Friday, July 18, 2014

White Vase - Still life

Painting still life is a restful and cathartic experience for me.  I've been distracted from the easel lately by many things.  Home improvement projects have demanded a lot of time and mental energy for planning and negotiating...but so far have gone well, thankfully.  And the office is busier than it has been in a long time as we finally begin to recover from the long recession / depression.  These are all good things, but they demand mental energy that might otherwise be channeled into the studio.

At these times when creative energy is at a low and the urge to paint is almost nonexistent, still life comes to the rescue.   In this case, I found some fake - yes, not real - 'flowers', a vase, and a brass bowl.  With a few apples and an orange, I was ready to go and painting in minutes.  I didn't worry about 'symbolism' or complexity....I just wanted to paint and forget other demands for awhile.

White Vase    Oil on stretched canvas   16 x 20

The very light area at the right is a light reflection ....that area is actually very dark.  

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Monday, July 14, 2014

Campaspe - Best in Show!

Well, talk about pleasant surprises!  I checked in with the Sacramento Fine Arts Center to see if my version of John Godward's Campaspe had been accepted into the "In the Style of the Old Masters" show at their gallery....and I found that not only had it been accepted, but it won Best In Show!

I'd love to take full credit, but obviously Mr. Godward created the beautiful "Campaspe" about 100 years or more before I even knew what (or who) a "Campaspe" was.  I thoroughly enjoyed copying  a portion of his incredible work...and maybe modernizing it just slightly, more from a lack of ability to copy his work faithfully than from a plan.  The work of these artists of the "classical" period has been unappreciated for a long time, but the more I learn about and study them, the more I am at a loss to explain why.  John W. Godward created a masterful work in every way.

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Copying the Masters - Campaspe by J.W. Godward

 I've been in a bit of a painting slump for the last month or so.  Things have gotten very busy at the office and I've had less time for the studio.  I find, too, that when things are busier and more intense with the business, it is much more difficult to switch mental gears and paint.

Anyway, the Sacramento Fine Arts Center announced a show "Influenced by the Masters" and I thought that was an intriguing idea and a 'guided' way to get a little painting in.  I've copied Masters before.  It's a fabulous exercise - humbling too, I might add.   Several years ago, I copied "Classic Beauty" by John William Godward, an English artist (b 1861- d 1922) and so I went back to his works to search for another painting to copy.   I found "Campaspe" in the Art Renewal Center ( ) library, which is an incredible place.  I highly recommend it.  The original is a very tall and vertical painting, but I wanted something a little less challenging, so I turned it into a horizontal of just a portion of the original.  If you haven't painted from the Masters, you should.  It's a wonderful learning experience....and it will give you new-found respect for what they were able to do.

Because I wanted to copy the style of the painting as much as possible (it isn't possible!) I did a fair amount of glazing on this painting, something I typically don't do. Where Godward captured exquiste form and detail, I was forced to suggest it - both by time and ability.   But wow, this is fun to do.  How these brilliant painters did the incredible work they did is beyond me.  I can only marvel and appreciate.

The plein air frame was the only gold frame I had at hand.  The painting gets submitted today, so it will have to do.  Actually, I kind of like it.

Copy of a portion of Campaspe by J.W. Godward    Oil on stretched linen  12 x 16
Here is John William Godward's exquisite work

Campaspe   John William Godward

 By the way, Campaspe was a mistress of Alexander the Great and a prominent citizen of Larissa.  She was reportedly a model for several great works. In this painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, the ancient Greek artist Apelles paints Campaspe as Alexander keeps a watchful (and suspicious?) eye on the proceedings. 
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Painting from the Masters is just an all around great experience.  Try it!

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sutter Creek Scene - Plein Air

Howard Rees and I met up in Sutter Creek on Friday to enjoy the beautiful summer weather and get some plein air painting in.  The morning couldn't have been more pleasant.  We went to the small park which is pinched between a parking lot and a small stream which bisects the town.  If you didn't know it was there, you'd probably never find it.

I have been working in my studio very sporadically on a copy of a painting by John Godward.  Other than that I haven't been behind the easel much for several weeks.  It was good to get out there once again.

This is the rear of a group of buildings which border the creek.  I was on one side of the water, in the park, looking across.  I've painted the main building's the home of Pizza Plus, definitely great pizza!  And cold beer. 

Sutter Creek Scene   12 x 16 oil primed linen panel. 
To purchase or bid on this painting, CLICK HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stylin' A Model A "portrait" in oil

Recently I visited a most unusual show of antique Caterpillar tractors along with collections of other antique 'working' vehicles, including logging trucks.  The Hangtown As, a Model A restoration club out of Placerville, California ( once called Hangtown in the Gold Rush days) joined the show.   I got some great pictures of all of the equipment.

This beautiful Model A convertible is a 1931 vintage I believe.  She is stunning in bright yellow on a summer day.  I couldn't really do her justice, but it was fun to try.

Stylin'     oil on 8 x 10 linen panel  

To Purchase this painting, please click HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tools of the Trade - Still Life in Oil

I guess painting a vase full of paint brushes is more or less required at some point.  In my case, it happened because I got the urge to paint about 8 pm.   I didn't want to spend a lot of time gathering flowers and props, so I reached for what was in the studio.   In this case, I found a bottle of walnut oil, some W&N linseed oil, a small brown vase and some brushes. 

I used a linen panel that I had prepared some time back with a tone of burnt umber, I think.  When I applied the tone I experimented with adding some texture with a crumpled paper towel.  Generally, most of this would be hidden, even in a vignette style painting, but in this case I let it become the background.  I'm still undecided about whether it worked or not, but this was a quick sketch...something to have fun with on a Thursday I'll leave it as is.  I tried not to get fussy with this one.  When I started messing around with the brush shadows, I knew it was time to quit.  It was a pleasant two hours of painting.

Tools of the Trade   Oil on linen panel   12" x 12"

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blue Vase with Oranges and Grapes

The composition in this painting evolved as it was painted.  That's not a good way to do things, but it was a good learning experience.   I started out with just the blue vase, the copper bowl, grapes and oranges.  But the arrangement left a large empty background to the right...and even some empty table space right below it.  When the painting was nearly complete I decided to see if I could fix the awkward and unbalanced composition by adding the vine leaves and small flowers and the apple along with a couple of grapes.  I think it addressed one problem, but created a second one, albeit less noticeable in my opinion.   Now I have a vertical on the right as well as the left!  An odd composition for sure, but at least the canvas is no longer empty.  I'd say the 'fix' worked overall.

I love this vase.  I've never used it in a still life before, but I will again.  And it is a natural and complimentary foil to the oranges.  I enjoyed creating this painting...and I also enjoyed the challenge of the in-progress adjustments. 


Blue Vase with Oranges and Grapes.    12 x 16 oil on canvas panel.
To PURCHASE this painting, please click HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art