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PREMIER COUP
posted: January 31, 2008
Working quickly, I used the neutral gray ground as the color of his shirt. It was actually gray as well. I also found myself intuitively pushing the color palette in a particular direction . . . cooler, grayer, or more neutral.

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There have been a number of blessings, including people, who have helped me “get out of my own way”; including this site. The teaching style of W.M. Chase who promoted the practice of the premier coup (first strike) challenged the concepts I learned in my first few years of studying painting. Students in Chase’s class painted either from a still life or a model and completed a painting in one sitting. Perhaps two. Working directly, they might do a few paintings in one week of study. It’s reported that Chase demonstrated often and was amazing at executing a portrait, spontaneously, crackling with life, in one sitting. The premier coup, or oil sketch has become an important part of my work and happiness as a painter. I wouldn’t work exclusively in this manner, but it’s a great work out, stimulating a different set of painting muscles. This weekend, Nancy (Stahl) and I sat in on a class at the Art Students League. For one, hanging out and talking with Nancy is a lot of fun. Working with here side by side feels great. By nature, she’s open-minded and supportive, which is a good painting medium . . . helps with fluidity. The model, whose name I’m forgetting was a skater. He was posed with his foot up on his board, leaning forward a bit on his knee. And as you can see he had more than a head full of hair . . . braids and dreads. The glasses came off and on as we progressed through the poses. And we all argued democratically on including or not including his glasses throughout the pose. Art, interesting models, a good friend, democracy, direct painting . . . ahhhhhh I could feel life boiling up inside me.
Portrait demo by W M Chase....
11 comments
Marc January 31, 2008
A few years ago I started going to painting sessions at a nearby community center, where they had a model sit for 3-4 hour poses. Pay $5, find a corner to set up, and just paint for the fun of it. Nice to see this and hear that you and Nancy are still partaking in this simple pleasure.
robert hunt January 31, 2008
Awesome painting! I wish I could go!
Leo Espinosa January 31, 2008
Once again I have to mention that the way you built your paintings is what catches my eye. They have so much volume, nothing's ever flat nor passive. Great stuff Pedro!
John Dykes January 31, 2008
Peter, Every once in a while we need to be reminded how important it is to keep this sort of work going.... it always reaps it's rewards! Beautiful pieces!
Nancy Stahl February 1, 2008
It was terrific fun for me to hang out with Peter who is so comfortable at ASL that he makes me feel at home there, too. Ahhh... the scent of oils always brings up good memories.
Zina Saunders February 1, 2008
I love the way you describe form, with those squared-off brushstrokes. Really nice. I also really like the way you put in just enough of his glasses to firmly seat them there on his face but you didn't go into any more detail on them. There's such confidence in your painting, Peter; a pleasure to look at.
Randy Jones February 1, 2008
I really like this quick study.You've inspired me to get back to life drawings. Also sounds fun socially.
Christian Slade February 1, 2008
Soild painting bud!
Frank Hayden Sinclair Ross February 1, 2008
I'd give my left nut to own this painting. It's THAT good.
Peter cusack February 2, 2008
Frank. I could take a credit card but i wouldn't know what to do with your nuts. OHHHHHHH! Great comment! Thanks
Rusty Zimmerman June 18, 2008
I'm gonna have to give this premier coup thing a shot. Good work, mate. keep at it. --rz
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