Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tom Buechner's Friday Night Class: November

November only had two sessions for me, since I was alternating with Bruce. The model was sick for the first two weeks, so the class worked from a black and white photo of Tom. I'd brought my Open Box to paint with, but forgot the tripod attachment. Tom graciously lent me his half-Jullian. 

A word about these old Jullian's. I've seen a few of them and I can understand why older painters swear by them. The hardware is very solid, they feel heavier and more substantial than the newer ones, and they last. The Jullian's I've bought (full and half) began coming apart within months. Buechner's and Tom Gardner's are over 30 years old. If you ever come across one of the older Jullian's at a yard sale or on Ebay, snap it up. Old paint can be scraped or sanded off.

Once again I painted next to Tom (painting himself). He told me to put the photo on the wall about seven or eight feet away. Doing this forced me to concentrate on the big shapes, drawing and values. I couldn't get into detail because I couldn't see any detail. Used raw umber and Tit white.

The next session the model was present, but still feeling the effects of bronchitis. I'd brought a 6x8 because I knew I'd only be working one session, and I didn't want to waste a larger size. I set up before Tom had posed the model, and I didn't pick the best side to work from.

Tom posed him in an old US Army greatcoat, shirtless. The model had a great head of hair, tightly curled, and very high sharp cheekbones. Tom wanted to light him from below - in effect theatrical lighting - in order to show the class how normal value assumptions changed. The right side of the model's face had some wonderful darks. Unfortunately, my side was rather flat. Made the best of it though and really enjoyed working on a smaller surface.

Lessons learned: go for big shapes and values first, work with the pose you get, try to lay a stroke down then step back (I'm horrible at this - smudging and blending way too much), working smaller can be fun, and Everett Raymond Kinstler was a student of James Montgomery Flagg. Didn't know that.

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About Me

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Elmira, New York, United States
In many ways I think like a photographer. The image itself is becoming more and more important to me; the actual application of paint less and less. Blasphemy in some painterly circles. I choose to paint figures and portraits because I consider them the most difficult subject.