Hope Cunningham Fine Art

To view more of my work, please visit www.hopecunningham.com

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Buzz

Summer Buzz Oil on Canvas Panel

This week, Russ brought back an old favorite to model for open studio. This is Jose Rios, who is a fine artist in his own right. It's always fun to paint a painter because they are so interested in what you are doing. It was winter the last time Jose sat for us, and he had a very luxuriant thick glossy mane. It was quite a surprise to see him with his summer buzz cut. Tucson gets pretty hot, so lots of young men shave their heads to keep cool. Of course, this gave us an excellent opportunity to study form and structure.  As you can see, there was no dodging the challenge of rendering stubble; it was just more prevalent on top of his head than around his mouth!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Charles, Too 12"X10" Oil on Canvas Panel

With any luck you will recognize this young man, especially since he has such a fondness for red shirts. That's right, this is Russ' son Charles again. Mercifully, his mouth is in the right place this time and I find absolutely nothing wrong with it. This is another pose where the head is in very direct light. I did my best to turn the form with temperature changes. I do think I could have pushed the cool green cast in the lower portion of the face. It was pretty tricky to indicate the dark stubble without losing the muzzle form.

This study was a real lesson for me on the psychology of evaluating one's own work. Before I even started, I couldn't help thinking that my last few paintings were successful so it was time for a flop. I recognized the thought and tried to keep it at bay while I worked. Still, the entire time I was working, I couldn't help feeling that it just wasn't coming together as well as the last study. At one point, I fought the urge to wipe it out. At the end of the session, I found so many things that I might have handled differently. I left Russ' studio energized by the evening, albeit with a lingering bit of disappointment.

When I got home, I set this study next to last week's work. Reality check! This piece is much more successful. Moral of the story, put some distance between yourself and your inner critic!