Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best For Last

This is my favorite the Sargent drawings in my book. I'm fascinated
by his range of blacks and his control of the charcoal.  His composition is very contemporary.
This Angela Lansbury look alike lady looked like she had the mumps till I had another go around.


Not my best. Sargent's best. I saved this one to study last first thing this Saturday morning. I figured a short warm up of 20 to 30 minutes with charcoal while my oil paints defrosted. An hour ten minutes later I was still seeing values in the black I'd missed. It is the most complex drawing in my book of Sargent sketches. So much for dash offs. I'll be doing this one again.

I'm giving my boys a rest, I want to read Schmid this weekend. I want to reorganize my studio. I want to expand it into the adjacent, connecting storage room. When I get into these reorganizational moods and  looking for space, you know I'm getting very serious.

I went to visit a new follower today, Helen H. Trachy, from Quebec. She's an oil painter interested in portraiture and still life. Her lovely painting of Falls's first apples, plus what I read yesterday in Alla Prima, whispered that maybe I should get back into still lifes and flowers for further studies of painting shapes and values? I've never been a fan of painting things that didn't move, but I would be painting alla prima, from life, without photographic distortions. That's a move in the right direction.

So thirty minutes with charcoal copying the masters and thirty minutes painting coffee cups and pots and whatnot. My dance card is filling up. Well, you're going to do something or you're not.

18 comments:

  1. I'm so pleased you posted the link to Richard Schmid's book the other day - not sure why I thought it was out of print! It's now on my purchase list.
    You are really getting down to business now - good on you...

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    1. My pleasure. If organizing studio space rather than painting is getting down to business, I guess I am. Trouble is I go in to organize the space better and always end up picking up a brush and getting into whatever is on the easel. I can write a good plan, I don't always carry it out. The writing of my plan seems good enough. Now where's my paint? :-)

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  2. Linda
    I admire your constant quest to improve.
    Hope you are having a good weekend, Ev

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    1. And who's the one who redesigned her blog so handsomely? It's in the artist's blood to keep stretching to reach perfection. It's both a curse and an attribute. I hope your weekend is good too Ev.

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  3. the Sargent drawings are great...keep em coming!

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    1. I'll have to find more books. Sargent sketched both in pencil and in charcoal. I've been doing the charcoals--but his were different than ours OR, more likely, he was taking a lot more time than I did. Don't think I haven't visited just because I haven't left a comment. That painting you entered in the exhibition was gorgeous, a wonderful rendering of the sky. Of course, it sold. You really did have quite a time on Labor Day weekend. Very stimulating.

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  4. It's so wonderful to read the whole thought process that goes on in your mind! Have a great weekend with the book and the still life!

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    1. Here it is Sunday and I still haven't done a still life. Still lifes are what bored the hell out of me in art school; to me, they were emotionless. That's going to be a hard habit to develop. I woke up this morning thinking 'pruning shears.' I have a weird idea of what's beautiful. Best to read, till I adjust my attitude:-)

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    1. You more than me. I don't do outside work. I'm the inside of this partnership. My inside is pretty ship-shape.

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  6. You are all over the place, busy doing things you love. I envy you. I rarely have the time or energy to do anything creative at the moment...

    Happy painting.

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    1. Not really. Straightening the studio so far this weekend has been just talk. Tomorrow? Maybe.
      I am reading. I am painting the light carefully. I'm just thinking about what would make a good stiff life subject for me who does not really like to do still life arrangements. So far all I've thought about is a hair brush and comb. I have yet to go get those things set them up and light them.

      If I know you, you'll find time. It's hard to pull away.

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  7. Dear Linda, after that I found myself... to paint on my knees on the floor because I had encumbered all desk with brushes,palettes and colors.... I spent the late afternoon to reorganize my studio!
    Now I have 9 trays stacked in front of me when I paint with all the brushes before.
    The last interesting book that I read says that each brush has a language, I can not get to know if them are not at hand.
    When our heads seek the solution ... the solution comes. Good reorganization of the studio!
    I like your work, and I look forward... to admire your artistic evolution.

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    1. I once read where you should spend time with each brush discovering all the marks it can make. You don't paint a subject; it's just an exercise to learn the capabilities of the brush. I did that once. It was informative. As for reorganizing the studio. It's a major rearrangement job involving relocating household storage area and improving the lighting system. I have to mosey about that for a while. I hate wasting energy cleaning out stuff when I need it for painting. But sooner or later I'll be doing it. If I've thought of it, I will eventually take stock and move on with the chore.

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  8. I have some re-organizing to do too. But I am putting it off, while I recuperate from a virus.

    It is a pain to set up and light a still life. You can get good lighting control if you do it with an open box.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your virus. It may be something you picked up on your travels this summer? Trains, planes and public automobiles are contamination spots. Save your energy and get well soon. Cleaning is something to do when there's a blizzard or a cold day in hell.

      I agree. Still lifes take a lot of energy. Plus they always look like set ups--not the way we usually, casually or hurriedly, set things down as we go about our lives. A still life should look like a slice of life as it happened. Those slices happen all over my house where paints are not allowed. Thus the photograph, which cancels out drawing from real life/alla prima aspect! Plus they bored me to death in art school. They bore me to death at the museum. Sure the painting is to be admired from the craftsmanship point of view, but I'm not much interested in bric-a-brack unless there's a person in the picture doing something with it--Vermeer's The Woman With The Balance that just went back to the Washington Gallery. A painting of dead pheasants hanging on a wood wall comes to mind. Now that's a still life :-))

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  9. Trouble is, tidy and busy make unhappy bedfellows. I used to clean my studio once a year ...if it needed it or not! :0))

    Love the latest sketch, Linda. I have a great book somewhere (I need to ...um ...tidy up)which is all mono Victorian stuff which your Sargent reminds me of.

    If you're going to do still life, without going mad ... you could get some interesting ideas off Carrie's latest series http://carriewaller.blogspot.com/ (I don't know how to do the clever links like you do)

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    1. I didn't go mad. I didn't straighten up the studio. Yesterday, I didn't paint at at all. I read Schmid and watched five movies in a row: The Horse Whisperer, Seabiscuit; My Life Without Me; Collateral; and Knight and Day. New information puts me into a do nothing mood. I tend to quietly absorb new information while being distracted by something else.

      I don't like painting still lifes, but I wanted to try out Schmid's method. I did today, my next post.

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