Thursday, May 31, 2007

Portraits in Progress

Each canvas is 48"x32"

I haven't posted in a couple of days because I have been working diligently on my portrait commissions. As you can see, they are basically roughed in, with the background suggested but by no means finished. This isn't a stage normally shown to anyone, as it might scare people off, especially the client! I like working this way when working from a photo as it is similar to the method I use when working from life. I have done studies of these kids from life and photos prior to beginning these paintings.

Because these portraits are going to hang side by side, I am painting the backgrounds so that they look like one is a continuation of the other. They can, of course, always be hung in separate areas of the home.

I would love to squeeze in a couple of small ones, but can't do it right now. Be sure to comment or ask questions below. Thanks!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Game Over - Original Oil by Pat Aube Gray

What could be better after a great game of golf than a tall glass of cold beer?

8 x 10 Oil on Canvas
copyright 2007 Pat Aube Gray

SOLD See my other paintings at auction at

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Boiled Egg & Salt - Oil on Canvas

What fun I had painting this wonderful ceramic set I found at an antiques/old stuff shop! With my love for painting eggs, the dainty little set found a perfect home in my studio! Painted on a 6" x 6" gallery wrapped canvas (sides are painted), you have the choice of hanging it as is or you can frame it for maximum enhancement.

I almost want to keep this one!

Click HERE to bid on this painting

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Here's My Bargue Arm!

Note: If you haven't read my previous post, you might want to do that before reading this one so it will make more sense to you.
Once I scanned this drawing into Photoshop and brought it up right next to the Bargue Plate image, I could see several errors immediately! It is easier to judge when looking at two images, identically sized, right next to one another than it is with two different size images, one from a book and one in your drawing pad! Have a look for yourself, compare it to the one below, and feel free to "critique" me in the comment section at the end of this post. Just click on the little envelope and tell me what you see!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I didn't do any painting today; instead I spent most of the day drawing the head to toe "cartoons" I will transfer to two canvasses for the portraits of siblings, a boy of 12 and a girl of 17. "Cartoon" is the word used to indicate a line drawing, one with little or no shading to indicate form. I draw on tracing paper, where it is very easy to erase and correct, and when I feel I have the drawing the way I want it, I transfer it to the canvas by applying graphite to the back of the paper in the areas where my lines are. Then I lay the paper right side up on my canvas and redraw over the original lines, pressing fairly hard, so that the graphite on the back of the tracing paper will transfer to the canvas. This gives me a very light line drawing on my canvas. I then go over that in thinned paint, usually burnt umber. When I work from life, I eliminate this step and draw with a brush, again with thinned paint, but I lay in masses in the appropriate values, light middle and dark. Tomorrow I hope to begin painting using my "cartoon" as my guide, but I will immediately lay in my dark values with thinned paint (monochrome)just as I would if I had drawn in paint.

Last night and earlier tonight I worked on a drawing from a book of plates (lithographs)by Charles Bargue. Bargue's original drawings and their reproductions, from life and/or plaster casts, were used in academies and ateliers in Europe as a mainstay in the drawing education of thousands of art students when actual plaster casts might not have been available. (A plaster cast is merely a sculpture made of plaster, sometimes of individual body parts, sometimes of heads, busts, etc.) I was recently fortunate enough to find a book of these reproduced plates and have been using them for drawing practice for myself as well as for students.

The particular plate I am attempting to replicate is that of a man's arm, shown above, with the muscular form very much in evidence. (Note that the top image, the line drawing, is a "cartoon", as described above.) I belong to an online group of artists in which one artist challenged another to a "Bargue-off" ( a competition between the two to see who draws the best Bargue reproduction), with a third well known artist and art educator to do the judging. The plate chosen was the one of the arm I am now drawing. Though I am not in the competition, I decided to see how well I do in comparison to the contestants, as their finished drawings will be posted on the group site.

The drawings are to be done in graphite (my favorite) with no mechanical aids whatsoever, no grids, no tracing, etc. One may use a pencil or knitting needle or ruler as a plumb line or to gauge distances, but that's about it. The only other tool will be an eraser. The drawings in the competition must be completed within 10 hours.

I opted to draw my Bargue arm with a single pencil (not with a range of say H and B pencils) and an eraser, using nothing more to guide me than my eyes. I chose to do this because I always strive to see better and gauge lengths and spaces by sight as well as I can. That helps tremendously when working from life. I have worked on this drawing for approximately 4 hours thus far and should have no trouble completing it within the prescribed time frame. Tomorrow I will photograph my completed drawing for comparison to the Bargue plate! NOW I am really challenging myself!

