Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Paint it all?

Just got home late last night from a fabulous trip landscape painting with friends in New York. Mostly quick sketches, about an hour or so each, up to four a day, which I will post later. Some I quite liked..some just plain 'off'. But I had a ball. 

On return to my studio this morning, the benefit of a weekend away, has made me re-look at the portrait demo I did last week at LAAFA just before I left. 18x 24. 

In the hurry to pack and get on an early morning plane after a late teaching class,  I thought I had got something I liked. But my husband said it wasn't that good. Not one of my best. He never comments on anything so when he does, I usually listen.

However, I really like this one today seeing it with new eyes. I like the color harmony, red and green, I like the skin tones, and I like how thick I got the brushwork in parts, and soft in others. I like the fact that I caught her essence. A very interesting face, not cookie-cutter predictable.

Which brings me back to the weekend. Landscape painting is not my first love. All that green. I always joke that I don't really do green.  I return with sunburn, mosquito bites, ratty hair but with a profound respect for those that do it well and an excitement that I want to do it MORE and MORE. Make it a regular part of what I do.

There is SOMETHING quite marvelous and profound about painting in the great outdoors. Just you with nature. And the odd whacko bird-watcher, handsome policeman checking permit,  or wandering deer that show up. Yes, we had all three this weekend.

But there is also SOMETHING quite marvelous about a model/sitter before your eyes, cup of warm coffee in hand, sturdy ground and restroom with running water nearby. A chance to work at a leisurely pace in controlled environment.

I guess that is why we have to paint it ALL. One discipline feeds the other. One discipline gives you a respect for the other...and painting it ALL makes one a better artist.


Marian Fortunati said...


I am so glad you are enjoying painting outdoors, Johanna!

I think you told us students that your mentor, Mr. Kinstler, says that you SHOULD paint it all!!

I know portrait painting is your first love... but I'm happy you ARE painting it all!! ... and of course I know you know that values are values, temperature is temperature, etc... whatever you paint.

Love you!!

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Well said! Why not paint it all. . .

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Hi Rhonda...yes,,,it is all so exciting. I will be posting some of those landscapes this weekend.