Thursday, September 27, 2012

Schmid's List of What Could Have Gone Wrong

Zac,work in progress, day two

A lot went wrong with Zac till I started over. Now, he's coming along nicely, but  very sloooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly...

And even with using the grid system for this second try, I noticed today, after a couple of hours painting, that my drawing  had strayed. I have to correct the position of his neck line and collar.  It won't be difficult, but it it turned out to be the  reason I was having difficulty  getting his chin line, which is a semi hard edge.

Drawing errors and edge treatments are two biggies on Schmid's list of "common mistakes and difficulties."

HERE'S THE DIFFICULTIES THAT DO PLAGUE ME FROM TIME TO TIME:

Careless drawing (not measuring),[enough].
Trying to paint things instead of color shapes. [I know this, but I sometimes forget].
Painting more values than necessary. [This is where I really miss being nearsighted. You can't paint what you can't see].
Incorrect temperature changes.
Inventing impossible color.
Miserly paint (too little).
Allowing too little time.
Working too close, not frequently stepping back to view your work.
Overworking what should be left alone [How do you know]?
Working from inadequate photos. [Remind you of anyone you know]?
Not squinting for values and edges .[This is where I really miss being nearsighted].
Painting shadows too light.
Painting too fast.
Painting too small without proper brushes. [I occasionally--regularly--get lazy. I hate cleaning tiny brushes].
Working from photos taken by others. [I did do that for those Unknown Children, but against my better judgement. I think I would do it again too, if I was getting paid. What can I say, supplies cost money].

HERE'S THE ONES THAT DON'T:

Too many sharp edges.
Unsuitable brushes.
Poorly stretched canvas.
Painting over life-size without a good reason.
Poor working light.
Too many highlights.
Muddy (wrong temperature) color.
"Pushing" bright colors arbitrarily.
Inappropriate paint thickness.
Excessively-thinned paint.
Cheap canvas, very absorbent canvas.
Aimless brushstrokes.
Showing off.
Faking it.
Excessive glare on the canvas.

I love this list. I think it's worth printing out in calligraphy and mounting on the studio wall. Schmid has put into words, what I only suspected after days of trying to get a painting right.  This list makes Alla Prima, Everything I know About Painting  a very worthwhile purchase, (even though reading it so close to my workshop experience set me on edge). To happier painting.                          


28 comments:

  1. Great list for us all to ponder over. Great leap forward in the portrait, the tips obviously work.

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    1. The grid system works. Thanks Mick. It's slow and probably boring, but necessary for development. --Isn't this a great list? I knew these things, but never bothered to write them down. Schmid has made a wonderful contribution. I am so glad I went to that workshop and met Vianna Szabo.

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  2. thank you SO much for this list, Linda. Honestly, we can all use it,...I know I'm guilty of quite a few of them....One is ..I never step back to see my painting, then regret it later!. I went to the National Arts Club show in Gramercy Park this past weekend...Vianna Szabo had a painting exhibited there...She did an amazing job! Your portrait of Zac is coming along beautifully!!

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    1. Thank you Hilda! I do feel I am in control at long last. Vianna's work is quite beautiful. I'm so thrilled she's from my neck of the woods.

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  3. I've always found it difficult to paint close friends and relatives. Feelings frequently influence how we see. I have done a few good ones of unfavorite relatives; unfortunately, I don't have their permission to show or post the works. So I stick with self-portraits.

    Zac is looking good.

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    1. Thanks Hallie. And thanks for visiting. I'm the opposite. I adore these people and all kids. That makes painting them a joy even when the painting doesn't go well.

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  4. Your work is fantastic! I teach Integrated Arts, and many of the students are visual arts students. They focus so much on the elements of art that they often have difficulty painting.

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    1. I think that's common when studying art--especially art history. Too much information can cripple. It's overload and causes self consciousness. I just had a bout of it reading this book while still digesting the info I picked up at the workshop I took. Thank you JJ!

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  5. WOW!!! This Zac is great! What a difference! Kudos to you, Linda.
    Your plague list is very similar to mine. :)

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    1. Give the credit to Schmid. He put into words what we all have learned through various failures. His list gives us things to consider every time we step back to scrutinize our work in progress.

