Bob Baker, “Flower Shop, Corner of Rue St. Dominique and Rue De Bellechasse, Paris” (2018)

13 Aug

C8FE3F77-A9CA-4AEA-8216-A7EC3E1BDFA4Bob Baker, Flower Shop, Corner of Rue St. Dominique and Rue De Bellechasse, Paris (2018)

Today’s painting.  Emily and I walked past this flower shop on our first morning in Paris.  Rue St. Dominique arcs gently to the west and takes you from the 6th arondissement over to the Eiffel Tower.  Very pretty walk.

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Bob Baker, “Night Cafe, Strasbourg” (2018)

5 Aug

83127A85-66BC-40AF-8C98-1F60FF3426DDBob Baker, Night Cafe, Strasbourg (2018)

Here’s the latest.  I didn’t catch the full name of this place when Emily and I walked past it, but I loved the light so took a quick shot with the iPhone.  It’s emblematic of Strasbourg, one of the most picturesque cities in France with an excellent place to eat and drink on every corner.  It was in Strasbourg Em and I went to the Academy of Beer and received the finest education money can buy.  Will be going back to Strasbourg for sure!

 

Bob Baker, “Sacre Coeur” (2018)

29 Jul

E41AF7F8-C1BB-4CA5-905C-95EB6F316EBEBob Baker, Sacre Coeur (2018)

Today’s painting.  Basilica Sacre Coeur sits right at the top of Montmartre and can be seen from nearly anywhere in Paris.  This is the view from the back.  The front is impressive but there are hundreds of tourists and more pickpockets per capita than in any other place in Paris.  If you’re standing in line to get into Sacre Coeur and the person in front of you is not a pickpocket and the person behind you is not a pickpocket, it means you’re a pickpocket.  🙂  Seriously, though, it’s one of the most beautiful churches in the world with one of the world’s best locations.  A must see!

UPDATE: Finished off the sky today and put in some blue highlights.  They work in the world of paint!

 

Bob Baker, “Intersection of Blvd. St. Germain and Rue du Bac, Paris” (2018)

28 Jul

D313A9A8-DDB1-4C84-9953-921197297F56Intersection of Blvd. St. Germain and Rue du Bac, Paris (2018)

Today’s effort.  I used a limited, Anders Zorn palette of Ivory Black, Titanium White, Vermilion and Yellow Ochre then went back in and added a few highlights using a slightly-expanded palette of Naples Yellow, Cobalt Blue and Alizarin Crimson.  I was going for a slightly understated look and I got it.

This is a pretty famous intersection on the Left Bank.  There’s a stop on the Paris Underground at Rue du Bac and that’s where Emily and I caught our ride up to Montmartre.

Bob Baker, “A Gardener at Giverny” (2018)

22 Jul

 

25FECC95-5FFB-4B0B-82D7-A80924166BA4Bob Baker, A Gardener at Giverny (2018)

This is the second painting I’ve completed since returning from France.  Emily and I had a great time, including a terrific day trip to Giverny and Versailles.  Monet’s garden really is spectacular.  The upkeep is tremendous and there are professional gardeners everywhere.  I caught this one pruning a shrub.

Bob Baker, “Place Dauphine, Paris” (2018)

21 Jul

0F0E51C1-B915-4ACD-9D45-FFF7550BA445Bob Baker, Place Dauphine, Paris (2018)

Just returned from a week in Paris with my daughter Emily and have many paintings to work on!  This one depicts Place Dauphine, a great little spot on Ile de la Cite in the shadow of Notre Dame.

Commissioned by Henry IV in 1607, Place Dauphine is literally at the heart of Paris.  “Kilometer One,” as they say there.  It comprises an atrium surrounding an outdoor park.  The park is surrounded by residences and cafes, including the one where Emily and I dined — La Rose de France.  Highly recommended spot with the best tarragon chicken I’ve had in about a dozen years.

Em and I arrived at Place Dauphine around 8:30 p.m.  As some of you know, Paris in summer stays light until nearly 10:00 p.m.  At 8:30 it was still light out but the sun was waning, bathing everything in a nice warm light.  Irresistible, and I didn’t resist.  The walker came along at just the right moment to land in an oil painting.

