Saturday, September 30, 2006

Instead of a painting a day today, this will be Paintings-in-Progress-Day

Rather than let this blog lie dormant over the weekends, I've decided to post images of larger works in progress. During the week you have been seeing my daily 4"x6" ink and watercolor pieces, which I hope you have enjoyed. At the same time, I'm also working on larger pieces which clearly cannot be completed in one day. They are not intended to be, as they are larger, typically 11" x 15", and will take more time to complete.

I thought the blog would be a good place to share how these pieces progress and change. Here are a few drawings I've made this week, which I intend to more fully realize with watercolor.

The first is my daughter, Tafarii. The drawing was done using the aforementioned bamboo pen with india ink.

The next, is a drawing of our friend, Danny, also known as "Bongles". This drawing, as you'll notice, has a finer, more precise line, as it was done with a Rapidograph drafting pen. He has the longest dreads I've ever seen piled up under that leather hat.

This is another larger drawing of Ichamar. I was so pleased with the small 4"x6" version of this little boy, that I'd like to try another painting of him. This is also a Rapidograph pen drawing.

Finally, this is Tasha, Ichamar's cousin. I drew this one with the bamboo pen and india ink. It gives a much looser feel to the drawing than the already-loose Rapidograph line. Tasha often lives in the same yard as Ichamar, the home of her father, but is usally found in her mother's yard.Baby Madda and Fadda don't necessarily live together.......

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A painting a day - Rasta still deh 'bout

"Rasta Still Deh 'bout"
 Ink and watercolor on paper. 
Purchase a print of this painting  here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's really about the sarong

But I often get caught up in the face instead... go figure.

There was some debate in the household this evening about putting up the painting I completed for today. I wanted to try something different, sticking to real skin tones, but still going with a rich vibrant palette. The model in question, however, disputed the nature of her jaw line, her sour expression, the odd sun dappled shadows on her face.

Everyone's a critic.

Still, I'm going to post it, in keeping with the spirit of this exercise. I'll share what I've come up with even if I'm experimenting and not so sure if what I came up with is what I'd intended. I'm crazy about the colors, if not her countenance. Said model enjoyed the brilliant firey color of her hair and the brilliant blue of the sarong tied halter-style around her neck.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rasta Pickney deh deh...

This is little Ichamar (EYE-kah-mar); he's about 6 years old and lives in a small wooden clapboard house with his father in rural Jamaica. Quite often, just the expression on someone's face will tell me what hues to use when painting their portrait. With Ichamar, I think it's pretty clear that he exuded an air of sadness and melancholy, but tinged with hope.

I never saw Ichamar smile -- " a serious pickney dat", they would say about him in his yard, or "he is a serious child" -- but I think life was just very hard for this beautiful little boy. The boy with the sad face, but the dreadlocks tinted with gold.

"Rasta Pickney Deh Deh"
Ink and watercolor on paper.
Purchase a print of this painting

Monday, September 25, 2006

Meanwhile, back on another island

Empire State Building No. 2,
ink and watercolor on paper.
Purchase a print of this painting  here.

I made a handful of these small Empire State Building paintings as gifts last Christmas and gave them to friends who came to our home for a holiday party. Each one was different form the next, either in time of day, "looseness" of the drawing, or the angle of the building. I painted another for myself last night -- I can just about see this much of the building from my studio window.
In these, the original drawing was done with a bamboo pen, rather than the Rapidograph I've used on most of the other painting-a-day images. I have several of these pens, in a variety of sizes and I love using them, just dipping them directly in either concentrated or diluted ink.
You are almost guaranteed to loosen up when you use these. The pen only takes a small "charge" of ink, depending on the size of the carved nib, so you get some unexpected results as the ink gradually leaves the pen.
Here's a pic of what they look like --

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Miss Tanya No. 1

Simplfy, simplify, simplify. Loose brushstrokes and a restrained use of color -- allowing the intensity of her gaze to shine through.

"Miss Tanya No. 1" 
Ink and watercolor on paper
Print available here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wasn't gonna post on the weekends --

But I want to move on from these. So here's the original painting of the woman with beads (top) and two variations. The third (bottom) is actually a different woman, but I thought she made a good addition to the series. I find when I paint a series, painting the same thing over and over again but in a decidedly different manner, it forces me to try new things. I experiment, whereas previously I might have just depended on old techniques. This is particularly fruitful when I'm pleased with the first result. Then everything that follows is gravy -- no pressure.

"Beads No. 2" (top)  Ink and watercolor on paper. Purchase a print here.

"Beads No. 3" (center) Ink and watercolor on paper. Purchase a print  here.

"Beads No. 1" (bottom)  Ink and watercolor on paper. Purchase a print here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

And finally, if Jamaica had a real winter - Negril No. 46

I imagine all those beautiful colors would finally take a vacation, too.

"Negril No. 46"
Ink and watercolor on paper
Print available here.

Another version - Negril No. 45

As I mentioned earlier, I'd drawn a few variations on this scene and painted them in different color palettes. Here's the progression of the second version. 

I started to veer off into multiple strong colors -- see the purple leaf to the right of center in the middle pic, and the bright blue leaf adjacent to it.

 But then I decided to rein in that impulse. The colors are still rich and vibrant, but fall more within a narrower color range.

Then I tried an even more muted version -- next post, Neril No. 46.

"Negril No. 45"
Ink and watercolor on paper
Prints available here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rootsmon No. 2

This is Barry. Or "Vietnam". Or "The Rootsmon". Take your pick.

