Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ralph Art Website relaunched

Woo hoo! The new Ralph Art website is now officially live!  I cut over the DNS for http://www.ralphart.com a little while ago, so now the redesigned site is the one you'll see when you go there.

If you are curious or bored, the old site, with all its warts and poor display on mobile devices, is still visible at http://old.ralphart.com. The last redesign (mostly just a reskinning) took place about 3 years ago (give or take). I'll probably leave it there for a while, for curiosity sake.

The new site has (in my opinion) a much improved organization, with lots of large images of art. For once I did not do the complete redesign myself, instead I started with a template and heavily customized it. This let me create a responsive, mobile device friendly site with a minimum of effort on my part. Yes, I have been known to be lazy.

Leave comments below if you feel so inclined or find a glaring mistake somewhere.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

New Website!

Doing a soft launch of the new Ron Crouch /  Ralph Art website. For now the URL is http://new.ralphart.org. After I've made sure I've gotten all the rough edges sanded away I'll be changing that to http://www.ralphart.org. The old site is still at http://www.ralphart.com -- haven't quite decided what to do with that. I may eventually point that at the new site.

If you see a problem, email me or direct message my Twitter account @RalphArt.

I'm using responsive design (should look good on desktop/mobile/tablet) and hosting it on Openshift.com.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A painting progression - Kipp

Finished a painting of my friend Kipp the other day which turned out pretty well. I actually thought to take progression photos along the way (smartphones are actually good for something other than texting), and thought it might be of interest to others to see how a painting takes shape.

First -- I usually start off by doing an underpainting or sketch in burnt sienna. This gives a warm undertone to things I find appealing. At this point I'm primarily looking at getting proportions and basic placement the way I want it.

If you look closely you'll see a light grid drawn in pencil. I've worked with photographic sources most of my painting career but have changed how I use them. Back when I was in grad school and for about 10 years afterwards, I shot 35mm slides and would project those.

These days I mostly shoot digital, using my phone, then print them out on a color laser and grid them off. They each produce a slightly different look. In addition to gridding, sometimes I'll print out the photo and project it on the painting surface using an Artograph opaque projector.

Second -- I usually work from the edges towards the center, doing more of the background elements, saving faces and other centers of interest towards the end. This has the effect of lulling me into working looser on these bits since (in my mind) they aren't the "important" parts.

Curiously enough, because I work more freely, this has the side effect of sometimes transforming these areas into the centers of interest in the final painting. The sweater, for example, took on this role.

Third. At this point I was pretty far along, but I wasn't completely satisfied with where I was with it. The painting was clearly of Kipp, but there was something about the likeness I wasn't happy with, and I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. I was about to leave it as it was when...

(Fourth - brief interlude) -- I noticed it was Kipp's birthday. Since I was painting this portrait for my own amusement, I decided to do a little quick study as a birthday present. I found a piece of old 1 x 12 in the studio that had been cut up for some now-forgotten purpose. The aged pine had a nice middle-tone that served as a toned ground.

I spent about 45 minutes during my lunch hour just having fun with it. When I was done, I looked at it and saw it was by far a better painting than the one I'd been fighting with for the last several days. So now I couldn't just leave it...

Fifth - I stared at the painting and the study, trying to sort out why one was so good and the other not. I went back in, wiped out what I had done with a turpentine-soaked rag (the painter's best friend), and started over.

A fair amount of the problem was some subtle proportional issues with the shape of the head and what-not. The rest of it was just that the painting was overworked - the surest way I know to ruin a painting.

 So I finally finished; it still wasn't as wonderful as the study but it was definitely improved. And somedays you just have to be satisfied with improvement over perfection.

 Hope you found this interesting!

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Painting: Texting Women

After a prolonged period of non-art production, I've actually been fairly busy, comparatively speaking, since last December. The other day I finished "Texting Women" (title subject to change), which I started not too long ago.

Apologies for the awful photo; it was shot with my cell phone. Done in oils, finished size is 30 x 40.