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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mug Shot 91, Tessa

8x6 inches, oil on panel

This is an important thing I have learned during this stint with the Russian painters:  get a base layer of paint down first and paint everything else into it. I have been fitting the pieces, the many thousands of pieces of tone and half tone, into the whole, like a puzzle. At the moment my opinion is that flesh is painted best (in oils) with this approach, because the nature of the oily fat paint is already so close to the look of skin. Not that you can't get some chop to it...some blocky bits which lay on top of each other and are not blended. I am anti-blend, don't know how this is going to work out.

I have been looking at Frank Duveneck's work this week, just below mine -- such confident brushwork. Just enough, almost underdone. You can see that every thing is worked into an average skin color, the brushwork is economical and direct.  This photo of course doesn't do it justice, the paint is sumptuous.


  1. Hi Jean-Catching up with you blog. Your recent portraits grabbed me--you do an excellent job with children. I always find them so challenging. Your self-portraits remind me a lot of Catherine Kehoe's--even the red glasses! Really nice work. And I wonder is Veronese Green like a thalo green?

  2. Love this portrait. I am a big fan of Duveneck too and here in De Young of SF and Stanford Cantor Museum it is actually possible to get up close and personal with some of this paintings, which I am grateful. As painting wet-in-wet into a base color, I think it is a great practice. Retaining some brushwork and leave soft edges at other places, not by blending but by the lightness of touch when putting the paint down. It is VERY HARD and I am struggling with it everyday in the atelier. Envy the fact that you are in LA! I really want to take classes at the LA Figurative Academy but I live in the SF bay area... Anyway, I think all your studies and experimentation are paying off! You works are simply brilliant and also improving every time you post a new painting! I am feeling so inspired every time I receive you new blog post in my mailbox...