Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cream and Sugar

Cream and Sugar, (7x5- each panel), oil on linen, 2011, © Richard Luschek

I just finished these two paintings today. I have some nice arched frames that I wanted to use so I cut some panels to fit and designed these paintings. I am pretty happy with the results and they were completed in two sessions for each panel. 
I will finish the frames in silver which I think will go well with these paintings. Here are the paintings shown at the end of my day one lay in and then the finished painting after a second day. 

Cream, Day 1                      Cream, Day 2
7x5, oil on linen, 2011, © Richard Luschek

 Sugar, Day 1                      Sugar, Day 2
7x5, oil on linen, 2011, © Richard Luschek

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't Be Like Pierre

Pierre Brassau  was a four-year-old West African chimpanzee from Sweden's Boras zoo who never took my landscape painting class. Look at his work hanging on the wall behind him. It is awful.

Put your opposable thumbs to good use and sign up for my landscape painting class. If you have never painted before but have always wanted to, this is a great introductory class that will take the fear out of oil painting.  This class is for both hobbyists and professionals. It is great for teens trying to build a portfolio for college. Those that have taken this class multiple times see continued improvement. I  introduce the techniques in a simple, easy to understand manner, not mention it is loads of fun.
Here is the information, and a link to sign up.
Sat., 10 am-1 pm; April 09-May 28; 8 wks; $189 (no discounts), supplies are the student’s responsibility. A list will be sent with your enrollment confirmation or see 
Location: First class meets at my studio in Eden Park; then at various parks thereafter.
Click here to register.

Till then, read these books. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gods and monsters

I have spent most of the week catching up on illustrations for a game company called Dark Skull Studios. It has been a fun project with a good friend working as the art director. I got to draw weird fantasy gods and some creepy monsters- which I really enjoy drawing. One of the gods is a mix of a deer and a human. I used my lovely wife as the model- well, her and a deer. I can't show them until the book is published, so use your imagination.
I finally got into the studio yesterday and did a two hour start that I was pretty happy with. This was how the canvas looked at the end of the session. As soon as this dries I will dive in and try to finish it in the next coat. I will probably pour coffee in the cup with some cream, since that is the subject and it will add a warm note to the center of the painting.

Espresso and Cream, day one

In my old studio I built a model changing room behind the model stand. It was a great studio, not as classy as the one I have now, but 3 times as big in addition to being cheaper. If you could ignore the fact that I was on the 3 floor with no elevator and that when it rained water poured in and ran down the stairs like a water fall- it was an amazing studio with 30 feet of north facing windows. I was only there for a year until evil developers kicked everyone in the building out, but I digress. What was I talking about? 
Oh yeah,  my model changing room. 
I made a pretty cool door that had a nice art deco design for the model changing room. It was left over wall paper that was printed on canvas for a set at the Playhouse. I glued it to a panel and built a frame around it for the door. I just recently found the door tucked away behind some canvases in a closet and thought it could make a great background for still life set ups. I have a higher set up space on top of a filing cabinet in my studio that I can paint little paintings on. I put some adjustable legs on the door and have set it behind the filing cabinet. I was excited to put it to use the other day. You will be seeing this background in a lot of work in the upcoming year.

This is part one of a pair of paintings that will have cream and sugar. Lately I am enjoying the challenge of working on high key painting with lots of whites. It is a fun problem handling the values in such a limited rang. I also find the results to be very beautiful.

 The Force And A Can Of Soup, 8 x10, oil on panel, 2011, © Richard Luschek
Though I said I was done, I worked on Yoda a bit more yesterday and then took a better photo. Some of the forms were crunchy and the half tones dirty. I did not have the still life set up (I took it down so I would not do any more work on it). I just worked it from memory, and adjusted things till I liked them. Much better.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Force And A Can Of Soup.

 The Force And A Can Of Soup, 8 x10, oil on panel, 2011, © Richard Luschek
I just finished a painting I had started as a demo for a local grade school. I posted about that event here.
Thought I might show the stages of the painting, beginning to end.

This is the painting after a little more than an hour painting surrounded by kids, it is very loose and wet and I did my best to cover the canvas with the right color and value. Drawing is minimal, just for placement and done in a very abstract way. I did this demonstration under a mix of bounced natural light and florescent lighting. It was not ideal, but it worked fine.

After packing up, I moved the set up to my studio, and did my best to replicate it. I had to move it around the studio till I got lighting that was close. I ended up directly under the skylight. I needed some bounce light, so I placed a panel just out of the scene to throw some cool light on the back of the can and Yoda. I spent an hour just repainting the scene with the new colors and values that I was now seeing in the studio, in addition to some improvement to the drawing and proportion.

 A few more hours refining image. It was a terribly dark day in the studio. I had hoped to finish it this day, but it was such a dark dreary day I had to quit early.

Today was a beautiful sunny, spring-like day and I was able to spend a few more hours. I think it is finished.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Serious Turn On

I just finished a  frame for a painting I did about a year ago. The painting was originally part of a diptych, but I sold the other panel-  light bulb hit with a hammer. With just the original bulb painting left, I thought it needed something to electrify it.
I built the frame out of  pine and MDF (a plywood type material made out of paper that is easy to work, sand and cut).
It has a red primer finish, topped with flat black. The top coat is sanded to show some of the red and the entire frame waxed and dusted with rottenstone. Sorry for the terrible photo- as I tend to post a lot of photos on this blog that I am apologizing for, let's just call it my photographic "style".

