I'm closing the year with an oil sketch of the actor Patrick Stewart that I painted from a photo reference. I am adding this to a portfolio of portraits that I'm submitting to a portrait representative company. This painting was a lot of fun to paint and I'm learning to paint in my own style more and more lately.
This year was very trying for everyone and I'm glad that it's coming to an end. I think this will be a year that will go down in the history books and future generations will be asking: "What was it like to live through 2020?". I'm very thankful that my family and friends are healthy and I hope everyone out there has a healthy and happy end to 2020. I'm looking forward to what 2021 brings!
Merry Christmas to everyone, hope everyone is having a good one and got some cool gifts.
I got some amazing books that I started working my way through. The first book that I'm reading is one I've been waiting to read for a while: Painting Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler. I'm not finished reading it yet, but I've already learned a tremendous amount. It has a lot of technical information, which makes it fascinating to read. The copy I got had a special addition of a drawing and inscription by Mr. Kinstler himself.
I sadly never got to meet Mr. Kinstler in person, but I did exchange emails with him; he always took time to thoughtfully respond and give me advice for my work.
I wanted to share something that I've been thinking about recently which I feel will help a lot of beginning painters. When I was beginning and learning about different methods, I thought there was a very clear right and wrong with painting. Like many beginners, I was very eager to learn the right way to paint.
This desire to learn fueled a lot of my early studies and inspired me to read a lot, which is definitely a positive thing. But the problem with this thinking is it really narrowed my perspective. The more I paint, the more I realize that to limit myself as an artist is not beneficial to my growth. It is true that I've found certain ways of working that work better for me, but how was I supposed to know that when I was beginning?
I am always trying to break out of the mold that "I have to do it this way". The bigger questions with painting are beyond things like which brush to use. To me, the bigger questions are about principles: value, color, narrative, light, shape, feeling.
The thing is, I don't think you can skip right to the advanced stages of painting going through the beginner's mindset. That growth is not something that you can read in a book or something that can be taught. It definitely helps to read and to have someone teach you, but I find myself having to answer a lot of those questions myself.
So, while I don't think there's a right way or wrong way to paint, I think there's a right way but it has to be at the right time and in the right place. This type of knowledge can only be experienced and it comes to me as more of a feeling than a logical sequence.
So if you're a beginner, I'd say it's good to experiment, try soft brushes and bristle brushes, test out cadmium yellow light and cadmium lemon, paint on smooth canvas and rough canvas, the list goes on... I think you'll find that it's not a concrete process. For instance, I usually use bristle brushes, but there's situations that call for a soft brush as well, same thing with palette colors and all those other questions. Buddhists would call this the middle path, between right and wrong.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and remember to be kind to each other in these hard times.
I'm gathering some tips here for putting a motorcycle away for the winter. This is the way I do it and I've learned this mostly from the Triumph dealership where I bought my bike: Locomotion Powersports in Mahwah, NJ. I keep my bike in an unheated garage so these tips will be different if you keep your bike outside because you'll need a bike cover in that case.
The first thing I do is to get a full tank of high quality gas. It's good to fill the tank before you put a bike away. With the gas, I also put in some gas stabilizer (measurements are on the bottle).
The next thing I do is fill my tires, I use a portable air compressor from P.I. Auto Store and it's been working great for years. *Make sure your tires are cold before you inflate them
When my bike is ready to be put in my garage, I roll it onto two carpet swatches from an old carpet roll. This is good for the tires because it stops the tires from developing flat spots. Since my bike is over 500 pounds, it can be tricky to line up both tires onto the carpet so I measured out the distance between my tires and measured out the swatches on the garage floor before rolling the bike in.
Alright that's it, now it's time to wait until riding season starts again.