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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Deaf Woman

The Deaf Woman, pastel, 9 x 11

This hour drawing showed me how much I have to learn about reading values.

Two new books added to my
library. The first books on
The subject was not a play of dark and light, but of cool and warm and that threw me. The woman, my victim, was seated back lighted by a brilliantly lit wall and front lighted by harsh, cool white daylight. I couldn't find enough grayed down warms in the box or enough cool tinted grays. My black had been reduced over the years to a piece no bigger than 3/4 of an inch. Hard to hold. My whites had been reduced to a couple of pieces no bigger than that. It took a lot of try this, try that, overlaying, tapping off the excess dust only to discover I had misread. Having over mixed in white (typical amateur), I finally gave up. My tools are lacking after thirty years; my "ish" colors have been severely decreased. An hour was way too long. I had too much time and went way past impressions deep into the details of her ear.  Poking around that long, I made the poor woman go stone deaf and disfigured.

And one old reference that
will never go to the resale shop.
I came up from the studio and  laid my money down for Vianna's pastel painting course in October. (Just in time too. There were only two slots open). I will walk in to that workshop armed with new tools;sandpaper,alcohol and a ratty old brush I read. I'm way ahead; I've already got the Savignon Blanc.

I intend to walk into a couple of open studios too over the fall/winter season: Saturday morning there's an open studio on figurative drawing and Friday mornings, there's an open studio on figurative oil painting. Both cost thirteen dollars a session, payable on the spot. Both feed my major interest in portraiture. I'm not really interested in drawing nudes, but unclothed or clothed, the models all have heads and hands and feet and ears.

Yesterday two books  worthy of study arrived: Sargent and Sargent Portrait Drawings. An interesting fact was that after Sargent made it as the supreme, go-to, artist for high society portraiture, he began drawing mostly in charcoal and pencil with only two hour sittings and produced very few paintings after switching mediums It is his drawings that told me I had to buck up on the contour approach. It is his drawings that make me work on the deaf woman longer than I should have.

To reread and practice: Light and dark studies;
Johannes Itten, The Art of Color.
Also: Warm and Cool; Johannes Itten, The Art of Color.
Light and Dark and contour line; Sargent Portrait Drawings
My favorite light and dark Sargent drawing. Look at the range of grays . Spectacular. An
old time portrait with a modern abstract flare.  Sargent Portrait Drawings.
 In my Amazon cart, I still have Rembrandt and Henry Yan's Figure Drawings. Next month's disposable income expenditure.


  1. I am so happy to read you have become such a keener after your foray into the world of workshops!

    1. Why? I've been stirred up, energized and I'm stepping out. To do it in comfort, I'm thinking of sacrificing January, February and March for a knee replacement and recovery. I did not like my body not being able to keep up. --But I do not like pain pills and always having to travel with a card saying I have metal in my body. I also don't like the fifty fifty tales I've heard raving and trashing the operation. A whole can of worms has been opened.

    2. I can feel your excitement through my computer! It is a new form of energy, the LINDAHERTZ! Special artistic waves that spread in the blogosphere again to bring the wish for art, more beautiful and more felt, at all!

    3. I guess it really was time I left the house and ventured out into new ideas. This workshop may have been a milestone? I had pretty much shut myself off after the collapse of the banks (and our business)and my diagnosis at the same time. Four years later, I seem to be making a come back. It's amazing how long it takes to recover. It's amazing what a Godsend art is.

    4. The Art heals, for me, because it make me look beyond.
      And looking beyond... new things can happening!

    5. When I am painting/drawing/creating nothing hurts; my mind is lifted out of body to another place.

  2. Oh you should see George's portrait I did the other day... of course, you haven't actually see George to make the comparison, but take my word, it's a big failure. Portraits are very difficult to do. It's not just measurements and lights. You have to capture one's character and soul. But, my dear Linda you are up to the task and I'm sure you know it. The best thing about it is that you seem excited about it! Thumbs up to that.
    Warm regards.

    1. Thanks Konstantina. I appreciate all the encouragement I can get. You did see how many passes I had to take before a likeness started to take shape. It takes some sketching to learn your subject. It doesn't happen just like that. What makes me laugh is that I used to think portraiture was dull. It's not dull, it's hard work--much more difficult than flowers and landscapes If you're off with them, it doesn't matter; you can pull it over. If you're off with a portrait people could get mad at you (and have).

      Ellis got upset with me over the last portrait I did of him. He didn't like how (old) he looked; I thought it looked right on. In the business of portraiture, his, the client's opinion would have been right.

  3. I am jealous that you have classes you can attend. What I hear, there is no open classes here, one has to commit to 10-15 classes, and that isn't cheap.

    I recognize the problem so well, to know what is wrong, but not sure how to fix it, well that is something I experience more often than I would like.

    At least we are learning, right? =)

    Happy painting.

    1. Jean Spitzer once told me she and other artists hired their own model and split the expense; that's a really good idea. Another gal I know has a group which gets together to paint weekly . They either paint plein air or they rent space at the art association; another guy told me they get space at their township library. There are ways to cut costs to doable.

      My 18 hour course--3 hour sessions for 6weeks--costs 135.00 or the price of one sold painting. In business, we always have to put some of our profits back into the business.

      There's always problems and we're always learning. The last two days, I learned how dirty pastels are=)

  4. You chose an excellent workshop, Linda! You're doing so well with it. By the way, they sell a tool that attaches to small pastels ..making it easier to hold while using....My friend uses it..I think I'm going to get one as well.

    1. Thank you Hilda. Pastels are more me than watercolor. They also teach you a lot about values and value/color mixing. The handling of it is close to the way I handle charcoal. It is a good medium for the painter who uses oils,as watercolor is a good medium for an acrylic painter.

  5. Wish I knew of your interest in pastel...I just sold a big batch of Wallis sanded paper. The profile pastel you've done has more positive qualities than negative, in my view. It is great that you recognize issues as they come up. I love your overall attitude and approach to learning. It's exciting that you are going to take more workshops/drop in sessions. I'll be watching what happens next!

    All the knee replacement people I've known have had huge successes. Find the surgeon who does zillions of that procedure and go with him!

    I share your total admiration for Sargent. Strange to think that he got sick of portraiture. Every single one looks even more fresh than the last.

    Happy for you that you are moving forward with your passion. You will never be sorry for the investment in make the most of your very obvious innate talent. :)

    1. Thanks Celeste. You lit the fire. I'll keep it burning.

      I didn't know I was going to get interested in pastels till Vianna made the remark that values are more easily selected in pastels, so it's a good companion medium to oils. I do have to purchase some supplies--sand paper and as many pastels as I can afford. She also mentioned, the box she brought to class had only thirty colors; that seems to be enough for me given limited palettes are very strongly suggested.

      As for my knees. I put down a rug in my studio to cushion standing. I see if that helps. Then I see the doc in November. He has done thousands; we'll talk they yukky months of winter--January, February and March. Ellis said I shouldn't sorry; he take good care of me.
      I lucked out with this man of mine since I was fifteen. What made me so smart? :)

  6. So you're going in October... how exciting :-)))

    1. I don't know about exciting, but I do think the short course is a good addition to the workshop I took. After nearly three years stumbling about on my own, I finally chose a genre to focus on, the toughest. It makes sense to seek help. HELP!

      The funny thing is, this pastel course will be still life--flowers. So I'm still going to have to translate whatever info I pick up to portraits. So I said I wanted to be a painter hum.