Thursday, June 11, 2009

A new painting commission - Burden County Fair 1940.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a local follower of my artwork with a request to undertake a commission painting. He told me that he had been brought up in Kansas and wanted to capture his memories as a young boy attending a local County Fair.

He was specific as to the location and many of the things he wanted to see: the horse race track, the Ferris wheel, the grandstand, and many details of the fairground midway. Plus, the time was to be set at about 1940. After some more discussion, I requested that he prepare a sketch "map" of the fair layout, which we both agreed would the basis for the final painting.

Upon looking at the quite detailed map he presented, we decided on a viewpoint that showed the required activities and objects. With all this in mind, I prepared an intial thumbnail sketch to futher pin down the painting. From this we agreed on the aspect ratio and the size of the final painting (so that it would fit his available hanging space). Also, the sketch allowed me to correct details where my own interpretations did not agree with his memories.

He had already done quite a bit or research. He had some photographs, and prints from Google Images of specific objects, events, and scenes from that period. As I started painting, I have augmented these images with many others from my own research.

There will be many figures in the final painting which raises many supplementary questions: What were the woman's dress styles and length from that period? What kind of head gear did men and boys wear? What do Kansas skys look like in the summer? What did older Cars and Trucks look like at that time? What was racing regalia like then for both horses and riders? And so it goes on.

I have got about half way through the initial layout. I have been sending him digital photographs of the work as it progresses. Soon I will have him over to my studio to see where I have deviated from his memory. I love big crowd paintings. The project is both challenging and enjoyable.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ice Cubes

Nothing signifies better a hot day than an ice cool drink.

As a diversion from my usual people paintings, some photographs I had taken while on a cruise ship lead to the development of this contemporary 16 x 20 inch still life oil painting.

Two abandoned beach chairs stand with a small table between them. The table supports five glasses containing full and partially finished iced drinks. The colors combined with the ice, bring out the heat.

What happened to their owners? Maybe they are soaking in a nearby pool or the ocean.

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Beach Builders

Boys love digging in wet sand – building canals, castles, moats, or a hole to the other side of the world.

Several years ago, we saw these two enjoying themselves one evening while visiting Avila Beach, on the Central California Coast.

I loved the interactions that were going on between the boys, and took several photographs, from which this 12 x 24 inches oil painting was developed.

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Serious Conversations.

Four Latino men were discussing the problems of the day. One seated man seemed to be giving his opinion while the others listened. But another is leaning on his bicycle pausing to hear the story, before proceeding on his way.

Maybe the four are friends who gather often to ponder on the issues of the moment.

I discovered this group among the many photographs I had taken while traveling in Mexico during 2006. Their study in human interaction intrigued me, and I used it to constructed this 16 x 20 inch studio oil painting.

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Waiting At Starbucks

We were sitting at a table near the line of people waiting to place their order at a Starbucks coffee shop. Service was slow. Perhaps everyone wanted a complex order.

But this row of mostly young people found waiting as an opportunity to socialize.

As sat there, I became fascinated by their shoes. I pulled out my digital camera and with my hand close to the floor I took a series of photographs from which this 18 x 48 inch oil painting was developed.

I added the napkin on the floor (which has the imprint from someone's lipstick) to bring interest to the foreground. The painting is a study of imagined human interactions. The body language from the legs, leaves much to the imagination.

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Rhone In Spring

This 24 x 36 inch oil painting shows the trees lining the Rhone River in southern France. They are just breaking into leaf.

The river is high and the water, fed by the recent rains, is rushing under a nearby bridge. Though cold, the sun is shining and a woman wheels her baby along the river bank, while enjoying the view and the lovely day.

This painting was developed form several photographs taken during our 2008 visit to that area.

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"Woman Reading" oil painting.

Catching up, this is the first of a series of paintings I have recently completed, but failed to post to my blog.

"Woman Reading" is another of my series of oil paintings capturing memories from our 2008 trip to France.

The 30 x 24 inches canvas depicts a sunny spring day. A young woman is sitting on the wall along the bank of the river Rhone. She is deep into reading a book, oblivious to us walking by. Her bicycle leans nearby against the wall.

She did not notice us as we strolled along the broad pathway, enjoying the view. I sneaked some photographs, from which this painting was developed.

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At long last - another blog entry!

It is hard to believe, but it has been six months since I last wrote to my blog! As one getts older, time seems to go past so quickly.

But I have been busy: painting most mornings, preparing for exhibits, visiting grandchildren - all the important things of life. Plus a few medical problems - relating to my prostate cancer returning after many years of dormancy.

One major task that has occupied a lot of time, is the complete revamp of my website. A critique by Sylvia White of my work and direction, suggested that my website was to complex and technical. she recommended the style of several other artists, which I used as my guide.

In addition, Adobe has discontinued support of their GoLive web design software, encouraging my moving to their Dreamweaver application. So I took the plunge, purchased the new software, and have revamped the whole thing. The rework is largely completed, though I will make some more changes in the near future. Please take a look at my website and let me know your comments and suggestions.

Another big event is that for the month of May 2009, I had a major solo exhibit "Memories of France and Mexico: Recent Paintings by Peter Worsley." It took place in the western side gallery of the large Faulkner Gallery of the downtown Santa Barbara Main Library. It consisted of 18 paintings from my 2006 and 2008 trips to Mexico and France respectively.

Unfortunately, the opening coincided with the begining of a devastating brush fire on the northwestern edge of Santa Barbara. A large section of the community (including ourselves) were forced to evacuate. And the opening reception was canceled. These events, plus the depressed economy, have resulted in no new sales. But I had many exhibit visitors, gathered a few more people for my email mailing list, and obtained some very good publicity.

Coming up I have several more events: in July 2009, I am the "Artist Of The Month" at Gallery 113, in downtown Santa Barbara. And, at the end of August I am participating once again in the Santa Barbara Studio Tour event.