Thursday, May 10, 2012

On Becoming Steve




Steve is becoming more Steve- like--even though he has to lighten up a bit.  My painting system with oils is shamefully unsystematic--actually, a bit all over the place and not the way I was taught. But I'm having a good time feeling the painting out. I am constantly drawing and correcting as I pursue a likeness.  Yesterday, Steve began to look like himself back then when neither of us had any gray in our hair. I was thinner.  He was heavier. and both of us had good knees.

The reference photo was taken about twelve years ago BY ME WITHOUT A FLASH!  What was I thinking? I wasn't.  I was so thrilled my guys were together in the same city and the same room at the same time.  Since it's the only photo I have,  it's the only photo I can use.  I am going to have to do something about the flash bouncing off of Steve's glasses.  Also the position of his hand on his brother's shoulder. I moved the three of them closer together. I've also decided to keep their skin tones "kissed by the sun" a little less than how their sunburn photographed. It's appropriate; they're all wearing tee shirts. I really am absolutely in love with Sap Green, As for Cadmium Yellow Medium, you can have it; it's orange yellow.  I'm glad I bought Naples Yellow, the "mellow yellow." And Flake White does not gray down the colors you mix it with. I'm wondering where it's been all my life.

18 comments:

  1. He certainly is coming through the paint well, Linda. Does it feel strange to see someone appearing out of a canvas, or are you used to it?

    I took delivery of 50 sheets of cartridge paper today - made my mouth water more than food does. Do you do sizes in A1 A2 etc over there? Well mine is A1: 33" x 24" (ish). I got some Faber Castle drawing pens (4 for $10)not sure if they're any good, but at that pricer I can always discard them .

    Wasn't there a song with a bit in it that went, " They call yellow mellow"?

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    1. Yes there was. I forgot who sang it--the Beatles perhaps?

      I love new art supplies too, especially papers and canvases. They are so pristine and inviting. Pens sometimes irk me. They have a shelf life and yet the stores present them as new. I've gotten some that haven't worked--same with markers, but there's a solvent out there for renewing markers that the illustrators can probably name. Camera ready white layout paper with the smooth finish and my Rotring Rapidograph pens worked together nicely. Flare pens are pretty good for sketcching--nothing fancy, office supplies really, but they come in fine, medium and bold and the ink flow isn't temperamental.

      I'm not used to anything when it comes to painting portraits. Before those "Unknown Children," I hadn't done a portrait in oil for more than thirty years--and that was King Henry VIIIth for a furniture store display. The portraits I've done more recently have been with pencil--graphite or colored. This is all new to me. Each day is an adventure--as it should be.

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  2. Hola Linda. A mi el retrato me gusta. El amarillo de nápoles es uno de mis favoritos es un color que si se sabe utilizar se le saca mucho provecho. Saludos :)

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    1. Naples Yellow has a very nice slightly grayed down mellowness to it that I find very appealing and very useful when you're loving for--this isn't going to make sense--but a neutral color that has the power to make all the rest of the colors sit well with each other. The yellow orange called Cadmium Yellow Medium is near the color that Reeves paints calls "flesh." Weird. Thank you for commenting Sonia. I couldn't translate this reply for you. Google translation was stubborn and would only do messages with 150 characters. Google translation isn't prepared for me. LOL

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  3. It's coming along great! You are in your element I think.

    I remember flake white, from days when I dabbled in oils. I loved the color - loved the feel of it. I don't think there is an equivalent in acrylics is there?

    Some day I am going to try oils again, I think. But I need to get off my duff and do more acrylics - I have an unfinished painting, been sitting for weeks.

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    1. Thank you Dan. Once again I've chosen to struggle with the skin tones. This time with people who stayed out in the sun too long. But I think I am in my element. So for the next year I'll be boring everybody to tears working out MY approach to portraiture. Though I do have acrylics to finish--not just one has been sitting untouched for months. I ran out of paint and bought oils instead.

      I never found a warm white in Acrylics--only Buff White and that was beige--and a bit green? I've got it, but I never use it.

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  4. Steve is looking great! <----exclamation mark. Donovan sang Mellow Yellow! <----exclamation mark.
    Can't wait to see what you post next. I like your work ethic! <----exclamation mark!

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    1. You're right. Donovan also wrote it--but I do think the Beatles sang it--or maybe that was Yellow Submarine? The yellow submarine was Cadmium Yellow Medium when it didn't have any red in it.

      Steve is red, but starting to look like twelve years ago Steve. A dab at a time.

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  5. Linda I love your self irony and humor :-) Steven is coming along great, I think you are doing a beautiful job.

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    1. Thanks Jane, but I wish you all were here in person to see it for real. I feel myself tightening up, and I do want to avoid that. I think I want the painting to have an unfinished look. People,of all the subjects we paint, are constantly changing, constantly evolving.A portrait should not freeze them in their tracks.Let them breathe. Well aren't I getting philosophical.

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  6. Steve's coming along great.

    Since you have more than one person in this painting, I suggest working on all of them at once, so the painting feels unified and so you can judge the balance as you go.

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    1. I am, I'm just not showing them to you yet; they're in different stages. The skin tone mix is based upon a tip I read--only three colors--one of them being flake white. To that I've added a number of other colors to tone them down or rosy them up. My palette is set. As for the background, I'm playing with combinations of all of them. I have to mix up a large batch and get a ground brush. Judging how much drying time to give layers before adding another is tricky too. Never thought I'd have to consider it, but I do. Live and learn. Like I've said, I'm forging out my own system. It'll take a couple more portraits before I've got it--said the pompous painter choking on her word "couple."

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  7. Hi Linda. I got onto your blog, and then got up to change out my uniform. I looked back at the screen, and there was the top of your head with hat looking at me. I LOVE it!!!
    And Steve is looking mighty good, systematically painted or not. I really like the "sun-kissed" skin tones.

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    1. Thank you Kathryn. I think I'm going to stick with this one--till I get bored looking at it. Steve needs to be toned down. Left as is, he's going to clash with my red walls.

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  8. Looking good Linda. The "he has to lighten up" line made me laugh "-D

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    1. Thanks Agnes. Chuckles are me as I feel my way around this new genre.

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  9. Ahh--skin tones, eh. Humph. Thousands of em. Hat's off to you--great job. And fine looking lads. You must be so proud. Happy Mothers Day in spite of Hallmark.

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    1. And all mixed up. Don't throw the hat in the air just yet Bill. I've got a ways to go before hanging them in the hall.

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