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I finally finished this self-portrait. My sister always comments how stern I look — but one doesn’t smile while painting oneself. Serious face for a serious bit of concentration. And I’m dressed in my polar fleece vest because we keep the house heated at 65 degrees in the winter, and that requires a few layers of clothing. I guess the takeaway is that most of us who do self-portraits have got some much cuter images taken by other people somewhere.
Here is an article written by Sally Deskins about me. Thanks Sally.
Almost every artist that I know uses photos. But how they use them is what makes the difference.
Yes, I use photos. I also draw from life as much as possible. Often, if not usually, the photos are BACKUP for the life studies/drawings/paintings. I use them as reference, not the whole enchilada. I’m currently doing an interior scene of some friends’ house. I drew the interior while I was at their house. After several thumbnails, I worked through the composition that I wanted and the perspective issues. Then I took photos. Lots of photos. Because the time of day gave different light. Because people and cats kept walking in the room. Because I kept rethinking what I was doing. So now, back in my studio I have 13 or 14 photos, plus several painters that I like, all hanging up around my canvas. Now it is about the painting not the interior. The chair is better red than brown. The cats have changed a bit. The floor has lightened. Some things are absracted, rearranged, changed. Because I don’t care if it looks like their house. I care if it becomes a good painting and if I learned something.
I talk to lots of artists, and I’m surprised how many artists are just looking through magazines or photos for ideas. Or they just copy their friend’s photos. And maybe there are no copyright issues here. Maybe these are all their photos or their friends gave them permission or whatever. But there is a creativity issue here. If the photo is so good, why does it need to become a painting? These same people seem always to have difficulty coming up with ideas about what to paint or finding photos to copy.
My best artist friends seldom if ever run out of ideas. And if they are using photos, they aren’t just making lovely copies of photos.
I have a lifetime’s worth of things I will never have the time to paint. I paint plein air. I will never run out of places to go, seasons to relish. I paint figures and still lifes. I will never run out of interesting people that I want to paint. I will always be able to dig up stuff around the house to paint into a still life. And I am always thinking about colors, design, surfaces, paint quality. The photo supports my work. It is not what drives the work. The life around me drives my work. The process of making art drives my work.
Go paint from life. You will see color better. You will see form better, you will be responding to the real world. You will take more risks. If you want to move to the next level, get rid of the photos for awhile. And when you return to them, think of them as a support system, not THE system.
Most Wednesday mornings between 9 and noon you’ll find me figure drawing with an amazing group of artists at the Buena Vista Studios in Roeland Park, KS. We do short poses from one minute to 20 minutes. Once a month on Saturdays I meet with another group of artists for longer poses. It keeps me looking, thinking, measuring, staying loose, and just drawing without concerning myself about the results. Sometimes we should just begin! Here is some of the work. To see more go to this link: http://www.chriswilley.com/portfolio/figures/figure-studies/
Went on a fabulous plein air painting trip with some other artists. I love traveling with other artists. Being surrounded with other artists in a new environment really encourages growth.
We are going to FRANCE the summer of 2014. You are invited along. Contact me if you are interested in going.
Here are some of the results of the New Mexico trip.
August Flint Hills was accepted into the 2012 Visions of the Flint Hills Juried Show.
Oct. 5: Show opens. Buttonwood Gallery, 3013 Main Street Kansas City, MO 64108, 816, 285-9040
Oct. 7: VIP Reception
Oct. 19: Reception
Nov. 30: Show closes
Two works were accepted into the MVIS (Missouri Valley Impressionists Society) juried show.
Location: Kansas City Club, 918 Baltimore Avenue Kansas City, MO 64105. Everyone is invited.
Show opens: Sept. 17, 2012
Reception: Sept. 21, 2012
Reception: Oct. 19, 2012
Show closes: Nov. 2, 2012
February Creek was awarded 3rd Place. Juror: Michael Albrechtson.
I had two works accepted into the 2012 Brush Creek Art Walk Plein Air Painting Event. Accepted works will be on exhibit at the UMKC Art Gallery. Opening Reception was August 23, 2012, 5-7pm. Show ran from Aug. 23 to Sept 11, 2012. Brush Creek Sanctuary won an Honorable Mention. Juror: Paul Dorell.
This is my latest work. Here it is summer and the ground is almost as brown as winter.
This is done in acrylic, which can be a tricky medium. I used regular acrylics for the beginning work and finished with Golden Open acrylics. Regular acrylics can get thick and painterly. They dry fast and that allowed me to move on to the next thing, correct, refine, etc. Golden Open acrylics allow for blending and have much more of an “oil paint” feel, but it is recommended that one not go too thickly with this paint. Regular acrylics are pretty bulletproof, without too much worry about fat over lean, etc. The Opens have a few rules. As long as you follow them, you should be happy with the combination. Generally, one doesn’t have the same concerns about cracking or yellowing that one does with oils. Acrylics are a great studio material — they keep my space pretty solvent free. They are also great in a classroom for similar reasons. As we all spend more time indoors with our conditioned air, it is important to protect the air quality and your health and acrylics seem to be a good solution.
I still paint with oils. I still really like oils. But when I paint in oils, I have to worry about the fat over lean principles. I can’t just endlessly paint over canvases. I have to worry about yellowing and cracking. They paint beautifully. I’m not giving them up, but every year I find that I can do more and more with acrylics. It is good to have an arsenal of materials and be able to pick the one that works best for the specific painting. For this painting, acrylics (regular followed by open) were a great solution.