Tuesday, June 28, 2011

dockside at Burano

A quick sketch done at Burano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was done with gouache and watercolour on mylar, which is not a combination I recommend. Mylar is barely water-absorbant, so the paint sits on the surface and shows a heavy texture. Also, the moisture tends to crinkle the mylar, which is visible here.

It's a nice boat, though.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Model on blanket

A nice uncomplicated figure painting, done in watercolour from the model. As often happens, I got more interested in the ornamental aspects of the image than in the figural or painterly possibilities of the sitter.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tattoo: The Young Stag

Romney based this design for a tattoo on a traditional ceramic ornament brought back from Greece in the 1950s. It must represent Actaeon, "who by the man-eating hounds he had raised was torn apart," in the moment after he spied the naked Artemis. A tattoo for the kind of hunter who is not afraid to confront virgin goddesses.

Quote from the Bacchae of Euripedes translated by E.P.Coleridge, sometime around 1910.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

at the airport

Two indian women waiting for the rest of the family at Pearson International. The new terminal is nice enough, but it's the usual white, grey and glass. The saris of the women were the brightest things in the entire complex. A pity I only had a black china marker.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Poinsettias, backlit.

Tarragon made this small still life using the Brushes app on his girlfriend's iPhone. It should appear on the screen the same size as the original finger-painting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Keyhole Session Drawing

A recent drawing from life, done at the Keyhole Session life drawing event in Toronto. It took place last Tuesday, and featured some rather lovely classical style drapery and floral arrangements. And bondage, of course.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The sun goes down on mausoleum hill

The end of the day in Compton. The English countryside can be a strangely sinister place. Concealed beyond the curve of this mound-like hill is a graveyard rife with the tender fallen of WW I, plus the tomb of the abstruse and transcendental artist G.F. Watts, all presided over by the demented funerary chapel designed by his wife.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A glass too few

The model plans her next move, with the aid of a glass of dessert wine. It's a very old (January of Y2K!) drawing on cardboard.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A pale view of mountains

The distant vista of the Alps, glimpsed from a northern corner of the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was a cold November day, and coming on to rain, but I could see the snow and the peaks on the far side of the gloomy weather. I had to paint something, no matter how quickly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Red Profile

A portrait head in progress, painted in oils by Tarragon. The picture was snapped under suboptimal lighting conditions, as you can see by the glare in the model's hair.

A profile is always a difficult portrait to make engaging. In real life, we tend to look at the eyes - if only briefly - of the people we meet. It's by facial expression, after all, that we normally gauge whether a stranger is friendly or not. The same instincts tend to kick in when we meet a portrait.

But people depicted in profile cannot meet our gaze, and because we cannot assess their expressions fully, they often appear unsympathetic. A great many profile pictures have a certain hardness to them and some famous examples rely on brittle edginess to achieve their effect. In this example, Tarragon's taken the opposite approach. By using warm colours and gentle modelling of the flesh, he's softened what might have been a very austere picture.