creative process

Creative Process: Oil Sketches

Creative Process: Oil Sketches

“Expression implies emphasis and selection”

I am not sure where I first came across this quote, however I had it posted in my studio for several years to remind me daily of this idea. To me the idea that “expression implies emphasis and selection” is what the creative process is all about. 

In order to synthesize my experience into a work of art, I need to investigate it and then choose how I will express my interpretation of the scene. 

Creative Process: Morning Ramble

Creative Process: Morning Ramble

Morning Ramble, 20 x 16 inches

When I began this painting, I first completed a scaled color-study of the composition.Because I was working from a photo reference, I wanted to explore a few ideas and experiment on how I was going to simplify the busy and information filled background.

Something you may know about me, is that I am SUPER fascinated with detail, lots of texture, and complex shapes. However, detail and texture must be incorporated thoughtfully into a painting or else it will overwhelm the composition.

Creative Process: Bittersweet, 32 x 40 inches

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Bittersweet by Elizabeth Floyd, 32 x 40 inches, oil on linen

Bittersweet

The idea behind this painting had been floating around in my mind for more than two years before I was finally ready to begin in November 2015. I knew the subject matter would require a large painting surface and I must admit I was a bit intimidated by the idea of painting a life-size painting in the level of detail I imagined.

I am glad I allowed the idea to percolate and develop, because I am so happy with how this painting turned out.

I wanted a painting that was as big as possible while also maintaining the intimate feel of the delicate vine. By my nature, I am drawn to intricate patterns and details, the more delicate and nuanced, the more my mind wants to engage. So I wanted this painting to be an exploration of layering the textures and patterns created by the setup. Included in this painting is a Turkman rug that has beautiful deep reds, blacks, and blues, where some of the reds almost shift into purple tones. I was drawn to include it as my background because it complements the yellows and oranges of the bittersweet. The split-oak basket was an object I have wanted to paint for along time, I had just never found a place for it in a composition. So overall this painting came together and I began painting it.

For the first two months that I worked on this painting, I had several fits and starts where I would have to scrape down everything I had worked on because it was just off. I do not have any photos of this era because I was so wrapped up with the painting process that I would forget to take photos. Around Christmas I took some time off from the studio. During this break, I thought about how I wanted to move forward and what I might have to change in order to accomplish my painting goals.

20160202-002 Bittersweet WIP-01 This is where the painting was when the new year rolled around, and I was now energized to tackle this painting.

The big change I incorporated into my studio habit to help me overcome the painting obstacles I previously encountered was to move my easel away from my viewpoint spot. Each time I actually painted, I needed to step 3-4 steps forward to paint, and then I would step back and compare the painting to actuality. This is similar to the sight-size painting method, but not really. I have really fallen in love with this method and have been using it on other paintings I am working on now.

Once things began to come together it was just a matter of working on the details and moving forward. The painting then came together rapidly.

20160202-002 Bittersweet WIP-02

20160202-002 Bittersweet WIP-03

20160202-002 Bittersweet WIP-04

20160202-002 Bittersweet WIP-05

Here is a detail of the finished painting.

20160202-002 Bittersweet 32x40 detail

Creative Process: Ring, Sparrow, Phoenix, 24 x 36 inches

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Ring, Sparrow, Pheonix by Elizabeth Floyd, 24 x 36 inches, oil on linen

Ring, Sparrow, Phoenix

Last summer this painting was inspired by many ideas I had about marriage that were floating around in my head.

I had just acquired a vintage double wedding ring quilt at an estate sale and fell in love with its faded pastel colors and pattern. When I decided to develop a composition with this quilt, I was motivated to find objects that would support thoughts of love and marriage.

Of the different objects included in the painting, three specific items that symbolize and support my ideas of what makes a marriage strong and long lasting were:

Ring, Sparrow, Pheonix by Elizabeth Floyd, 24 x 36 inches, oil on linen 1. My wedding band 2. The image of a sparrow on the Pennsylvania redware pitcher. Often a sparrow has been a symbol of industriousness, commitment, and hard work. 3. The image of a phoenix on the imari bowl. A phoenix is associated with the cycle of life, living, burning itself out only to rise from the ashes with renewed youth and vigor.

