Friday, September 14, 2012

Zac Gets Forty Whacks


A total redraw of Zac was the decision of the day.  Steve is coming along just fine.
Why should I scrap him, due to me not having enough balls to set things right with Zac?
Poor drawing, not enough measuring was my decision as I sat back and looked at this portrait closely.

I decided not to let it go. My objective is to master portraiture--at least get pretty good at it. Letting poor drawing slip by would mean achieving any degree of success with this genre would never happen.

There was something about Zac that was troublesome from the beginning. There was something about the size of his head that wasn't right. I should have caught it then. I didn't. I didn't want to. I had gotten his mother's eyes just right. I didn't want to lose that. Today, using Steve who measures out fine and is looking good, I remeasured, pinpointed the errors and went in again to make Zac Zac. His mother's eyes weren't good enough to keep him on that canvas malformed forever.

Giving him forty whacks with the brush was scary. Poor baby, looked like a zombie from one of those video games when I left the studio. But that's what success takes.  Next painting, poor measurements, to the extent of having to do a total redraw, won't happen. I hope. I know.

And you know what else I know?  Painting a portrait from a reference photograph is just fine no matter what you read. as long as your edges jive. Edges are mostly soft in real life with just a few hard dashes here and there.


10 comments:

  1. I would have given up long ago, but I could learn from you. I also know and experienced that doing a subject several times makes it easier and that at some point I have to dig deep and except a few failures when it comes to faces, people etc.

    You are really a good inspiration.

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    1. Thanks Roger. I could have just initialed the thing and moved on knowing what I did, but Steve is fine. The idea that one will always have smooth sailing is a fool's dream. I thought I should correct Zac, for Steve, and to see if that was doable with oils. Acrylics, corrections are easy. Oils maybe not so easy? This is a year of learning for me---portraiture and using oils. There's going to be some pain. Funny thing though,I am not upset. I feel in charge and matter of fact. I think I' m growing up OR I've had enough pitfalls in life where this is nothing.

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  2. Painful. I've been there. Good luck.

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    1. The error isn't painful. I finally saw it. I decided to correct it. Shit happens. Maybe at this late date I'm finally getting patient? It isn't luck that's going to fix Zac, it's chutzpah, a keener eye and patience.

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  3. Great example to the rest of us. Does forty whacks count as child abuse in your part of the world?

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    1. Not if it's on canvas and not his backside. Funny Mick.

      It does take nerve to air your painted laundry to the world, but errors happen a lot in painting just like in everything else we do. I don't have to tell you (who has the best blog name), they are the struggle along the way to producing decent work. Why hide them? Everybody has them. I chose to face this one. Steve is worth saving and redoing Zac will do just that.

      In portraiture, you could be working on a commissioned work and discover you screwed up your measurements. What are you going to do? You're going to fix it. You took the commission and have an obligation.

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  4. Good for you, Linda. My own feeling in portraiture is that the likeness is everything. If you haven't gotten that, keep trying. I started a portrait yesterday - my process is to oil sketch on the canvas and begin color when I have a good likeness and all porportions are correct. I could not capture the likeness - so wiped all three off and will try again tomorrow. In my mind, its much better to keep trying, whether through beginning again or correcting, but keep going rather than content yourself with something that is not right.

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    1. I agree totally. If there's no likeness, it's not a portrait. Now Zac' expression is as difficult as expressions come, but that's what I like ----and the challenge of it is very entertaining. If I get it, this will be quite an accomplishment.

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  5. Great to keep at it. One learns a lot from that.

    I think that working from a photograph is generally
    limiting, but since you have deep knowledge of the subjects, it probably makes a difference.

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  6. My god, you're one brave lady, you're sure showing me a thing or two, this is just the kick up the pants I need to get me going in the right direction with my 'Bethany'. I'd really got to 'that'll do' but now I know it won't! Thank you.

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