style. My goal here is to present a solid, stylized form. I also removed the hair that was falling over the shoulders and changed the eyes a bit. This painting is far from complete, so check back for additional up dates and photos.  

Now it is research time, a few hours every day.  

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Monday, October 7, 2013

More About Indian Woman Portrait #6.

Lots of Painting Time This Week.

Last week I stated I don't paint every day, however this week I did just that....painted every day.  Must be the renewed enthusiasm from that week I took off.   Let's take a look at the progress on the sixth Indian Woman portrait....

Sketched in the composition

The desire to paint with loads of expression drove me to select a larger canvas, larger brushes and the use of big, sweeping strokes.  This made it possible to create visual movement in the painting which you can see in the background:

The beginning of Indian Woman Portrait #6, 48x36 (on the easel and untitled at this time) with Dat so la lee portraits in background.

This painting is inspired by a formal photographic portrait of Dat so la lee, Queen of the Washoe Basket Makers, so this loose, expressive style of painting is in direct contrast to the formal nature of the photo.   It's my desire to create paintings with a decidedly contemporary edge even though they are based on photos from the late 19th or early 20th centuries.  I am experimenting my way through the beginning of this project and sharing that experimentation with you.

These photos show the beginning of the face, laying down layers of pigment.

This is the same palette used in the previous portraits, with the addition of a great deal more white pigment.  I want to lighten up these paintings.   The composition elements of the large rectangle behind the figure, representing a throne back, and the stripe across the top 1/3 of the painting which will hold designs from one of Dat so la lee's baskets, is a continuing, uniting theme in this series of paintings.

After I worked the face I began the head scarf however the photos I took of painting in the face, head scarf and stylized body had though I was diligent about taking the pictures there was an problem downloading them so there is a photographic skip which is disappointing to me since I wanted to show you the progress in more detail. 

The scarf is covered with designs inspired by those woven into one of Dat so la lee's baskets. 

More sweeping strokes of the brush created a stylized garment, a visual reminiscent of my rock paintings, and is still an area in progress.  Instead of remaining inside the lines of the horizontal stripe in the top 1/3 of the canvas I made an intuitive decision to have the basket designs overlay and extend beyond making a larger visual statement.  They look like stylized trees, but the actual intent is unknown.

This is where I am today with this painting.  It is not complete. There is more to do with the 'body', the hair, and there will be baskets ringing the lower portion of the figure.  Back to the easel.  

On another, but somewhat related note, I was headed to Washington DC this week where I planned additional research on and about these Indian Women who lived close by during the late 1800's and early 1900's,  however with the government shut down this isn't happening.  I am disappointed.  But back to the easel works for me.  

Check back for more photos of the progress on this painting.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE