People like to see a painter at work. Interest runs from curiosity to fascination. Many will watch for a short time, while some will sit and watch from a picture's beginning to it's completion. I enjoy talking with visitors for a little while as I work. I've had many stop and photograph me as I paint. I don't mind - in fact some of the photos I use on line have been taken by people I've never met before - but it does make me feel like a curiosity.
To help promote my artwork, I'll occasionally do free painting or drawing demonstrations for the public in galleries that show my paintings. Since the demos have been in galleries at night, and because I want to demonstrate drawing from life instead of photographs, my demos have been of people. It's much easier to get a model into the gallery than a real landscape! The demos are usually in pastel because that's the medium I am most comfortable painting people with. An outdoor landscape painting would most likely be in oils.
Here are some photos from a pastel demonstration I did at Terra Nova Gallery in December of 2010. All photographs in this post were taken by David Hawkinson. This one shows the initial sketch with charcoal pencil:
Laying in color with pastels. Occasionally turning the painting upside-down helps to reveal problem areas in the drawing:
Blending and adding detail with pastel pencils. The model's beginning to look tired - must be about time for a break! It's interesting how there are THREE images of the model in this photo:
The finished piece, after a little cleaning up back at the studio:
The gallery had two demos going that evening. I was painting a portrait in a back gallery while a woman named Crystal was painting tulips in the front gallery. A few people, including the gallery owner, were watching me work when a man walked into the room. The owner greeted him, and the man said,
"I wanted to come see what was was going on back here."
Trying to be funny, I replied with,
"Out front she's painting tulips, but back here I'm painting two lips, two eyes, two ears and a nose, so there's a lot more going on back here!"
The model cracked a smile.
The gallery owner then said,
"James, this is Crystal's husband."
"Sorry, I didn't mean anything by that...", I said.
"That's OK," Crystal's husband answered, "that's a pretty good joke."
I have to admit, though, the foot in mouth moment was at least as funny as the joke!