Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Some Days Are The Pits


I wiped out  today's session. I hated working in a monochromatic scheme
I hated my little 8 x 10 canvas. The canvas is stretched too loose and I have
no wood wedges in the studio from the old days.  Cheap is cheap. 

My Still Life stage. The overall size is
16 L x 11 D x  24 H. The back panel allows
for a larger platform if I need it.
Today was one of them.  I found all sorts of errors in the little head painting I started yesterday. After a few hours trying to correct them, I ended up wiping the whole thing out and beginning again, this time drawing. Once again I chose a photo with a tricky twist of the head and back lighting. Lots of angles to watch out for. Warm and cool fighting for dominance.
I didn't like the way the drawing was going either--the older boy was looking effeminate.  I left the studio in disgust.  I tipped my hat to  Sharon Wright as I climbed the stairs. She is a maestro of monochromatic schemes--and portraiture.  Take a look at her latest post. It's  a landscape. (Maybe a clue)? It's on my side bar.  Something pretty damn amazing better happen tomorrow.  I hate failure. There's hardly a clear stretch on my road, it's so cluttered with them.

I did do something productive though. I constructed a still life stage comprised of a wastebasket lying on its side and a L- shaped back panel made of scored cardboard.  I made the panel L shaped to cut out the natural light coming from a window--KISS. I draped my construction with some fabric left over from an upholstery project  and voila! A perfect setting for small still lifes for warm up drawing sessions.  Lemons are wonderful for such projects. These two have been there since Thanksgiving. The back one is just starting to show its age.  


18 comments:

  1. An object lesson in choosing materials that do not stand in the way of the process. Still life looks great, just right for both drawing and painting. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

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    1. Me too! What's life without a challenge? I'm going to try wetting the back. I used to repair oil paintings, wetting the back of the canvas with water will tighten the stretch. From the sag that on these though, I would think I might have to soak the back.

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  2. Tomorrow is a brand new day ;-)

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    1. Yes it is. Your sympathy is appreciated. Thanks.

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  3. I was also wrestling with my art today -my red sky had such promise and now the house, I don't know. I was depressed and my stomach had a knot like I'd done something embarrassing. Tonight I showed it to my wife and wouldn't you know she liked the house and hated the sky. So now I feel better. If there's room for opinions there must be some redeeming part. Your still life setting is very clever! Love the way it employs natural light.

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    1. Mama said there'd be days like this, mama said...Warmth is a kind spouse. You are fortunate. Mine said, this really sucks! But A new day is dawning, the sun is rising and I am descending the stairs dressed for more abuse.

      I set it up on our bar that's not a bar. When I sit on a bar stool, something set up on the bar was too low. I needed to raise my still life chachkies up to eye level, making a still life stage seemed to be a good solution. Funny thing is though I don't want to warm up drawing still lifes, I think I need to work on the folds of fabric. Some practice with that would serve portraiture. Now lets see if I carry through? Everything is such an effort.

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  4. Woa....don't be so hard on yourself....it looked like a good start to me. Having said that, only you know how it was, and having a good base to start is half way there! Will you start with that composition again? I liked it a lot.
    Thank you for the link and the wonderful praise. I paint the occasional landscape as a respite from the precise nature of portraits, although in particular, yesterday it was on the art groups' programme! Enjoyed your summary of 2012....you really are exceptional, in your vision, your work ethic, your flexibility, your fearlessness (is that a word?),I could go on...but finally in your work itself. I know I am inspired by you and really wish I weren't so dammed lazy!

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    1. Sharon, I know we haven't known each other very long--and we haven't met or been formally introduced, but I do think I want to marry you. Thank you for your kind words.

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  5. It can be so irritating to get it wrong, can't it. I know that I wrecked the ship I'm drawing after a week's work on it. Over confidence led me to ignore a check dimension ... ah well! Sharon is really clever and gifted. I borrowed some of her blog layout for my gallery blog.

    Some of your portraiture is totally brilliant, which is probably why you get annoyed if it goes wrong ... but watch out, I had watercolours & acrylics for a Christmas present. I may even use them!!

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    1. I would have cried--no, not my style--but I sure would have stomped around the house, slammed a few doors and bitten off a few heads--after I stopped gasping for air.

      Oh what a lovely Christmas present! You must try your hand--as if you have to try with your excellent background. Actually, now is the perfect time to splash a little paint around and shake off your disappointment. Great therapy.

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  6. Oh, I do so hate failure too! As a new-ish artist I'm finding the frustrating with myself to be one of the hardest aspects. I know what I want a painting to look like and when it doesn't work, it is just so galling. But... I console myself that when experienced artists get just as annoyed when a painting doesn't work out - I just need to keep going and treat it as a learning curve.

    Thank you for posting this - I just found your log today and love your work. So knowing that it doesn't always go smoothly for you either is comforting. I hope today turns out to be more 'in the groove' for you.

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    1. Without failures, there is no success. Trite cliche, but cliches become cliches because they are true. The sun is rising over the lake, I'm dressed in my jeans and drinking coffee. Then down to the studio I'll go to rescue those kids. Another day, another chance to get it right. God bless. That is the nice part about working in oils or acrylics, they are forgiving. Your medium, not at all in my hands. I enjoyed visiting your website. Your work and it was very impressive. Did you do the the design?

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    2. Glad you like it, Linda. I did build it - based on a Wordpress theme so it's just a case of putting it together the way you want it. I'm a bit of a geek so I prefer Wordpress to Blogger because I find it gives me more design options.

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    3. I'm going to look into it. I'm making a move towards a more professional looking layout via simplification. Thanks for the info.

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  7. I love that lemon set-up, wished it was mine... looking forward to see your take on it.

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    1. I'd better hurry, they are well on their way out to the trash.

      Setting up a still life on the same level as I was drawing wasn't working. I needed to lift things up to eye level. My little stage seems to have done it. I also had to be able to control the lighting. I use a high intensity desk lamp and some controlled general interior lighting. The natural light coming from the window had to be blocked to keep the lighting simple. It's easy to do and I've got some play in how large the platform can be if I need a more complicated set up.

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  8. I have come to believe that those days of complete failure are necessary. I don't know why - but they happen to me with infrequent regularity. Now, it doesn't bother me to wipe off a bad attempt or to trash a horrible painting. There are many more, and better, where they came from! I think it is somehow part and parcel of the creative process. Perhaps the brain neurons are reorganizing - who knows?

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    1. I definitely think you are right. Even when a painting comes out badly, I've put in time making decisions that didn't work over the time period. Those poor decisions, that false start, does set you up for future success. Consequently, we could say, there is no such thing as a bad day--or a bad painting for that matter. They all go towards our development.

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