Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finnegan Begins Again


Steve, oils, 6 x 9"

I love it when Dick Blick comes for breakfast.  There I was having mine and planning my new Steve/Zac attack when the doorbell rang. The UPS guy was standing there loaded down with the pastel supplies I ordered just last Saturday. He also had my 20 x 20 canvases, one of which will be for Mr. Fuz Zy Pants, next in line on the easel. For today, however, this Finnegan will begin again.

Zac, a new beginning.
I cut Zac out and rounded out Steve. He's fine for now, drying on the rack.  Then I  divided a previously toned piece of canvas into a grid and carefully penciled in Zac. The lighting is still half tones and difficult. I'm using a hole punched into an index card regularly to get close to the skin tones. With all this effort and quite a few superlatives,  Zac just might turn out to be Zac this time around?  --Then all I have to do is get the kid and the father together in a third effort--if it's still important to me.

You all are right. The photograph is not a good one. It's just a snap shot. The lighting is natural and the subjects were totally uncontrolled.  But I really do like Zac's expression. It's so fun kid. So I'm using it--just like I would be using a photograph when doing any other portrait. Portraiture requires working mostly from photographs with a couple of sittings at the end to firm up the painting.  Hopefully the artist can control the photoshoot  a lot better than I did this one, but then who knew where I was going to go with it?

Zac and Steve have matured considerably since I took this photograph five years ago. Other subjects I have drawn were deceased. Dogs and cats certainly can't be counted on to pose quietly for the painter either.I would say, photography is a major part of working in this genre. I would also say that the grid system is often a good way to cut out the hit and miss of free hand when likenesses are absolutely necessary or, as in Zac's case, difficult.  Had I given in sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of aggravation. But I do believe I'd like to get to the point where I can read all the connections without the aid of a grid. Maybe next month :-)

Dick Blick came for breakfast.








21 comments:

  1. I love it any time of day when he visits, just almost as much as fun packages that arrive...sometimes unexpectedly....that awaited package always takes so darn long getting here! Your paintings are very lovely!

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    1. Thank you Karen. It's been a struggle, but cutting the two in half and discarding the annoying part was a good solution. My new painting of Zac shows promise. I have hope.

      Getting art supplies is just the best. I haven't gone through the boxes yet. I'm hoping that that large sheet looking package is a much smaller piece of sanded paper in a shade of gray. I'm already concerned about packing the stuff to tote to class; I don't like to be overloaded. I'm also expecting sanded paper pads, the most important thing on the supply list. They're on back order. I'm hoping they come in when Blick said--the 29th. If not, I'm going to have to scramble. As I don't like to be overloaded, I also do not like to scramble for materials last minute.

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    2. if it's Wallis paper, it might be a long wait!

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    3. I have it in a saved cart elsewhere. if I don't see a shipping notice this next week from Blick, I'll order it from there. I might just do that anyway. It seems to be in demand.

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  2. I wouldn't mind Dick Blick dropping by with goodies anytime. And I am so glad to read you are using a grid for Zac - it's an extreme;y difficult pose.

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    1. It took me long enough to succumb. But wouldn't you know I had an error in the grid drawing, which I caught once I had him on the easel? Lucky thing for me, it was an easy correction. 'One major error artists make is working too fast,' said Schmid. That's just what I was doing.

      I'm hoping I have enough pastels. I really know nothing about them. I have 72 half sticks of soft pastels and 30 half sticks of hard pastels--maybe they're full sticks. That certainly should be enough colors to paint with? The worn down, broken pastels I own, I've had for more years than I can remember--could have bought them when I was eighteen? They don't go bad:-)

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  3. Good solution to your struggle.

    Pastels do last, but, as I have discovered, it is possible to damage them with extreme temperatures, which unfortunately happens a lot in Austin.

    Enjoy your packages.

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    1. I had to do something to end the pain. I cut it out

      I bought all new. I figured start new. I'm curious what the turpinoid and brushes are for.

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  4. I didn't see that one coming.

    I am not a portrait painter, so I don't know thins that you do, but in my experience as a non realistic painter is that if I go with exactly the right colors it will end up bad. I have to go bolder since so much is about brush strokes. I think exact colors works for a super realistic painter who blends values etc, but for me not so much.

    Happy painting.

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    1. I don't know anything. I'm making it up. I'm going with intuition mostly and teaching myself. But I do know that by the very fact I am using paint, I will be pushing the colors. That's what we do with paint. What I want to match is the same values as in the lighting conditions in the photograph.

