Monday, May 11, 2009

Ars gratia artis

My former high school Latin teacher, the famous Mrs. Doza Litchfield, would be so proud that Latin popped into my mind this morning as I sat down to write. "Ars gratia artis" or "art for art's sake" has been roaming around in my head since I returned on Thursday from my four-day, INTENSE workshop on Corel Painter. Though the workshop was sponsored through the Carolina Arts and Photographic School (an offshoot of my professional association, PPNC), my classmates included wonderful artists as well as photographers. In fact, I was totally intimidated the first day to realize that I was in a class with Linda Weaver, a renowned portrait artist from Winston-Salem who is commissioned to paint free-hand oils and pastels of people around the world. Anyway . . . the class was great, our instructor was an exceptional artists and I'm hoping to put some of my new found skills to use soon. It was pretty inspiring to sit back and look at photographs and work with them as pieces of art with paint and brushes and textures. I'll put some samples up as soon as I've finished some pieces.

In the meantime, it was just coincidence that an oil portrait came back to us from the artist in Florida who paints our oils. The photos above are of the light oil that Cathy McDonald from Roanoke Rapids had us do of her daughter Rachel. Cathy has had oils done of all three of her children now and I'm sure they look wonderful in her home. For those of you not familiar with light oils, this portrait of Rachel McDonald started as a photograph that I took of her in the studio. After the pose was selected, we send it to the artist who has it printed in black and white and it is then hand colored with oils. It is a technique that was done for years and many of you probably have photos of your parents or grandparents that are hand-colored oils. It can be a bit more expensive that photographs or even canvas-mounted photos but it produces such a beautiful end product that it's worth the price. Many people have oils portraits made these days for special occasions. For those of us here in the studio, I have my father and brother's portraits as well as my bridal portrait in an oil, Peggy has her daughters and daughter-in-law's portraits in oils, and Lynn has her daughter, Kelly's, portrait in oil. I thought you would enjoy seeing what an oil looks like though, of course, the actual portrait is much more beautiful in person than this photograph show.

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