Monday, March 5, 2012

Coming To Terms


Joan Sicignano wished me well over the weekend on coming to terms with which art path to follow. And that's exactly what I did .

Portraits DRAWN IN PENCIL is where I've got skill. Portraits painted in oils is a whole other matter.

Nevertheless, this woman, with the aches and pains to remind her she's in the forth quarter, would be foolish to think she could ever reach the kind of skill she would insist upon at this late date. But I'm going to pursue it anyway, demanding as it is, (probably why I never carried my drawing that far). I've liked the challenge these last weeks. I've liked feeling energized. So get set to see a lot of me. I am my most consenting model.

I am also going to follow my instincts when relief of the stress is needed. A lot of expertise is required in portraiture involving all of the genres, so one has to keep up with flowers, drapery and/or clothing, all the stuff of still lifes and architectural elements like window casings and so on. I happen to favor portraits that don't stare out at the viewers, but show the viewer who the sitter was, i.e.Whistler's mom liked her rocking chair, L.W.Roth prefers painting and reading. (With portraiture, charcoal has come back into my life. It is the perfect get acquainted medium. This drawing is a study for a new, more appropriate header. Plus the Weeping Willow branches are a brighter yellow, there's greening going on and there's a robin on my back lawn).

Oils are back in my life too. The last two days, I've been brushing up with Ben Martin's very informative, free,online course. It's very well done and brought me up to date on what's new. I also pulled out Ralph Mayer's The Artist's Handbook on Materials and Techniques, (1970 edition would you believe) and reread it for the fiftieth time. Mayer's chemistry differed with Martin's but provided necessary guidelines particularly with the use and overuse of linseed oil. OnBen Lustenhouwer's videos I noted and immediately saw the value in a great portraiture accessory for my easel: a piece of masonite, or pressboard, trimmed out with some frame moulding and fitted with a tricky piece of hardware that attaches a mahl stick that will swivel and turn into play whenever firmly drawn defining lines are needed and then swivels away when they are not. A beginner with painted portraits, I duplicated that device with a long, gallery stretched and still unwrapped canvas. It worked--minus the mahl arm--it was wide enough to allow me to place the canvas in progress, abreast with the reference drawing--important for matching flesh tones, the portrait painter's nemesis.

Happy, stress free painting everyone. May all your flesh tones be accurate. This week, the beautiful children with no names will be my focus.

16 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,

    Thank you for the mention. I love the work you are doing. Thank you for sharing the artist and free videos. I want to learn so much. You are a great inspiration.

    All the best to you,
    Joan

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  2. Linda I love the painting of you painting, the drawing of you reading and the portrait of the boy, you are just an amazing artist, so skilled at what you do. And I think you should just paint what makes you happy! Keep it up. xx

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  3. I read Mayer's book like it's THE Bible. The binding's loose from all the note papers tucked in. I'm amused that we have both rediscovered oil painting at the same time. Your drawing is impressive as ever. Enjoy the journey!

    Nanina

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  4. good deal! I like your style --- I am like you, I can "make up my mind" ! I used to think I was too old...but then I though...nahhhhh! And you're already way ahead of the game. I'll be watching what you do! It will be a fun journey

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  5. I really like the first picture, and personal genius, the portraits are works hard to achieve, congratulations.

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  6. Hi Linda.
    You never cease to amaze me with your
    Artist skills. You painting at your easel and your self portrait are brilliant. Good idea it aeems about the mall stick. I wish you had posted it so that we could actually see what you mean. I really do love your funny text. All the best my friend.
    Vic.

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  7. Hi Linda, congratulations for these beautiful works. You are really a complete and versatile artist, whatever you paint or you design, is well done. Ciao!

    PS : the music on my blog is linked to the slideshow supplied by Kizoa. Visit their site for more info.

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  8. It's all there on the internet Joan, I'm sure of it. It just takes a lot of time away from painting--and the laundry--and marketing--to find it. Not liking laundry or marketing, I don't mind and very glad to share. Thanks for giving me my title.

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  9. In the end Jane, I think that's all we can do--follow our hearts, our instincts. Painters are in love with life, everything around us. If I should ever I get that I-should-have-more-focus-in-my-work affliction, I'm just going to throw some paint at a canvas and work it out of my system. Too much art history courses where we saw that this one and that one painted this or that. That's where I get the horrible idea to narrow down my choices and turn pleasure into work.

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  10. Gabriella, it's the flesh tones that drive portrait painters crazy from what I can tell. There are hundreds of books with recipes in them for sale on Amazon. I think we each have to make up our own as the situation dictates. There is no set formula for flesh tones which change with the light.

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  11. Celeste, after thinking I should make up my mind and choose a genre and stick with it, after years of worrying about it--the art world thinking I'm less than serious, writing that blog let me know how silly I was. Plus: I am an old lady--too old to be chaining myself down to some boring job, which painting the same thing over and over again would be. If ever there is a time to fly. It's now.

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  12. Nanina that's funny--both of us regarding that book as a bible. It's still in print. I should replace my copy. It was in a flood and was one of the few artbooks that made it out without mildew. Would you believe, our insurance company paid for all the art books I had to replace? Would you believe, replacing those art books was more important to me than the furnishings? As I looked through it, there are passages I underlined. It was fun to see what I thought was important way back then. I still think those passages are important now. I was particularly interested in what Ralph had to say about varnishing oil paintings. I recalled you had to wait a year. Well, it's a bit difficult to ask a patron to wait a year for their painting--and it's a bit difficult to shlep to their house a to varnish a year after the fact. But varnishing is important.

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  13. Victor I was so jealous of your daffodil painting. I want to paint daffodils too! I keep watching for the green to show in the wild patch in the woods, but so far nothing. Aren't we close to being on the same latitude? Thank you for your kind words friend.

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  14. Hi Tito. I'm going to Kizoa. I wonder if they have the Fur Elise? It would be the most appropriate piece for my blog; it's the only piece by Beethoven that I have played by memory consistently throughout my life. Thank you for the encouragement. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful watercolors, a medium I have never been able to use. I lack necessary restraint.

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  15. You are funny, Linda. It sounds like you are on a good track right now; I believe drawing is the basis for almost all art forms. I wish you a very happy and successful week with your "nameless children"!!

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  16. I am drawn to the top one, fantastic. That's a great portrait.

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