      Portrait painters from what I've seen, mostly do not choose weird expressions like Zac's. They like closed mouth half smiles (Mona). They also prefer very controlled lighting situations (studio situations). In this photo nothing was controlled other than when I said," Zac go stand by your dad." The photographs I like to use are the ones when I can see the subject's character. They're not just staring at the camera looking stiff.

      A Caucasian skin tone mix that I'm starting to favor is Naples yellow, a hair of burnt sienna, lots of white and perhaps a dash of flesh to pink it up. I also think violet maybe an addition--either red or blue violet for shadows. For the cool side of the face, I prefer greenish to bluish. Sap green is my favorite so far. Veridian runs away with the mix; it's too strong. Sap is as subtle as Naples yellow. There's a reflective light off Steve's shirt that's Cadmium red light. That's in the mix for his right cheek. The difficult part is keeping the nuances to a minimum and not getting carried away with every slight variation.

      That's why I admire Alex Katz work. He took photographs and painted them flat. He has an excellent point--but he's out of his mind when he wants to charge two hundred dollars for his books new.

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  5. Portraits are just the most difficult and challenging, but I have great fate in you...it will be a winner in the end !

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    1. It's looking better at the moment and I'm feeling better about it too. Thank you Jane. This struggle is just something you go through when you've decided portraiture is the most fascinating for you and you think they should be done in oils, charcoal or pastels. I'm having an interesting year.

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  6. Great work on both of your portraits! ooooo a pastel class...sounds very fun..where are you taking it?

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    1. The art association I joined to get the workshop discounted. It's taught by the same woman, whose award winning medium is pastel. I liked her approach and figured painting with pastels would probably fit my spontaneous personality better; to me, pastels are akin to charcoal. After that I definitely will take the formal portraiture class and an oil painting workshop. I'm not relaxed with the medium after forty years of working with acrylics. Don't ask me why I would give up acrylics at this late date. I have no idea why I would put myself through this relearning curve but there's a plasticity to the finish of acrylics that I never quite liked--no matter how much you varnish it. It lacks the quality of oils--and watercolor.

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  7. One has got to admire your perseverance with this project. The Steve portrait is lovely and I'm sure Zac will get there as well.

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    1. I like to think these portraits are a commission and I've an obligation, for that is what the practice of portraiture eventually becomes. Right now, I'm just a portrait painter in training, a PPT:-)

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  8. Before I say anything-though it would be wiser to say nothing-I have to declare my self as a dumb artist (and I'm using the word loosely here) when it comes to portraiture. It's a difficult job and requires skills-which you obviously have!
    I can see that Steve is just there and looking good and I can tell, from the slightly shown pencil lines, that Jac is getting there too!! Great job Linda!!!!
    I would love to receive some new materials, but have to order first and that's not happening for now; or even the boxes I sent from Liverpool with our stuff, which haven't yet arrived-anything would do really, but nothing's coming. Oh well, I just have to wait...? Enjoy your new materials, Linda. I know how you like them-like me-and in a way they increase the itchiness to create :)
    Hugs and smiles.

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    1. I'm very excited about finally having ordered and received my stretched canvases. Now I have no excuses as to why I haven't started JD or Mr. Fuz Zy Pants. Except Zac. I will finish him for better or worse.

      But the pastel supplies I got were what was on the list for the six week class I'm taking beginning the end of the month. This stuff called Wallis sanded paper isn't all that expensive like everybody says. You can't get it, therefore, you have spent nothing. I ordered a substitute just this morning. I'm just going to class to learn about the medium; I can learn on a sanded paper of a lesser reputation. I had Amazon ship me out UART sanded paper pads. Those should do.

      I'm sorry you don't have any art supplies. How come you didn't pack a watercolor kit or some Berols and paper and a knead? I never go anywhere without some sort of drawing equipment. I would feel lost. They have no art supply stores in Athens? You need to escape homemaking chores somehow.

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    2. Oh yes, I took with me the basics and of course all my works-finished and unfinished. I would prefer to send my jewelry with the shipping company than to leave behind my works and supplies. And I do have the best art supply store in Athens right in my building, one floor down from my appartment; my uncle's storage. He's an excellent artist and loves to create anything, from a painting to wood sculptures, etc. His storage is my dream land!
      I was just talking for the sake (and joy) of receiving things-especially new things :)
      As for the sanded paper I have to say one thing, LOL!!!

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  9. I love deliveries of art supplies. There's that crisp clean look that I try to preserve, but the drawings can get quite grubby at times.
    The portraits are a battle but you seem to be winning. I can see the sense of the grid, but not quite sure how you work with them, do you put a grid on the ref. photo as well ... I suppose not. Don't waste time explaining if your too busy ... the last thing you need is a numpty

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