Friday, June 29, 2012

Picture This!

You're in a studio, painting with a group of artists, with a model positioned on a chair in front of you.  With each stroke, as you try to capture her image, the picture looks less and less like her.

What's an artist to do?

You take a paper towel and wipe it all off and start all over again.

When I left you last, I had completed the first week of "Model #3" and had showed you the first attempt at immortalizing this young lady.

Here's that first draft, again, to the right.

This is what's called a tonal other words, a drawing with some shading of the same color, in dark, medium and light values, to lay out lights and darks and start to give a semblance to the person's likeness.

Week two saw me adding color to the canvas.

Note that I did not say that I was improving the drawing.

Instructor, "Get some color on that thing so that you can deal with details next week.  Don't worry about what she looks like."

She saw my painting...I had kept working on it without a word...did I seem like I was worrying?

I do think I had a bout of color-blindness.  The background was brownish, almost dark camel.  How I managed to get green, I don't know.

Instructor, "Okay, the color's not right, but the value is and that's more haven't ruined it yet."

I heard, "Yet."  Still time to insure a trip to the garbage can!

Here, to the left, color...oh, and hands...remember last time I mentioned those hands.  Hard to draw, even harder to paint.

Instructor:  "What about those hands?  Do you think the drawing is good?"

Me to instructor:  "You see those hands and you're asking me if they're drawn right.  No, they're not.  Can't you see that?"

Now, I'm worried.

The model is wearing a black top, with gold trimmings and has a large green bracelet on her left arm.  Note to self:  save some of that green paint you put in the background, in place of the brown paint, for that bracelet that you forgot to draw in or paint on!

And those eyes!  What was that movie with the beings that hunted down earthlings and burnt them up with xrays that shot out of their sockets? 

Oh, there was a week #3.

Week #3 looks like week #2, because I didn't make it to class.  There was the talk of not going as it was too hot and then we had a car that needed to get into the garage, so we were down to getting to work and back home and back to pick up the repaired vehicle with the one car left.  Didn't make it...don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

I did leave the painting on my easel in the basement, with hopes that the little green folks who inhabit this Irish household might take up a brush and fix the thing overnight.

However, it was something else that perhaps improved it.  With the heat outside and the moisture in the basement, the painting started to turn on itself.

Here it is, on the right, in its current state.

Seems that the change to water soluble paints and cleaning tools with water has added a dimension of drying (or not drying) to my hobby.

Left unattended for two weeks, in the dark, damp basement, it turned into, "Dark, A Study."

I'm wondering if the drawing is still there.

However, before I attempt to clean it off, I am considering offering it for sale.  Could end up being one of those magical it dries, the image may re-surface!  Or partially recover...Moldy Lisa?

A show of hands, please, starting the bidding at $5.00!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eye Caramba!

Portrait #1
I know I promised a look at the final product of my first portrait painting class a while ago, but I keep having problems with my eyes!

Not my own eyes, my eyes that I paint on the pictures.

It's not easy.  Seems they have shape and volume.  I thought they were mostly saline solution!

And then I got confused when our instructor noted that we don't see the eye's orbit, but have to remember it in order to draw them correctly!

"Orbit," I blurted out, "my eyes go around in my head?"

She was quick to answer, "In your head, most likely yes!  In the heads of others, they have an orbital shape and you  have to draw and paint them with that shape and space in mind."

Art is becoming difficult.

Once I was happy to draw and paint.  Now, I have to study anatomy and phrenology just to get someones face on canvas!  The next thing you know they'll be telling me that everyone's eyes are different and that will be too many things for me to think about!

I got so engrossed in  painting eyes that I forgot to post that last painting and actually went on to do another.

Portrait #2 Value Study
Yes, the second one had different eyes.

You see, she was turned to the side, so one only has face on one side of one eye.

And, while the eyes in the first painting are mainly straight on and have face on each side of them, the woman in the second painting is looking away from me (what's that about?) and now I have to look for the side of the eye that protrudes from her face....yuck!

The last time I remember someones eye protruding from their face was when an ice fisherman on my hometown lake pulled a line out of the ice hole too fast and the hook snagged one of his orbits!

Fortunately for him, his brother was there and, within a few minutes, cut that thing out with a pair of pliers.  He was back fishing in no time.

So, all of this time has gone past and I didn't even show you the processes for "Portrait #2."

We were told that this one was going to be a study in gray.  It's called a value composition.  I had no sooner started when our instructor told me that she thought I had great value on my canvas.  "Really," I remarked!  "I've just started it, how much do you think I could get?"

She just shook her head and walked away.

I continued to paint.  The instructor returned and told me to add some color to it.  "I thought we were painting in shades of gray?"

She replied, "Your painting needs help, some color might just do it."

"A few minutes ago," I added, "you said this was a valuable painting.  Now you think it needs help?"

She walked away again.

Above, to the left, "Portrait #2, Study in Gray, with some pinks, reds, greens, yellows, and blues."

Almost done here.
Portrait #3

Portrait #3 was started last week and I did remember to snap a photo of it so you can see it as it develops.  Here it is to the right.

For this one I decided to paint more of the subject and added the upper body and hands!

Silly me, I wasn't having enough fun with eyes...I had to add hands and fingers and fingernails...just shoot me.

To spare you the vision of just how bad my first attempt of hands was, I cut the picture short...if these things don't pan out, I may be cutting this canvas down to postcard size!

Perhaps, "Chin, A Study!"

More next week, as this painting moves along!