Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roseville Vase - contemporary realism with a classical approach

This is a quick post about the slow process of creating a representational painting using the classical, atelier method.

It starts with the drawing and transfer stage, before even beginning to paint.
  •  careful, thorough drawing
  •  copy and reduce for a small "poster"/study
  •  apply paint on back of drawing 
  •  trace drawing transferring it to a prepared panel
  •  paint the small poster, working out value and composition issues

Drawing, copy and preparation for transfer.

This is the drawing, transferred to a neutral grey, gessoed panel, with the first pass of painting begun.

The finished poster is a sweet little painting - only 4.5x6". I'm looking forward to displaying a collection of these little guys - like family snapshots!

Finally, the "real" painting starts. Transfer steps are repeated with the full size drawing and it's time to begin the actual painting!

Patience, that's what it takes. It's a long process but the effort is well worthwhile. Spending time with the still life set up - drawing, tracing, painting, tracing again and painting again - brings a greater level of familiarity. Subtle differences in color warmth and value become easier to find. It's true: the more you look, the more you see, the better the painting.


Roseville Vase and Plums, 9x12" ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

An exciting development, since adopting this classical method, is that my artwork will be represented by Greene Art Gallery in Guilford, CT, beginning in November. I am thrilled and honored! 

Right now there is an awesome exhibit of still life and trompe l'oeil paintings by the renowned artist Ken Davies and his Atelier which I can't wait to see!

Gallery representation is an exciting milestone and it also means that my website must be updated. During the transition will be inactive for a few days. In the meantime, if there is a painting you are interested in you, can reach me by email at

Thanks for viewing my art and traveling this creative road with me!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Painting a "Novel Exploration"

Finally finished the book painting. How did it stress me? Let me count the ways...
  • perspective
  • fore-shortening
  • elipses
  • type rendering
  • metallic shine
Yep, that's most of the stress. The thing that kept me going was the composition and the details, as usual.

Warning: Stacking books is obsessive. Although it's not proven to be hazardous to health, it may result in  p r o l o n g e d  periods of tweaking angles, re-thinking color choices, and substituting sizes. Essentially, it's the painter's version of sampling fonts for graphic designers.

Novel Exploration ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze, 12x16"

These old books have so much character. They were carefully selected in my travels from California to Connecticut to the Carolinas. (Apparently the "C" states read more books.) I searched antique shops up and down the east coast for the horn glasses which were finally found online, in an Etsy shop appropriately named "Wanderlustwoman,"  Really.

It would be hard to pick my favorite part of this painting, although the page edges and worn spines were the most exciting to capture. They were also the most frustrating, which actually makes sense. I'm sure there is a poem or proverb somewhere about getting the most satisfaction from accomplishments that initially allude us.

Hmm. There's Emily Dickinson's:
"Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed."

That's not quite right. My goal is to improve my painting technique; to "succeed" while still enjoying the sweetness of capturing those moments of beauty, texture and light.

So, sorry, I'm not searching the web to find the perfect quote.  I'll be in my studio painting.