Wow, so it has been a busy few months. I got back from Paris mid-June (can’t wait to go back) and spent the month of July as a studio assistant to Patrick Earl Hammie. This was a challenging but incredibly instructive experience that I would recommend to any artist at any level. Art is so highly personal, and every individual has a different way of working, so it can be both frustrating and difficult to come out of one’s artistic shell, to break away from one’s creative habits. 

Prof. Hammie’s Midwife

Professor Hammie is a figurative artist like myself, but he works incredibly large-scale and paints “like a sculptor”, something that I’ve always admired, which is understanding and using paint as a three-dimensional medium applied to a two-dimensional surface. Although I also admire extreme realism, I crave the visual treat that is a painting painted “painterly” wherein the work appears realistic at a distance, but upon closer inspection, a lush, abstract topography is revealed.

In addition to learning (or at least attempting to learn) a new way to paint, just learning another painter’s studio practices was incredibly helpful, such as choice of products, suppliers, organization of work and daily schedule, etc. And of course, I learned a great deal about the industry as well!

What is even more frustrating than re-learning to paint is not being able to paint! Between getting back from Paris, moving back to Chicago and launching my career in aerial arts, I have had practically no time to oil paint. As soon as I settle into a new apartment, I hope to fix that. In the meantime, I draw every now and then and have been working on some digital painting studies from screen captures.

Interestingly enough, I already feel like I’ve been able to apply some of what I learned from Professor Hammie because I find myself able to be much looser with these studies than I would have in the past!