I hope you are all enjoying the new website/blog! I think it looks amazing, and is a lot more user friendly.
There have been so many dynamic changes to Jeff Hein’s multi-figure painting since last time I have blogged about it. Jeff has been working on the cloth of all three figures, and has been adding in layers and details throughout the week. So I have been watching the evolving folds of fabric come into existence.
The other day, Jeff decided to brainstorm some small painting sketches for the background. These were small quick paintings done on prepared board about 12 x 18 in size. He had decided to do these small painting sketches, as he had not decided on his final vision of the painting. He debated over a lot of jungle vs. a lot of sky showing thru. He finally chose the idea that felt strongest to him, and decided to do a small amount of sky showing thru the thick foliage. I really like how the light is close enough to the main figure in his painting as to break up the long white column that his robe was creating visually, I think it adds a lot of interest and visual flow with a good amount of contrast with the figures and the background.
Jeff started with the farthest background area in broad fast strokes of paint, with the lightest areas being the thickest paint. The base for the foreground he laid in quickly, but with very expressive strokes and even more thick paint. He said he would be building up the textures in this area to give it a really gritty feel, and he was hoping for some “happy mistakes”, and how these fast brushstrokes would suggest sticks, pebbles, dirt, and then he would go back in later and refine them more if needed. You will notice that the middle ground is not at all resolved, and he has plans to paint the plants he bought in that mid to foreground range. I know my photo of his painting does not do it justice, but I really enjoyed seeing the depth of space created today and to see the parts come together to start to work as a whole.
The first thing I noticed coming into Jeff Hein’s studio was that the jungle was gone and replaced with a blue sky and distant hills. Jeff is playing around with the idea of opening up the sky around the figures of his painting but still have trees around and above them. The adult figure stands out a lot more, and is more of the focus I noticed with this new change in compositional elements, but it will remain to be seen how Jeff develops it or what he keeps or discards.
Jeff also worked on part of the dress of the child, slowing working his way thru the maze like subtle color changes in the folds. The dress has a lot of browns of various temperatures and colors in it, and I noticed that he was scraping off his palette when he had a lot of paint on his palette and asked him why he didn’t save it, or reuse it for the rest of the dress. He said that he only allowed a certain amount of paint to be on his palette mixed. To much of it and it would take that much more paint to change into the many subtle temperature changes that the dress was calling for.
I was astounded at his ability to see those small subtle temperature changes, and then again that he would record them in his painting so painstakingly accurate. What I thought was interesting was that he briefly painted over the arm of the child in a direct wet on wet application so that it “matched” the child’s face in temperature and color. He was doing this just to see what the overall effect would be. Satisfied to a point, he then wiped it away, and left the warmer dry base painting there. He told me that he was just being impatient with his progress, and had been curious as to what it would look like. Jeff would later, with the model present, work on the layers of her arm with the warm flesh tones showing thru the top layers while building up brushstrokes and textures in the light flesh tones.
He was also considering today whether or not to warm the child’s face, or cool down the adults face eventually, but Jeff was going to wait till the background was in more to determine which would be best.
I talked in length today with Jeff Hein about painting techniques, and his process with layers, and his use of a live model as being pivotal to his art and process. He was explaining to me about the luminosity that he is creating, thru layering and why it is so important for him to work from life rather than from photos.
I feel that I am on the verge of understanding this huge whale of a topic, but I need to let it percolate a bit more, before I tackle this one in-depth. There were a couple of light bulb moments but its an elusive thing of subtlety and wording yet for me. And then there is the issue that I am unable yet to do this in my own art. I wanted to keep the rest of you in the loop, that there was a lot of art discussions going on, but this blogger has yet to have the knowledge and comprehension to be able to present this to you as Peach Melba in a chilled silver dish. All I have right now is Thrifty’s vanilla ice cream in a Styrofoam cup. It’s still good though on a hot day…
So! With that in mind, here is a quick update on the painting that Jeff worked on today and yesterday. Jeff started the upper dress and necklace, painting in the form and structure of the necklace loosely at first, and then working wet in to wet and resolving the forms more. I noticed that he was keeping the far side of the turquoise necklace pendant soft to help it turn more in space, while the “closer” edge was sharper.
