"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Look at an Older Painting

I just entered this is this month's Bold Brush competition...it is from about four years ago and won
an award of Excellence at the CIPA show in Calgary. I ask myself if this is the direction I want to continue in...highly detailed and lots of time spent on small colour changes...months of work. Or do I want to do more of the painting-in-a-day themes? I did a few of those when I first started this blog. They were fun and there was a nice sense of accomplishment being more prolific. When I get back to painting on Samanda's picture I imagine I will strive for more of what I have going here, but there are fewer fussy details to consider. I hope to get back to that painting soon...too much in the way right now! Anyhow, if you like this consider going on to facebook where I have it
posted as of yesterday and vote "Like" for it and it will place it higher in the popular competition part. I am at Karen Martin Sampson on FB. If anyone likes it enough to buy it that is one thing, but there is no charge for simply "liking."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Finished Silk

I managed to steam the silk without anything bleeding, waited 48 hours to wash out the gutta,
and this is the finished result. For a first silk painting project in many years I am not unhappy with this, although I now feel I could do something more exciting. I think Sandy will like this in any case. It is time I was getting back to the painting of Samanda. Maybe tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday Drawings

Every tuesday, well almost every tuesday, I drive an hour and a half down to the Courtenay BC area, a Dove Creek property just north of the town, to Vicky Scott's studio. She holds a drawing session each week and we hire a model. The group size varies from three or four to over a dozen week to week. I love the interaction and friendships I have formed in this group over the past seven years. Working with a live model is the best ever way to keep your drawing "chops" up (I have been married to two musicians so I sometimes use their lingo). Recently the group has asked me to give lessons so now I go down there on thursdays also and teach for four hours...they even PAY me! How great is that? Sometimes the models are clothed sometimes nude but we have endless discussions about what we're trying to accomplish and the learning goes on for a lifetime. The drawing process brings your mind around to the essentials and seeing mistakes is much easier than in painting, at least for me. My first love was drawing and it will always be a passion for me, much as I have come to love painting and colour. In art school we were cautioned to take full advantage of the life drawing classes because there was a good chance we would not have access to live models too often in our "real" lives. That was true for many years but in the past decade or so there has been a resurgence of interest in life drawing and we have four groups that I know of just in the mid island region that meet regularly. Most of us are older and female but there are men and younger people too who have come to join the drawing movement. This is one of the things in my life that keeps me sane!
Boy, I nearly missed the boat with this one yesterday - got sidetracked by that great hat and messed up proportions on her legs...
We always start with two minute sketches - forces you to stop hovering on details and get to the nitty gritty of the pose.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Painting on Silk

I haven't had time to work more on the painting of Samanda. With Bob traveling down to Wisconsin to be with his father, who is dying, I have a heavier chore load around here, which is ok. I'm glad to be able to manage it. I did start a painting on silk over a week ago, which I scrapped (washed out) after a miserable start. It's been over 8 years since I painted on silk and I am in relearning mode. It is not quite the same as watercolour painting. There are some technical things that you need to know in order to avoid making a huge mess. It is coming back to me! I am doing this 36"x36" scarf for my dear sister-in-law, Sandy, (of the Presenting Miz Sandy fame - see blogs from last spring). She requested "ferns" when I asked what she would like me to paint.
I am also going to do one for my mother-in-law. Sandy suggested cupcakes. That will be fun!
Silk requires a lighter touch and a leap of faith. You draw the image with a gutta resist and then apply the dye with a brush and let it flow. It blends to the edges of the resist and stops (unless the resist has a leak!).The colours can be mixed right on the silk or in little glass cups. Over painting, too many strokes, letting part dry and then going back in causes blotches and ugly spots but sometimes they can be fortuitous if you are willing to play and take a few risks. Once the image is completed the silk is carefully wrapped in newsprint and placed in a container (a canning pot is good) so it sits over water that is brought to a simmer. A solid lid that holds the steam in is necessary. The steaming goes on for about four hours to set the colour. The results, if there are no problems with water touching the silk and unexpected "bleeding" of colour, are
spectacular - vibrant and satiny. Glorious.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Shifty Business

Repositioning the mouth and nose made all the difference. I felt comfortable going in to work more on the skin tones and bring out highlights on the entire face. This is the burden, if you will,
of portrait painting, constant shuffling, shifting, and reworking. Patience pays off. Acceptance that it probably isn't going to be right the first two, five, or ten times of making changes...but that with each change it will be closer. Only very occasionally have I found that all this change making made a portrait worse and that usually indicates a fundamental problem that goes back to the initial concept...the pose, lighting, or composition. I am not entirely finished with the face but for now I will move on to another area so that what I have done has time to stew in my brain. I may yet discover another shifting that has to be made. Note that the way I work on a portrait is not necessarily the way anyone else should. I have developed my process over time to suit my temperament. I know some portrait artists who paint very directly and are able to make the changes very quickly, or may have to make hardly any changes at all. We aren't all shifty:-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nudging the portrait likeness

Although I am not really concerned with this being a "portrait" with an exact likeness I find myself evaluating the facial proportions with almost the same obsessiveness that I experience when doing an actual commission. It just bothers me when I can see things are "off" a bit. Measuring and looking over and over, putting it away for a while, bringing it out again to look at again, and I start to see where I need to "nudge" the features into truer position. I have posted here the fix that is necessary to bring Samanda's features where they belong. I was off by just a very tiny bit - eyes I had right on, but nose, a trifle too long (although shape and size were right) and mouth, (also size and shape correct) therefore needed also to be brought up. We are talking less than 1/8" . It is quite amazing how the human face can look so different when features are off by such a small measurement. A slight crease in the wrong spot, a dimple over to the right or left too far, a jaw a bit too wide...all these can make or break the "likeness." The biggest change I had to make was the width of the jaw - I was too wide by about 1/4". Her neck is now going to look longer, but a longer neck is almost always of benefit to a portrait. I don't mind a touch of mannerism in neck, limbs, or torso. I will let the repainted lines for the nose and mouth and jaw dry thoroughly before going back in to repaint the skin tones. I do not want them turning into mush. Mush is distasteful in painting as well as food.