Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting A Feel for Portrait of A Boy


JD, second pass with 6B Berol. From this
rough spacing, the painting should be 24 x 30 or 48 by 60.
How ambitious am I?


JD first pass with charcoal.
I got the left arm much better. I'm freer with
charcoal than I am with pencil.
The first pass I made at JD was is the kitchen with charcoal. This one was done in the great room with a 6B pencil. I'm pinpointing strategic points. I'm learning what lines places his weight firmly on that railing. I'm seeing how I might break up the background. My thoughtful studies are seldom pretty. I draw line across the figure to find the right placement, note where emphasis will be needed when I get to the paint. I'm correcting and going over lines till I understand his stance. I only do this with figurative drawing. Landscapes and florals you can feel out and push them around for convenience. Not so with figures, especially when the objective is a reasonable,recognizable likeness. For likeness accuracy, a little geometry is often necessary.

My reference photograph, not dissected yet. Soon.
First free hand impressions. 

 I pulled out an old pencil book entitled (what else) The Pencil by Paul Calle. The last publication was in 1978; mine is from 1974. I liked how this fellow doesn't finely blend his strokes. I still like that fresh approach to the medium. The drawings are vigorous and energetic and alive. Of the moment. That approach pretty much describes how I like to make art. Accepting my impatience and letting it show makes the work mine, like a signature. The process shows through.

Drawing by Paul Calle. The values are all done with directional strokes.





Back on earth (art does lift me up and away), yesterday was full of hammering and computer glitches. First, half my text was wiped out with white lines; then, our provider went down, then, when service was restored, Ellis's printer wouldn't work and he had a three paper que up. Our final solution was to reinstall the printer, but that took a couple of hours of What do you think we should try next? The simple fixes did not work. By the time I got to JD, I was mentally exhausted for a person who got up with a song in her heart. And I should have been forewarned by it, for there sure was a lot of jazz going around here and nothing I would rough my knees for.

22 comments:

  1. I'm always tempted to open the window, and throw the computer or printer into the pool when they get glitches like that.
    JD looks so alive, yet for some reason I can't pinpoint, I prefer the charcoal. It might be the cropping.

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    1. Well drawing him is just play now--seeing relationships. The tilt of his shoulders is more accurate in the charcoal and cropping off his left elbow and sitting him off center is appealing. But that's why I like to play around a little before going big. Background color may be an issue? In the photo. he's in deep shade, maybe I want the light to be in front of him instead of behind? I'm not experienced enough to totally change the lighting

      I wish I still had a pool to throw the printer in. I miss it. The lake is surprisingly pleasant, but life around the pool all summer was muy simpatico. I lived out there in the shade of the gazebo. Aside from a finicky printer, the one item I would pitch into the pool is the bathroom scale. I hate that thing. Though walking all over the zoo, the museum and swimming in place for a half hour or more in the lake made all the junk I ate while they were here fine. It's painting and drawing all day that puts on weight. I've discovered that an hour or two is enough for me!

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  2. Hello Linda!Now begins our dialogue, I am coming to visit you and your work known and the various blogs that you keep! Congratulations! Your strong mark on the portraits is so beautiful! Always nice to do what we like, have fun and not boring!A presto,Rita.

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    1. Thank you for coming Rita. I appreciate your support. I really need all I can jumping into portraiture in my last quarter. But
      portraiture is what I drew in my off time as a designer. Now that I'm totally off, why not bang my head against the wall. I like the precision of it.

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    2. Last quarter of what? You're only a kid yet! Ellis and his child-bride (don't tell him I said that - chuckle)

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  3. You are really good at portraits - it's the speed you produce them at that astounds me.

    I'm interesting in the geometry of JD. He makes so many angles in the photograph

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    1. Maybe too fast? And that's my fault. I'm still thinking a drawing a day, when that doesn't apply to precision drawing. I'm still seeing a lot of artists doing very excellent paintings per day and that doesn't apply to precision drawing or painting. I can dash off landscapes and florals and quicky sketches of Ellis, not a portrait of substance. JD is a test. I want to see what I've got in me.

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    2. Yeah, I take your point. This is really going to take you a good deal of time, and is central to a number of other issues. Are we really after the end product? or... Is it the process we enjoy? or... Is it the challenge ? or is it all of these things and more?

      When David Shepherd projects camera slides of animals onto the canvas - and uses it as a template...and similarly, when Paul Calle does transfers ... then where do they fall into the grand scheme of things?

      Making money from art might be frowned on, but might the real sin be finding ways to mass produce, or at least cut down on process time. The ultimate process cutter = prints!
      Hoist on my own petard?

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  4. With the second attempt you really started nailing him...actually quite well ! I also prefer charcoal, it is as if you are 'permitted' to be more free...somehow. Well, I think I just repeated your words, so this just goes to say...I agree :-)

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    1. Pencil is a whole other ballgame. A medium I really like to get serious with.

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  5. Estimada Linda, puedes estar orgullosa de tus retratos, los realizas con viveza y energia, además es muy fiel a la foto. Un abrazo¡¡¡

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  6. this will make a nice painting..I know you will do a great job of it. Nice drawings!

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    1. And how old do you think I'll be when I'm finished. This could be my Mona Lisa LOL.

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  7. Your drawing is great - already full of movement. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
    I enjoyed a visit to your blog on the Ford Museum.I think you were right to have the photo on the staircase. Priceless!

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    1. Wasn't that the photograph we went there to get? Why else would we want to go browse around a bunch of trinkets that had been scattered around the ship? But the expense of the exhibit was what got to Ellis. He just couldn't believe 150 for two seniors, two kids under twelve and two adults. I was glad he decided what was ten dollars more and jumped into the frame.

      Thanks, I'll be doing a lot more before hitting the canvas.

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  8. You have a real for the stance now I think - very natural looking, not stiff.

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    1. I got that Dan. Thanks. It's a tough one. Lots of angles--and stiff is not what he was, so I really have to feel his flow and exuberance.

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  10. Interesting insight into your practice. You've captured the gesture and that makes all the difference in making a portrait. Looking forward to the resulting painting.

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    1. Me too Mick. It's a very big project for me. I'm glad I'm the one who commissioned it, I can wait as long as it takes.

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  11. Hi Linda, your preliminary sketches are so nice.....I'm more than sure that you will paint a beautiful portrait. Ciao!

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    1. Thank you Tito. I didn't tell you when I left a comment on your site about your beautiful watercolor of the Grand Canal, that the first figurative painting I ever did was of a gondolier barcaiolo on the grand canal. It came out pretty good for a fifteen year old who had never done a figurative painting in her life and had never been to Italy. Now I have and have very fond memories of your beautiful country and of crema al caramel, my favorite dessert there that's equivalent to our jello, but oh so much better. You can't get it over here. So I make it with extra caramel. It beat cream Brulee to hands down. See how your painting affected me?

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