"Bad Jon" - acrylic and charcoal on 300 lb Arches watercolor paper. NFS.
I thought my instincts were better than that - BAD JON
Holiday traditions are sparse around here.
I mean, we had the usual sorts of things in the past- gifts and stockings and gatherings and whatnot. But the kids are grown and out of the house and there are no little ones to drive what used to be a wild six weeks of preparation, celebration and exhaustion. And I am sooooo loving this super chill, relaxed vibe and the opportunity to create new traditions that better suit the current state of things.
So this past Thanksgiving, my son and I began a new tradition - a portrait day. He sat for me in the studio while we chatted and caught up on everything, I painted and sought to capture this young man and his wildly creative energy.
He's a force of songwriting, singing and performing in Seattle right now, and you can check out his growing discography on Spotify. (thanks for allowing the proud mama moment right there!).
It's hard to believe this kid was once wandering around in footie pajamas on Christmas morning.
About the art: beginning with chunky charcoal and a watery brush, roughing in the shadows and dark sections from live model and a notanized photo for value guidance, then coming in with titanium white to spread the charcoal. Jon chose a limited color palette for this piece, and it made the rest of the painting easy and instinctive. Using a water bottle and rubber wedge to keep the paint moving, and leaving sections for the viewer's eye to complete.
How to Stroll Through the Fields - mixed media on cradled wood panel, 11 x 14 x .75 Ready to hang. Available here and at Artfinder.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
There are four roses gardens near our home. They are small, community-maintained and a bit scraggly most of the time (which is how I prefer rose gardens - a little wild). We walk the dogs through one or more of these gardens each morning. Lately, they are squishy boggy mud pits. Lilly strolls through it like a wheat field in summer. Wonder Mike skirts the edges, seeking mulch and higher ground. The humans have boots.
How to Stroll Through the Fields
I've been photographing the roses as they wither, brown and fall to the ground. And I almost always see faces in the flowers. (face paraedolila)
Using a black and white studio filter brings out these little faces beautifully (example left). This one, to me, is a bonneted puppy. And given it was discovered with our mud-covered dogs, well, I had to paint it.
About the art: beginning with a professional photographic print and mounting it to a wood cradle, then sealing the photograph well. Choosing a limited palette of soft hues and allowing the photo to be both Notan and sketch, painted with a wet brush and acrylic paint mixed with matte medium.