Monday, November 16, 2015

My blog has moved!

My blog has moved!
Dear Friends....
Thank you for visiting my Blog over these past 6 years.  I have been grateful for your visits and I sincerely hope that you will continue to come by to say hello.  I have enjoyed using Blogger.  It is a terrific service.  I extend my thanks to the folks at Google for this wonderful FREE platform; however, it is time for change!

In order to have a more integrated blog, art website and art shop I have created a completely new site.  My entire blog archive and all future posts can be found there under the menu choice "Artist's Journal."   Over more than six years on Blogger, my writings have taken on the look and feel of an illustrated journal, so that's what I've decided to call it.  The topic is always art, but the subject matter may range from my latest painting to a painting material or aid that I find particularly useful.  I have written about painting trips, art workshops, and art friends.  I've posted successes and not-so-successes.  I intend to continue sharing all those things and more with you. 

I sincerely hope you will come by the new site, browse around, leave a message and perhaps sign up for my Newsletter.  In any event, thanks for being a friend in art.  Hope to see you soon!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Catchin' Up!

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post!  Its almost scary how fast the time goes.  On second thought it IS SCARY!

Happily some of my delinquency is due to a great painting trip to Ft. Bragg and Mendocino with artist friends for about the 5th or 6th year in a row.  This time our luck finally ran out and we had mostly challenging weather, but that didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits ... athough other parts might have gotten more than dampened!  It was a good trip.  I look forward to next year.

Unfortunately as soon as I returned from Ft. Bragg I had some health problems which required a little recovery time.  I tried to put that time to good use by beginning work on a new website!  Within the next two weeks I will have up and running with any luck.  The new site will combine my art gallery and blog into one interconnected entity.  It will also provide many tools for promoting and selling my work.  My gallery is currently at and my blog is currently on the blogger platform, which is where you are if you are reading this.  Both have provided yeoman service for several years but it's time to move into something that allows me to display, promote and sell my art more effectively.  In the near future when you try to log into either of my current sites, you will be redirected to my new location.  I  hope to see you there!!

Meanwhile, here are two of my plein air paintings from the Ft. Bragg paint-out.

Surf at McKerricher Beach   Oil on 12 x 16 linen panel  (SOLD)

A Gray Morning in Noyo Harbor    8 x 16 oil on linen panel  (SOLD)

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Friday, October 9, 2015

Second Saturday Art Show!

October 10, 2015 is Second Saturday again!  And once again, I will have new artwork on display at the Patris Studio and Art Gallery,  3460 2nd Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817.  Also works by Patris,  Abigail VanCannon ; Scott Martin, David Peterson and several other Sacramento area artists will be included.  I have four paintings in the show.  All are ready to hang in your home or office.  Three still life paintings are beautifully framed and the very large landscape is on a heavy cradled panel with painted edges. 

It starts around 6 PM and will include wine and live music.  See you there!

Late Summer Afternoon at Delevan  Oil on cradled panel  23 x 45

The Copper Kettle  Oil on linen panel 12x12
Late Afternoon in the Garden   Oil on linen Panel  12 x 12

Quiet Evening   Oil on stretched linen   16 x 12

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Thursday, October 8, 2015

In the Manner of the Masters

2015-14PO Hancock Portrait 16 x 12 Zane  Oil on linen panel

This portrait of a young man, Zane, was done entirely from life.  I used a technique and process that I explored in a recent workshop with classical artist Michael Siegel.  One could spend a lifetime studying the techniques of the old masters so I have only scratched the surface, obviously.  

What I find very valuable is the paint application process, the use of mediums (in Zane, I used maroger pronounced mare oh-jay, I believe) and a very meticulous approach.  By that I mean the literally every brush stroke is planned and then executed with care and deliberation.  Certainly, careful execution isn't restricted to the old masters - I've become aware that many of the painters I admire are surprisingly measured and 'slow' in the process of painting - but it is a hallmark of the classic painters and their work, I think.  I've been conscious of my own process for the last year or so, and I've made very deliberate efforts to slow down!  It has helped enormously.  All I have to do is remember to remenber!

Zane was painted with a very limited palette, which is simply my own preference.  I believe it consisted of medium red, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, black and white.   There may have been a touch of other colors including a trial attempt with raw and burnt umber.  I've decided I do not like either color and have scraped them off my palette for good.  

