Friday, September 7, 2012

I LOVE RICHARD SCHMID!

Michael, charcoal, 9 x 12.  Close enough. 


I LOVE RICHARD SCHMID! He put into succinct words things I knew, but didn't know I knew. By page ten, his book, Alla Prima, instantly became my bible. I'm thinking I should have bought two copies; this one is going to get man-handled. (If you buy it, do go for the paperback copy. It handles well. hardcovers never stay open to the right page).

With regards to my painting of my three guys, his advice to first KNOW what you are painting and what you want from it. I never thought about that before. I thought, "Gee I'll paint my three sons." I thought how I wanted them to look: not like the unknown kids I did. That painting was a copy of a photograph. I didn't want to copy a photograph.

My vision of the painting back then was likenesses, but not really. I wanted to make a painting sort of like one I saw in the movie Wall Street. It was three ghoulish heads, limited colors, on a  dirty gray ground over the couch in Bud Fox's decadently decorated apartment. It was anything but traditional. Now I'm not sure that I can actually do ghoulish to my boys; they are my boys after all, but Schmid's words made me recall what  I was thinking then and why the photograph I was using really wasn't all that important.

Now months later, the painting has gone wrong--or as Schmid say's I've gone wrong.

  According to Schmid: Only two things can go wrong in a painting:

      "1) Painting something that is not there in a subject; 2) Not painting something essential that is there."

Also:

     "Those two errors can only occur within one or more of the visible elements:  Color, Values, Drawing, or Edges."

My Guys went wrong when I went into color/values before  getting a solid drawing.

I darkened out the background, darkened their hair. And started drawing into their features  using dark, light and one  midtone.  (Sorry for the glare, the canvas was wet). I didn't touch Steve very much yet--but he won't escape my brush.
When I started the painting I rushed into color/values way too quickly.I was trying to paint quickly. I was wrong. I really did not spend enough time drawing or measuring.  I'm making up for it now. I studied Michael in charcoal yesterday and worked on that sketch again today. I'm satisfied. I found key elements that have to be  in the drawing and the painting. I might have to do studies of Jon and Steve as well?

The painting I began redrawing yesterday, I attacked again today. I immediately darkened the background and got rid of the fussiness in their hair. I simplified.  I contemplated a monochromatic approach to the skin tones. Mine were all over the place. I decided a limited palette of  light, dark and a middle skin tones would do.

By page fourteen,  this man had me  back on track.  I'm so glad I signed up for Vianna's Newsletter. If I hadn't,  I would never have met him. This has really been a great summer for me.

14 comments:

  1. Looks like you continue to fight the good fight, Linda. You are getting more out of this than you ever reckoned - it's making you reconsider everything you do ... so yes, what a book and what a man! Just love your determination!

    Have a good weekend, m'dear!

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    1. Thank you John, you too.

      Isn't the good fight what blogging art almost daily is all about? Sure it is. And from that came workshops and books and museum excursions and visits to art supply stores and lectures that keep the love of art burning brightly and the pursuit of excellence in my little room hot and heavy. This summer, I have come out. I am taking a good look around and who knows where that will lead in my work--to good places, I'm sure. Very exciting.

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  2. Linda: I do know and admire the work of Richard Schmid. In fact, I have a copy of A Retrospective 2003. I used to live in Vermont, where he was quite popularn and I appreciate his realism. Great stuff. You have excellent taste.

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    1. Not me. It was blogging art. It was Celeste Bergin. It was Vianna Szabo. And now it's Richard Schmid who has opened up my eyes. I never heard of the guy before Vianna's newsletter. But I did fall in love with him by page fourteen and was, of course, floored by his art. He brought making art down to a practical and logical level, something this Capricorn appreciates. He made it not about talent, not about personal expression, nothing ethereal, nothing intangible, but about constructing a painting with real tools and a critical eye. I wish I had read him years ago. You know what I will be doing this weekend--making my way to chapter five.

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    1. Thank you Helene. And thank you Helene for your endorsement. Your apples got me thinking that, I have to go back to still life to paint from real life to totally comprehend my new way of seeing. Warm ups might have to be my coffee cup and broken egg shells and what ever else I can find around home. I'm glad I stopped by your site. Seeing your work got my head going.

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  4. Richard Schmid is a God. Love your drawing and the painting too

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    1. YES HE IS! Thank you, but you ain't seen nothin' yet. The best is yet to come.

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  5. Dear Linda,easy to fall in love with this artist,for me too!
    Very impressive his work: modern but classic at the same time! It was a great meeting with the Vianna and her artistic training!
    What is already within us, some TEACHERS know the art of it emerge!
    A true gift to meet them in the perfect moment!
    I really admire ,daily, your works and your determination!!!
    Have nice WE,Rita.

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    1. Get the book Rita. One thing leads to another. It just took me sometime to get out the door.
      Vianna is marvelous. There was no screwing around in her workshop. Four/five portraits per day, a demonstration everyday, friendly lecture, and one on one mentoring. It nearly killed me physically, but it energized me entirely. When I read that this was her top art book, I had to have it, for it would reinforce all that she gave me. And more. Schmid dispelled in a few words all the confusing crap that I read over the years from art critics in their cocktail table books and said what I really thought about all the art movements since the Salon d'Refuse. He went back to Carvaggio and painting not forms, but light and shadow shapes. And it all clicked. Now just the chore of bringing what's in my head down through my neck, my shoulder, my arm and out my fingertips. Now easy matter, just consistent hard work.

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  6. Richard's advice is wonderful for every painter! I enjoy to see and read about your learning process every day! Have a nice weekend!

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    1. I'm glad you do. I like to show the work process, albeit the learning process. I do not think that finished paintings just appear magically, but a lot of folks do. They don't know we go through a lot of hard work to get as close to what we wanted as possible. Laymen say, "Oh you paint." They say it like it's child-play and you're doing nothing serious with your time, just having fun. They have no idea of the struggle that goes into it and the satisfaction you get when you stand back and see a glimmer of what you were trying to do right there in front of you. We know it's never perfect, but it is a step closer.

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  7. Wow, such a grafter you are! And what a transformation you have already in your painting of the boys. I'm going to have to take a look at Richard Schmid!

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    1. Well worth it. It is not a how to book per se. He puts into words--into consciousness--all the things I know I do right and more importantly, do wrong. By articulating those things he's lifted me onto another plane where making pictures is less ethereal and more concrete. If what we make is art--he says that's up to other people. I love this man. I do wish I had met him when I was a few years younger. I always neglected my abilities, because I didn't like the snobbishness and BS that was attached to the art world, so I thought through gallery owners and the writings of critics, the hangers on. Making paintings is a job with tools that requires continual practice, a steady hand and keen judgement. I can deal with that. Art is a practice, just like medicine and law.

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