My first great-niece. I shot a few photos of her on a chance meeting between my wife and I and my nephew and his young family at a popular NC beach. Neither of us knew the other was there until they posted something to Instagram. A couple weeks later, they've got a portrait of their little beach baby. Honestly, this might be one of my best.
I haven't posted a portrait of my beauty queen in a while. This one was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was going to be trash almost immediately after starting it on Fabriano Studio paper, which I have complained about a couple times before. But, a few adjustments to my normal painting method, a fair amount of loosening and I pulled out a portrait with which I'm very happy. It's loose and painterly, but realistic and accurate at the same time. It seems the unforgiving nature of this paper forced me to be more careful and purposeful in my strokes and paint application.
Another fishing lure. This one is on that horrible Fabriano Studio paper. There were even more issues with the paper on this one. That's the reason I left some spots looking a little looser than I usually paint these lures. In spite of the fight, I'm still pretty happy with how this one works.
This is from a reference photo I originally saved from a Virtual Paintout "excursion" when the subject was Puerto Rico a few months ago. I didn't submit anything that month for reasons I don't remember. But, I finally decided to try this one out as a test for Fabriano's cheaper "Studio" line of paper that's only 20% cotton. I picked up a 9x12 pad the last time I was at Jerry's in Raleigh to try out. Overall, this piece worked out OK on this paper largely because it was loose and wet. I let each layer dry before applying another. But, even then, there was significant lifting and loosening. The one spot that needed a minor correction in the form of lifting almost immediately started pilling. A subsequent painting on this paper proved this is quite possibly one of the worst papers I've ever used. Though it's supposed to be cold-pressed, it acts a bit like hot. The paint doesn't seem to sink in very well and lifts and re-wets too easily. This might be a good paper for quick sketches with only a couple washes, but I wouldn't use this for anything much more serious. The description on Jerry's website (which I'm sure comes from the manufacturer) says this paper can "withstand vigorous painting." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Loosening up on car paintings always feels like a double-edged blade. I'm inclined to render cars photographically as I did for several years. But, as I've mentioned here before, I no longer want to be a camera; I want to interpret and paint loosely. So, sometimes I try to split the difference and render some parts tightly and some loosely. Baby steps. The grillwork on this one is loose partly out of necessity. If I were painting this on a full sheet or even a half, I might have been more exact in the execution of all that grill chrome. I've done it before. But, at this size I'm not sure my hand is that steady. So, we went loose and gave the impression of lots of chrome grill tines (for lack of a better word). The yellow is a factory color of the period, I think, though the original color probably wasn't so bright. The original isn't for sale because my daughter expressed an interest in it when it was still in progress -- mostly because her favorite color is yellow.
When the recipient of this commission of his first car saw it he immediately had to have another for his father since they shared the car. Works for me. Of course, no two paintings are identical. So, there are a lot of differences between the two, some things are better on the first one, some are better on this one. Overall, I might be a little happier with this one than the first one.
This probably should be called "Rusty Cadi Redux" because I've painted this particular image before - back in 2011 (Rusty Cadi). The original was auctioned off for the local United Way a few years ago. But I've always liked the reference photo and thought it would be fun to revisit it in a slightly looser style. So, here it is, though the style isn't much looser than the first attempt.