Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Swan on the lake at sunset

               "Swan on the pond at sunset" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" X 10"

I was at the lake the other night, and it was so nearly sweltering.  The gnats were attacking me, I wrenched my neck and shoulder out carrying my gear, and I dropped (yet again -- this seems routine haha) my painting face down in the dirt.  That really enraged me this time, and I was about to hurl the painting into the lake, but I didn't want to get arrested for littering ;-), so I sat down and took some deep breaths, and just sat there for a long time.  

The sun started to set, at nearly 9 pm, as I working and cleaning and transforming the little painting (which is against my own rules, but rules are made to be broken).  The Canadian goose, which was in complete silhouette, I made into a a swan, because again, it's my world, and at that moment, I preferred a swan to go along with my Debussy's "Clair de lune".  So, in the end, hurt neck, gnat bites and all, and then the giant thunderstorm that chased me away -- it all was still amusing, and my own world triumphed because I was able to make an enchanted world from the beauty that really was there, however fleeting it was. Like life....just make the best of it 😊 !! 

Enjoy ❤️

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Study of female nude in India ink and Pastel

"Study of female nude in India ink and Pastels" by Hilary J. England, 14" X 18" mixed media on paper

Here's a figure study I did today, and decided to mix it up a little since I was rummaging through all of my stuff in my studio, and then started thinking about how it's been a long time since I did any mixed media work or studies, so I had some fun with the mixed media.

I have been doing a lot of figure work lately because not only is it vital for me to continue working with figure models just to keep overall skills honed -- it gives me a little different, edgier mindset than when I do landscapes.  Landscapes are my mental escape, where I build a little world for myself and occupy it.  Figure work is different -- it's like the landscape is someone else's body, and all of the interesting shades and textures are the grass and leaves and sky, but ultimately, they bring a different energy to that "landscape" that can never be fully mine, so the exploration is much different.

I have been working on my ongoing still life series, but now I have shows coming up, and have a new series that I will begin to pick up where I left off a few years ago -- my figurative, social realist study of "Rural American Youth" -- a continuation, this time second generation.  That fills me with wonder and excitement at this new little group of children and their emergence and growth -- like little flowers in the sun -- so much beauty and promise and hope.  God is good and life is beautiful, even through all of it's ups and downs.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Study of young female nude

"Study of young female nude" pencil on hot pressed paper, 14" X 18" by Hilary J. England

Here is an hour long study I did in pencil, of a new model.  The pose was interesting, and I always like new poses to "shake things" up a bit.  I usually don't work in pencil, but I also like using mediums I don't usually use to keep things fresh.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Peking duck in the lilypond

"Peking duck in the lilypond" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" X 10" 2016

I started out in high spirits with this painting, but as the day wore on, I just felt worse and worse.  Lately, I've been running out of steam by around 2 pm, and I think I've hitting the gym a bit too hard early in the morning, because I feel like death between 1 and 3 pm, and that's not cool.  Those are prime working hours, and I shouldn't feel like I'm ready to turn in for the night by that time.

I really enjoy being down at the canals, and there is such an abundance of beauty to choose from.  It makes me feel peaceful and serene in a world gone insane, to know there is always the natural beauty of God's creation to meditate on, and to calm the tumult of daily living, even when there is nothing directly agitating going on.  Sometimes, the world just catches up to you, and those quiet moments of refreshment -- looking at a single, contented duck floating in a still lilypond -- are just what you need to lift your soul and give you strength to move on through this life.

Either that, or finding a hammock and a good beach!  But, that's for another day :-)


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Study of African-American female nude

Study of African-American female nude, by Hilary J. England, conte on Ingres paper, 11" X 14

Here is today's study.  The model was a young African-American female, and she had a very strong and muscular body -- just magnificent.  She struck this pose, with her arms overhead holding on to a stabilizer bar, and the muscles and silhouette was just breathtaking.  I was only able to draw her for about an hour, as even as fit as she is, the was a very taxing pose for her.

But, it was certainly long enough for me to capture her essence.  I focused on the very rhythm of her body, and the amazing and rich shadow line.

II was able to do about an hour of 2 minute rapid gestures with another model, so when it came time for the long pose with this model, I was in the flow.  Good work day....good day altogether!  One plein air painting, and one drawing found new homes today, so that always energizes me to know other people are appreciating my work as well.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

San Francisco

"San Francisco" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 16" X 20" X 2", 2016

This is painting no. 7 in my "Travelogue" series.  Each of the items has a particular reason behind it was used for the painting.  I start with choosing these items, and then finding a way to arrange them so that there is rhythm, harmony, movement, and some visual paths to draw the eye around the picture plane, and keep an interesting liveliness to the painting.

I set the items up on the floor (yes, the floor) and I have an elevated cushioned seat that allows me to look down on the arrangement while painting.