The face is still yet to be finished, but both sides of her face are equally resolved to the point that Jeff would need the model there for another session to make sure that he had the placement and subtleties all correct. Have a great evening! Ciao!
I am amazed, but I am getting ahead of myself. Jeff Hein worked on his daughters face in his multi-figure painting today. He confessed that he was frustrated with the progress of her face last week. Although she is an amazing model, she is still a young child who struggles to hold still and needs lots of breaks. While she sat for Jeff, he didn’t get as much work on her face as he was hoping to, since she was wiggling about and basically doing what all kids do best, being a kid. This is where my amazement comes in… So Jeff came in today and worked on her face, completely repainting over it again without his model in front of him. It is still unfinished, but it looks beautiful! Jeff was telling me that if he were to paint exactly what he saw in life, it would appear more flat then he was wanting anyway. Jeff was using his memory of her and his understanding of light logic to paint everything down to the smallest detail. The picture I have of her face, the eye and cheek on the left side are more complete than the right.
Jeff Hein met up with Michael Klein, artist and creator of the American Painting Video Magazine based online, in his studio today. This site began as Michael’s project to bring together all of the artists that he admired into one place. This is Michael’s current passion, and he has already met, recorded, and talked to 20 some other artists of high caliber and talent.Michael started off the interview with photos and small recorded clips of Jeff painting on his large still life. Michael then set up several cameras for longer periods of painting and recording and later sat down to interview with Jeff Hein. There were many interesting points to the interview, of which I will leave to Michael to put together, however I will say a bit about what Jeff had to say about teaching his students. He told Michael that teaching is a passion of his. When asked if he felt responsible to pass on his knowledge because of his teachers, Jeff said it was not due to feeling responsible since he was mainly self-taught, but rather Jeff loves teaching as it allows him to share that which he felt he was lacking in his own art education and had to learn on his own. Jeff loves having students near him, for the conversations, the social interaction and the exchange, and how they become his portfolio in a way, and their successes are his successes. He loves to see them thrive in their art.
Several, of the many artists Jeff Hein admires are Jacob Collins, Jeremy Lipking, Rembrandt and Velázquez, but also interestingly, abstract color field artist, Barnett Newman. Jeff feels that you should be able to stimulate emotion thru design without content first, and then add content and subject, that is strong art with impact.
Jeff will be a part of a group show “Hope and Fear” sometime this year hosted by the Springville Museum of Art. It’s going to have some really amazing talent alongside him, Steven Assael among others will be apart of the show. I will be sure to post more information on it as the time comes closer and details are congealed more.
Continuing on with Jeff Hein’s multi-figure painting, he was focusing on the background today. I had the pleasure of watching him paint for a while, and really enjoyed seeing his process up close. With the tropical plants all around the studio, and the light coming in from the skylight in a soft glow, Jeff was using them for inspiration and brainstorming. He was painting fast broad paint strokes, not too concerned with color at this point, but mainly going for a pattern of light and dark, and creating a sense of the environment in these early stages. Amidst this process half way, Jeff would stand back and sit with the painting a bit. He had concerns at one point of what he could use to break up the masses of green in the painting. He was telling me that the background idea that he has, will likely change a lot as he is going from his gut on this. Meanwhile he worked on getting a sense of how he wanted the lights and darks to look in the composition. I noticed that in the lights, Jeff would lay in broad muted colors, and then I was fascinated to see that he would add in layers of light sometimes brighter and smaller strokes even at this stage. He mentioned that all of this would be painted over most likely, and it continues to surprise me the amount of work Jeff puts into his paintings and the layers that are involved in his work at all levels. Jeff was explaining how eventually he had plans to have the greens in the distance be cooler in temperature and the greens in the foreground be warmer to really give the composition more depth and distance in the midst of all that green lushness of the tropical forest. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of this develop, and until then I wish you all a wonderful evening, until tomorrow. Ciao!