Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get out The Champagne!




I'm nearly to the finish line--today should do it. I can taste the champagne.  I've got nothing but touch ups left and blending--a tad of toning down.  What an experience this has been. I loved it as much as I hated the discipline. The photograph is close to the real painting, but dull by comparison. When I tried to brighten it up, the colors went cheap, tinny, not as rich as they really are.  So here it is as the Minolta, the lesser of my digitals, took the photo outside  in North light. Before going to work,I like to checkout any  flaws the photograph catches that I might not in the studio. There's not too many corrections to be made.

This is the original photograph. I thought then
it was beautiful as a photograph, but insufficient
as a reference photo for a portrait.
This first serious portrait in oils took me four months.  Having to get comfortable with oils again was a major part of that time( my fault, I couldn't see using any other medium). Baby hands took a few pencil studies and a lot concentration on my brush work. The newborn infant's facial features were a challenge as well.  Skin tone matching was an on-going headache (until I got that I should mix a batch of the middle tone).  I was always fighting the photographer's flash and still don't think I was entirely successful. And full of self doubt, I procrastinated

You may recall I learned about the distortion of the photographic flash as a kid. When my parents had a portrait done of me. The artist worked at first from photographs he took at our house.  Then, weeks later, I had to go for a sitting. At that sitting, it turned out my skin was blotchy. He had painted me sunburned splotched with strong white highlights.---similar to how I painted Honey who was blotchy from his sunburn.  It took several sittings before he got me right--but he never did put the pink back in my confirmation dress, which he took to his studios when he took the photographs. The pink was beautiful--it was the color of angle hair coral.
POINT OF STORY : SITTINGS ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IN PORTRAITURE.

I doctored the reference photo I was given darker so the facial features were more defined. I also made a black and white print. Neither of the pictures  here are the same coloration as  the painting.

Blotchy, splotchy, sunburned Honey
It was the truth. I swear.

21 comments:

  1. My goodness ... and I can't even take photographs let alone paint portraits. Totally impressed, Linda. The boys mother will be delighted.

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    1. I hope so John. I signed my name before lunch. Now I'm researching when and how and if one should varnish. Pretty dull stuff, but I like to finish the chemistry properly.

      During the grueling painting process, I discovered that the attraction I have for portraiture is that it requires the same planning and precision drawing/painting that designing does--that drawing architecture does. The human figure, is a form of architecture with strategic points and planes and a substrata. You should try it. Just for a break.

      An old blogger friend just returned to blogging from a seven month hiatus. He redid his bathroom without me and you. Don't you just hate those do-it-yourselfers LOL? Now he's back wanting to be friendly.

      He is a good guy. Take a look at William Cook's art. I just put his blog back on my side bar. You'll like his current post. You'll like his work.

      As for the photographs. When I took the photographs for yesterday's post, the thin pen lines appeared to not take, but when I got the photos into my computer and did quick fix plus some fooling around with exposure--sometimes you have to fool around a couple of times with these apps--they were visible. Remember: camera lens parallel to picture plane with perhaps just a small tilt forward of the top of the camera--I'm talking one or two degrees tops. Watch the outside lines of the buildings in the drawing you're photographing.

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    2. OK, I like his work ... he's on my sidebar.

      Thanks for the photo tips ... being as blind as a bat doesn't help much though :0)

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    3. OK, I like his work ... he's on my sidebar.

      Thanks for the photo tips ... being as blind as a bat doesn't help much though :0)

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  2. Cheers! Lovely portrait of sibs. Congratulations!

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  3. About the varnish. From what I remember, the painting has to be dry to varnish, which can take a long time with oils. Here's a better explanation, which suggests that completely dry to the touch is enough: http://keiseronpainting.blogspot.com/2006/10/varnishing-six-month-rule.html

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    1. Thank you Jean. It's pretty good for a first attempt with an unfamiliar medium. Come over, I've got a glass of champagne for you. --But then there's more to worry about:

      The painting will be dry to the touch in three days. The six months rule is, according to Windsor Newton, the rule. But how does one keep a painting from the client for ten months? That's way too long in our culture that can only give a half hour to problem solving. One has to give it to the client and then go over or take it back and varnish it--"Varnishing Day at The Salon" is a painting I recall from art history class. Thanks for the link Jean. I'll check out what this fellow has to say. --He said a month. OMG. Maybe I should have stuck with my acrylics?

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    2. I think that if you have laid down your paint thinly, which it looks like you may have from the photo, dry to the touch should be fine. I think you could varnish it and not worry. (If you glob on paint, like I tend to, waiting to varnish--a varnishing field trip?--sounds like a good option.)

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  4. This portrait is so beautiful, even though there is science and math and hard work behind it, I think it looks so warm and sweet.

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    1. Thank you so much Barbara. Painting it was like pulling teeth. It made me very nervous stumbling around in the dark.

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  5. Hola Linda. Eres una retratista excepcional. Cada vez que publicas algo me sorprendes y me alegras el día!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Sonia, I just hope the client feels the same way. As a mom, I know how critical we can be when it comes to other people's view of our darlings.

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  6. Well you disprove yourself about the need for sittings by the very painting you show!! It came out excellent! Really neat to see the photo too. If they don't treasure this painting forever, they are nuts!!!

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    1. No Dan, you've got to see who you are painting in the flesh just once. The photograph itself is beautiful, but nearly monochromatic pearl pink all over with only hair and a blanket to provide contrast.

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  7. Congratulations,LW...it came out really great. You should be very pleased...worth all the time you put into it. I am sure the lucky new owners will be blown away by it!

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    1. Well not all the time, but the next time will be considerably shorter. I did relearn my way around oils. Both the client and the painter have gotten something worthwhile out of this project.

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  8. Linda you did an outstanding work, you can be very proud of yourself !

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    1. Thank you Jane. I work very hard to make client's happy. Maybe, they will send other commissions my way?

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  9. Hi Linda, great painting indeed! You should be proud of your work! As the French say....."chapeau!!". Ciao!

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  10. The portrait of the boys are absolutely PERFECT!!! Your work is outstanding Linda. I will be your newest follower and look forward to your next piece!!

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  11. endearing ...well done linda ! ... glad you are pleased with it you deserve to be

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