Don’t Confuse Em

That’s what they tell me. “Don’t confuse them!” What they’re tryin to tell me is “Stick to the landscapes, everyone already knows yer landscapes.” I guess if I throw something else in the mix I’m gonna confuse everybody. Folks are gonna walk away scratchin their heads mutterin something about how confused they are and Geez Louise! that Eldon has gone like totally nuts. Well Nuts is as Nuts does.  🙂

I can’t believe anybody followin my stuff is that soft headed. So……….I’ve taken to the task of learning this portrait thing and I’m gonna post at least a few of em. The painting below is  7×5 inches and it took me about 45 minutes.

5x7 gesture portrait

A little while back I purchased a video by Jeff Watts. Jeff demonstrates what he calls “Gesture Portraits”. He gives himself a half hour or so to paint a small gesture of someones face not worrying about a likeness but getting the essence of his subject onto the canvas and of course making it look way easy.  He’s good at it.  He demos nine little paintings that are totally beautiful. It seems in the video he is working from photos as all we get to see of the model is a still photograph. There is something caricature like about all nine of his paintings. Each subject has his/her own peculiar props and he seems to endow each of them with their own quirky little personality. And as such I’m not sure I’d go 100% with the gesture portrait title.  Caricature may be more like it. (personal opinion)

The piece below is 16×12 inches. It’s a little big for a gesture portrait and I set no time limit so I  don’t believe it really falls into the gesture category. It’s a pretty nice piece tho. It’s done from a photo I took of a little girl at the quick draw in Estes Park a couple of years ago.

16x12 oil on canvas

Still….no matter what ya call it I find what he’s doing hugely exciting.  There’s nothin stuffy about these lively, energetic gestures so I’m going to follow his lead and see if I can learn something that’ll translate into something that looks like Eldon Warren did it. So far so good! This post contains the first couple for me. Cross yer fingers that this gets easier.



16 Responses to “Don’t Confuse Em”

  1. Oh my gosh Eldon, those ‘portrait’ or gesture portraits are gorgeous. I love both of them and would be interested in any of the miniature ones that you may paint one of these days. I love the gentleman, however, and the one of the small girl. Lordy, you are one talented dude, my friend. Love to see you stepping out of the ‘landscape’ niche for a while.


    • Hi Peg, thanks! I’m having a lot of fun trying to pick this up. There is still going to be plenty of landscapes tho. I wonder how the portraits will effect the landscapes.

  2. Hi Eldon,

    These are gorgeous. I don’t know. Duh! You mean you can paint great
    landscapes AND great portraits. Come on! Lemme see. Who else could
    do that? Oh Yeah! John Singer Sargent for one. Dazzling at whatever
    he tried. Just like you.

    Take care,


    • Hi Barbara, thanks you. I can only hope to even a smidge as good as good ole J.S.S. He has certainly set the bar. Maybe one day. We have to try huh?

  3. Vicki Barton Says:

    Eldon, Enjoy the process of learning new skills and believe that excitement will translate to all of your painting. Enough soap box preaching. The portraits look great. A good painting is a good painting. Keep having fun with them. Vicki

    • Hi Vicki, Thanks, I am having a lot of fun. I’m also gettin my butt kicked once in a while. I’m gettin there tho a little bit here a little bit there. We ought to get together and see what we can do with this idea.

  4. LOve them!!! You must do more portraits. Excellent.

    • Thanks Trixie, I intend to as I’m really having fun. I have known for a while that I’ve got to do a bit of stretching and finally I’m gettin off the fear wagon and jumpin in. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. These paintings demonstrate a breadth to your abilities some folks who don’t know you personally may not know. While I am impressed with these works, I’m not at all surprised. The way that you eluded to differentiating between gesture pieces and caricatures brought to mind something I learned about myself years ago. Doing a portrait of a stranger is easier inasmuch as you follow their form. Doing one of someone you know presses you to try to capture the ineffable qualities of their persona–rather than drawing or painting what they look like, you get trapped in trying to paint who they are.

    The gesture portrait of the young girl captures the moment. It goes beyond the form and gives the viewer a sense of her being. Conversely, caricatures tend to exacerbate the artist’s impressions of their subjects more prominent features–an easy trap to fall into when you’re whipping them out with one eye on the clock. Gauging from the results, keep doing what you’re doing and don’t worry about the clock.

    • Hi Clay! Thanks for stoppin in and havin a look.It’s true. I tried do a small piece of Debra last night and totally screwed it up. I was too caught up in knowing what she looks like. (That and she was right here, a little intimidating) I’ll give it another shot in a day or so and will try to lose the problem of likeness.
      I originally thought it would be best to emulate this guy religiously. Then I realized I don’t totally go for his color choices. I don’t care to paint on a hard surface as he does. (preferring a stretched canvas with a little give and spring to it) and I decided I can shoot to get these little things done in half an hour someday….maybe. After all I’ve got a handle on what it takes for me to get something done. I’m still going to learn everything I can off this DVD. I can hardly wait to see what shakes out by next Spring.
      Say Hi! to Barbara,

  6. Eldon- I love both of these paintings- you really are talented to be able to jump into portraits and do such a fantastic job- I especially love the painting of the little girl.

    • Hi , Thanks Sue, I guess they’re coming along ok, I just wish they’d get easier! 🙂 It’s going to take some time I think. Cross your fingers please.

  7. Well Eldon,”Fabulous” ’bout says it.
    As to confusing the market – the “market” would love to keep artists in a box -(for their own good, of course). I think the forays into new territory is part of what keeps the work fresh.
    I could hardly believe that gesture portrait was 5″x7″ , yet you captured the essentials. I was definitely inspired.
    – Coni

    • Hi Coni, Glad ya liked that little one. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve been needing to go someplace different with my stuff for a while. The old box was/is getting sort of redundant. I think tho one will enhance the other in the long run. Let’s see what both are like in a year.

  8. So very impressive Eldon! And isn’t a portrait a landscape of facial features anyway so if you can do one as well as you do, it’s apparent you can now add portraits to your accomplishments.

    They have all the right elements too- fresh, underworked, and well seen.
    Well done- and feel free to step outside your own easel box any time the muse calls.

    • Thanks Bonnie, ya know you are one of my greatest inspirations. Your work is fantastic. If I’ve gone out side a box to do something different it’s because of what I see you do. Thanks,

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