Thursday, August 23, 2012

Portrait of Jim

"Portrait of Jim", Oil, 30" x 24"

My brother, Jim Tracey, is a wonderfully creative musician, actor and artist. I've been wanting to paint him for years. I wanted to create a painting that referenced music and where we grew up together (Michigan, hence, the maple leaves) and I also tried to show his indomitable spirit.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Camp at Chez Brandon

Where I live, there's been one ominous dust storm after the other. It's best to be inside your house when they happen, or at least not driving or walking or riding your bike, which is of course not always avoidable. One of these days I'll paint a dust storm. I'll be like Turner, riding on the outside of the stagecoach in the midst of a galestorm, face fiercely bared to the elements, to feel what it's like to be in a gale. On second thought, maybe I won't be like Turner. It depends on the dust storm, I guess.

One thing for sure: even if you are inside, a dust storm is bad for oil paintings with sticky mediums, dark backgrounds and murderously particuloid on varnish days. I have a nice place to paint in, but the least bit of dust swirls around and gloms itself to my paintings. An artist friend advised me to "tent my paintings". I don't think she actually meant "go out and buy a little tent and set it up and put your paintings in it", but that is what I did after I visited a local big box store and children's tents were on clearance for fourteen dollars. I have this set up in a bathroom but you could also put one in a garage. If I had an attic or basement, I would set it up there.

Actually, you could also just set up a sheet over a table and set your paintings under there.

Before I had this tent, I put my paintings in a narrow closet and closed the sliding door, but the closets are carpeted and I'm convinced they shed microscopic particles of alien fuzz.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Rachel in my Studio"

30" x 24", oil. Available for purchase at Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA.

This antique low-backed portrait chair shows up in a lot of my paintings, only this time I've covered it up with a draped cloth. I'm happy that I finally figured out how to adjust my skylights so that I get nice dramatic light that is a little diffused and not blasting like a laser beam (I live in Arizona! hey, we have sunlight here). When I do this again I'm going to push the podium back a few more inches. The trick is to set the easel up so that I can see the subject and what's on my easel at the same time while being able to back up several feet, not always easy to do, depending on the room. My subject is a wonderfully talented young woman, so beautiful and great fun to paint.