I've been painting a lot from life and every time I do, I realize how important it is to do so. I had a correspondence some time ago with the portrait painter, Everett Raymond Kinstler, and he urged me to always paint from life (ERK is a wonderful man and I'm truly appreciative all of his kind words and encouragement). At the time, I had been working from photos for commissions and my work was lacking a lot of vitality, it felt wooden and stiff. There's a magic quality to work that's done from life and I'll only be working from life from here on out.
To give a quick update about Novus Atelier, I'm very excited to begin classes on June 24th. I'm currently gathering supplies for still life paintings, easels and getting some work ready to bring over to the space. I'm also very proud to say that our atelier is going to be a community partner with Patch.com (a community news site). It's very cool to see my hard work paying off.
Stay tuned for more art and more updates!
I got back recently from a life changing trip to see my best friend, Pino. He lives in Chicago and the last time I visited him was the summer of 2017. This time around, we jam packed the trip from start to finish with rock climbing, camping, painting and even skydiving. I mostly wanted to talk about how life changing the skydiving experience was at a place in Wisconsin called, Skydive Midwest, but I also wanted to briefly talk about two paintings that I did while in camping.
The first painting was a plein air landscape that I did near a stream in Illinois. I was using Pino's acrylic paints and some cheap canvas that we picked up from Blick the day before. I had about five colors that I used and I didn't have a palette so Pino found a heavy flat rock for me to use. So everything was very against me for making a "great" painting, but I didn't care about that, I just wanted to have fun and paint.
The painting turned out really well and the reason is because I didn't care about it being "perfect", I just wanted to have some fun. The other painting I did while Pino and I were staying in a super cool small cabin in a place called White Pines Resort. Again, I was using simple acrylic supplies and a luncheables box as a palette. The portrait came out beautifully and I learned that it's nice to have good quality supplies, but you can also do a great painting with cheap canvas and a rock palette.
For the skydiving, I first want to say how awesome the people at Skydive Midwest are. They're so cool and made us feel super excited to jump. Pino had jumped 3 times prior and this was my first time. We ended up having to go back to the place 3 times because of weather conditions and got to jump on the day that I flew back to NJ. The whole process from boarding the small plane to jumping to landing on the ground took about 25 minutes. On the plane ride up, everyone was high-fiving and cracking jokes. So then you're up 14,000 ft. and everyone is sitting with their tandem partner, then a big door opens on the side of the plane which was very surreal. My tandem partner (super cool Brazilian dude) and I edged close to the bay door. We sat with our legs hanging over the side of the plane and you could see the curvature of the earth, which was beautiful and very strange.
The next things is that my partner said "1...2...3..." and then we fell forwards straight down in a minute long free fall. I wish I could describe the feeling of that but it's honestly impossible. It's like the world is hurtling at you so fast and your brain sort of shuts off. It felt like a really long time and yet short. Then my partner pulled the chute and we drifted down in a spiral towards the runway. The parachute ride itself was really beautiful and you could see the whole world beneath your feet. My partner even let me steer the parachute for a while which was really awesome.
After having done the skydiving and the entire trip, I basically feel fearless and that everything "ain't no thang". I really needed this trip to help me find myself again. Thank you Pino <3
I finished up this memorial portrait and I'm very excited to give it to my patron. The portrait progressed very smoothly and I really enjoyed working on it. I really tried my best to capture a feeling of life and spirit in this piece.
As a side note on technique, I had some thoughts about oiling out, which is the application of a thin layer of oil before you begin to paint to bring out sunken colors. I recently read that oiling out could provide some problems for the longevity of your painting; the problems could arise from the fact that oil yellows with age and there's no way of removing old oil, unlike an old varnish. I'm always concerned about the longevity of my paintings and thus, I will not be oiling out in the future. I used to think it was necessary in order to ease my paint strokes, but that isn't true anyway. Painting is an endless mystery.
Have a nice evening everyone--
I worked today for a while and I'm having moments where I'm really happy with it and then other moments where I don't like it; that happens a lot during the painting process. I didn't oil out today because it wasn't completely dry from last time, but I have to remember to oil out for next time to ease the painting process.
Have a great weekend everyone!