Ring, Sparrow, Pheonix by Elizabeth Floyd, 24 x 36 inches, oil on linen

Other items were included as well, flowers from my early-summer garden, draped fabric, food and drink. I gathered these items, and began to assemble a complex composition with a lot of individual pieces, where a linear rhythm would predominate over my tendency to rely on color-masses to create unity.

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Here are photos of my process:

20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-01 20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-02 20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-03 20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-04 20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-05 20150706-013 WIP ring-sparrow-phoenix-06

And here is a detail of the gaillardia flower bouquet Ring, Sparrow, Pheonix by Elizabeth Floyd, 24 x 36 inches, oil on linen

Creative Process: Late Summer Tomatoes, 36 x 30 inches

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I am VERY wedded to my process of painting from life in natural light when I am working on a still-life painting. Sometimes this dedication to only painting from life can affect the development of a painting. This painting, “Late Summer Tomatoes” started out with sunflowers as the leading star, however a family emergency required me to stop work on the painting after the initial first week of work. This situation took me away from home for two weeks and in that time my sunflowers had bloomed out in my garden, leaving me in search of something else to incorporate into the setup from what my garden was producing when I returned to the studio.

Luckily for me, my tomatoes were especially productive and I decided to paint them again.

Here are some photos showing my painting process.

20150924-020 WIP01This image is taken from my first day of blocking in the composition.  As you can see, originally a basket full of sunflowers was going to be sitting on the green step stool.

20150924-020 WIP02 At the beginning of the second day of blocking in I realized that I needed to shift the stool down some in the painting, so began to work over the previous day's burnt umber block-in with lead white mixtures.

20150924-020 WIP03 Then I left for two weeks, and this was the chaos I returned to, with the sunflowers all bloomed out... My garden always gets overgrown and wild by the end of August.  I am painting so much that I do not have has much opportunity to keep the crazy growth in check, and I hate cutting back at this time because I want to maximize what I can paint from in September and October, and so many birds begin eating from the seed heads of the flowers I just feel guilty about cutting back the chaos until the last moment.  Sigh. How I wish there were more hours in the day during the summer...

And thank goodness my husband is patient with me and that we do not have a HOA, they would be bothering me like crazy around this time of year ;)

20150924-020 WIP04 When I got back home and into the studio, things were so crazy I did not photograph any of the earlier days.  But, you can see that I made a lot of progress on the quilt and stool along with the first block-in of the tomatoes.  To make the change easier after what I had painted in before the two week break, I laid down a middle gray value to simplify everything, it was easier to move forward without any of the previous composition still lingering.

20150924-020 WIP05 Further along with a big push focusing on the tomatoes.  The tomatoes began to ripen quickly in my studio, so I had to give them my whole attention for several days in a row.

20150924-020 WIP06 Getting closer to the finish line.... 20150924-020_Late-Summer-Tomatoes 36x30 The completed painting! Late Summer Tomatoes, 36 x 30 inches, oil on linen.

20150924-020 Late-Summer-Tomatoes detail A closeup of the tomatoes and stems.

WIP: Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates, 24 x 30 inches

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Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates by Elizabeth Floyd, 24 x 30 inches  - oil on linen

Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates

This is a painting where the idea of its basic composition was established in late 2014. I had worked on a vertical configuration of this compositional idea in November 2014, but in December 2014 I came down with pneumonia and let the original painting get put aside. Also the orchid that had been a part of the original composition had lost all its flowers. Then as the New Year (2015) came into being, all of my various amaryllis bulbs began to bloom. And with the blooming of my “apple blossom” amaryllis, I decided to revisit the composition. In assessing the original painting, I decided to change to orientation from vertical to horizontal.

