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.
Got up early today, shoveled and then got some time to paint this beautiful snowfall. The subtle color of the snow, the cool shadows and warm lights was really fun to paint. I've done watercolors in the snow before, but this was my first oil painting en plein air in the snow.
This was also the first time that I used my antique mahogany arm palette (last image in gallery below). It worked great en plein air since it's smaller than my studio arm palette.
Sharing a few images of these two paintings that I look back on with pride. They were both painted from life and make me happy. I have strong memories associated with both which also makes them special to me. I don't think there's a magic formula for always making a "good" painting, but I know it's important to paint from life, to paint sincerely and to enjoy the process.
I've been working on some recent paintings that you can see on my blog as commissions and gifts. These paintings have been a lot of fun and they're original compositions, but I'm using photo references for them. So, I want to reaffirm my stance about painting from life: Anyone who knows me, knows I preach about painting from life. There is absolutely no substitute for the color and light of the world around us. But the main reason I paint from life is because it's about creating a non-derivative experience and memory.
It's much more effort to paint from life, which is why it's also a better pay off. During the summer, I started painting en plein air with my friend Asem; the adventures that we've had and the fun of it has been great. He and I just went two days ago and we plan to keep painting through the winter.
As always, my goal isn't to make my paintings look like photos because I don't see any point to that. My goal is to capture a moment of light, color and narrative on the canvas. This is the heart of my work.
Now I have to go stretch some more canvases and I'm teaching my watercolor class tonight. Have a great day.