I always start by blocking in the the largest elements so that I don't lose the original design idea, and then I build the painting through a series of glazes and scumbling.  This takes time to allow the paint to dry and not muddy any of the colors by trying to rush the process.  I don't work in any sort of impasto until I am near the end of the process, and then, it is only accents to bring some of the elements forward in the picture plane.

I usually stop when the painting looks a little "raw," as I don't like anything overdone, especially not a painting.  Two things are awful when they are overdone: paintings, and steaks.  Just can't abide by overcooked and over processed.

So, that's the long and short of it, the very condensed process of how I paint a still life painting :-).


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Study of female nude from behind

"Study of female nude from behind" pencil and white chalk on beige Ingres paper, 12" X 16"

This study was difficult.  This young woman had quite a "bootie" to put it mildly, and the projection on it was incredible.  I had to try to capture that, as it was almost unreal, and yet the contortion of her torso and spine, in combination with the "apple bottom" mad this a most frustrating study to capture. I had to try to keep it real without being "pin up" or "cartoony" along the lines of Jessica Rabbit.  I think I struck the balance and I am ok with it.  I would like to attempt her again, maybe in Conte this time.  Graphite and pencil, especially the softer ones, is very delicate, and smears easily, but it does have more range in it's own way.  

This is why diligence is needed in drawing the human form. It keeps you on your proverbial toes, because poses and studies that you think should be "easy" sometimes turn out to be the most difficult, as this one did.  I enjoyed drawing her nonetheless.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Study of female nude in shadow

"Study of female nude in shadow" by Hilary J. England
11" X 14" conte on Ingres paper

I did this study today, it took a little over an hour.  I am just getting back into the swing of regular figure drawing again, and it has been very satisfying. I look forward to regular figure drawing now that I found this group online, and I can access literally whenever.

Of course, I won't forget my L-O-V-E of plein air painting.  This is just a bonus for me :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Study of female nude

30 minute study of female nude, Conte on Ingres paper, 11" X 14", by Hilary J. England

I found an artist's group that actually does figure drawing online. Go figure!  Now, the model comes to you, for free, wherever you want!! It's a novel concept, and although I prefer working from a live model, this was interesting, and is at least something I can do when I can't make it to a group session down in Bethlehem.

I was able to jump into this session for the last 1/2 of a 3 hour session.  I love that they have sessions this long, and that you can photo the pose to continue afterwards.  It's been very hard to find a group outside of going to Manhattan that will have those long, single pose sessions.  I'm looking forward to be able to do some more involved figure drawing with this group.  It will be interesting to see how it goes with translating it from seeing the pose on my TV, rather than in person.  I mean, I have a 60 inch TV, so when she poses, it's about the same ratio as when a live model poses in front of me, distance wise.

Again, interesting!!!

Enjoy :-)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Purple pansy by the tree

"Purple pansy by the tree" by Hilary J. England
Oil on canvas, 8" X 10", 2016

I've been working a lot lately, but I have been feeling a bit down.  I have had some personal situations that are very stressing, and that affects me deeply.  I have someone very close to me who is desperately ill, perhaps in the end stages of life, and it drains me inch by inch watching this process.  I want so much to help, and to make it stop, to make it better, make it go away, and I can't.  I want so much to protect them from this, to keep them with me, and I see the disconnect beginning...when they begin to ever so slightly disconnect from this earth, and you can feel it, in your soul.  It's a hard perception to explain, but to anyone who has ever been around a terminally ill person, someone they were very close to, and went through this process, you will understand what I am saying.  I don't know how many days or months we have, I just know the process has begun, and my heart quivers in my chest at the idea of what is to come.

Many days I feel like I'm in a holding pattern -- so grateful for the love we have now, but not knowing what's ahead.  It's the oddest feeling, like being in limbo, and you still must go about your life, but it's like go through the motions, but your mind is switched off.  It's always somewhere else, no matter how conscious or focused you are on the task at hand.

I have been looking for peaceful little scenes that speak to my heart, and yet, are still challenging to recreate.  I did this one in town, again, while I was out wandering around after hitting the gym.  I was hungry, so I sat down to eat my almonds, and I noticed these little flowers.  I went back to them later on in the day, and the light and shadow was more dramatic, and that made me happy to work there.

I feel more connected to the Old Masters when I work outside these days.  I think of their joy at the beauty they were able to view and capture, and also all the pain of life on this earth, and how they assimilated the good and the bad into their work, to make something beautiful from the ashes.  I admire that persistence in the face of adversity, and it gives me pause to think about my own work.  If the sadness was too large, would I stop working?  What then?  Where would it manifest itself?  I'd probably end up a drunk face down in the gutter.  No, this is the healthier way to move through these painful events.


Stormy Times

“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England I painted an original study when I was in Tenness...