Bob Baker, “Still Life, Apples and Bottle, in the Manner of Degas” (2017); “Still Life With Apples” (2017); “Altoids Challenge” (2017)

29 Apr

FullSizeRender (16)Bob Baker, Still Life, Apples and Bottle, in the Manner of Degas (2017)

I just got some new soft pastels and decided to try doing a still life in the manner of Edgar Degas.  I found a couple of good sources that elaborate on his technique, which involves first sketching the subject in charcoal and then layering in successive strata of color after first locking in the prior layer with a fixative.  It really works and allows for a very unique effect.  If you’re interested in this sort of thing here are links to my sources:

http://charlotteherczfeld.com/blog/45932/manner-of-degas-using-henri-rochand233-pastels

http://www.explore-drawing-and-painting.com/pastel-techniques-1.html

Below are two more recent paintings.  The first is another pastel still life and the second is my personal shot at the Altoids Challenge, in which the painter tries creating the best possible work that will fit inside the lid of an Altoids mint box.  It was a lot of fun!

17991010_10208597564718862_1090144793394683776_nBob Baker, Still Life With Apples (2017)

18056819_10208655389804453_6275532817780900475_nBob Baker, Altoids Challenge (2017)

Bob Baker, “Barn, Waupaca County, Wisconsin” (2017); Bob Baker, “Head Study in the Manner of Michelangelo” (2017)

8 Apr

 

FullSizeRender (11)Bob Baker, Barn, Waupaca County, Wisconsin (2017)

FullSizeRender (10)Bob Baker, Head Study in the Manner of Michelangelo (2017)

Here are my two most recent sketches.  I actually did a painting of the barn a few years ago and decided to do it again in charcoal and pastel pencil for a different look.  The head study is from Michelangelo.  I’m still working my way through Reginald Marsh’s Anatomy for Artists.

Bob Baker, “Figure Sketch in the Manner of Michelangelo”; “Head Sketch in the Manner of Rubens”

2 Apr

FullSizeRender (6)Bob Baker, Figure Sketch in the Manner of Michelangelo (2017)

The last couple weeks I’ve been studying Reginald Marsh’s excellent book, Anatomy for Artists (American Artists Group, 1945).  Marsh, who was an avid student of the Renaissance masters, helps you learn the old methods by guiding you through figure sketches by the likes of Michelangelo, Titian, Rubens, and Raphael.  Marsh shows you the original and then provides his own quick “starter” sketch as an aid.  You build on the Marsh sketch and eventually try to approach the masterwork.

I’m just getting started but it really seems to work.  Each of these two sketches took under an hour.  I’m no Michelangelo, but this is a great learning experience.  The Rubens sketch, interestingly, is based on an ancient Roman coin — Rome was already deemed ancient when Rubens was painting!

FullSizeRender (5)Bob Baker, Head Sketch in the Manner of Rubens (2017)

Reginald Marsh, as some of you know, is a favorite of mine.  He was simultaneously a student of the Renaissance and a dedicated modern immersed in the grittier side of daily life in New York.  His figures are larger than life in the manner of Michelangelo and his compositions are modern-day frescoes.  His favorite medium, egg tempera, is straight out of the Renaissance.  Marsh:

marsh-wonderland-circus-sideshow-coney-island-1930Reginald Marsh, Wonderland Circus, Sideshow Coney Island (1930)

Bob Baker, “Still Life With Two Apples and a Vase” (2017)

26 Mar

FullSizeRender (4)Bob Baker, Still Life With Two Apples and a Vase (2017)

Charcoal drawing from yesterday.

It’s a challenge rendering things in black and white but it keeps you attuned to value.  In visual art color seems to get most of the glory but the heavy lifting is actually done by value, i.e. the light and shadows that visually define objects.

Color is important to a work of art but value is even more important.  For example, if you lacked the capacity to see color you could still navigate; but if you lacked the capacity to differentiate between light and shadows you’d lack the capacity to see at all.  Generally it’s value, not color, that’s responsible for most of the depth and drama of a piece of visual art.

All of which is just a long way of saying that, in a world full of bright colors, it’s important to stay on intimate terms with value. One good way to give value its due is to use a medium like charcoal in which color is factored out.

 

 

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