Monday, October 1, 2012

Edited: It's A Different Kind of Monday


OCTOBER 1ST,2012, today, I edited this post down to the nitty-gritty, for I will have no art to post today. I've suddenly found myself in a peculiar situation. Ellis kept it a secret till last night.

Would you believe that after three years of very little design work, this week has filled up with appointments for sizable projects. Though they are the source of our livelihood,  I'm not too sure I'm happy about this new development. They are definitely a good sign  of economic recovery and that's great news.

BUT: After painting daily for three years and finding my way, residential design projects are an  inconvenience. Instead of starting Mr. Fuz Zy Pants like I planned this morning,  I'm dusting off my drafting board and looking for my drafting tools, Berol  #3H pencils and vellum sheets. I'm happy for us, the real estate business, home furnishing businesses, carpenters and trades people everywhere, and the country, of course. But I am not thrilled to lay down my brushes just when I was getting a good grip on them.  I  have difficulty giving my best to two loves. I'm resenting the intrusion. 

Zac, Oil, 8" x 10," 2012

LOOSENESS SHOULD BE THE WAY A PAINTING APPEARS, NOT HOW IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED   --Richard Schmid

 Using reference photos encourages too many details, UNLESS you  don't put them right next to your paint surface, but rather tape them up six to eight feet away from the easel. That distance would encourage squinting to determine the main shapes and would eliminate the distraction of details, which, when overdone, is a give away that you were copying a photograph and not painting from life. Working from photographs is generally frowned upon by Alla Prima artists. This portrait artist thinks that's BS; it's a snobbish opinion and unrealistic. There are subjects to be painted that must be photographed to stop the action, to catch the moment, to freeze time and light. To frown upon or to be embarrassed that you employ a tool that technology has given us is ridiculous. The trick is to paint enough from life to know how to enhance the photographed image.

With Kelly, I wasn't in a hurry. I considered the placement of my brushstrokes carefully,
but overall didn't over think.  Zac , however, did suffer from over-thinking and too much reading about technique.
A reference photo was used with both paintings--both photos were taken five years ago. Both people are older
and are as unavailable for sittings now ad they were then.





25 comments:

  1. Sometimes the biggest crime one can do is to think too much. Zac looks much better your last painting.
    Have a nice ending of the weekend and happy painting.

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    1. Of course. I put in enough work and had enough failures to know what was wrong. Thinking is bad on the job; not bad on off times. But it wasn't overthinking that did in my first attempts, it was poor drawing and not distancing myself far enough away from the subjects to be not bothered by the tiny details.

      You have been looking for a "looser" look for a while. You found it with your latest painting. It's quite terrific Roger.

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    2. Thanks. I have been trying to follow up yesterday's painting by trying to follow that path, with the result that I have been trying too much, thought too much and achieved nothing. (Don't count the small tomatoes painting that I do actually like)....

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    3. I threw away the pepper watercolor I did where I added cherry tomatoes to balance the composition. I didn't like the color--the darks weren't dark enough. I can never get the darks dark enough with watercolors. That's just the way of it.

      I've been trying to read Schmid, like you would a book For Dummies--jumping into a chapter that might have something I need in it. Reading it cover to cover was a bad idea. I absolutely hate looking at his paintings; they make me so jealous. They are gorgeous.

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  2. Good idea--distancing yourself from the photo. Good result.

    I couldn't believe that--about the Wallis paper--but seems to be out of stock for now. Dick Blick is saying will have more toward end of October.

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    1. That's DB's latest post. Before that it was supposed to be available September 29th. When I saw them update to the end of October, I figured I can't wait. Now I have to figure out how I pack that one large sheet Vianna called for.

      Distancing is what we do when we're in a class type setting and the model is several feet from us. I figured that's what should be done with photographs. Kelly came out as if done alla prima because the photo was so bad, so blurred, that paint the masses, the shapes, was all I could do. Then given previous painting experience, I knew how to treat the edges.

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  3. I said that portraiture requires skills and you have them! The idea of getting some distance was the exact reason that I've ruined a watercolour recently-the one I was complaining about at my latest post. The face was ruined, the whole painting was ruined. And this is the point that proof lays: You have an idea and the skills to make it work. Zac looks goooood!! And I love the 'With Kelly'!!!
    Though it's not yet Monday here, have the best week :)
    Hugs and smiles!

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    1. Hugs and smiles back Konstantina! Thank you. I really feel like I made an important discovery this weekend. I can't wait to see if that's true on my next endeavor--Mr. Fuz Zy Pants, (the cat for my granddaughter). I do owe my revelation to Schmid. You've got to get the book--No, I do not get a cut-back from his sales. :-)

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  4. Zac's looking good and Kelly is gorgeous, a very fine painting. Love the loose warm up in watercolour.

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    1. Thanks Mick. The watercolor needs some work, but that's how warm ups are: incomplete, first impressions. From there come full fledged paintings. Alla prima warm ups are for keeping our drawing skills sharp.

      Zac is a done deal. I softened a brushstoke and deepened a shadow and now he's on the rack drying. I've moved on. It's been a fruitful weekend.