After the initial block-in of the painting, I decided to focus on painting the amaryllis bloom. The other areas of the painting would last, while the flowers needed my immediate attention. As I have shared before, I prefer painting from life, even if this puts me under a bit more pressure in the race of completing the floral sections before they wilt and die. So on the first full day I had in the studio I dove in.

In fact, I worked on the amaryllis bloom for the time that Naomi was in preschool, typically I get 2-3 hours in the studio during this time and I had to stop mid-day to pick her up and deliver her to the babysitter so I could have the rest of the afternoon to paint. When I returned, I was able to look at my progress and setup with clear eyes. In analyzing what I had accomplished that morning and how it affected the composition, it came to me, that the painting would display the amaryllis bloom best if I turned the flower 180-degrees. So I scraped down what I had laid-in that morning and began again.

20150302-002 WIP Pomegranates-01

{the amaryllis bloom in its first position}

20150302-002 WIP Pomegranates-02

{the amaryllis bloom in its second and final position, with my initial colors laid down}

20150302-002 WIP Pomegranates-03

{the amaryllis bloom with some of its surrounding background}

One of the truths of being an artist I hold is it never hurts to scrape down and begin again. Invariably the next go-round will be better and come more easily than the previous try, and I will feel better about the final outcome of the painting.

After revising the orientation of the flowers, I worked on areas of the painting choosing to jump around depending on the amount of uninterrupted studio time I had to dedicate.

Here are some detail images of the final painting:

Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates by Elizabeth Floyd, detail of 24 x 30 inches  - oil on linen

Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates by Elizabeth Floyd, detail of 24 x 30 inches  - oil on linen

Still Life with Amaryllis and Pomegranates by Elizabeth Floyd, detail of 24 x 30 inches  - oil on linen

...................................................................... Framed Painting {24" x 30" – oil on linen} ......................................................................

WIP: Created with Love, Final Phase

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Created with Love

Created with Love

Created with Love, my first painting of 2015 is officially finished.

To me, a painting becomes complete when I take down its still-life setup. No longer can I take the painting back into the studio to putter and fine-tune areas, in truth I can always return to a painting and add to it and change it some, but I like working from life and if my setup comes down I hesitate going back into a painting because I do not want to lose the connection I had with its setup. I get concerned about diluting my visceral connection with the inspiration of the painting in some way.

At the end of January when I finished phase two of this painting, I brought the painting into my living room to contemplate in a different environment than my studio. And in doing so, I realized I needed to make the background behind the red amaryllis more defuse and softer. When the paint was dry to the touch, I began exploring ways to soften the background some, and to make the flower stronger.

WIP-20150121-2A created-with-love-36x24

 

The left image was before I began to experiment with softening the background some, and the right image was taken after my first experiment.  I liked it so much that I quickly began applying various glazes over the background, some where light in value and others were dark, I did not use the same tint mixture but shifted the tints to warm and cool depending on what seemed the best solution.  This phase went quickly.

Here are a few details of the finished painting.

20150226-001a created-with-love-detail

20150226-001b created-with-love-detail copy

20150226-001c created-with-love-detail

 

Okay, the biggest thing I learned about this painting is that I love diving into the details...

...................................................................... Framed Painting {36" x 24" – oil on linen} ......................................................................

RELATED POSTS: Work in Progress - Created with Love: Phase 1 Work in Progress – Created with Love: Phase 2

Work in Progress – Created with Love: Phase 2

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In the first phase of completing this painting, I focused on the amaryllis bloom.  As soon as I got to a certain point, I was ready to tackle the quilt in its entirety.

WIP-20150115-1 created-with-love-36x24 {first day working on the quilt background}

I knew this would take A LOT of time and effort, however I LOVE painting drapery and fiddling with the minutia of shifts in value found in painting cloth.

My decision to tackle the quilt in a somewhat organized manner, working in adjacent areas most of the time was helpful in making sure that the overall continuity of the colors and values would read as a whole, even thought it took almost 9 long painting sessions to get the first layer of the quilt completed down.

