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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Biking is The Only Art I've Mastered

After a morning spent poking the feasibility of the online sales of works on paper, I did hit the studio. All that busy-ness of my post, must have bummed me out, for getting anything done in the studio was a disaster.

All I was able to accomplish was to convince myself, free hand was out and a grid was in for the commissioned portrait. The pencil study above is way out of whack. The hand is okay, but the two heads are not jiving. The chiarascuro section between them is the challenge and will be a bigger challenge when I start to paint with acrylics; I'd like to get a better handle on it.

I sectioned the reference photograph and discovered incidental adjustments will have to be made when I move to canvas. I'll do another pencil study today to get the relationships right. Then I'll forge ahead with the cartoon. Being that it's a commission, I feel an urgency to get on with it and deliver within a reasonable period of time--before the kid's third birthday. The reference photo isn't the best; it's soft. It's blurry--even translated into black and white. It's a beautiful photograph, (which I did not take), suitable for matting, framing and hanging, but I can't read the shadows very well. I'll blow it up.

My warm-up watercolor came out so-so too. Probably because I warmed-up AFTER I worked on the pencil rendering and became distressed. It's not very smart to jump right into serious work before loosening up. At the Brauhaus School in Germany, the art students used to do calisthenics on the roof every morning to loosen up prior to class. (I think I read that in Ben Shaun)? Maybe I should reschedule my biking sessions--make them first rather than last? The exercise may be more productive than fooling around with a medium that just isn't me. Yesterday, biking was the only thing I got right. I just jumped on and pedaled and got to twenty minutes without knees burning. That's an accomplishment.


  1. Stop putting yourself down, Linda! That's what your friends are for!

    I think that both of these works are excellent!

  2. No Casey, friends are for telling you what you should do, (LOL). I have to reach for better on this one. Commissioned works are subject to client scrutiny--and clients can be pretty critical, if they think they can save a buck or two. Not so LOL.

  3. Well Linda for what it's worth I think the pencil sketch is lovely, but then I can't see the actual photograph to compare!...hope you show us the finished piece.

  4. Linda I have done portraits from photos that were blurred and not easy to read, and it didn't go so well. I find it necessary to get some very sharp photos in order to get it right, but maybe it is not possible ?? Not knowing the way it SHOULD be I think it looks really good though. And you are doing great , Casey is right :-)

  5. Thanks Ann take my word for it, the relationship between the two heads wasn't what it should be. Another study was necessary. --This would pass for a sleeping infant drawing, but not when it has to be a specific infant. I can't show you the photograph; the commission is based on secrecy and I might have overstepped the agreement already just showing your bits and pieces.

  6. Thanks Jane, but as I said to Ann and Casey, accuracy counts when it comes to commissions. A darn good likeness is why I was hired.

    Ordinarily, doing portraits on my own, I am the one who takes the photograph. In this case, I was presented with the photograph and had no control. My blow up today was helpful. I photoshopped the ambiguous line where both heads come together and got a bit more detail. Tomorrow, I'll photoshop another rendition, just to be sure.
    Funny thing is: all this accuracy will just give me a clear idea of darks and lights, where I can fudge and where I can't, when I get down to painting!

  7. I wonder of they might consider it to be professional diligence if you ask them for additional photos of both people so you can ensure a likeness. That said I also think both the drawing and the watercolor are great and you are much too hard on yourself. I can relate though - you want it just right since it is a commission.

  8. Hi Linda.
    I think the sketches are really lovely and professional. The Flowers are great also. Can`t wait to see this FLAP-MAT thingy. All the best Linda.

  9. You got it Victor. See today's post.