Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Portrait Study, A Warm Up, A Business Opportunity

A new little practice portrait
First day back to painting. It was a damn good thing I painted on the beach in Mexico. I certainly did not get any sessions in since we've been home. Life and colds got in the way. Today, every body part said this was a go.

 I celebrated my return to life by getting my driver's license renewed--my birthday is this coming Sunday--and starting a study of my friend's grandsons. My reference photo was taken from the Holiday card, the parents sent. I intend to gift this portrait to my friend on his birthday.

I gifted another friend a painting of her grandchild for her birthday last month. I did the portrait like I'm doing the one I started today--for practice. I figure why not gift these practice pieces? They served me well: I learned a lot from them--and they might give the grandparents a kick?

Well, my friend was ecstatic. She couldn't stop talking about what a hit it made with her, the grandchild, my subject, and her parents who want to commission other work. I dropped a few business cards in the mail and drafted a price list. I'm ready in case they call. What the hell? Getting samples of your work out  is better than letting them sit on a shelf gathering dust.

The Blond Kid; 8" x 10"; oils.
A Practice Portrait that got a few people excited
when it came in the mail and may promote business?



13 comments:

  1. "The Blond Kid" painting is one of my favorite paintings of yours. Didn't realize until know how small it is. She got a nice expression on her face.Very nice work indeed.

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    1. All my practice heads are small. Portraiture, with a good likeness being so dependent on accurate measurement, lends itself to the small format; it's tight painting--even when executed loosely. I didn't say I didn't paint small, I said I don't like painting small. I feel cramped. That's why I figure landscapes with bold strokes are a nice release. Pastries too. 20 x 20 is very comfortable for me. I'm looking forward to starting JD. His three quarter body allows for some gestural freedom and while there has to be a likeness, it can be suggestive. I'll see, that will be a learning experience too--just like everything else we do.

      Thanks. The Blond Kid (I've since learned her name--as well as the names of My Unknown Children subject) is at home with her grandmother where she should be instead of on my storage shelf.

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  2. Dear Linda, work itself is a wonderful thing, but
    also work for the other changes the perspective!
    And as each of us must have a spirit guide as regards his own art ..
    Go where your heart takes you, the brain, and life events as they arise.
    I have a destiny of "business watercolor" linked to Iris, it seems!
    The portrait, is almost small format, but very effective.
      I love it! Have nice painting time!

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    1. Congratulations. Is selling online lucrative? I've always been curious.

      The portrait is a small format, "practice" head. They take about a week to do--I'm lucky maybe less. The one I started yesterday is also an 8 x 10, practice head, but with two heads in it. I am comfortable with the small format for practice portraits, not with landscapes--but that could change when I take a plein air course this Spring. For JD, I'm going to use 18 x 24 for his three quarter body pose. Mr. Fuz Zy Pants, my GD's cat, was done on 20 x 20. Sixteen by twenty inches seems to be the appropriate size for a head and shoulder portrait.

      Portraits are tight paintings requiring lots of measuring along the way. There are no really bold strokes with portraits, so the small format works. With landscapes bold strokes need a bolder size. I think I'm moving away from flowers and still lifes as finished paintings. I prefer my pastries. As with landscapes, they are relaxing to do. We do have to follow our own spirits.

      Doing small heads for practice and gifting them is generous, but also self-serving. It puts my work in my friend's houses for their friends to see and them to talk about. Up till just recently, no one knew I could do what I could do with a paint brush. They had me locked in as an "architectural space planner." So by gifting, I'm really just getting the word out to the people I'm close to that I am an artist who can paint likenesses. It's a good faith effort and a kindness and a place to start spreading the word.

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  3. LW, your blonde girl portrait is fantastic..and I am glad the Grandmother loves it--that proves that you nailed the likeness. What impresses me most is the position of the head and the expression---both so challenging. Love everything about it!

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    1. Thanks Celeste. Difficult angles appeal to me. They are challenging with regards to taking accurate measurements. TG with landscapes, accuracy isn't an issue. They are a nice relaxing balance.

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  4. This is really gorgeous, fantastic light hitting the face and the expression is adorable. I am sure you must be thrilled too, always nice to get an acknowledgment of ones work !

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    1. I've showed this before, but I'm showing it again in a different context. It's a sample of my work that I'm sending out into the world for exposure. My purpose was three fold: a personal birthday gift to a friend, spreading the word to someone who will spread the word of what I am doing now, (there's a lot of grandparents taking aerobic classes from my friend), and freeing up some storage space in the studio. No sense letting little practice paintings pile up; my space is too small. Thanks Jane.

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  5. Linda, I love this portrait as her attitude and smile is expertly conveyed by your color choices and freedom of the brushwork. It is, indeed, very lovely and I am not surprised at the enthusiasm of your friend. I love gifting paintings now and then - there is a unique joy in freely sharing the product of one's creative efforts. However, I do hope it leads to some business opportunities for you! Here is to a great year of Art!

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    1. Who knows whether business will follow? But the painting does put joy out into the world and off my storage shelf. I had no use for it so why not put it out there and see if it stirs something up?

      I would imagine contemporary Head/shoulder Portraits don't sell to the general public only to relatives. Full figures might if those figures are doing something the public can relate to? Ancestral looking portraits might be attractive to interior designers who decorate in the traditional style--I recall collecting miniatures when I was furnishing an English manor style home. I do not think portraiture is very lucrative. Pet portraiture, I might have a chance. Pet supplies is a multi billion dollar industry, I would imagine pet portraiture might benefit from that?

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  6. Early Happy Birthday wishes to you, Linda!!! And I am so glad to hear body parts say "lift-off"!
    I love Blondie, and am pleased to hear the portrait was so well received.

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    1. Thanks. Me too. I ordered my BD gift yesterday. It's a plein air easel that folds down into roll around suitcase with a telescoping pull handle. I am determined to get out there by the lake when the weather permits. Being a stand up painter, I forgot to order a stool. I pretty sure contemplation is as much a part of plein air painting as it is studio painting? Of course, there's always the grass.

      What's the woman to say except the painting is great? I could think that, but she called me several times after the initial thank you call to tell me how well received it was by family members. So I guess it was a hit. I did take a chance, but what do I need it laying around here for?

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  7. Another brilliant idea, I do hope it generates a lot of work and interest. 'The Blond Kid' is superb.

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