Back to the drawing board! Good night!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kissin' Cousins Original Oil on 6 x 6 Canvas

Copyright 2007 Pat Aube Gray

A still life with fruit seems so mundane, but it is not as easy as it looks! And making an interesting composition can be challenging. I broke a "rule" by having two objects "kissing" instead of one being in front of the other. But I decided I liked it this way and went for it! I like this painting not only for its composition but also for the complementary color scheme of yellow and all those violets!

Click HERE to bid on this painting

Monday, May 14, 2007

Almost Deserted - Original Watercolor by Pat Aube Gray

This was something new for me - a watercolor on the recently issued watercolor canvas board! It was certainly different than painting watercolor on paper, which I usually do, but it offered its own benefits and shortcomings. It is more difficult to glaze on the board as the underlying passage easily lifts when glazing over it; alternatively, it is easy to lift color and therefore change or correct a passage you already painted with no unsightly residue of what was there before. It is difficult to get rich darks; I managed to get dark accents, but not in the richness I generally like to see them.
This 9 x 12 sunlit watercolor is varnished and can be framed without glass!

Click HERE to bid on this painting

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Painting Today - Enamel Pot & Eggs

Today's painting is on a 6 x 6 gallery wrapped canvas. I just loved this old little enamel pot when I saw it in an antiques shop! I often look for interesting objects in thrift stores as well. And eggs are one of my favorite subjects to paint!
The cerulean blue color of the pot was perfect to set against an orange-colored tablecloth. Hope you like it!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back from Portrait Society of America Conference

Wow! What a great conference in Reston, VA! I drove up on Thursday of last week and returned on Monday full of inspiration and motivation to do the best work I can! There was an oil portrait demonstration by the preeminent Everett Raymond Kinstler, 80 years old and as witty, talented and skillful as ever! (His portraits in the National Portrait Gallery of Tom Wolfe, Gerald Ford, and others are some of the best offered there!) Scott Burdick, the young and talented artist who, together with his wife, Sue Lyon, travel extensively, particularly to places like Tibet and Nepal and come back with fabulous paintings we see in all the art magazines, did an alla prima painting that was wonderful. Something very different for the Society was a watercolor portrait demo by the renowned Charles Reid, which was really interesting to watch. Robert Liberace, the young and oh, so talented young man whose drawings are reminiscent of DaVinci and Reubens, gave a marvelous slide show presentation.
Between seminars and presentations there were portfolio critiques, book signings, vendor exhibitions with great deals on supplies. After hours found many members, yours truly among them til the wee hours, talking and talking and talking about art! Everyone is so willing to talk about techniques and ideas and suggestions to improve your work. It is invigorating and exciting all at once. And certainly rubbing elbows and being on a first name basis with many of the world's great contemporary masters pumps you up so that you can't wait to paint and then come back again next year!
Each year the Society has a portrait painting competition that yields incredibly beautiful work. Of 1600 entries, only ELEVEN (11) finalists are chosen. This year's finalists' works were superb! They aren't posted yet, but they will be soon at if you would like to see them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Odd Couple - Now Available at Auction

I completed this 12" x 12" painting in Mid-March and wrote about it in a March, 2007 post to this blog called "Freedom of Expression." Scroll down to the archives and click on March to read about the joy I experienced while painting it! I believe it is dry enough to varnish and can now put it out for bid.
I find still life painting to be very rewarding. It is almost like painting a portrait because there is such a concentration on depicting form and the magical effects of light. I also believe still life is really a reflection of the artist more so than in portraits, figuratives or landscapes. The artist personally selects the elements of the painting and arranges them in a composition that pleases her. The objects selected and the mood, lighting, and positioning all reflect the artist's tastes and aesthetics. Self expression in realism!
I hope you enjoy this painting! Feel free to comment!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Painting For Sale - "Ripe Red Tomato"

Photo: Ripe Red Tomato, Oil on Canvas, 6" x 6"

This is, I hope, the first small painting of many to be sold online as a daily (or almost daily!) painting in an auction environment! SO many artists are producing paintings on a daily basis and selling on ebay and also through their blogs, which is what I certainly hope to be able to do. Tonight I listed this happy little painting on Ebay. SOLD