Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Untitled 49

This is as dark as possible without any black. It's a variety of very very dark blues and grays. You probably can't see much variation on the computer screen, but there is some.

What do you compulsively sketch? What types of subject matter are you continually drawn to look at or draw, or just want to draw? I've realized that, for example, when I take my sketchbook along to a cafe, it's not bodies I want to draw, and it's not the furniture, nor the scene out the window, nor the fluffy dog tied to the outdoor table, nor even the still life of espresso products lined up on the counter... It's always faces. I'm so in love with human faces. I really miss the alla prima portrait class I was in so briefly. I do want to get back to portraiture, somehow. I suppose that leaves self-portrait studies, for now at least. I think it's time to figure out how the heck I can set everything up in my studio (lighting, placement of easel, mirror, and seat, palette within reach, etc.) to do some.

There's an amazing new book out there: Suzanne Brooker's Portrait Painting Atelier. I got it from our excellent public library and am going to buy a copy. It's for intermediate-level (e.g., you know most of the vocabulary but maybe haven't learned all the techniques) oil painters, dedicated about 80% (my guesstimate) to indirect painting (painting in layers, where you wait for each one to dry before proceeding--what I did in art school, and which leads to a "tight" look rather than loose) and perhaps only 20% to direct (alla prima). Even though I am almost wholly interested in alla prima style, nevertheless, the information is so good and thorough that I definitely want the book. If you do paint portraits in oils indirectly, this book will be your bible. Interestingly, although the book is vastly about indirect-style painting, there are tons of great reproductions of both indirect and direct-style contemporary portraits. Mouthwatering. Inspiring. My personal favorites in this book might just be the Robert Liberace alla prima portraits.


All alone and bored. Looking for a playmate...

Rumi heard from Garrett, SamArtDog's dog (who would like to eat Rumi, but never mind that right now), that buying these postage stamps currently can help feed shelter companion animals.

In Jaipur.

More art on my website: jalapfaff.com


Karen Bruson said...

I always enjoy visiting your website.
I don't draw, although I know I should.

Candace X. Moore said...

Hey, Jala, I've seen that book, your right, it's inspiring. So much good info, and I especially like the Rob Liberace and Glenn Harrington paintings she includes. There is one other book you might want to check out from the library, and maybe even buy...Alla Prima by Al Gury. The style displayed in the book is sort of how I imagine you might paint representationally. I love the book and there are lots of inspiring painting.

Compliments on your continuing beautiful work. There is just something about your abstractions that I connect with.

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Candace, Aren't the Liberace and Harrington paintings in there awesome?! They are just amazing...[drool]
Funny you should mention the Al Gury book. I love that one too and bought it some months ago. I even promoted that one too in my blog. :)
Glad you like my abstracts!

Ian Foster said...

I find your work "Untitled 49" very interesting, it appeals directly to my love of minimalism. I wish I could see this 'in the flesh'.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jala,
Love this piece. It's moody and tranquil all at the same time. Do you know the book by Jane Jones 'Classic Still Life Painting'?.

Some of her underpainted grounds are beautiful in themselves. She uses layers oto build up color. Even if you don't paint very representational still life work, this book is a mine field of information for oil painters. Her still life paintings 'hang' on her toned backgrounds where she uses thin graded washes and several different techniques. I don't have any desire to paint like this, but the technical information is something I go back to often. I'm so inexperienced with oil, but really appreciate blended glazes as it reminds mw of some of my wet into wet blended washes.

I think once we know from experience what we are drawn to, we should make that our life's work. Painting what you love and what feels right always shows through the finished piece.....and I feel that these are my better paintings.

So often as artists we become influenced by others work and technical styles of painting... .. (this can go on for years... I've been there)... but I always end up going back to the medium and subject matter I love best.

I often wonder that if I were left alone in a room for one year without any outside influences (no books, no blogs, no galleries, no TV etc)....with a lot of inward introspection.....just HOW my work would progress.

Caroline said...

I love drawing and find it very relaxing. I don't have to worry about colour mixing and brush work. I can get lost in drawing a scene and often find it hard to just stop! As a hobby at the weekend I do drawings in pencil and pastel of John Wayne, Brad Pitt and others where I can find a black and white picture that has an interesting face that inspires.
I hope you find some inspiration for your portraits soon. The artist John Yardley paints people in watercolour and the effects are lovely.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

I don't draw enough either. I went so many years of my life without painting, so now I can't get enough of that and I feel like I'm making up for lost time!

Anonymous said...

Nice work! This just seems to glow from below, like the sky before dawn begins to creep in. All those deep blues give the grays at the top a greenish tinge... maybe my monitor -- or my eyes!

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Karen - Even I don't draw enough (since art school ended). But when I do, it's great practice and I get SO absorbed in it, time disappears.

Hi Ian - Thank you. I really liked it too. It does look more interesting in person, too.

Hi Maggie - I don't like her work, so have never looked at her book. Maybe I should just out of curiosity. (Her work is too smooth and polished-looking for my tastes.)
Everything you said really resonates with me. The hardest thing, I think, is in finding out what truly interests me. We all have only so many years to draw and paint, so it feels urgent to discover what things I care most about in art. I'm still not totally sure. Abstracts, yes. Faces, yes. Maybe more. Clouds. But what keeps happening to me is that I keep finding NEW things that interest me too. So I'm never able to be really focused yet. Hope that changes.
And I have often wondered the exact same thing--in fact, it's interesting to imagine the hypothetical experiement of if a person were completely isolated from art from birth from any kind of existing art, and left alone in a room with all sorts of art materials, what would eventually come out of that studio?!!

Hi Caroline - Yeah, it is very relaxing for me in a strange way--I get relaxed but super-alert at the same time. And it is a relief from worrying about color and brush technique, isn't it?

Hi Diane - Yeah, it's hard to decide what to dedicate one's limited time to, isn't it?!

Hi Donald - Interestingly, it sounds as if you are seeing it correctly on your computer...the grays at the top immediately took on a relative green tinge compared to the other grays! Very perceptive of you.

Anonymous said...

IT IS A VERY NICE SUGGESTION, THANK YOU LOTS! ........................................

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I love your house :D and Rumi is impossibly cute!