WIP-20150115-2 created-with-love-36x24 {moving forward with one section at a time}

WIP-20150115-3 created-with-love-36x24 {At the end of a session}

After working for two long days on the quilt, I needed some immediate gratification in the last hour of my painting session, so I moved down to the lay-in the antique suitcase I got from Steve's grandmother.

WIP-20150122-1 created-with-love-36x24

{moving a bit further along}

By the end of this session, I had figured out about how long it would take to complete one of the four sides that make up each double wedding ring, and was able to estimate how much time I would need to cover the entire canvas.

 This type of hyper-intensive attention to detail also takes a lot of mental energy.  And the best way to remain fresh over a long day of painting is to plan on only focusing on one area at a time, and when your brain starts to turn to mush and you no longer care if you are getting it right.  This is the time when you take a break.  Deep work is mentally fatiguing and to stay on top of your game, means listening to yourself.

The type of breaks I like best to take when I want to mentally refuel my mind is to get on the yoga mat and complete a series of stretches.  I think this type of break is the best for resting and recharging, for me it usually takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of resting my eyes and stretching to be ready to start again.

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{Almost all covered}

WIP-20150131-1 created-with-love-36x24

{first pass of the quilt completed}

At the end of this painting session, the canvas was finally covered and I could begin to plan how to further refine the painting and make it read a bit better.  For this painting I used a lead white with a walnut oil binder, so it was taking a while for my white layers to completely dry, which, was fine with me because I needed some time to map out the next and hopefully final stage.

 

Work in Progress - Created with Love: Phase 1

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This year it is my goal to work on a few large and more complex compositions and I thought you may enjoy reading about my process. So today I want to share with you a still-life I began in early January 2015, this post discusses the first phase – focusing on painting the amaryllis flower from life.WIP-20150131 created-with-love-36x24

{Created with Love - 36 x 24 inches - almost finished}

This past December when I was finishing up my double wedding-ring quilt, I began thinking about how fun it would be to paint this quilt in a still-life painting. Then I began pondering what to pair it with… knowing that it would have to be something strong to counteract the bright colors and complexity of the quilt. As I was thinking about possible compositions, one of my large “red dragon” amaryllis bulbs came into bloom, and all was settled. I knew I could begin the painting I was pondering right away.

As an artist, I prefer to paint from life and in natural light. This being said, in the winter months I must rely on winter blooming flowers, which typically involves forcing a variety of bulbs inside. My favorite winter blooming bulb is the amaryllis, a tropical bulb that prospers in our warm interiors.

When painting flowers, painting from life is my preference because I feel my work captures the gesture and essence of the flowers I am working on. I try to stay away from relying too much on photo references, I think it is because photographs are one more filter away from my own personal relationship I have with the flowers. Being an avid gardener and that I typically am nurturing and growing the specific flowers I am painting, it is like I have a deeply felt relationship with them, and I want the flowers to be there while I am painting and trying to convey what I am feeling in paint.

Because of this desire to paint from life and knowing a flower only has so long before it begins to fade, I have to plan the sequencing of how to paint every given floral still-life composition. Typically I begin every painting with a drawing painted in with burnt umber, then I begin to immediately paint the areas with the most limited lifetime, in this painting it was the amaryllis flower.

Work in Progress - Created with Love

{first day: end of burnt umber block-in}

By beginning with a burnt umber drawing, I make sure that I can get the scene onto the canvas as I want, establishing an accuracy in proportion and scale. I always try to get the drawing as correct as possible, even knowing that once I begin to paint the under-drawing is going to be obliterated. I view this phase as a very important step because I feel like it helps me engage a level of muscle memory and mental connectedness I want to have with my compositions.

After the under-drawing is finished, I will take a small break (15-30 minutes) to get away from the painting, so when I return I will have fresh eyes and will be able to identify any errors in the original burnt umber drawing. If all is well, I dive into painting the most important and ephemeral subjects.

