April 16, 2011

Beautiful Blue Eyes, oil on canvas, 12X16"

I have been out of touch with you, my dear readers.  Apologies - I have been away on a silent retreat, but more about that in an upcoming post.

What I want to talk to you about today is painting from the model - a really amazing alla prima adventure.  I was invited by my good painting buddies, Liz Wiltzen and Sarah Kidner, to paint from the model for five days running.  This is the kind of training I wish I would have invested in years ago!

I found it challenged me on every level.  This a the 2nd of 5 paintings.  Each was a three hour sitting and most efforts got wiped due to color problems, drawing problems, etc.  I had, well, technical difficulties.  So many subtle color changes, tonal changes, soft edges.  It was not dissimilar to the experience of doing small still life paintings, but WAY harder.  As was the case this time, so often the excercise IS the point of the excercise.  If you walk away with a keeper (I had a 60% wipe off rate) it's a bonus, not an expectation.   It didn't necessarily get easier with each sitting, and there was a new set of challenges with every model, every lighting situation.  I highly recommend the process, although not for the faint of heart.

Keep those brushes wet!



  1. Wow Gaye- you're doing some amazing work. Kudos to you for taking risks. I can see that it's really paying off

  2. Beautiful! I have such trouble doing faces. Great job on this!

  3. You are inspireing me to do some daily paintings with oil. I have done two so far although it was days apart. However the thought is there. People not yet! Your quote about musicians are allowed to practice and are expected to make mistakes and why shouldn't artist be the same, really opened my eyes
    thanks Pat G