|The reference photograph, cropped by me, but taken by others|
My plan for the day was Mr. Fuz zy Pants. I never came close. The Blond Kid grabbed me as I walked into the studio, but my body refused to get involved too seriously. I had overworked it when I decided I should get back to working out. From the aches I got up with this morning, my body had no memory that it had ever been to a gym. Sitting and reading between brush strokes seemed like a plan for the day.
|The original photograph.|
Having always thought photography was as important to painting as painting from life, I was especially interested in what this artist had to say. I wan't disappointed. Saper believed photography is very much a part of the creative process--as important as alla prima. He acknowledged that painting from life will give the artist the skills to paint from photographs. Painting from life offered the artist the spontaneity of the moment, whereas photographs allowed the artist to work on subtleties and details for however long it takes to achieve an accurate likeness. Accurate likeness is a prime objective with me--and anyone who has ever commissioned a portrait.
|The painting, in progress, done only with an inferior reference photo.|
Most 'snapshots' are inferior, yet the expressions are often so much
Since I've started my self-taught, home study portraiture course last February, I have not painted one portrait from life. I have painted from very inferior snapshots where the light sources came from all over the place. Most I took myself; a few I did not. Sitting on my chair reading as I observed The Blond Kid and went in for a stroke or two, my next course of action became clear: more figurative painting from life and more attention paid to photographic skills. I needed a refresher course--and maybe to read the manual that came with my camera? My art life got a bit more complicated and the path to skillful a bit longer.
My art life will get a bit more complicated when I'm painting flowers today with pastels. While flowers aren't my preferred subject, I do think pastels are for me. Learning to handle them with some skill will be productive with regards to working out colors, values, degrees of saturation. According to Saper, pastels, charcoal and oils all offer the artist ease of correction and immediacy. It's odd that I seem to be adding a lot of sidesteps when immediacy is most attractive at this time in my life. I'll have to rethink this.