Sunday, February 16, 2014

Before Picking Up The Brush

It wouldn't have hurt me to do some pencil sketches before I hit the canvas, but better late than never. I needed some guidance for adding more depth. Over the weekend, I found and used a fabulous pencil that came out of nowhere. I must have walked off with  it at some workshop? Sorry to whomever, but I'm glad I did. I love Berol's silky soft #314, which is now made by General and available at Amazon by the dozen. These are the results. 



I didn't get Kelly, but I did get Jon considerably thinner than he was when I took the reference photo I'm using for the painting. He has a jawline. I'd like to put the new him in place of the old him, but that's a tall order since I can't reshoot him in those conditions; he lives 3000 miles away. 




             


Jon as he used to be. The sketch will give me more color play in his hair--and his form more depth. Flash photography flattens  forms.

                

My middle son's right eye facing isn't quite right, but the structure of his nose is now more fully understood, his expression is closer to the truth and studying his hair will let me add more color variation and with it more depth. Battling the flattening of the flash is my battle.

My interest in portraiture began winter 2011- 2012. This overly cocky painting of My Guys was my third attempt--after the self portrait I just posted. Oils were still new to me after a forty some odd year hiatus. Figure painting was totally new--figurative drawing, yes, plenty of it--figurative painting is a whole different matter.  I had a lot of nerve to attempt such a project.  And who goes into a huge painting without one preliminary sketch? A silly, overly self confident woman, a jerk.

Two years later,  I'm still not all that comfortable with oils, but I am (at long last) comfortable with myself, my drive, my curiosity, my tenacity and my ability to achieve a likeness. I also know when to pull back and take a good look with a great pencil. :-))

"In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer." (Albert Camus)
Today's another snow day, another paint day!

                                                    *****************************************

ROBERT GENN IS COMING OUT WITH SOME GREAT STUFF IN HIS NEWSLETTER.  I've got them all covered except for three and four, two of the most important I think. Zeroing in on portraiture and oils became my mission last year. A hundred paintings in the storage room is a lot of paintings, given my current pace. I better step it up!


Robert Genn's Kit for becoming an Artist.

Time: Set aside a time every day. It should be at least an hour, preferably a 
lot more. Include weekends and statutory holidays.

Space: Find a space that is always yours--where you can set up and work in 
continuity. It need not be large, but it ought to be yours.

Series: Do a series of explorations toward tangible goals--say 100 pieces of 
work in one direction or another. Then start another series.

Media: Choose a medium that intrigues you. Realize that the potential of all 
media is going to be greater than at first realized. Be prepared for 
frustration.

Books: "How-to" and art-history books are better than ever. They are your best 
teachers and friends. With books, you can grow at your own speed and in your 
own direction.

Desire: Know that desire is more important than any other factor. Desire comes 
from process. Process reinforces desire and desire becomes love. You need love 
in your kit.




 

23 comments:

  1. Hello Linda! I am trying to catch up on my art blog commenting! These drawings are very good! I love the way you use your new pencil! Very nice!
    Take care buddy!
    Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael. I think it's an old pencil; it's short. I also think it belonged to someone else and I walked off with it years ago when Berol Still made the 314. Now they don't. General does. I liked it so much while studying these heads over the weekend, I ordered a case of 12 and think I should have ordered two cases; they are quickly used up. I liked the thickness of the shaft, the smoothness of the mark and how easily and cleanly errors could be erased.

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  2. Great sketches. - the pencil may cause you to think it helped, but you could draw great with anything. I KNOW!
    I like your self analysis. Good to do, and yes - GENN is totally awesome in how he is dealing with his special journey.

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    1. I didn't realize he was infirm till this last newsletter or the one before it. What is he dealing with? Whatever it is, he is making a wonderful contribution to encouraging artists.

      While drawing is incredibly important, in painting, I think color values and skill with a paint brush take first place. In the sculpture program, there was nothing said about color or the use of brushes. I'm feeling that out. Maybe, life as an artist might be easier if I just stuck to that lovely pencil and my strathmore drawing paper? Thanks Julie. I should have done a lot of these sketches before taking a leap to paint.

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    2. He is dying. A death sentence with no hope of survival. BUT he was fortunate enough to be given notice so he has time to go out in style and grace.
      He is showing us the way it can be done.
      Go back a couple of months and read all about it.

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    3. I went back, into his letters, but could find nothing. What I did find was a lot of talent. He, too, likes trees--and his self portrait at easel reminds me of Rockwell. Cancer is a bitch. Even if you survive, the treatments take a lot out of you. -- he did publish earlier letters. I'll probably. Buy t he book next month. If I buy one more art book this month, Ellis will do nothing, but my reading table will collapse under the enormous weight.

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  3. Het ziet er super uit Linda heel knap gedaan lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thanks Danielle. I don't know how clever; sketches are how we learn so we can be clever with the paint and brush. :-))

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  4. Unos bocetos estupendos, felicitaciones!

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  5. I love those sketches, you're really great at that.

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    1. Thanks Roger. Maybe I should just stick to drawing materials? This wanna-B painter's life would be a lot easier. :-))

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  6. Fabulous sketches Linda! I don't know if the resemblance is there or not, but the point is they have great presence. That's the important thing for me!

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    1. The resemblance is close, but no cigar. Thanks Helen.

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  7. Oh I like that Genn list! (I believe he has pancreatic cancer) He is indeed a wonderful man. I always enjoy your black and white work..we've "talked" about this before. I just love your drawings....and you show a lot of moxie in your paintings... that is definitely a wonderful thing. I am GLAD you are not one of those photo-real types (no-likey!!) I know you aren't satisfied with your paintings, but I do enjoy the verve in each and every one.

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    1. I do keep reaching--or expecting too much in my short time with a brush and even a shorter time working with oils. Genn's kit of 100 paintings--which BTB was also the number said in that marketing workshop I missed, but pursued all the handout materials--is a tall order. Also choosing one primary medium and sticking with it frustration and all, I have not done. I like charcoal and pencil for study sketches. Acrylics come very easy to me, I used them the longest. But portraits must be oil, runs in my head. The surface finish is richer. I have a long way to go. So I'm trying to relax my expectations and enjoy the pursuit.

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  8. Love the sketches - your values are great!

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    1. In black and white, I'm fine. Color bedazzles me and it takes me a while to see the magical mid tones that pull everything together. Thank you Susan.

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  9. Brilliant drawings and the painting is heading in the right direction. The selfie is to be admired too, your colour choices commanding attention. You are ace!

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    1. Thank you so much for such nice words! What's a "selfie" ? My UK isn't what it should be. You're pretty good yourself you know. :-))

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  10. It is great to pick up a pencil and get a handle on shapes and values. Really well done.

    I like the boldness you aim for with this painting.

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    1. What sets me off is I'd like to push it further--but I think I'll do that on the next one.
      The drawings provide a wealth of information. I like thumbnails too; I haven't done as many of those as I think I should have. They are great for composition and simplification, which I could use more of. :-))).

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  11. I love these drawings! Saw them a few days ago, and haven't had time to comment. Yes, Robert Genn is such a sharing and caring person, and I always look forward to his letters. It always seems to be the best folks that are ultimately hit with cancer. Why is that?!

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