A more formal figure painting


This commissioned work is a formal portrait of a mature woman who desired a nude painting reflecting her Central American heritage. The client wanted an impression of the beauty of a woman not matching the cliché of the commercialized American ideal of willowy, leggy and fair female imagery.

The composition features an S-curve created by the background and gold lace mantilla and subtly reinforced by the rim lighting bathing the model’s knees and leg.

Figure Sketch


(Michelle reading, 24X36″ oil sketch on canvas.)

I have been doing fewer 3 hour figure studies, because my pal Marilyn has blown down to Florida. This is from Saturday’s session. I love the pose.

Three hours for the figure, about another half hour for the background.

Excuse the reflections; at this time of year, paint dries really slowly.

Join me at the Irondequoit Inn this weekend

Piseco Outlet 12X9 Oil

(click for a larger view)

Irondequoit Inn’s 2011 featured artist

Mark your calendars for a meet the artist reception on 7/29 from 6pm to 8 pm and a roundtable discussion on “Why Art Matters” on 7/31 at 1:00pm (click to sign up).

Carol Douglas is a well-known Rochester artist and teacher whose work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the East Coast including several Chautauqua National Exhibitions.

View from Irondequoit Inn

Sunny Day 11X14 Oil

(click for a larger view)

She studied figure, anatomy for artists and painting at the Art Students League in New York with Joseph Peller, Cornelia Foss and Nicki Orbach, among others.

She is a former state chairperson of New York Plein Air Painters and a signature member of that group. She is a member of Oil Painters of American and Landscape Artists International.

She teaches studio and figure painting in her Brighton studio and plein air in the Rochester area and in workshops. Her work is primarily in oil and pastel and is in public and private collections nationwide.

Crossing Big Bay on Route 10 14X18 Oil

(click for a larger view)


Today’s little exercise, a one hour sketch after my class.


West breakwall at Irondequoit Bay, some smallish size or another, oil on canvasboard

Kamillah Ramos was game to paint another hour with me after class so I did a quick study. The problem I’m finding is that the paint hasn’t the gamut for the water color. (It’s rare in WNY to have that insane saturated aquamarine, but we’re having strangely clear skies). On top of that, my camera hasn’t the range to record the color in the painting very accurately, but I’ve given it my best shot. Ahem.

I see this scene as a Maxfield Parrish kind of thing, in unearthly light. I think it’s worth repainting in a more studied format; do you?

Here’s the set-up… again for benefit of my students. Laid down darks first, then midtones, then lights; then refined the shapes.

How to set up a field sketch, for my students’ edification

Cottage at Sea Breeze, 12X16″ oil sketch
This is for my students… a primer in setting up a painting. This is not a finished painting, and it’s probably a bit on the “tight” side since I was doing it solely to demonstrate how I want them to work tomorrow, but so be it.

My goal was to finish this in three hours, including set-up and tear down, since that’s what I expect of them.

  1. I did a sketch in watercolour pencil; then followed that by blocking in the darks.

  2. Then I blocked in the major shapes, working from dark to light, in the right values and hues.

  3. Then I added such details as I was able to finish in the time allotted.
Done in 2 hours, 45 minutes, actually. Would have put the fence details in with a rigger brush but I forgot to bring it. And it was time to go canoeing with my kids.

Painting on a dock on the bay…

I spent a few hours on Irondequoit Bay this morning, painting Mayer’s Marina, across the swing bridge in Webster (a hundred feet by water, miles away by car until the bay closes to marine traffic and the swing bridge is moved back into place). Nothing brilliant, just an exploratory oil sketch. A more finished picture would have more room to the right, but it’s the road behind the old building that interests me most.
Mayer’s Marine from the Swing Bridge, oil on canvas, 16X20

And I did this fast (five minute) oil sketch of a fisherman for Zoe Clark. Took a photo and gave it to him… he wasn’t catching anything, so at least he came away with a ‘snapshot’ of his day!

Fisherman at Irondequoit Bay, oil on canvas, 6X8

Travels with Friends: Recent landscape paintings of Carol L. Douglas

I called this show “Travels with Friends” because most of these paintings were done with either Marilyn Feinberg or Kristin Zimmermann. A great plein air partner is a true treasure.
Erie Canal, 40X30, oil on canvas

Saturday, May 7 · 11:00am – 4:00pm

Cobblestone Gallery

The Mendon Academy of Arts & Moveme

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16 Mendon Ionia Road, Route 64 South, Mendon, NY 14506

See Carol Douglas’ new plein air work from the 2010 summer season, painted across New York from Niagara to the Adirondacks to Manhattan.

Ms. Douglas will be demoing painting during part of the Grand Opening, and there will tours of the facility and other artisans on premises.

The show will hang until May 24, 2011. Hours are:

Monday: 9:30-11:30 AM; 4-7:30 PM

Tuesday: 9:30 AM-12:30 PM; 4-7:30 PM

Wednesday: 9:30-11:30 AM; 4-7:30 PM

Thursday: 9:30 AM-12:30 PM; 4-7:30 PM

Saturday: 8 AM-noon

For more information: (585) 315-2300

The Mendon Academy of Arts and Music is located in this cool cobblestone schoolhouse in Mendon Center, NY. Neat place, and it’s great to see the Cobblestone Gallery up and looking fabulous.

Skelly in love (bloom where you are planted)

If I could get painting students to do one thing, it would be to draw every day. It’s cheap—$5 will buy you a sketchbook, graphite pencil and eraser—convenient, and portable, and the fastest way to see progress. But so few people take me up on that suggestion.

This hasn’t been a productive year, art-wise. I’ve spent the better part of it loitering in waiting rooms. Tough on the schedule, but with an elderly mom, four bio kids and a few spares, I’m used to waiting.

One can either read bad magazines or use the time for something useful. This skeleton is at the office of physical therapist Joanne Panzarella. I started off drawing detailed studies of the bones—the vertebra (very tough to understand), pelvis, skull, the fascinating details of toe bones and how they attach to two different heel bones.

One day Skelly showed up in a blonde wig and pirate scarf and I knew I ‘knew’ him. It was simple to draw him in all his bony splendor without worrying overmuch about how many ribs he has or where his vertebra attach to his pelvis.

Today he was cuddling with his Easter Bunny. A quick sketch—perhaps 25 minutes—but it gets to the heart of Skelly. Who says that a man without soft tissue is without feelings?

Meme of the Day—Kim Jong Il Looking at Things

Abi’s stuffed opossum and green wine glasses, 8X6″, oil on canvas

Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things is my current favorite blog. I suppose it amuses me because it reduces a frightening, insane tyrant to an object of ridicule. (I sure hope he doesn’t see it and melt half of Asia in response.)

Much of the time, he’s wearing a grey-and-lavender parka similar to one my dad used to wear. I assume they have no heat in North Korea and his factotums freeze during these photo ops, but, hey, he’s the dictator.

It dawned on me that in his parka he looks just like the opossum who was camping out in our basement, so that’s how I painted him. Used Abi’s “pet” opossum because the live one has been relocated to public housing elsewhere in the county.