Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Contour Progress

I felt the need of a larger blow up of the head and hand.  Here's where a
 sophisticated photo editing program would have come in handy.
After years of concentrating on the shape of the positive and negative forms when drawing, contour lines feel  strange, austere, missing something.  What you see took about three hours including scaling the enlarged head photo to match the smaller scaled reference of the whole image.  This step is where all those years of architectural drawing paid off. I kept subdividing the grid squares to get lines more accurate. I was aware of where the grid could go awry. The last few years of drawing and painting with no preliminary drawing kept butting in to make me want to sketch.  I worked all afternoon trying to keep that urge in check.

--Not to worry, I will not keep posting the accomplishments of each day. I do plan on working in some gestural heads to keep life interesting and my eye/hand sharp.  Friday is a drop in painting studio.  I am planning to attend, but I plan to draw, not paint.  The models are clothed.  I need more work on drapery type items than I do on nude figures; I find those boring after so many classes way back when.

This was my first portrait and first oil painting--the one that started all of my research.
I used a grid system for the initial drawing with paint. From there, I went directly into color.
There was no grisaille, monochromatic underpainting. I was my loose self on the background blanket.
The client provided the reference photograph, which was taken by a professional photographer.
This was done in February, 2012.
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day Two Venetian Technique: Grids and Contour Drawing

You have to look closely to see the grid lines and the contour outline of the back of my head.

After discussing the various photos I took last week, Todd and I agreed upon the one you see on the upper left corner of the 36 x 24 inch  linen canvas.  We both thought another photo could be used to fill in the unsightly view out the window.  I do have a few ideas--like a cloud formation--if I'm going to call it Daydreamer--I'll sleep on it.

Reference photo chosen, the first step was to draw in a grid over the photo corolated to the grid drawn in my lightest hand on the canvas. and assign a letter to each row and a number to each column for easy referral--sort of like making an Excel chart.  The scale on the reference photo is 1/2" =  2 " on the canvas. The little that can be seen here took the three hours of class time. After a couple of errors, I started subdividing some squares to eliminate errors and insure drawing accuracy. My 3H mechanical lead, a souvenir from my years of mechanical drawing, served me well; a 2H would have been too soft. I kept a sharp point and a light hand to insure coverage.  The knead eraser did a fine job on the linen surface. I made sure to keep it clean.

My homework is to finish the contour and paint in the lines so they have time to dry by next week--says Todd.  Says me, the contour has to be perfect before I get out my number 1 round sable. The  contour drawing is the foundation; it should be strong. 

I'm starting to worry about losing my loose touch. I have to work that painting technique in after I get this painting launched.  It will be launched when I get to the grisaille.  This is a great painting technique for an A personality--which I am on some things--like designing someone's house.  For twenty five years, painting was a relief from drafting, an opportunity to be a B. There's nothing B about the Venetian Technique 

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Monday, September 15, 2014

More Photo Play and Some Decisions

Sunday Times, photograph left light for the printer, which prints
two tones darker than what I see on my monitor.  Ellis loves
the New York Sunday Times. I'm not allow to talk to him while
he's reading.  Photographing him is okay.  This photo would be
suitable for a 24 x 24" canvas I have sitting waiting some paint.
That's smaller than Todd suggests, but I own it and do have
small brushes.


I had enough photography this last week to last me for months to come. I thoroughly understand the capabilities of my camera and can adjust the depth of field and shutter speed by choosing the right little picture, as well as bracket the exposure via this little button with odd markings on it   on the side that I always wondered what it did. I'm still slow at  making adjustments, but the design of digital cameras does slow up that process. What's with those little pictures anyway? I am an adult. We could use the terms that have been used for decades?  But then what do I understand about new and improved?

 Anyway, unable to put my camera aside, I spent a lot of time annoying Ellis as he read the Sunday New York Times. I wanted to catch someone else doing something they liked with the joy showing on their face; he was the only guy around sitting still. I have no idea if either of these photos is good enough for the Venetian Technique class, but I like both and think I will be able to put in the time a highly realistic rendering demands on either one of them or both?  One in class. One in studio. My intense interest in the photographic connection to this painting process suggests the tedious, very realistic  process is a necessary step to take finding my way home. I think finding your artist voice requires following your curiosity.  When you are no longer curious. your either where you want to be forever, or dead? I might never find my voice; the hunt is too interesting.

Of all the photos I took, I like that very first one. the watch face is visible.
The contrast is good. Every sunspot and hair on my nose is visible. The background will all be darkened out. This
painting I do in class and only in class. I'm a lazy bum when it comes
to moving supplies from house to trunk, from trunk to class, from class to trunk, from trunk to studio.
It can sit there.  I'll work out the Venetian Technique on Ellis in between classes in the stocked studio.