the paint

in preparation for figure painting, i figured i'd look at some paintings.  i really am partial to drawings myself, so some of my favorite paintings have the underdrawing or unfinished parts showing through.  being able to see the process leaves so much more to explore in the painting.  a few clues as to how it was started sparks a whole internal dialogue to try and figure out the rest.

i have trouble finding many contemporary painters i really like.  i'm not sure why.  maybe it's because the internet allows every painting they've done to be displayed, whereas in the previous generations we only saw their top work, for the most part.  hard to say. 

This painting is by christopher nolasco, titled danielle #2.  some of his paintings seem too commercial - as if while he was painting it he was thinking about who he's trying to mass market it to.  he has a whole string of musicians and athletes and world leaders.  but apart from his subjects and intent, there are some really beautiful moments.  i love how this one stays messy, transparent, but still has fully developed shadows.  it's hard to leave unfinished edges right next to crisp lines without it being too overworked.

the late kent bellows did remarkably accurate drawings and paintings.  honestly, they look like photographs, but with more life to them. this is danuda sitting, graphite on paper.  i would have sworn it was a photograph. 
below, his self-portrait titled gluttony, is a masterpiece.  it reminds me of the paintings done in from the renaissance on as a way to show off a painters' skill - all sorts of colors and textures thrown together.  and bellows met the challenge of sending us realistic grapes, pearls, and pumpkins, all in front of his own face, challenging us to approach him.  his references, as i see them, lean towards the dark humor side of things - he's tying together all sorts of academic painting types - still life (with fruit, nonetheless), a stormy seascape, a religious painting, and a portrait.  go big or go home, i guess.

also shown at the forum gallery alongside bellows are other fantastic realism artists like jeffrey gold, jane lund, and alan magee.

jeffrey gold, seated model with zebra skin
jane lund, chinese dog, mexican squash
alan magee, chronicles
ramón, descanso de la diva
from my years prowling deviantart i have found many artists that impress and inspire me, and ramón (whoever he is) is one of them.  his focus is completely on the figure, and the background is used only to accent the skintones.  in many of them, the figures look more like cutouts placed over his backgrounds, there is no three dimensional space to speak of once your eye moves off of the model.

ah, one day my painting might catch up to my drawing.  but at the present i have a very long way to go before i understand colors like these artists do.

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