I''m pleased with this portrait and with my journey into the style of the old masters.  I've learned a lot and that's what any exploration is about.  Personally I'll probably take a few tips away from this to be used on my own style of painting.   And just for comparison, here's the same model painted a few weeks ago in open session.  

2015-16PO Hancock Portrait 20 x 16 Zane's Braids   Oil on linen panel
Happy Painting! 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Blue Vase - Continuing Still Life Exploration

 Still Life painting continues to intrigue me.  I've mentioned before that I enjoy painting still life subjects in the studio as a kind of therapy.  There's something very healing about the process.  One is painting from life, but without the pressures of working from a model or the challenges (should I say aggravations?) of plein air painting. With internet radio in the background and Dixie asleep on her pillow by the transparent plastic doggie door (so she can keep one eye out for squirrels who may have the audacity to venture into HER backyard), the studio is a wonderfully peaceful place. 

But more and more I appreciate still life painting as a chance to explore painting techniques and to simply practice what I learn in workshops and other studies.  Sometimes, I learn what NOT to do, which, if it is absorbed and remembered, is every bit as valuable as learning what to TO do.  As an example of this last point, I just completed a workshop conducted by a very accomplished painter who teaches and practices a 'classical' approach using old master techniques, colors, mediums and etc. (More on the workshop in another post.) Using what I had learned, I attempted to complete this still life and in particular the vase.  It was a disaster to such an extent that yesterday I spent about two hours completely over-painting and then re-painting the entire vase.  I did one other thing, I scraped burnt umber and raw umber from my palette forever.  I know that they are essential colors of the old masters, but apparently they knew how to use them and I don't.  And simply put, they are incredibly UGLY!   (And according to some experts found on the internet, one or both have some bad chemical properties from an archival point of view.  You can google it.)

In this painting I wanted a contrast of textures.  Against the smooth and reflective surface of the blue vase and the red apple, I tried very hard to create texture in the oranges and the table top by putting the paint down heavily and leaving it.  I think it was successful.

The Blue Vase    12" x 12" Oil on linen panel

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Painting from Life - And the Essential Homework

Since my (semi) retirement in July of this year, I've had more time to paint.  I can't say that I've taken full advantage of the increased opportunity, but as I make the mental transition from the regime of the past (sometimes very comfortable) to the freedom of the present (sometimes very disorienting), I begin to see new pathways and new ways of thinking about what I do and how I do it.

One thing that should have been clear all along, but strangely wasn't,  is that although increased painting time is invaluable to growth, particularly in the handling of materials and the resolution of painting problems, mere repetition isn't enough. Doing the same thing over and over - or to put it another way, making the same mistakes over and over - just reinforces current approaches both good and bad.  So for the last two months or so, I've begun to add a level of "study" to my painting efforts.

Among other "homework" I've spent some time reviewing Andrew Loomis's books on drawing the head and the figure.  Originally published in the mid- 1940's, both books have been reissued in very affordable editions.  They are treasure chests of information on the subject with wonderful and detailed information on proportions and shapes.  Studying and practicing this foundational information has helped my life painting sessions as I spend less time fixing drawing errors and more time trying to create an artwork.

I also continue my study of limited palettes.  "Gary" was done with the Zorn palette of white, black, red and yellow.  "Sassy" was done with something closer to the Kathleen Dunphy palette of yellow, naples yellow, red, and ultramarine blue, to which I added transparent oxide red.  These limited palettes are so wonderfully freeing.  You would think that it might be just the opposite, that not having 20 colors on your palette to choose from would be constraining,  but after a very small learning curve, I've found that the limited selection has many, many benefits.  But that's a subject for another post.

For now, here are two paintings done from life this month.  Both took about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. 

"Gary"    Oil on linen  11 x 8 1/2 

"Sassy"   Oil on linen   12 x 16 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Monday, August 17, 2015

Zane -- An Oil Portrait from Life

Lately I've had extra time to attend open studio events and to paint in my own studio.  I am beginning to appreciate not only the value of painting more frequently, but also the invaluable experience of painting from life, whether it is a model or a still life.  There's really no substitute.  That's not to say that painting from photographs is a no-no....I have to do it all the time, frankly...but simply that there is nothing else that matches painting from life.  Do it whenever you can.

This painting was done at an open studio at Patris Studio and Art Gallery.  I am more and more interested in limited palettes and today I used a "Zorn" palette of yellow ochre, cad red medium and Ivory black....with titanium white, of course.   I really like the result.

Zane    Oil on linen  12 x 16"

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art