Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Museum Girl in Colour

Museum Girl 8x10 study oil on canvas panel
A few weeks back I posted an ink sketch I did of this girl at the museum. You can see the black and white sketch here if you missed it. The last two weeks I've been busy finishing up paintings and framing them to get ready for shows. Last weekend the Iowa Pastel Society had a meeting and a show in Greenfield, Iowa. Don't worry, I'd never heard of it either. It was a long rainy drive across the state but everything is turning green so it wasn't horribly drab and I got third place so that helped brighten my day a bit. Artist Tom Christopher gave a demo at the meeting and critiqued the show afterward. He gave a lot of good advice and great ideas on all matter of things. One thing he said that I found funny was when he was discussing a piece and mentioned how part of it was very difficult to draw no matter how great of a draftsman you are that particular shape he was speaking of is hard to do. Then he went off on a bit of a tangent talking about how some artists will avoid doing hard things. Hands, he was talking about hands and how some artists will either hide the hands, put hands in pockets or behind the back simply so they won't have to do them. It was funny to me because I was once painting with a group of people and one of them was supposed to be the teacher. When someone asked how to correct their perspective the answer given was to just paint a tree in front of it so you don't have to worry about it., wrong answer.  In my mind I'm asking myself, do people really do that? Obviously they do.  Tom's answer is to paint them in. They don't have to be detailed down to the wrinkles on the knuckles, just the basic shape and size to make them make sense. As for the perspective question, if you ask a teacher and they just tell you to cover it up you might want to see if you can get your money back.
With all of this swirling around in my head and not much energy to start a new painting I decided to paint the museum girl, hands and all, for practice. I was really practicing timing myself for two hour paintings, but I thought I'd practice the hands too. After the two hours was up I wondered how long it would take to figure out a creative way to hide her hands. Better to just try it instead of wasting time figuring out ways to hide them.


  1. Good points - and this came out well too. Another challenge here was getting volume and space with a lot of similar light valued, neutral colors. You kept the dark accents from looking like pocket change scattered on top of the dresser.

    1. Thanks. Once I started mixing up the colours I thought, oh boy what did I get myself into? I think the two hour time limit helped me in keeping it simplified.

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