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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Now the tweaking starts...redrawing bits here and there, changing colours and values in a few places. I redid Sandy's eyes as they looked a little crossed before. That took two hours. One hand is pretty much finished but still have to do the one under her chin. The guitar details will come soon. Also, I decided to forget the window on the left and just made the whole background as the wall with a light source coming from outside of the left of the picture plane (we can pretend the window is over there:-) ) I like the way the skin tones and background colour echo one another, and it is picked up in a few places on the shirt's flower design. I noticed after I began to really pay attention that even the inside cavity of the guitar has the same colours as part of the skin tones. The hard part is figuring out where to place the crucifix and the teddy bears. I don't want them taking over the focal point, which is Sandy! Paying attention is one of the important parts of drawing and painting. It is easy to make assumptions about what is there before you really look. It's ok to follow your early assumptions once you know the "truth" but then it is based on knowledge, not guessing.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Yesterday's effort perhaps doesn't look like much at this point. I never used to let anyone see my work in the beginning stages but now I find there are things to be learned from looking at underpainting. Deciding on composition, basic values, and undertones that will influence the look of later layers of colour tell a lot about how the final work will turn out. Each step is another path taken and a rejection of other possible steps that could have been taken, for better or worse. I always find myself wondering, "what if" regarding those steps I have chosen...suppose I had decided to put a different colour as underpainting, or heightened or diminished the value key, and by how much? Move this shape over a bit...what would happen? I have sometimes thought I would try to make all the versions of a painting that come to mind while I am working on a "chosen" one...do the same piece over and over but each with a shift in mood, colour, composition, etc. It could turn into a life's work as the choices are almost endless. Today while this paint layer dries I will work on a composition for the things hanging on the wall behind Sandy. The large light window area may need something. Perhaps a soft indication of the trees that were outside, a bit of the valance curtain and a slice of the window frame. Right now it just looks blank and meaningless...or maybe I will just continue the wall over. The window may be superfluous. Even after making initial choices more decisions have to be faced. Painting is a form of faith and courage. If I fail, though, no lives will be harmed at least!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The doctor says this boot must stay on for another month. I am managing. It could certainly be a lot worse! For now I am getting geared up to work more seriously in the studio again. It is always difficult to find that dedication after having been gone for a while. The painting of Sandy is started, at least some underpainting and I am ready to begin the real work. The weather is a bit lighter and that helps my mood. The snow is mostly melted so getting out to the studio is easier than last week. I have decided on a Payne's Gray underpainting as the light in the room where I photographed Sandy had that cool tone, plus she had painted on her wall that colour and then overpainted a wash of peachy tone with the gray showing through. The texture will add an interesting texture on the upper right side in contrast to the smooth black expanse of the guitar. I am deliberating on where to place the teddy bears and the crucifix; I want them to compliment not distract.
Monday, December 7, 2009
There's no place like home...there's no place like...especially there's no place like your own bed! Grueling trip through the high plains of N. Dakota, Montana, and mountains of Idaho and BC. Snow, blizzards, only stopping to sleep for a few hours at waysides in the middle of the night, one meal in a restaurant a day (nibbling on nuts, cheese, apples, and rolls the rest of the time). Poor Bob had to do all the driving as I was unable to "clutch" with my foot in the cam boot. When he was beginning to get delirious by end of day two I suggested we make the sacrifice and stop at a motel! They kindly allowed all four dogs in the room with us and they were good. It was the noise of the shuttling around of trains across the road that was not so good...some kind of Montana train hub. I don't remember the name of the town. We did get some rest in spite of everything and managed the next two days stopping at a wayside again. Our island home was beautiful to see again and as I hobbled in the door I realized how fortunate I am...our efforts to bring some character and beauty to this basically straight forward tract house have paid off. Sometimes you have to go away for a while to appreciate what you have. A stop at the Burnaby IKEA proved a futile effort. I had planned to pick up 30 gallery Clip frames, 18"x24" for my upcoming solo show of life drawings but they had sold out of that size and it was now discontinued! We were tired and cranky and had to negotiate the maze that IKEA forces on one (I normally love going there but it has to be for the fun of just looking at everything, not so good when you have ONE specific item in mind and not a lot of time for hanging out). Oh drat and heck. Oh well. I have now ordered the glass from a local glass guy in Campbell River who will cut all 30 pieces for me at a fair price. Still waiting to hear from Opus about cutting up eight 48"x36" mounting boards for me. The Moore gallery clips are on their way from someplace in Conn. I have a little over three weeks to pull this show together. And so followers, view above two of the photos of my lovely sister-in-law, Sandy Hahn, singer and musician extraordinaire, who is the subject of my next portrait. She has on her sequined jeans and shiny hair ornament and sits by her hand painted walls adorned with teddy bears and crucifixes - she and husband Phil have an old farmhouse, situated on several acres in the rolling southwest Wisconsin hills, and it is full of fascinating bric-a-brac and wonderful colour. Her performance costumes are mostly retro and shiny...very fun. You can contact her for a CD of her singing at email@example.com. I appreciate the notes of sympathy over my broken foot and am glad to say that it is almost healed now and I should be free of this boot by week's end if the doctor ok's it.