Friday, June 26, 2009

Back To "Make A Joyful Noise."

It has been a few days since I last posted here; however, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on this project. This is where we last left it.

This is what it looks like now. You may ask…”What happened?” I asked myself that when I realized…”OMG, that is all wrong.”

That white splotch in the center is the result of having to remove what was previously there. I was pleased with the faces…but that figure’s body was way out of proportion. It was sitting too tall for the rest of the figures causing it’s torso to be elongated and its upper arm to be hugely long. Prior to removing this area, I had painted in the entire upper body area when I realized what a screw-up I had done. So, I removed as much of the paint as I could with solvent and a rag. Then I scraped, used more solvent and wiped, then scraped some more. I then sketched it back in…surprisingly I think it’s closer to likeness now. That's a plus.

One of the things I’ve learned with this painting is that, even with what you perceive to be a detailed drawing, when it comes to laying in the paint and you are meticulously putting in all the details, that’s when you realize how much you messed up with the drawing. I don't feel bad about that mistake and having to scrape...I read somewhere in one of my art magazines, even great artists have had to make such corrections. I figure I'm in good company.

Aloha for now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Break from Project

Although I am very much entrenched in the painting “Make a Joyful Noise,” I thought we’d take a break from that and I would post a few of my early pieces.

The following is my first project and my first portrait after enrolling in oil painting class. Not only did I surprise my instructor with this piece, I surprised myself as well – that I was able to accomplish this. This I titled, “Kumu Hula,” which means dance teacher. I was planning to show this in a local art exhibition; but when the painting was completed she looked so much like my sister who was deceased that I couldn’t show it, because I couldn’t sell it. It now hangs in her daughter’s studio who is a Kumu Hula. (oil on 18x24 stretched canvas.)

This portrait of my grandchildren was actually, as I look back, really an ambitious project for me to attempt at that level of skill, but I wanted the challenge. It is oil on 22x28 stretched canvas. I painted it as a Christmas gift for my son and his wife. If I remember right, I started this in July and finished it early December.

This piece I titled “Captive Audience.” It was taken from a photo I took of my three-year old granddaughter; all dressed up in her pink tutu and her pink “Hello Kitty” boots. It was late November and this was the outfit of her choice for that day and to top it all…she wanted to show her daddy, who happened to be outdoors doing a chore, how pretty she was. It was a cold afternoon, but we could not change her mind about going out in the cold in that outfit. Catching her in this pose was priceless. A picture just begging to be captured on canvas. I’ve changed her surroundings to be indoors dancing for her “babies,” thus “Captive Audience.” (oil on 20x24 stretched canvas.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Make A Joyful Noise - Continued

Continuing on…after putting in the background I glazed over the sides and interior of the crater to push it into the background. I will have to do it again for more distance. Next, I put the faces in…that was for my benefit because I was tired of looking at just the whiteness of the characters. Giving them faces gave me more interest. The ground of this area of performance was gravel and since I was going for realism I wanted that to look real as well. To get that realism I experimented with brushwork and colors on a separate canvas and also studied other paintings that showed that type of landscape. I think I’ve come close to achieving that look, but will have to tweak it some more and then work it where it fades into the distance. I must say here that I did expect this to be a challenge, but it has turned out to be more of a challenge than anticipated. However, I am enjoying the challenge.

Okay…moving on to the Lauhala matting. I put in all the vertical lines (I think you can see it in this photo) using a ruler and thin paint brush to lay in the lines. Then, as I was about to put in the horizontal lines I realized that the weave lines of the mat were actually supposed to be on a diagonal (insert is an example). OMG…could not believe that. Totally frustrated I had to remove all those lines and start over…AAARGG!! Yes I do intend to paint in all those little squares…am I nuts???

Whew…matting in. Nearly drove me crazy, but it’s done…yay!! Will have to lighten it up some in places to show where the sun is most intense. I’ll try to do that by glazing over the affected sections. Needless to say, this took several days. For my sanity, I could only work on it in short blocks of time.

This is where I am now. Did work some on the gravely affect in the background to show distance. Any critique or comment you may want to make is more than welcomed.

That’s it for now.

Monday, June 15, 2009



It’s my very own special day…MY BIRTHDAY. I won’t tell you how old I am, but I will tell you that I’ve been around long enough to have two little grandchildren appear at my door at 7:00 a.m. singing the Happy Birthday song. That is the wonderful up side of being a Tutu (that’s Hawaiian for grandmother).

