A week later, I'm finally getting around to posting some better images of the portraits by themselves. All oil on canvas, 18 X 22 inches.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
|Round One: A full house|
Not being a plein air sort, I was quite anxious over having to paint outside. By a great stroke of luck, the event was moved indoors to the Bean Market due to possibility of rain. The indoor venue proved to be an excellent space for the contest, allowing plenty of room for the artists, models, and audience to roam around and view the work from the walkways above the main floor. The event began promptly at ten with two artists paired to one local farmer acting as model. Each contestant then had only one hour to produce a full portrait to be judged by a panel of four jurors.
In the first round, I was set up at a long table in the center of the floor. The room was already full of people directly involved with the event but also began to overflow with groups from the outside festival, who watched the artist from all sides. My hand was actually shaking so bad as I began that I had to steady it with other fingers on the canvas. It was quite an effort to shut out all the distraction and focus, but I had a great model. The hour went quickly and the 24 artists were cut to 12 for round two. My personal goal was to make past this initial selection so I was excited to move on to the next round.
|Round Two, 12 Artists|
|Round Three, Six Artists|
|Round Four, Three Artists|
At four, I was presented with the blue ribbon and declared the winner. I was admittedly delirious by this point, so I would like to take the opportunity now to thank my hosts at Art Fields for creating such a cool event as well as give one more nod to all of the fine competitors. Thanks to all my students at UNCP who helped me train in the last two weeks, and thanks to the support of my good friends Kate, Zack, and Amelia Wagner, Marsha Wiegand who cheered me on during the contest. Of course, I cannot give enough thanks to my sweet wife Beata who keeps me going.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I am thrilled to know that a great museum such as the North Carolina Museum of Art is so close to where I teach, and that is has a substantial collection of historical and contemporary works that includes major works by some of the biggest names in the textbooks. To name a few, there's an excellent Anselm Kiefer, a few giant Motherwells, and even a Ribera. It also boasts great works by North Carolina artists that easily stack with the rest. There is also curiously large amount of Rodin casts in the West building, extending outside as pictured below. I regret to say that I didn't have time to tour the grounds and surrounding sculpture park, but it's safe to say that I'll be back soon with my dog.
Footnote to the taxidermy pic: I was thinking something like "North Carolina spreads its wings," or state that NCMU simply has everything, but readers should note that I simply love taxidermy and actively seek it out. (I'm also fairly certain that most of it isn't copyrighted.) My nose led to this one in a relatvely tiny Audubon diversion currently on display in the East building. If anyone want to donate any fine specimens, I guarantee it will work its way into a painting someday...
|Anselm Kiefer rocks|
|Lamb of God, literally|
|More Rodins than you can shake a stick at|
Sunday, April 21, 2013
In my third portrait of the day, I finally choked. The likeness wasn't coming together by the half hour and I quickly fell behind with corrections. I didn't even have a chance to get to the hair before the bell! If this was the real deal competition, I don't think I would have passed elimination with this result. Above is where I was at at the one hour point.
Ah well, I wasn't going to let a little failure from stopping me from making a decent painting today. This is the result of an extra twenty minutes that I won't have next Saturday. I will have some serious trouble if my model has long hair and soft features.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
When Aaron took the chair, I said I would try to make him look all Game Thrones in honor of his great hair. Too tall an order without inventing props-- but not too bad a portrait otherwise. The beard was definitely a challenge. Also, I realized a lot of my models have been strolling in with green shirts....
Friday, April 19, 2013
I forgot how much easier is for me to paint men rather than women. My natural manner of working involves a lot of short choppy brush strokes that exaggerates light and dark planes over smooth, careful, rounding of forms. Most guys don't mind if they end up looking a but older and more rugged; let's just say the effect is less pleasing for women. Attempting a measure of blending took an extra five minutes. Also, Darlene obviously takes a lot of care with her hair, and I wanted to do it justice. Ten more minutes gone. I wasn't nearly finished as planned, so I conscripted her for the full hour and got this result.
Another annoying thing about portraits-- did I mention people tend to expect a likeness? Other artists are far more forgiving than the general public--who tend to expect photographic results. While painting, I imagined that the Farmers and onlookers at ArtFields could be a very rough crowd indeed. I was more than a little anxious to see how Darlene would react to the process, but she was a very good sport. I guess all those years around artists had her a better prepared. I'll post the other two results over the weekend, and I plan on doing a couple of more to stay warmed up before the big day.
Monday, April 15, 2013
By the last hour, I was pretty delirious, the artistic equivalent of hitting the wall. I have little recollection of making this. James was a very good sport. Not a bad day all in all.
I'm taking more student volunteers for next Friday, but four is definitely my limit...
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
Today I set up shop in UNCP's painting studio to practice my technique for the upcoming ArtFields contest. Four of my students each generously donated an hour of their time to sit and help me train. First up, Melvin Morris, who is studying Painting as his primary studio area. I set my watch and carved out the above in an hour. I have to admit, I was pleased by the result, even though it doesn't really look like Melvin, but more like some heroic, Biblical figure. He had on a great green shirt, so I was forced to cheat and add in the rest in an additional five minutes:
Thursday, April 11, 2013
How do I get myself into these things? A week ago I received notice that I have been accepted into the ArtFields Portrait Contest. It's a side-event of the larger ArtFields festival in Lake City, SC, and will consist of four rounds where the 24 artists will have an hour to create a portrait. Each round will be judged and winners who pass elimination proceed to the next round. When I heard of the contest, it sounded interesting in idea-- art as performance sport. I briefly entertained the notion of dressing up like the late wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage, complete with gilded cape, and trash talking my opponents as they work. Maybe if I was actually a performance artist, and if this wasn't in the polite South....
More than that, I'm not really a portrait artist. What, you might ask? Sure, I use the historical portrait form in 50% of my work., and I paint illusionistic images of people. Yet, I rarely paint from perception these days. I often make my people up completely from imagination. Of course, this ability comes from years of practice from direct observation, but I am more than a little rusty these days. And I have never painted a portrait in only an hour. I more often keep painting over and over an image until it looks right, which may take twenty or a hundred hours. After all, there are whole schools and societies of professional portraitists who do this for real on a daily basis far better than me. But I like a challenge, and heard of the bigger ArtFields contest too late, and thought that this would be a good excuse to get into fighting shape and see what this Lake City is all about. While I hope to make it at least to round two, it's going to be fun either way. If you are in the area, the event is Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10 am-4 pm on The Green in Lake City, SC.
Oh yes, and the above drawings were my first warm ups from a life model. Paintings on the way soon.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Went out to explore in the blizzard late last night: the snow was as beautiful and cold as you would expect. I was playing with the camera settings trying to capture all the pink light glancing off the snow and sky.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Some pictures from my most recent trip to Maine--had a great walk in fresh snow through a romantic old cemetery in Lewiston, Maine. (Very, very Fredrick.) Great trip, too short as usual, and quite the climate change from 75 in NC to 14 Maine in the same day. May seem like a drastic shift, but it wasn't anything like what the hordes of Bates students underwent yesterday. (Witnessed my second puddle jump.)
|Hodgman Lies Here|