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Friday, March 30, 2012

"Parisian Street"

"Parisian Street"
18x12" Oil on Copper
© Vicki Ross

Too many places to talk! And believe it or not, I can lose several days in my brain :) Put something quickly on Facebook, and then forget to blog about it where it can be explored in depth! 

I get so many compliments on my 'process' slideshows, I try to do one with every finish. Since I am in the habit of taking continuous progress photos, they are just sitting there waiting to be shared. Picasa was so easy to make a quick slideshow, but since they use flash...and ipads don't...had to find another suitable solution. May change again, who knows?

SO, here it is..."Parisian Street" in progress: 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


18x11" Oil on Linen
© Vicki Ross

When I saw the creased black and white photo from the 1950's, I immediately got an enlarged xerox copy of it to paint 'later' when I felt my skills would do it justice.

FIVE years ago, a move later, and I was actually able to put my hands on the photocopy. Took a digital photo of the copy so I could design compositions and values. Here is the response from Shorty's daughter, Pam:

"How you could take an old, worn out, black and white photo and create such a wonderful color portrait that perfectly captures the look and spirit of Daddy, is a real tribute to your talent. I have been fortunate to have been able to watch your progress through the past few years. Your work has always been better than good. You are now reaching perfection! I am transported back in time, to the wonderful memories of so long ago when I was a little girl." PB (commission info below)

I'm in my 'grisaille' phase, and enjoying every minute of it. One of my late mentors, Ann Templeton, whispered to another classmate 'if I could just get her to slow down'. Well, Ann, I have slowed down. Practicing tonal values, getting them right without having to worry about color. Making sure I 'stay in drawing', and taking my time.

Will I stay with this method? Probably not. I'm just going through all the excellent tutoring I've had and practicing those techniques that I wanted to revisit later.

Enjoy the process of "Shorty". (A compulsory painting)

freestyle: loose shape drawing with brush, refine drawing all the way to the end. Measuring with end of paint brush for accuracy. Requires skill

freestyle with training wheels: combination of the two extremes, mostly starting with color after first underpainting tonal sketch. Still using grid drawing, same size source material, acetate tracing for double checking

compulsory: using all tools at hand, same size source, grid lines, drawing, careful underpainting as many sessions as it takes, glazing with color, then 'decorating' with loose strokes. Using an acetate tracing to check drawing at each session. Requires patience (and more than a bit of OCD)

 Commission info:
You've been invited to view "Portraits V.Ross".
View "Portraits V.Ross"
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Isabelle" Slideshow

This painting was done for the Moses Botkin Challenge for March 2012. It is an exercise in using a commonly attributed "Zorn Palette": Cad red lt, yellow ochre, ivory black and titanium white. These exercises are so important to understand how your selected palette of colors 'play' together.
14x11" Oil on Linen Panel
© Vicki Ross

My model is Isabelle Roché, who owns La Maison du Pastel in Paris. Very interesting story...Roché Pastels have been manufactured continuously since the late 1800's...used by Degas and other painters of the time.

I started with a color swatch ala Schmid, mixing two pigments and creating tones with T.White.

This is an in-between process I'm tentatively calling "Freestyle with Training Wheels", because I only did two sessions of Grisaille underpainting. "Compulsory" is with 7-8 layers of underpainting. Kind of reminds one of obsessive compulsive, doesn't it?

"Freestyle" is where I started learning to paint faces, with no grid, drawing, or underpainting. I'd be all the way to 'done' and realize that one of the eyes was 'out of drawing'. My new method is training me to be more accurate from the very first mark.

And, that, my fellow artists, is a good thing!

Had I started with more OCD, well, who knows? At least I know I can do Freestyle, just with less consistent results.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moses Botkin Challenge March 2012 Zorn Palette

This month was my idea...using the pigments most usually attributed to 'the Zorn Palette'...Cadmium Red Lt, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black and White. These are the modern ones that closely match Anders Zorn's favorite limited palette.

14x11" Oil on Linen Panel

My model is Isabelle Roché, who owns La Maison du Pastel in Paris. Very interesting story...Roché Pastels have been manufactured continuously since the late 1800's...used by Degas and other painters of the time.

Ever the student, I started with a quick color swatch 'assignment'. These are mixed with just two of the 4 pigments, lightened with white. Adding a smidge of one of the 3rd colors would give more choices! 

"Color Swatch Cad Red Lt, Yellow Ochre, I.Black, T.White"
© Vicki Ross, Oil

9"x7" oil  

"Laura and Vincent"
 8" x 10", Oil on panel

Oil on canvas, 10"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

6x6" oil

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thea's Imani

"Thea's Imani"
14x11" Oil on Linen Panel
© Vicki Ross

As I gazed at the photo of Imani, I realized that his white marking spelled his name. Well, with just a bit of creativity! Thea is a good friend, and was heartbroken over the passing of Imani...

Also, a confession! I took the final photo of the painting at my easel where the glare of the north light cast a distinctive coolness. AND washed out the background. So a wee bit of Photoshop and viola...swap out the background for a closer match to the original :) Note to self: don't forget this lesson!