I took a trip to the MET this past weekend and was joined by a friend who hadn't been before. We got to see a lot and I took some photos of my favorites. One in particularly is a absolutely amazing full length figure by Sir Frederic Leighton titled, "Lachrymae" (1894). I first saw this painting years ago and hadn't seen it again since this weekend so it was really a joy to see. The first sculpture pictured below is by Bernini and was notable because Bernini was 16 when he made it! The other sculptured pictured at the end are just ones that I found entertaining.
One thing that I took note of is how thickly Sargent paints certain works. If you look at the photos below, you can see some details that really show this. He wasn't afraid to apply thick paint. This is something that I want to take onboard and use in my own works. I painted my most recent commission more thickly, but I want to go thicker in my paint application. Just something that I gotta remember..
I think I'm about done with this current commission and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to look over it one last time, but I'm happy with the way it looks. I was really inspired by Velazquez for this portrait and worked mostly wet-in-wet to finish it part by part.
I've been developing my recent alla prima painting ideas and I'm toying with the idea of writing a short ebook. This is a new idea, but it's something that I would love to do. As readers of my blog will know, I'm a huge fan of John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and the original godfather of it all, Diego Velazquez. I was fortunate to travel to Madrid last year where I absorbed a lot of information about these amazing painters. For the book, I would inject a lot of my own ideas, but it would also contain a lot of information about alla prima painters of the past.
Have a great weekend everyone!
I just did a new painting of a candlestick, very much inspired by a painting that I love called Candelabra with Roses by John Singer Sargent. The amount of beauty that Sargent was able to capture in such a simple and quick scene is just crazy to me. I wish I could ask Sargent some questions about his philosophy of painting!
For this painting (and for the foreseeable future), I used a really straightforward palette:
-Cadmium Yellow Light
-Cadmium Yellow Medium
-Cadmium Red Light
-Cadmium Red Medium
Aside from a few colors, this is the palette that I was using while as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy. So I guess to go forwards in finding myself again, I'm going backwards and focusing more on simplicity. No techniques, nothing fancy, no special way of doing it. I just want to focus on painting and teaching for now and listening to my own inner voice.
I was sketching my friend Tim last night and it hit me so suddenly, the importance of accurate values. It's way more important than color, proportion, detail or any other aspect to representational painting.
This revelation came at the perfect time to me because I was really struggling with a portrait and didn't know what I was going wrong. I think the roadblock I used to have before was to be almost afraid of making the values too dark. This fear is really impeding because most accurate values are towards the darker value range.
So a simple 3 step process for the painting below that I did was:
1. Start with a simple charcoal outline to get the basic proportions
2. Use a large brush and smudges of more opaque paint with accurate values. Don't worry about details at this stage. (squinting helps)
3. Once the basic forms are in place, then you can add minor details and refine it a little bit more, but don't go overboard and lose the planes.