So I took the grisaille to my teacher to critique, and he obliged. He didn’t rip it to shreds, but he chided me for not adhering closely to what he’s taught – or, not adhering as closely as he’d like. He teaches a fairly rigid adherence to the use of certain formulas to make pictures look realistic. The formulas can be summed as: things closer to you have more contrast and things farther away from you have less contrast, and things that are most important have the most contrast. Good ideas all, but he took exception to how I applied them.

I’m different from the majority of his students in that I have prior art training and practice, and therefore while I do exactly what he says in class, when I get home I simply file away what he’s taught me to use in addition to what I already know. If I had painted the grisaille of Gus exactly as if it were a class exercise, I’d be frustrated, because the painting would not have communicated what I wanted to communicate.

However, he did have some useful commentary on how I painted the eyes. I am pretty rough at eye-painting and I need a lot of practice and study.

I’ve got several paintings going right now and ideas for more. The next few paintings I do will be on hardboard and in two sizes, since I got a couple of sheets from Home Depot cut in specific sizes. There’s a ton of reference material I’ve gotten in the past three months in North Carolina and on the coast. I suppose I should finish the ones I’ve started before starting new ones. My problem is that I’ve been approaching every painting differently and can’t seem to settle on one way of working. I guess I’m trying to integrate all that I’ve been learning.


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October 2006
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