Monday, May 14, 2012

Aha! Gestural Portraiture is What I'm After

Three Stiffs. My Guys in my last post of this painting in progress.
My Guys today, after a weekend researching gestural portraiture online

I have enough of a likeness of the guys that I feel pretty confident that I will be able to maintain it or get it back if I lose it as I continue to loosen up with the medium and move the portrait more towards  the loose feeling of a sketch. I'm just starting to go back into their  features automatically melding them with the background. I'm  a bit apprehensive, but paint and learn.

 I learned over the weekend that  it is gestural portraiture that interests me, not rendered portraiture. I never knew there were two classifications! I learned the terms while looking at the summer workshops being offered at the local art association. Gestural Portraiture was scheduled for  a four day workshop in August.

Before getting my credit card, I watched a couple of gesture portraiture videos on YouTube. Jeffery R.  Watts had a good one for six minutes, promoting his  four hour course on DVD (below).  Being a lazy son-of-a-gun, I thought well maybe a DVD  course would do it? Then I decided: in person, me painting a live model for 26 hours with input was the way go.  A quick, intense workshop might pay off with a lot less  time, paint and canvases wasted? I haven't registered as yet, though.  I still have to  research the instructor and see some of her work, before I commit.

If there's  any improvement  in this painting,  it's in the fact that  I've stopped thinking while painting and started just reacting. One brush stroke  is dictating the next. I owe that to my six minutes with Jeff. If I'm making any errors, I'll work them out. I do like the liveliness of gesture drawing.

--I need a larger brush--and maybe a couple of cat tongues?  I have no idea how to clean my solvent jar either. But something must be done; it's gooky. Yuk. Not down my drain!

13 comments:

  1. Definitely coming to life--the looseness is helping and I can see the rhythm developing.

    I agree: paint with the biggest brush you can.

    You are on your own with the solvent jar cleaning. I use liquid soap and water to clean my brushes and don't use solvent at all.

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    1. Thanks Jean. I was a bit nervous jumping in and following my instincts, but classical portraiture or rendered portraiture, as this Jeff called it, is so static. It's what made me nervous about the kids. I told the client, I wouldn't mind doing a second one of those children going at it my way.

      I'm on my way to the art supply store today--actually lunch with a friend is set up next to an art supply store. I can never pass going into those places.

      You might be right about just soap and water, but I clean the brushes intermittently while painting. Water isn't a good idea then. Afterwards fine. They dry over night.

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    2. You don't have to clean them inbetween--leave them in safflower oil--or some other drying oil. They'll be fine. I learned this from Katherine Kean and confirmed it with a materials teacher.

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  2. Sounds great, Linda - back later, got a lot on - didn't want you to think I was ignoring you though :0)

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    1. Wow! I can't get over your reply of a few words. You must be having finals. Knock them dead professor.

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  3. I see you are paying great attention to the skin color, you are really giving them life...once again :-) I never heard either about the two distinctive ways of portraying but definitely agree with you on the preference for gestural portraiture .

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    1. Too much Jane? I still have one guy not looking himself. I ended up redrawing him last night after I published this post. Hopefully, this time... The sunburn is throwing me. The flash is throwing me. This portrait will probably end up being overworked. Just being Portrait #2 in oils, after so many years away from the stuff, I bound to be picky--and that leads to over doing. The bright side: Portrait #3 will be better.

      I was glad I stumbled into the terms, I knew the two babies were making me very tense. That "rendered" kind of painting has never been me. I admire the people who can do it, but I do walk quickly through those galleries. I find the portraits. dull--what I call pompous portraits of people asserting their importance--assuming they were commissioned. --Even this one is dull. The guys are looking at the camera. I am now into candid photography in a big way. I'll try something like that next in this year of exploring portraiture.

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  4. Sorry, typos in previous comment

    what an undertaking..a triple portrait! I have to agree that Watts is a great artist to emulate..you don't need your young men looking like corporate portraiture, it makes more sense to be splashy. I'll be watching to see what you do next. So far, so good!

    You would have a blast in the workshop because you have such solid drawing skills. I think many people have poor workshop experiences because they skip learning to draw before they learn to paint. Hoping you take the class and report back!

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    1. Drawing is everything all the time whether you're using a pencil or a brush or a piece of charcoal. I always knew that.

      There was a gal who "wanted to learn to draw." We went to a class together. It was primarily a watercolor class an artist was giving in her studio, but she agreed to teach my friend to draw and said I could sit in and do whatever. I chose colored pencil. (I like to travel light when I'm tagging along for the camaraderie).
      The watercolor instructor wasn't the appropriate pick. She gave my friend typing paper and a #2 yellow pencil. I didn't say a word. I was being friendly. The instructor did set up simple objects. Anyway, the gal got no where. She finally stopped going (as did I) and went to the local association where I'm sure they told her to buy some charcoal and newsprint. End of story: now my friend is designing jewelry in copper. Drawing is something I've always done--from coloring outside the lines in coloring books to absentminded doodles throughout school. I think drawing may be a gift and a compulsion.

      I think--I hope the workshop pays off with some tidbit of useful information. The hours are grueling--six hours a day solid. I'll check out the instructor's work today. Then decide DVD or Live and In Person?

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  5. Linda el progreso de tu cuadro va muy bien, me gusta mucho como está quedando. Gracias por mostrarnos el video, el pintor es excelente. Un abrazo!

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    1. Gracias Sonia. Dejar suelto fue un poco de miedo, pero llena de energía. Creo que la energía está empezando a mostrar - Así lo espero de todos modos.

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  6. Linda ... you were speaking in tongues there!

    Not exactly finals took my time, just an assignment.

    English at degree level, was straight forward once - so I'm told, then you Americans invented the 'Concordancer' ... yes that's what I said when I first heard it. They have set up, basically four massive databases, Corpuses' (Corpora) each corpus holds millions of actual spoken and written sentences. The first corpus is for 'Fiction' the second, 'News', then 'Conversation' and 'Academic Writing'. The concordancer is software for interrogating the Corpora. It's changing the way we see language ...dictionaries will need to be re-written. That's were I've been - sorry to be a bore but it's coming out of my ears at the moment. Giselle and I have been working flat out. ..THE RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT SENT! whoopee.

    The portraits are really coming along beautifully. I read all the comments and learn from you all. You run a great blog here, Captain.

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    1. Oh John, I think you've kissed the blarney stone--but maybe not. I hear it's quite a hike uphill. "Coming along beautifully" is not how it is. It's a struggle--up hill.

      It's always good to kiss a project good bye--lifts a lot of weight off one's shoulders.

      I just wrote and published my new post. I have decided I have a lot of nerve taking on portraiture at this time in the game. Yet. improvements were made. The son is starting to look like the son I know.

      I also decided I wasn't going to care is the painting didn't come out, (ha, ha). Portrait #2 in a medium I gave up forty some odd years ago doesn't have to be all that wonderful. Whenever, I arrive at that first finish point, that's when I'm going to hang it.

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