Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today was one of those fun days, when I start a new painting....there is just something about a blank canvas, maybe it goes back to my childhood days when I got my hands covered in finger paint and went for that clean white wall next to the bathroom door. I won't get into what followed next !!!

I'm going to start a painting of a woman working on a pottery wheel. I saw this scene last summer in Stockholm, Sweden. Remember, my wife is from Stockholm, so we are there every summer for six to eight weeks.

If you go to the southern part of Gamla Stan, the old town; there you can catch a twenty minute ferry boat ride that will take you across the harbor to the island they call "Djurgården". Its actually where the town's zoo is located, hence the name in swedish. But, also on the island is "Skansen", a rather large area where they have collected and re created historical homes and buildings from throughout the countryside. Many dating back hundreds of years and assembled all into a village, for the viewer to walk around and explore into each building. To give it that special flair, every employee there is dressed in the appropriate clothing from the era they are representing and doing the daily chores one would expect from that age. The nice thing is also, they don't mind if you put a camera in their face or not, in fact you could even set up your easel right there and paint away. For anyone interested in history, this is the place, everybody working at the village is knowledgeable about the way of life or events from their time period they represent. It's like stepping back several hundred years in time.

As you can see I blocked in the figure, as she sits behind the spinning pottery wheel. I still might move her up a bit in the canvas, or maybe make her a little larger in size.

To get a better feel for the painting and how it will look, I started with massing in the background. This way the canvas is covered and I get a better understanding of how I want the light and shade to play out. There was a cloth covering the window, but still the sun light was pouring in and illuminating the table in front of her.

Anders Zorn, a Swedish artist who lived about 100 years age use to do this kind of subject matter all the time and of course became a master at it. He was very popular at his time, with all the fame and fortune associated with being Sweden's most successful artist. In my opinion Zorn subject matter and painting ability was far better than that of John Singer Sargent.

Alias, I don't know if I will ever get to that level of painting!

Richard Boyer

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