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Weather or not

 

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One of the main obstacles facing any painter working outside is the weather. I have recently encountered this problem while working on the largest landscape I have ever painted. By going back to the same location, I found that the entire scene has changed from the last time I painted there.

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An artist has to be adaptable, so as the weather changed, so did my painting. Part of the struggle and excitement of painting from nature is the unpredictability. Nature never really does stand still.

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All the colors became softer, and I felt as if there wasn’t anyone around for miles. Every now and then someone would come by, but I was lucky to find a spot not frequented by many people.

As usual, I lost track of time, and left after four straight hours of painting.

So, as I continue with carrying my heavy canvas and materials to the same location a few more times, the more the scenery may change, and I have to change with it.

 

 

The creation of the Eve lithograph

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After printing my latest lithograph of Eve in black and white, which took most of the day, I decided on adding color to a few of the editions. It is my first experiment using a pronto plate, which, unlike a litho stone, is much easier to manage and faster to prepare. After placing and mixing the beautiful strong colors on glass, I was ready to print.

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What I was after, was to make subtle colors in details such as the eyes of Eve, the snake, and the apple. Its a process that takes steady hands, and I found myself holding my breath and wishing I drank less coffee that morning. Luckily my amazing teacher Tomomi was there, offering me assistance and encouragement, and perhaps hoping I don’t break the press.

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The soft color brown on the eyes of Eve.

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Slight colors in the apple.

This is the first step in my use of color on my latest lithograph. I am going to see how far I can go. The colors you can achieve in lithography are very rich and the result could be vibrant and alive.  It is a process that takes much patience. The end result can, and usually is, really rewarding.

Sketching on the D line

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Ever since I moved to Brooklyn, just this past summer, I found my train ride twice as long and twice as interesting. I found it a perfect opportunity to draw my fellow sleepy riders on my morning and evening commute. Its the perfect time to focus on practicing observation, and to sharpen my drawing skills.

As other artists know, drawing strangers unaware in New York comes with a risk. Sometimes you’re caught, sometimes your unwilling model stays still for almost the entire ride, allowing you to complete a detailed drawing. It is however, a great way to practice.

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I sometimes get carried away and become more ambitious, such as with the above drawing where I started with one passenger and then finished by drawing her fellow riders. As I wrote in the lower right hand corner of the drawing, the delay on the D train allowed me for more time to draw. It may be the very few times I attempted to sketch people awake.

 

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So, as I continue to travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan and vice versa, my fellow riders will become my models. I find it a great way to warm up before working on paintings.

 

 

Painting outdoors in Fall

Painting outdoors in the Fall allows a painter to experiment with all sorts of golden colors. Leaves, grass and even buildings take on a yellowish tone that turns everything to a golden yellow. From the very drawing stage of my painting, I am already starting with a rich Sienna. This is followed by stages of color with reflected light bouncing everywhere. The trick is, to keep everything balanced and harmonious by using variations of yellow. When working outdoors on a painting or drawing, its best to keep an eye on how one color enhances another. This is certainly a science.

The use of models for teaching art

As an art teacher, I find it useful to construct small scale models of buildings to teach my students about the way light falls on certain objects.

These two examples are models I made for my young students, ages 5 to 8. Its been an extremely beneficial way of showing even young kids, the importance of how light and shade can help create a three dimensional image on a piece of paper.

Although they take time to make, I do enjoy creating them.

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