WIP-20150108-2 created-with-love-36x24

{first day: at the end of the painting session}

I began painting the amaryllis flower right away.  Blocking in color masses, keeping the shapes large and descriptive of the total structure of each flower.  When I paint flowers I am also trying to gage how long each flower will keep fresh and bright.  I knew from watching how the flower opened that the flowers on my right were the ones that would fade the quickest.  So they were the first ones tackled.  Leaving the two flowers on the left to be partially laid in.

WIP-20150108-2a created-with-love-36x24

{first day: end of painting session}

Because when painting you make decisions based on the adjacent areas, I also began laying in the values for the neighboring background areas.

WIP-20150109-1 created-with-love-36x24 copy

{second day: a few hours into the painting session}

Upon returning to this painting the next morning I realized I needed to spend some more time laying in the adjacent background areas.  So I began to tackle more of the double wedding-ring pattern and the white areas.

WIP-20150109-2 created-with-love-36x24

{second day: near the end of the day}

After the adjacent areas were laid in, I went back into the amaryllis flower and began refining.  I also took out the back of one of the flowers that had wilted overnight.  Sometimes I will keep a wilted flower in my painting even after it has ceased to exist, however with this painting I realized the void left by that one flower, now wilted, made for a more dynamic shape of the overall flowerhead.

WIP-20150109-2a created-with-love-36x24

{second day: end of painting session}

WIP-20150110-1 created-with-love-36x24

{third day: a few hours into the painting session}

On the morning of third painting session, I realized that this would be my last day to work with the amaryllis flower before it totally wilted.  So I worked almost exclusively on it.

WIP-20150110-2 created-with-love-36x24

{third day: end of painting session, detail of the flowers}

As the end of the day drew near, I had just about finished with painting the amaryllis, so I began to focus on painting the quilt.  I still stayed close to the areas of the amaryllis because I knew that I would need to use this area to key to as I worked on the quilt when the flower would not be there to help me judge for correct color and value.

For me, painting is the experience of slowing down and absorbing what I see, and by painting objects that have a fleeting life, such as a flower, I feel like I am making their beauty more permanent, something to be admired for a long time to come.

Thank you for stopping by and I will be back with another post that describes the next phase of this painting.

 

My Still-life Commission Process

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Sometimes I am asked if I ever complete commissions, and my answer is “yes, I do!” and then I go on to explain how I approach commissions, as my process is not typical… this is because when I work on a commission, I paint three different compositions of the subject matter, and my client gets to select their favorite of the three.

The reason for my process is because I really enjoy exploring a single subject matter from various points of view. In my mind, creating artwork is more than just recording something visually accurate, it is about capturing the essence and meaning of the subject.

And I am an artist who loves to share my sense of beauty and often this is something that cannot be pinpointed but instead is felt and made aware of by experiencing. And by investigating a single topic (or object) in multiple ways, I begin to really understand it and thus am better able to express what makes it so special and beautiful.

This summer I was asked to create a still-life painting of blue hydrangeas, and now I want to share my process and how I created the three different compositions.

The first thing I did after accepting this project was to brainstorm about ideas, thinking about color schemes and potential schematic diagrams of the big geometric shapes and breakdown of compositional space. If you know me in person, you know I am always toting around my “idea book”, a spiral sketchbook where I write down EVERYTHING.

Being a colorist, before I ever began to investigate the compositional formats, I thought about how I wanted to emphasize the blue of the hydrangeas. Often I will amplify the visual impact of a color by paring it with its complementary color and color temperature. So being that I was going to be painting blue hydrangeas, in my mind’s eye I wanted to surround the flowers with warm oranges, peaches and reds.

sketchbook-hydrangea commission{composition doodles}

From my compositional thumbnails and sketches, I became interested in pursuing two trains of thought, one was where the hydrangeas were centered and the central focus of the composition, and the second was where the hydrangeas were part of an entire scene, visually interacting with the other objects in the painting.

Still Life with Cherries and Hydrangeas{1st painting :: Mid-Summer Hydrangeas}

With this first composition I explored utilizing color as a way to emphasize the blues in the hydrangea flowerheads. These hydrangeas were from my garden, so I also got to incorporate the flowerheads at different levels of maturity, the older blooms had larger individual flowers in a lighter dusty blue where the flowerheads that were just beyond being a bud were variegated in color from a pale green shifting into cream in some flowers and in other flowers with deep blue tips.

Ode to Fantin Latour{2nd painting :: Ode to Fantin Latour}

For the second composition, I wanted to explore a vertical format while incorporating a variety of flowers into the bouquet. This painting is also an ode to the French artist Henri Fantin Latour, because I think he is the master of all floral still lifes and is an artist I really look up to. I wanted to create a sense of mystery while also emphasizing the blue of the hydrangea blooms by including notes of orange, yellows, and roses throughout the composition.

During all this time when I was working on these commission paintings, I was constantly looking at other artist’s interpretations of hydrangeas and it was through the process of painting hydrangeas and viewing other paintings with hydrangeas in them that my own opinion about what makes hydrangeas so captivating as a flower crystallized in my mind. To me it is the lace-like quality that comes from the individual flowers of the flowerheads catching light, and of the other individual flowers falling into shadow. The overall round form of the flower heads are punctuated with the delicate edges and details of the individual flowers.

Still Life of Hydrangeas{3rd painting :: Blue Hydrangeas in Blue Willow}

So when I began the third painting, I really strove to focus on the effects of light and shadow, allowing my earlier explorations of color complementaries to take a backseat and to expressly investigate the way the light fell across a bouquet of hydrangeas. Texture and the lace-like qualities were my focus, so I zoomed in and made it a painting about the flowers.

2014 hydrangea commission

And through this process, I gained a comfort in being able to paint hydrangeas, which to me, hydrangeas are some of the most difficult flowers to capture, especially as I paint from life, and if the flowers wilt, I am in deep water if the painting is not complete…

All of these paintings were fun to paint and I learned so much from this process.

The client selected the third painting.

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Interested in commissioning  a still-life painting with a special flower or family heirloom?

Please visit the Commission a Painting page to learn more.

The Creative Process and Finishing a Painting

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Summer's Bounty

{detail}

As artists, we are so lucky to be able to create something new that has the ability to communicate and produce a sense of value in others. To originate something wholly new, conceived, and made by our own abilities is something I savor and value every time I paint.

However it is not when everything falls into place with relative ease that I find the creative process most rewarding, no, it is when I have been grappling with a problem and probing for possible solutions over a period of time that I enjoy most. It is when the creative act is something to work for and solve that I feel most rewarded.

This idea of enjoying the creative process is something I try to teach when working with students, because I believe if you love the labor that is involved with the craft of art making, you will continue on and overcome the challenges. Also by loving the exploration of your medium makes every opportunity to create a positive experience, and reduces the need to focus on the outcome.

To be an artist, is about combining your ability to think, plan, and execute ideas. There are times when everything comes together, but there are more often times when the painting is like going down a maze with no sense of direction. I liken these times as periods of being in the wilderness and being mindful of just keep trodding on, but to also put that painting aside and begin another one.

These are the times when you must give the creative process time to develop.

Last summer, when I began this painting, I had a vision, I wanted to create a series of large-scale floral still-life paintings, working only from life, creating a sense of warmth and abundance. So I set up an exuberant bouquet and got to work…

summers-bounty-version-1 {first start}

…but I did not like my first start. It mainly had to do with the surface choice. I had chosen a very fine weave linen that was super smooth and demanded a very high level of finish, similar to the painting Sunflowers and Apples from the summer before. Once I began to work on the second pass, I realized I wanted a rougher linen surface, more in line with the support I had used for the painting Contemplating Motherhood.

