What’s On the Easel


Working on a portrait in oils, 12″x12″. Need to wait another day, at the very least, before moving in to work on beard, eyebrows. And put in a subtle twinkle  in this guy’s face. Aren’t bearded men difficult? What I mean is that recording nuances of expression is a tad bit difficult. Nick does have dimples which will help. You can just make them out as shadowy areas. And I will plump up the areas around his smile lines to help with the twinkle. But right now the surface is wet and a loaded brush tends to drag the bottom layer of paint away and create a shadow patch. You can see what I mean up on the top left wing of his nose and center area on nose. It happens, folks. So the eyes have it. Pleased with them. Nice dead level look. Doesn’t suffer fools gladly kind of man. I also need to get that top lip darker. I sure miss painting the mouth with the philtrum and top lip and chin.  I always pay close attention to noses. Was it Rembrandt who commented that you want to be able to pick up the portrait by the nose? Anyway,  sound advice. I will position a standing lamp and angle on of the lights on the surface overnight which will help the drying. I don’t use any medium made with dryers at this stage. Just a simple mix of OMS + linseed oil.


While Nick Nearly Forty was put aside today, I worked on Radishes 12″ x 16″. I generally wash a bunch of radishes and keeping them tied in their bundle, serve them upside-down in a bowl of water, with a knife alongside so that folks can cut one off. Keeps them pretty and fresh. I thought this would make a charming still life and eventually the white roots will provide a wispy counterpoint to the solid reds as final details. I can hardly wait! It’s these crazy little wrinkles on a theme which keep me planning and thinking of the next painting. I had some material stored away for sewing into serviettes, the pattern provides a complementary mosaic to the rounded forms. You can make out the deep burnt sienna gesso ground I usually prefer to work on. Several coats, each carefully sanded smooth. I also place a piece of burnt sienna construction paper under my glass palette; and also have a medium gray one, and a white, and an ochre depending on my ground. Every little ruse helps with color mixing.



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