Still Life

Monday, November 25, 2013

New sanguine drawing

Not having been able to work on what I want lately, I am always grateful for little opportunities that allow me to keep my hand (and eye) from going rusty. This is one of those opportunities. Little Eva is Mike McCarty´s (author of "The Adventures of Alex, the Vegetarian Coyote") two year old granddaughter. I worked from a photo, sometimes inevitable, and I was grateful for the excellent photograph that Mike, an excellent photographer, had taken of his little Eva.

Sanguine and white chalk on toned paper. The tones were several washes in watercolor on originally white Canson Ingres paper.

Personally, I prefer working on paper I´ve toned myself rather than buying colored, toned papers such as the ones that are sold in pads or blocks and come in a variety of colors. I think the original whiteness of the paper offers a luminosity that shows through the layers of washes, something that the store-bought papers don´t have. In any case, toned at home or ready-toned-store bought, the white chalk does what it´s supposed to do better on these surfaces. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Still life

My website has been down for a while now and until I can get a new and/or updated one up and running again, this blog will serve as my temporary showcase.

The still life is a special genre in painting that has its appeal to just about any painter as it lends itself perfectly well to the study of light, color and texture with the added bonus of being easily on hand and inexpensive to create. From the old Dutch masters, to Zurbaran and Melendez; from Fantin-Latour to our contemporary, living artists; the still life has delighted the art lover for centuries and artists will forever resort to this subject every time they don´t have a sitter available or the weather is too inclement.
Below are some samples from those mentioned as well as some of my own from the recent past.

Pieter Claesz (Dutch)

Francisco Zurbarán (Spanish)

Luis Meléndez (Spanish)

Henri Fantin-Latour (French)

MIchael Klein (American)

Jacob Collins (American)

Ilaria Rosselli del Turco (Italian)

Jeremy Lipking (American)

….and here are some from yours truly from recent years:

Esqueje (2005)

Bodegón con clementinas (2005)

Ocho cebollas (2008)

Grapes (2009)

Alive again

About time something is done to resuscitate this blog.
A lesson in drawing, I think, would be quite apt.

Michelangelo´s preparatory studies, sometimes holding more appeal than the corresponding finished works, many would agree.The study for the Sistine Chapel´s Libyan Sibyl, in particular, has always been a favorite and I remember looking at this image in books as a child for long periods at a time and admiring the twist of the torso and the tension of the muscles and the flawlessness of the handling of the red chalk.

I´ve copied  bits and details of this drawing since as far as I can remember. Always a good lesson. In this, my latest attempt, I´ve attempted a closer likeness by toning my paper before hand with a wash of diluted black coffee (my son´s idea, I had never heard of this before, believe it or not) and I´ve found that it gives the perfect tonal match for red chalk drawings. I would imagine for sepia as well…
My attempt is, of course, a product of mine, hence the imperfections. I did, however, enjoy the exercise immensely.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Alex and Bernice!...

...the book that I´ve told you all about. It´s finally out on Kindle and can be found here on Amazon:

Quite exciting...! I´ve done illustrations for a book only once before and it was not a book that sold commercially, so this is a first for me.

Mike McCarty. Author. Photographer. Artist. Pool shark bar none. You can read about him in his own words here:

Alex and Bernice in Rome this March.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Humble Pie

I´ve recently tasted humble pie. In Rome. Goes quite well with the espresso and gelato and all that...

It´s not everyday that one gets to have something as awe-inspiring, harmoniously beautiful and just simply overwhelming in front of one´s eyes. It can be a completely humbling experience as well, and even more so, to try a very feeble attempt to record this experience down with paper and pencil. Of course, I tried this a couple of weeks ago while on a visit to Rome and sitting along Bernini´s colonnade looking at The Basilica. Here are my attempts: the first two done on site, first with pencil, then with a Pilot pen and graphite. The third is the result of a 30-minute watercolor session in the studio working from photographs taken while there. Like I said, feeble. But I had fun. I´m willing to bet old Buonarroti, Bramante and Bernini didn´t have as much fun as I had.

I also tried doing some doodles in my sketchbook inside the Sistine but was told it was not allowed.
I´ll have to try again... when there´s no one.......

Friday, April 5, 2013

In spite of...

...the confusion that sometimes comes with the territory of "leading two lives", as I usually call it, I find the occasional few moments to come up with small studies for myself--a sort of counterpoint to huge, eight-meter panels--and these serve to remind me of my true calling and bring me back inside that bubble that I miss so much.

This is one of those studies. Like the previous one of the pears, I´ve tried here to make a portrait of these objects. I think every personal possession develops character with time, and a still life can actually turn into a "portrait" in the sense that one tries to "portray" the character within these seemingly mundane things. I don´t know if I´ve succeeded.

I´ve also been busy with a new (for me) venture: Illustrations for a children´s book written by my friend  and partner in crime, Mike McCarty. You can see a preview of this book and some of the illustrations by clicking on this link:
Mike tells me that we are scheduled to go into print soon and it´s just a matter of time before the book hits the stands.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Piece

I´ve been able to work on a new piece during my free moments, finally finished this small one and could actually see the pieces of fruit ripen before my eyes on account of how long this took me to complete. It is oil on canvas on panel and measures 19.7 cms x 27.3 cms.

I´ve always resorted to the pear or the onion when all other inspiration fails. Good practice for color transition. 
This is how it looks in its frame: