Friday, September 25, 2009

Final Portrait Class

I'm afraid my demonstration sketches, with all their quick and facile realism, are by no means the most interesting paintings to come out of today's portrait session. We used Alizarin, Ultramarine, Ochre and White on a celadon green toned gessoed paper. It was hard to conquer the green and give the paintings a warm cast, but in spite of that we got a whole line-up of extraordinary portraits of Tolli and Christine!

Classes in October will be on Fridays from 2 to 4:30. We'll be going back to the basics of figure drawing and painting.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

St. Regis Princeville at Last

For some reason, as my friend Neil and I approached Kaua'i's north shore in our white rental Xterra, the promenade theme from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" was playing on my inner iPod. You know, the one with all the trumpets and the stately melody. When we entered the St. Regis Princeville Resort overlooking Hanalei Bay and the mountains of NaPali, the serendipity of this musical selection became clear. The designers of this new version of the old hotel have stripped down and re-created the space into something very much worthy of trumpets playing.

Amazingly enough, my painting is the central focus of the entire grand lobby area, a fact that was never quite conveyed to me. Perhaps it's better this way as I would have been frozen in nervous terror at the responsibility. Fortunately I do think that my Hi'iaka and Lohi'au canvas has enough drama and iconic nature in spite of its quirky details to stand in this space and even add to the legendary qualities. Now I appreciate why the designer, Rhonda Rasmussen of the WATG design group was so hard to please during this project. Well, I hope she's OK with it now, because Neil and I worked our butts off getting the piece restretched and in place!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Portrait Class #3

I love our portrait class. It's extraordinary for me to see folks of all abilities and experiences tackling one of the most difficult art projects and accomplishing such wonderful pieces! Craig, Rick and Elijah are three friends of widely differing appearances who were willing to come and sit for us. We moved from a single color to a triad of colors. Next week, our final portrait class will use three colors plus white on a tinted ground.

We'll be meeting on Friday since I'll be on Kaua'i for the week, helping to restretch and install the big mural I just finished for the Princeville St. Regis Hotel.

(Shown below, my class helper and artist extraordinaire, Tuko Fujisaki)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Princeville St. Regis Mural

With the help of my amazing temporary assistant Neil, I painted and repainted and tightened up edges and covered errors to the point where my big Hi'iaka and Lohi'au mural was ready to be photographed by Robbyn Peck, who has the giclee printing business Island Giclee in Hilo. Then I rolled it up and packed it in cardboard, and did the same to the stretcher bars and the plywood backing, so it can be shipped to Kaua'i! I'll breathe a big sigh when it's finally installed, which I'll go over to help with next week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Portrait Class & Princeville Painting

Mostly what I'm doing these days is jamming on the mural for the Princeville St. Regis Hotel. Having spent months proposing various sketches, now I have just days to actually paint the thing in all its 8' x 9' glory. Fortunately the designer insisted that it be just one color on a cream background, which makes it a matter of fine tuning shapes and filling them in.

Nothing can keep me from my portrait class, though, it's so much fun. I get to tell people what to do! Not only that but -- annoyingly enough, often I'll lean in or take their seat and actually demonstrate on their drawing itself. I can't think of a better way to show how to make progress, although I can tell it's a struggle for some of the students to maintain equanimity! I think it's a good practice to not be so attached to the actual drawing and be willing to change it radically.

Our Models were Yoko, an exquisite Japanese friend, and a beautiful young artist named Stella. It was very hard to draw Stella so she looks as young as she actually is!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Life Drawing: Portraits

September is portrait month at the AJ studio. This is in honor of Didier who always focuses on the face in any drawing of a model. Actually most people do this until they learn the discipline of treating the whole figure with equal attention. I rounded up three very short-haired friends and we did a round robin of profiles and frontal portraits. Next week we'll tackle the more difficult and complex 3/4 angles.