 Bright Idea, 3 1/2 x 5, oil on linen, 2010, © Richard J. Luschek II

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Different Point of View

You might find this hard to believe, but I have decided to change my view point. When it comes to Art, you can't always look at things the same way. You must have an open mind. I am officially announcing that I am going to be more liberal when it comes to my point of view.

My normal viewpoint on art, at least for still life, has been about 48 inches.
A typical still life stand is about 4 feet tall, which puts your subject at eye level when painting. Lately I have been designing some pictures that are asking for a lower, more top-down view.
I had considered just cutting down an existing table to 30 inches- about the typical height of a dinner table or desk.   Instead, I decided to make a still life table that would allow for adjustment.
Here is what the old fashion, non-adjustable still life stand looks like in my studio. I built these a few years ago using some old porch columns I found in the garbage.

First thing I had to do was cut the main column down to the minimum height. I chose 27 inches.
Now I had an open box into which I could insert a smaller column like a piston.

I built the box 1/8 inch smaller than the inside diameter of the main column. It would be snug with a bit of wiggle room so it would slide freely up and down. I made it about 30 inches long so it would slide up a good distance.
The box is slid into the column all the way down. A hole is drilled through the outside column and the inside box. The hole is in the middle of the front and back side, about 2 inches from the top of the outside column. The box is slide out. I used the drilled hole as a guide to mark off lines where I will cut a slot. I cut the slots in two sides, front and back. These slots need to be big enough for bolts to slide through freely. I used a 1/2 inch carriage bolt, about 2 inches long. After I marked it off in pencil on the inside box, I drilled two holes in the top and bottom. Then used a jigsaw to cut the slot between those holes. You should be able to see above that I made sure the slot did not extend too close to the ends so as to weaken the side.
I painted the box. When the paint dried I waxed the box so it would  not stick.
A bolt is feed through from the inside and a wing nut place on the outside.

Here is the column slide all the way up, wing nuts are tightened down. 

I then attach the top. The top is a light 1/2 sheet of plywood 3 foot square with a block on the bottom that will fit into the column. I can screw it on tightly.  The whole thing is painted with some left off miss matched house paint I have sitting around. I did realize that the piston created some suction and made it hard to pull up, so I drilled an air hole at the bottom of the column to prevent this.
Here is the finished still life stand in the studio at its lowest setting.
 Here it is at it's highest setting.
Now, I have a still life stand that I can adjust anywhere from 30 inches to about 46 inches.
Ta Da! The official Richard Luschek Magic Adjustable Still Life Stand © patent pending.

Paintings with a new point of view will be appearing on this blog very soon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

School Demo

I did a little painting today for the "Arts Alive" program at E.H. Greene Intermediate School in Blue Ash. My audience was a pile of 10, 11 and 12 year olds, which seems to be the demographic I tend to paint for most of the time. Unfortunately, I have yet to sell a painting to anyone of that age group. Turns out kids are pretty cheap.

I brought in a few of my more playful paintings to display. I made sure to set up a still life to paint that would appeal to kids and be simple enough that I could make something out of in the short amount of time I was allotted.

I thought this photo was funny- notice the two boys on the right standing behind me reading a magazine about video games. I am sure they were just taking a break from my exciting demonstration.

The "Arts Alive" event was during the lunch / recess period, so kids were coming and going.  They could watch me paint then go eat some tator tots, check back to see how I  was doing, go climb on the monkey bars, and stroll in to see me finishing up. In addition to having me there painting, there were musicians and craft artist with a table full of puppets. It was nice painting with live music near by- I wonder what it would cost to hire classical musicians to play in the studio?

There was a  crowd around me much of the time. Mostly they just stood there quietly and watched. A few of the kids asked questions like, "How do you do that?", "What kind of paint do you use?" and "How much would you sell that for?"
I really enjoyed the  "Wow, you're good!" comments. I wonder what it would cost to hire some kids to hang out in the studio shout out those kind of things while I paint?

I decided early on that I was going to bring a Yoda doll that I found in the garbage to paint. I have painted it once before a few years ago. Yesterday, while I was gathering stuff to bring with me, a story developed which involved me arranging Yoda with a baseball  and a can of soup. I put the baseball on a clear beaker so it would appear as if the ball was floating in the air.

It is called The Force And A Can Of Soup. Here is the set up and the painting after about an hour and a half. (I had nothing to do with the painted pig in the background, it was there when I arrived.)
It was very cool that a few of the kids totally got the story in the painting, though they were a bit confused by the can of soup. I told them that Yoda needs a hearty can of soup to use the force successfully. In reality I just needed something red in the picture and the can of soup did the job. One girl did ask me if I was a Pop Artist. Funny that keeps coming up.
I will probably set this still life up at the studio and try to finish. It will of course be in different light, so I will have to adjust it, but I think it could be a fun little painting. Some of the kids took business cards, so I am thinking someone might break open the piggy bank and buy this one.

I could possibly be talked into trading for some baseball cards.