So I pulled out a new stretched canvas and got to work all over again.

This time around, the painting went better. I liked how it was progressing for the first stages, but then I also realized it was missing something again…

summers-bounty-version-2

{end of first phase}

So I hung it in my living room and lived with it for a week or two. Observing it at different times of the day and trying to mentally make changes that would strengthen the composition.

Then I realized it was too sterile and isolated, and that I wanted to change the sense of space in the painting so it really interacted with the viewer. So I added the flowers on the horizontal surface to further heighten the sense of foreground and background. Adding the flowers made a huge difference so I put a frame on it.

summers-bounty-version-3

{after placing the zinnias on the horizontal surface}

This painting has hung in a frame all through the autumn and winter, teasing me about how wonderful it will be to have summer again and also because I was still not convinced it was finished. It needed something more….

You may wonder how I knew it needed something more, but I knew it did because I was unwilling to submit it to enter into shows. I was unwilling to pronounce it complete because in my gut knew it did not completely express what I had hoped for.

Then last week, I was out painting in the open air when I came home and was struck with an idea on what to change and in the 30 minutes before having to go and pick up Naomi, I removed the painting from its frame and began to mix a new color for the background. In the half light of the fading day, I laid in this new color and then left it to stew for two more days.

summers-bounty-version-4

{after the first layer of the new background color}

This big change felt good. I also eliminated some of the flowers that were superfluous and added even more of a sense of background by moving the glass jar closer to the wall to have shadows cast on the wall.

When I had a chance to paint all day, I woke up early with purpose and spent the entire day focused on making this painting express what I had been grappling with for almost nine months. And by the end of the day, it was finished.

summers-bounty-version-5

{just finished and still on the easel}

I firmly believe the creative process cannot be hurried. By being willing to live with the ebbs and flows of the creative process I believe you are able to grow and freely express all your impressions of life and art.

Anatomy of the Torso {a workshop taught by Robert Liberace}

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Hello, This weekend I attended a workshop at the Art League taught by Robert Liberace. The focus was on the anatomy of the torso, and we covered a lot of ground over the three days. Looking at all the major muscles that make up the torso and their points of origin and insertion.

The workshop was organized with both lecture periods and time to draw. Each day we would focus on specific muscles and the pose we drew would include these muscles.

Here are the drawings Rob drew as demonstrations, totally amazing... RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 1 .first drawing of the workshop, where he was emphasizing the basic forms and structure of the torso. Drawn on newsprint with charcoal.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 2 .a breakdown of the significant bony points to be on the look out when drawing the human figure. Drawn on newsprint with charcoal.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 3 .drawing from the second day focusing on the external obliques, the muscles of the scapula, specifically the infraspinatus and teres major. Drawn on newsprint with charcoal and conte crayon.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 4 .With this drawing Rob began by focusing on the chest and abdomen muscles first and then laid in the rib cage and clavicle on top of the drawing.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 5 .Drawn on canson paper with charcoal pencils and white pastel pencil for highlights.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 6 .On the last day we focused on the big back muscles and how they interact with the shoulder muscles. This is the first of three demonstration drawings (though I only got photos of the first two...)

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - Robs dwg 7

Here are some of my drawings from the workshop {more are posted on flickr}.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - 1 .first drawing of the workshop, a quick analysis of the chest and abdomen with the clavicle and sternum drawn in and the massing for the rib cage outlined. The point where the ninth rib meets the rectus abdominis muscle is an important point when drawing this view of the torso as it helps reinforce the direction of the rib cage. Drawn on white drawing paper and charcoal.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - 2 .Another drawing of the front torso, this time leaving out the bone outlines. Drawn on white drawing paper and charcoal.

RLiberace Anatomy of Torso wkshop - 5 .This is the last drawing completed during the workshop. Drawn on white drawing paper and charcoal.

Working for three days straight was really a wonderful opportunity to learn and apply Rob's recommendations from previous times he had come around critiquing everyone's drawing.