Balancing art and design, finishing the beekeeping painting


I like to balance my art and design work–they can inform each other well that way, and counterweight each other’s forms of concentration. My time recently has been heavily focused on design work, which has provided a constant sense of urgency. I haven’t been able to re-enter painting, nor have I wanted to–it was important to keep up the level of intensity and focus to pull these design engagements though, and when I am involved in a painting, I think about it even when not working on it. But I could feel an imbalance creeping in. Fortunately my team and I wrapped up a few engagements and I was able last night and tonight to get back into and wrap up the beekeeping painting as well. I masked the highlights in the bee suit, dropped some wet in wet colors for the mid tones, then got into the shadows and the face behind the mask. Getting the face was difficult and I worked it too much before looking at John Singer Sargent’s watercolors for guidance on portraying a face quickly. These few swipes were how I settled it. I think the head might be too big, but I am satisfied with it for tonight. I like the way the suit ended up. It is a little more colorful than real, dreamlike in the midst of some concrete things, such the trailer, but that’s important. Beekeeping is magic as much as reality, as is Lakeville, and even, to be a little silly about it, as is life.

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Some depth in the beekeeper’s woods


In preparation for further work on the trees I took a look again at some of John Singer Sargent’s paintings. It was encouraging to see how he used the trees well as background material. He wasn’t about about definition, just about framing and conveying enough depth without distracting from the subject, which was the light on the statues in the Boboli Gardens paintings. I tried to take that approach here, roughing in some branches and leaves and shades of light on the leaves. I am going to leave it alone for now and see if more needs to be done later, remembering that my focal point will be the light on the beekeeping suit.

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First session of my uncle tending to the hive

This afternoon I started painting the scene of my uncle opening up the bee hive. I want to work faster and looser with this one, and so far I am happy with how things are coming along. Before getting on with the rest I want to study a few John Singer Sargent works. Not sure how to handle the ground and finish off the trees. It’s been nice getting into this after a couple weeks of too much going on.


The beginning of a new painting

Some busy weeks recently–too many hobbies and some interesting stuff at work that has kept my mind occupied–have split my focus, so I am scaling back. I am dropping the story pursuit in favor of painting again. I framed this new work of my uncle at the bee hive the other night and am just getting around to putting it up. Hopefully I will get to painting it soon. Beekeeping is such a fascinating, mystique-filled pursuit that is nicely offset by the arrangement here of the hive in the woods by an old trailer. Rather than demystifying it, though, the trailer adds to the story. I am excited about this one also in part because there’s a human focus here that I will be able to build on for future works. Thanks for reading. More soon.