Since it is my birthday, I get to relax and do whatever I want to right?? Well today I’m going to give you a break from my painting process, which I am taking a break from, and post a couple of my paintings that I recently completed and have sent to a jury for selection to a local exhibit.

This one is entitled "Beauty in Simplicity"

I call this "Behold His Glory"

This one is "Morning Dew"

I don't usually do floral, but needed a change of pace and in doing so discovered that I really do enjoy doing them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More...Make A Joyful Sound

This is where we left the painting process yesterday. A detailed sketch on a 24x30 inch, gallery wrapped, stretched canvas that, in my opinion and the opinion of other artists, was not working. Two strong focuses would be detracting to the viewer because each focus is fighting for attention. One suggestion from a fellow forum member was to turn this painting into a diptych. After thinking about it for a couple of months…I took a hand saw, unstapled the canvas on the dancers’ side and sawed the canvas in two. Here’s what I got…(up close shot).

I then laid in the sky and roughed in the background.

So much more to do. What did I get myself into?

Aloha...see you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Make A Joyful Noise

“Make a Joyful Noise” is the title of the piece I am working on now. I started it quite a while ago, but put it aside because I was having quite a few challenges with the concept.

This is the history of this painting. As a staff member of “Aloha Festivals” on the Big Island of Hawaii quite a few years ago I had to be in attendance at an event that took place at the rim of Halema’uma’u Crater. The event was the Investiture of the Aloha Festivals Royal Court. An Investiture is a ceremony to invest with authority or right. A large part of the ceremony was the appearance of the Hula Halau O Kekuhi (dance school) chanters and dancers. The chanters were so emotional and powerful in their delivery of the chants that I knew someday I would paint that scene. But how do you paint that kind of emotion? It has proven to be a challenge. I’ll try to take you through the process.

This is the preliminary sketch

Then it was transferred in two separate segments to a 24x30 canvas with the aid of a grid.

And more detail added

At this point I knew it wasn’t going to work because I had two main focuses, chanters and dancers, vying for the spotlight. After receiving a number of suggestions from artists on my art forums I decided to set it aside for a while, about three months to be exact.

I have resumed this painting and will show more steps tomorrow

Friday, June 12, 2009

Who Am I??

The following is an excerpt from the June-July 2009 issue of International Artist. In the “The Art of the Portrait” section of the magazine, Nelson Shanks was interviewed by Lauren Harris. The article describes Mr. Shanks as “…acclaimed modern Realist.” He spoke with Lauren Harris about his perspectives on the modern aesthetic, education, technique and realism in the twenty and twenty-first centuries.”

Ms. Harris asked the question; “What learning experiences do you feel are crucial in the education of a Realist artist today? What advice would you offer an artist beginning to seek his or her education?”

This is Mr. Shank’s response: “I think the first thing an artist should seek to achieve is drawing excellence, then color and then integration of the two. The strongest advice I could give to someone who seriously wants to be educated as an artist as opposed to a secondary school teacher or something else – is to avoid degree-granting universities and colleges’ art departments. There is such a conflict (within those institutions) on many levels, beginning with goals. The real goal (at most colleges and universities) is to get the degree – the piece of paper. Also, after generations of downward-spiraling measures of competence among faculty, the teaching level as dropped to a point where it is of little, if any, value. The aesthetic culture is derivative of the decreasing competence levels; therefore, what they define as art has ventured far away from anything I would often consider art, or have any interest in regardless of definition.”

I am a self-taught artist and I preface my first blog entry with Mr. Shank’s statement not to make excuses for the fact that I am self-taught, but to make known that one does not have to have a degree to be an artist…at least in the opinion of one of the foremost Realist artists of today. Nelson Shanks is also the founder and Artistic Director of Studio Incamminati.

I have attended art classes, studied countless artists and their techniques (thank God for the internet), studied and viewed the Masters, read as much on the subject as time would permit and basically just jumped in there with brushes loaded and painted. I consider myself a student…always learning, constantly striving for improvement. My only regret is that I wish I had taken the creating of art more seriously earlier in life.

Tomorrow, God willing, I will begin posting a piece that I’ve been working on for quite sometime. Fortunately, I’ve kept a photo record of the process and will take you through the trials and errors of this piece.