Oh the happiness of a well-struck red…

So continuing my talk about this painting, I was very tickled when I started adding in the light catching on the ends of her hair that came forward in space and caught the light… just a few scribbles really, made while I stepped back from the easel and deliberately thought about “warmth” and “texture” of her hair, and yet not thinking about the “hair” at all …. if that makes sense. Her earlobes are a red hit of pure power. Oh yeah… Roches can only do that… In the actual painting they appear to glow. It is hard to get that feeling in a reproduction…. using pigments this powerful in this way felt good. No way a pastel pencil or any “weakened” brand would do… only pure pigments here…

Back to my nemesis- the lemons. Once I started to think of the glow coming from the surface they came together better. We posed for some time like this with the yellow light bulbs I found on Amazon. And for some reason, my cat was in love with my model and wouldn’t leave. She stayed on the seat or under the bar stool that Jade had her arms leaning on so it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable for her to hold this pose for a long time. Although Jade would have held it anyway-  she is so good, and as a dancer is used to holding painful poses!

I also spent a great deal of time with just the lights beside my easel and studying them. Bringing up the power and sense of light up-lighting her form. This image comes close to showing how the painting appears to glow… Eventually I knocked back the lower half of her body- it just wasn’t necessary to the image, and then just focused on what was important- the face and the lemons. The hands became a bit wonky and claw-like, but I kinda liked that. I also started to pop around my blue-green accent in the painting to complete my 4-color color chord. Just like notes on a piano, it felt more complete to the harmony.

And I always go back to the beginning. It is so important to consult my initial notes and thoughts, color harmony studies and the reasons WHY I am doing this painting in the first place. It is so easy to get off track along the way right? Pretty colors can distract and I find myself wading through the details. I always need to go back to the beginning and remind myself of what I am doing. I spend a lot of time thinking about a work before I lift a single stick… I need to remember what is supposed to be at the end of the journey.

I had it professionally shot by Alex Pathos- if you are looking for someone to take a wonderful capture of your work, he is a wonder here in Pittsburgh. All the illustrators I know use him, so please look him up. He is very sensitive to color and lighting and to working with artists. A true gem! This is him below getting it color-corrected for me.

And there you have it- my battle with fruit. I hope you get a chance to see it in person one day. I am always amazed at the differences that are perceived when looking at an original in person.

If you want to learn more about light and how it acts, I am teaching a 2-day workshop on the LAW of Light – the rules surrounding light and how to tell if you are breaking the LAW. (I have been known to threaten to hand out “tickets” in my workshops to artists that “break” the LAW!  hehe…..)  So if you are interested in truly understanding light, the workshop is the Law of Light and the Figure. What is more complex than the figure? Nothing- so if you can paint that, you can paint anything… and Jade will be one of the models! Hunter too- he is a legend of a model here in Pittsburgh (trust me, it will be a treat to paint them)

Join me and I will teach you my illuminating ways… all mediums are welcome- not just pastel.

April 6 and 7th
The Law of Light and the Figure.
Carnegie, PA   3rd Street Gallery
$295   Just contact me to hold a spot!
christine@swannportraits.com

Believe it or not, I am currently teaching “Classical Realism” in oils right now at Sweetwater Center for Arts in Sewickley. Yup – I just said oils! It has been fun to teach in a medium with a brush. So, be on the lookout for more classes at the Center with me and some other artists that I am bringing to the Center from around the country to teach. I am now on the Board at Sweetwater Center for the Arts and I am starting up a “Master Series” of workshops this coming summer.  And no, you don’t have to be a “master”- they are master teachers! and all levels will be welcome… Artists I am flying in include Aaron Schuerr, Alexander Soukas, William Suys and Jeff Hein!  More on that soon…

Hope to be able to work with you soon… Christine