I've painted Barry before but wanted to explore using an entirely different color palette and he's a great subject. He has quite unusual dreadlocks, a golden rust color and thick as the branches of a small tree. They always seem to be sprouting sideways out of his head and draped over one shoulder. I find them endlessly fascinating to draw. They become less like hair and more like some other organic growing life form, anything, actually, other than hair. He's a formidable-looking character, quite large and always wreathed in a cloud of ganja smoke but he was quite pleased to pose for me.

Barry is regarded as a medicine man, of sorts. spending his days collecting and mixing huge vats of "roots" tonic over a wood fire outside his small, concrete, 2-room house. He boils a huge pot of various plant roots, bark, dried grasses and leaves into a thick, viscous stew which he then strains into smaller containers. When the tonic has cooled, he pours it into his collection of discarded rum bottles and gallon milk jugs. The rasta elders will tell you that "roots purifies the blood". Barry rides his bicycle some 20 miles to the nearest tourist town to hawk his bottled "roots" to both tourists and rasta bredren alike. I imagine Barry drinks quite a bit himself.

Funny, the tonic is the same murky, golden rust color as Barry's hair.......

"Rootsmon No. 2" 
 Ink and watercolor on paper.
Purchase a print here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Beach

Sitting at an outdoor cafe, under the shade of an enormous palm tree. On a 7-mile white sandy beach, the deep, blue-green sea just a few steps away. Bruschetta, bacon and fresh-squeezed orange juice coming right up. Two cups of "minty tea", please, with heaping spoonfuls of golden brown sugar. And yet, they look miserable. Maybe there is something to the saying "too much of a good thing."

Ink and watercolor on paper. 
Purchase a print here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Beads No. 2

Beads No. 2
4" x 6" ink and watercolor on paper
Print available here

I drew this young woman a couple of times; I just got sucked into her eyes and wanted to draw her again and again. I ended up painting three different color variations, this being the first. I just kept feeling the hot caribbean sun and seeing that still sheet of glass, the turquoise sea. I dunno. I think the other versions will surprise you, but I'll show you those later this week. Hmm, I promised to do the same with those people-like fronds pushing up through the barbed wire -- yes I've got more of those to share, too. I just hate to repeat myself with the same subject matter so soon, regardless of how different they turn out. Stick around, they'll all show up. Something completely different is in the works for tomorrow. Thanks for the comments, to those who leave them -- they let me know someone is really out there.

You are out there, aren't you?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tribeca Morning

Good morning, everyone.

I think I'll be posting a few portraits this week. I've a number of sketches in the works and want to experiment with different color palettes among them. As you might expect, I don't really care to create an actual photo-realistic likeness, but I do savor capturing a person's mood or emotional state. It's not something I think about when I'm drawing, I just tend to zero in on certain features or expressions and then move forward from there. This was a young woman I spotted in the schoolyard as I took my youngest daughter to the first day of school.

"Tribeca Morning" 
Ink and watercolor on paper
Print available here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jube No. 5

I realized tonight that I've done a lot of sketches of this man, a friend of ours from the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica. His name is pronounced "joo-bee". But if you've been to Jamaica, you'll know that probably isn't his real name. We also call him Cat, short for Catalina, and I haven't a clue why. All I know is that the REAL real names are often a mystery -- and not shared with just anybody. I THINK I know what Jube's real name is; then again, mabe I don't.........See you Monday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Annette No. 3

This is a 4"x6" watercolor -- I scanned the painting in stages, beginning with the ink line drawing  since I wasn't sure what direction I was going to go in terms of color. I tried something a little different from the saturated jewel tones I usually use. But after the first set of washes (middle pic) I decided to make the colors a bit richer, and brought up the contrast. I could have tinkered with this forever, but then risked it becoming muddy and overworked so -- c'est fini.

"Annette No. 3"  
Ink and watercolor on paper.
Purchase a print here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I've done a few of these, here's one variation for tonight, "Negril No. 44"

I've looked at these sensuous fronds so much, I've found that I can draw them easily from memory. I drew 3 variations of these, creating my own imaginary clutches of leaves, pushing up through the barbed wire. Here's one colorful version for this evening. Tomorrow I'll post another but I've decided I'll document a few steps along the way. This one changed a bit from what I imagined I'd paint when I started -- that's often the great pleasure I take in painting, not really knowing where I'll end up. I've found that if I try too firmly to stick to an image that I picture in my head, I'll never get there and only get frustrated. Often, the surprise destination is more satisfying.

"Negril No. 44"
 Ink and watercolor on paper
Prints available here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Well, I'm finally here......

Welcome to The Night Shift. I think this is a rather auspicious date to begin, don't you?

Oddly enough, after being sidetracked by the demands of work and family from creating any art for years, I returned to drawing and painting
in the summer of 2001, just a few short weeks before 9/11.

That was NOT an auspicious time to commit oneself to art.

But I've kept at it. My work has grown and changed and I finally feel ready to share it with a larger audience and to make a daily commitment to my work, and this is the place where I'll begin. Here's a watercolor I finished this summer, just a few short weeks ago, and I thought it a lovely, serene note upon which to begin. This painting is 14"x16" and, like all the images I'll be posting, is for sale.

Please feel free to leave comments or subscribe to this blog to receive the daily post and picture. Thanks.

"Leaves No. 7" 15.5" x 12", ink and watercolor on paper. Purchase a print here.