Holiday Update

I’m brewing beer on the kitchen stove and it smells wonderful. It’s my third batch and I think I’ve found a new hobby. As I’m bringing the wort to a boil, it’s time to update the blog with the art I’ve been working on over the past couple months.

Early in the fall I went down to Newbury Street in Boston with my parents and Sarah. We were walking around and looking for a place to eat when I decided to stop in one of the art galleries. Since taking the painting class with the Pulidos in 2013 (gosh it’s been over four years) I have been looking for their art in Boston. I knew they showed in one of the galleries and I finally found them.

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I really enjoyed Shirley Pulido’s small painting above. There was not much information provided, but my mother and I could easily identify Numael in the background. So we assumed that is Shirley at the table. The style of the painting is loose and blocky and I love its contrast to Numael’s refined and smooth style.

I apologize for the bad photos here. I was a little nervous the gallery attendant would yell at me for taking pictures.

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The gallery was having a competition and Numael Pulido’s above painting won first place. It’s such a wonderfully constructed painting. While I’m not usually one for smoothed features, Numael’s paintings always balance smoothness with firmer brushstrokes. My favorite sections are the crossed forearms and face. It makes me want to do two things.

  1. Take another class with the Pulidos.
  2. Practice portrait painting this coming year. Sarah and I are moving into a new apartment and there are going to be bare walls, so why not cover them?

Anyway, it’s time to move on to the work that I’ve done.

Around Halloween I went out and bought a bunch of gourds and set up a still life in the spare bedroom. Due to space constraints I kept the gourds pretty small but that didn’t stop me from finding some great variety.

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I set a drawing board down flat on top of some wire shelving and that served as the base surface. Then I popped off a wooden tray from my art cart (yes, Mom I know it’s your art cart) and used that as a second level to give the still life height. Above you can see the setup along with my burnt umber block in. In the background, right above the easel, you can see the bottom portion of a painting by Sarah’s brother, Matthew Pearsall. Find his art on his Instagram.

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After the initial sketch, I put in some color. I was thinking about Van Gogh and Cezanne at this point. The blue shadows and complementary colors felt like Van Gogh and the firm outlines on the gourds reminded me of Cezanne. I really loved the simplicity at this point of the painting.

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Next I went through and worked a couple gourds at a time. i didn’t want to focus on one gourd and lose the fluidity of the painting, therefore I picked two and painted them and the area between them and around them. The first two I picked were the red and green gourds on the upper level.

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The shape was hard to get on the green gourd and it wasn’t until later that I realized it all depended on the placement of the brown bellybutton (stump? base?).

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Above is a zoomed out view after working on the red and green gourds.

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I moved to the bottom two gourds afterwards and had fun playing with oranges, yellows, and greens. It never fails to interest me how darker yellows turn green.

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The final painting was finalized when I went to paint one day and some of the gourds were rotting. Still, I think I reached a good completion point. The black gourd was especially fun to work on. Though it was also challenging. Its pitted stem brought good variety to the painting.

I struggled with keeping my painting and palette lit throughout the painting, so afterwards I bought a clip on lamp. It helped with the next paining.

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Halloween and Thanksgiving went and it grew close to Christmas and I was not sure what I wanted to give Sarah’s parents. I knew I was giving her dad some homebrewed beer (also, finished my beer and now it’s the next day and it’s fermenting away in my closet) but I wasn’t too sure what to give her mother. A couple weeks before Christmas weekend I decided I would do a painting for them both. Her mom likes pear paintings, so I had my subject matter. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of papers to grade for school and I was unable to get time to paint until the day before we went up to their house. Because of how wet the paint was, the above photo has a bit of a glare. I will get a better photo next time I’m up at their house.

I set up my GoPro on timelapse to film the painting, but when I viewed the footage afterwards I found that the camera had refocused on every shot and thus the video was jarring. Next time I will have to do a full video.

Finally, here is another presidential sketch that I almost forgot to include.

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