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  6. Zac is coming along nicely. I must say that you got amazing stamina, I would have given up ages ago.
    The 2nd list, is that things that one shouldn't do? I do over sized things all the time. I like the "in your face" feeling of it.

    Happy painting.

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    1. No, that's part of the same list. It's just difficulties I don't tend to have. When I blow up something larger than life, I, like you, have a good reason. I have done flowers way larger than life because I think they are glorious and should be enlarged and in the viewer's face. Read that one again. It says "without good reason."

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  7. I think Zac looks great! Very useful lists! :)

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    1. Thanks Judy. He was a subject that called for a more absolute measuring method than painting shapes and light. My error was not measuring enough with my first attempt.

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  8. Linda!
    I love this piece. I love the brush strokes, the colors, and so much more. This painting has action, excitement and a wonderful spontaneity about it!
    I very much enjoy looking at it over and over again.
    Nice.
    Michael

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    1. Michael you say the sweetest things. Thank you so much. If you stick with something long enough, something good is bound to come of it. That's my story with Zac.

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  9. Zac is looking just right...it has been enlightening to follow along with the versions. Artists have to be willing to make tons of frustrating errors, but problem solve and still go forth....you've done it in spades! Congratulations! Thanks for the Schmid list. He is a genius.

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  10. Ahh, this is a great list, Linda - thanks for typing it out! I needed to be reminded. I read Schimd's ALLA PRIMA last year and was both inspired by what I learned (which was A LOT)and discouraged by how little I know and how haphazardly I go about creating, given that I have no art education in my background. Much of what he talked about was Greek to me initially. (OK, some of it is honestly still Greek to me.) Which is why I learn so much from you!:-) Watching your process and reading your struggles and victories (and how you get there) is very helpful and inspiring. Of course your humor is good medicine as well:-)

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    1. While I went to art college for design, I did not go for painting. That I am teaching myself. This list is this teacher 's best tool. Thanks. We need a sense of humor to gent is through our struggles.

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  11. Zac is coming along nicely ... your determination beginning to win through.

    I love lists ...I had a buddy (A Mad Magician) who kept a list of his lists, but I don't love them that much.

    Have a good weekend - hope your both feeling back to 'normal'.

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    1. Thanks John. I am thrilled. But while I failed at the first attempt following the mass /shape approach to painting, I have succeeded--or I am succeeding with my old favorite, the grid system. What does this tell me? Not to discard what I know works and not, to put too much stock in what I read/learn in books, in workshops. A grain of salt

      I like lists too--for some things--what I'm packing for a trip--what to buy at the market. This list falls into the important list category. In teaching myself to paint, I've run into theses difficulties too many times to ignore it.

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  12. I really should print that first list...I think I make all these errors when painting with oil !

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    1. Do it. I think these difficulties occur with whatever medium we're using. With water colors, I often put my work on the floor to put distance between me and it.

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  13. Hi Linda, to me, Zac looks great indeed! I like the list, I never paid enough attention to most of the items, it will be useful! Have a good week end! Ciao!

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    1. Thank you Tito. Now to be careful that I don't overwork him. There's a fine line to watch out for. Have a lovely weekend too.

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  14. Wonderful lists, that apply to us all. And the painting is just utterly delightful. I would be a terrible teacher, I forget what I do, ie, pinning a reference on the other side of the studio! A consequence of not thinking, just doing! You are brilliant at noting all you do, often with timely reminders, and it is so, so interesting and enjoyable.

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    1. I didn't think of it, till I was reading Schmid and he was discussing squinting to eliminate details and determine the major values and shapes. Working with reference photos, the common this is to tape them right next to the canvas in which case, all the details are extremely visible. But I'm thinking given everybody's failing eyesight, why not take those photos and tape them a distance away--the way a live model would be if we were at a workshop or in a class. It worked with Zac. The distance stopped me from seeing all of the different color variations in his skin tones. It stopped me from seeing exactly how the stripes go in his short. I liked it. I don't see how you do portraits only from sittings; photography is a major tool in portraiture--and landscapes and flowers and whatever due to weather, light changes, all that goes on that can cut an alla prima excursion short. Though schmid says we artists are, for the most part, reluctant and embarrassed to say we use photographs, I am not. It's foolish not to use the technology that is available to us. The only photography I am against is projected photography. That's fraudulent.

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