Monday, August 20, 2007

The Gleam in my Daughter's Eye.

Here is my daughter Lorelei, doing her morning coloring.
That look on her face makes me so proud. This girl has no expressive hesitation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Paint As If Every Brush Stroke Counts

[ Portrait of Baby Lorelei by John Paul Thornton]

How powerful is a single word? When we speak, should we mumble? Slur our words together? Bark?

I recently presented a series of painting demonstrations in Los Angeles that celebrated the lone, amazing, isolated brush stroke. I explored how each application of my brush created a distinct individual choice, each articulating information about form, space, structure, movement, light and color temperature.

Every stroke was left completely intact. No blending was attempted. Still, there is a softness due to the closeness of values, and exclusion of severe notes.

The ear is expressed with a few structural strokes.

The forehead shifts from cool violet to warm Naples yellow.

In a second portrait which was created with a more harsh, carved approach, I painted a young Nepalese refugee girl. This was painted very quickly, with a house painter's brush in a matter of minutes. Within a blink, the painting was done. I had no time to ruin it. In fact, it felt as if I wasn't even there to make it. Once again, no attempt was made to eliminate any of the character of the strokes. To my eyes, this painting maintains a directness and severity that reflected the strength of this individual person. Many of the brush strokes on the surface carry a surprising quality within their directness and refusal to lapse into a contrived smoothness.

[Portrait of a Refugee Girl, John Paul Thornton]

Every gesture describes planes , light direction, and the emotional starkness that the sitter conveyed to me. When painting this way, every choice becomes vital and must stand as distinctly alone, even while a harmony links the entire image.