Painting from life

My life model,

My life model, happily staying in one place and not moving.

With the sun streaming in on the floor next to my easel, my dog (a.k.a. my studio assistant) is taking a nap. I also look at her as my life model. Except for her collar she is a nude model if a bit hairier than most. I think it is better to paint something from real life.  A photo is fine but most of the values and colors get washed out or pushed into a rather narrow spectrum.

I snapped a photo of my model just in case a cat or coyote walked by outside and she felt the need to spring awake and move from her position. She managed to stay asleep long enough (35 minutes) for me to get the values and colors in as well as her position. Then she moved and got up. I was able to keep painting using the rug and sofa side as is. They don’t move on their own so all I had to deal with was the changing light.

Painting from life lets me see the nuances that normally don’t come through in a photo. I had to wait to the next day to finish this painting as I did loose the light in the room I was in painting because we are very near the winter Solstice.

I think the painting turned out well.

My Studio Assistant, Still Life Oil, 9" x 12"

My Studio Assistant, Still Life Oil, 9″ x 12″

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Maintaining a clean environment in the studio

Its important to maintain a clean environment in the studio. This keeps anything that could make you sick, like dust from some paint chemical or whatnot, from floating around on the air and getting inhaled.

You shouldn’t eat or drink in the studio. But most artists don’t follow that rule. At least put your tea mug on a different table than your brush cleaning solvent. And really, don’t eat in the studio. You could ingest toxins or get grease or crumbs on your artwork.

And the BIG ONE. Pet fur!  Pets should not be in the studio.

Tova, Enzo & Ruby

Tova, Enzo & Ruby

So after taking a look at my “helpers” who are always underfoot in the studio, you can consider me a hypocrite considering studio cleanliness. Yep, dog fur is everywhere. In my paints, solvents, on the painting, in my tea mug, in the corners and under foot. As a result, I have a special tool I use exclusively when this becomes a problem. So its all good. More or less.

Helpful hair removal tool

Helpful hair removal tool

If you ever get one of my paintings, chances are there is at least one dog fur somewhere on it. I like to think it will bring you good luck.