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  5. I just sold a batch of Wallis paper--and it was from the days prior to their manufacturing "problems". It *is* expensive but all the pastelists bought it anyway. They'll probably sort it out some year. If Uart is anything like Wallis you can roll it but most people like keeping it flat.
    Glad you worked through the Zac painting...I like it...and I always like to see your "warm up" paintings/drawings too.

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    1. Canson Mi-Tientes sanded paper does look too shabby in a large sheet, but it doesn't seem to come in pads or in white. When I couldn't find Wallis' I figured get that brand in white and divide it up into 9x12s. Then I discover white wasn't an option with that manufacturer. For this pastel novice charcoal paper would be fine, but Vianna obviously has more in mind for me.

      I am too. Working Zac out would have been absolutely necessary had he been a commission piece. So why wouldn't I stick with him? I would like to do commissioned work.

      Free hand warm ups are delightful to do and very necessary I think. Keeps honing eye/hand skills, albeit drawing skills, with paint and quickens value decisions. Thanks. That painting changed too after I posted it here. I posted wet. When it dried it needed strengthening.

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  6. Bravo to you for finishing Zac so well. And thank you for mentioning that tip about how you 'distance" yourself from the photo and subject. It sounds like a very good idea.

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    1. It worked for me. Also: wrinkle causing or not, squinting is imperative for judging and simplifying the values. As you can tell I've been doing a lot of Schmid reading and thinking and doing--just in time for lucrative design projects to pop up and interrupt the Fine Art roll I'm on. Thanks. I'm anxious to start a new portrait to really put photographic distancing to the test, but that has to wait. Hopefully not long.

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  7. You're doing a great job with Zac, Linda!...Kelly is amazing!!,,love her color and wonderful shadow work...

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    1. Thanks Hilda. I'm pleased with Kelly and finally with Zac. I am looking forward to getting into JD's portrait with attitudes. I do think people with attitudes will be my prime focus. They really hold my interest.

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  8. Very pleased to read that you have design work on the table, although I quite understand that you will have to divide your time more. All the best with the projects ahead. As for your paintings, here today, they look fine to me.

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    1. I have over reacted at having to split my attentions. I got excited. Things were going so well with painting, I didn't want to put it on the back burner--back into the hobby category. But these inquiries really are a nice sign of economic recovery, for which the whole world is hoping. Aside from the automotive industry, the construction industry, which is tied to the real estate market, is key to economic well being for a lot of workers and would also be great for art sales. It's the trickle down effect. Art sales do depend on people being employed and having disposable income. On one side, I've loved what I've been doing the last three years; I saw promise in my work. On the other side, I was unhappy I wasn't earning the high cost of art supplies doing what I do do well. What a mish-mash!

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  9. Dear Linda has happened to me ... sometimes I got to work that seemed to contain everything I wanted ... but life has thrown it up.
    If someone had found his way to express themselves artistically, the sudden interruptions, would not be so hard to bear ... But "when you're about to" ... and then you have to do all other things that gets hard!
    That's the bad news!
    But there is good news! After this initial disorientation due to events that are not programmable, there is a settling.
    Almost suddenly you find yourself selecting the time, you can not lose it, but you have to use it.
    Sometimes this need to do and focus on things to do .... has made miraculous changes in mentality! I wish you all best for your art and for your professional work
    with Ellis!

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    1. Rita, you understand exactly how I felt yesterday when I wrote this! Today, I feel differently. I relaxed. I settled. I got overly excited. I do want design work. AND I will find an hour or two to paint. Today. It'll be Alla Prima and it'll be fast. I do have a tendency to jump off cliffs when my life's pattern is disturbed--even for the better.

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  10. Hi again LW--hoping all the design work won't keep you toooo far away from painting!
    You must have met some alla prima painters who ticked you off, this is not the first time you've referred to them as snobs. You do understand that painting from life is mandatory in order to understand how light really falls on an object....but many painters paint exclusively from photos and their work looks like deadened dead crap! I am not a snob, I usually keep all that to myself. haaha! Love the new Zac. :)

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  11. to clarify!
    p.s. You do not fall into aforementioned category...! Your work has always looked lively, as if you follow the principles of painting from life.

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    1. There are artists who are snobs--designers too--who think their way is the best way, the only way. They are closed minded and being so are limiting themselves. i definitely endorse both drawing daily from life and the use of photography as a tool. Sorry if I sounded anti alla prima, I am definitely not. I just don't think it's the only way to go. Now I do frown on artists who use projectors. It's like using a computer program to design. --I do follow the principles of painting from life whenever possible.

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  12. Prachtige portretten maak je kom ook eens kijken op mijn blog bedankt voor het delen met ons lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thank you for visiting and following Danielle. I did come to visit your blog and enjoyed seeing that wonderful painting. It looked like a relief to me. I thought it was quite original. If you have another blog, it isn't listed when I click on your name--maybe that's why you were getting so few visitors? Somethings wrong--or someone like Go Daddy stole your url. I wouldn't be surprised.

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