Monday, March 3, 2014

Am I Getting Anywhere?



Or am I spinning my wheels?  The flash discoloration in the reference is both exciting and maddening. Part of me likes what's going on with the color- intense violets and blues and yellow greens showing up in odd spots next to blotches of reds.  Another part of me wonders what the hell I'm doing? Jon's not golden enough and everybody is blotchy.  It doesn't help that I'm reading Van Gogh and Sargent simultaneously. Sargent used layers of  glazes in combination with gestural brushwork.  Van Gogh blend colors with short linear strokes with a small brush. It doesn't help that my palette is too small for mixing large batches of paint appropriate for a 36 x 20" canvas.   In spite of all the trial and error, my likenesses are good-- the somewhat  unconventional colors are interesting--and I have managed to make the position of the guys believable. 

Add to this floundering abou,t my floundering about with Windows 8.1, the weekend was not a fun one. Relief came on Saturday with an Amazon delivery of Windows 8.1 for Dummies along with a very helpful DVD tutorial.  While I have figured a lot of this new system out, the DVD was very helpful teaching me to manage my photographs, my biggest use of my computer. What the book didn't tell you though was how to play the DVD. With 8.1, you just don't put it in the drive and  it plays.  There's a procedure you have to figure out after you figure out there must be a procedure. :-)

21 comments:

  1. That is a tough one to answer. I think that the photo in itself is not representative when it comes to colors and details, right?
    I think the one on the right is going in the right direction, though I don't know the reference. I admire your stamina, I would have given up long ago and have several paintings at home that is prove to that fact.

    I am sure I am no help at all! =)

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    1. Yes, the reference is a poor photograph. It was taken with a flash. The men were not seated in such close proximity to one another. I moved them closer. I also decided to go with the vivid colors the flash photo threw into their skin tone and the highlights in their hair. I should probably let it go, but I won't. I have been doing other paintings on the side, but this one has a grip on my interest.

      I have not been painting for long--actually, these last two years with oils is my first time taking oils and painting seriously. I am curious as to what works with the medium and what doesn't. Obviously, a poor reference doesn't. Knowing that, I could scrap it--OR I CAN PLAY IT FOR ALL IT's WORTH to attain a clearer understanding of everything I did wrong: no GRISAILLE under drawing, no understanding of glazes, etc.
      Given, I didn't go about this painting in a knowledgeable way, how I am going about it now, intuitively, will eventually lead to a conclusion, a finish and I will be all the wiser. You have to break a few eggs...I'm breaking eggs--on the other paintings I'm doing as well. An architectural space planner does not become a proficient painter overnight unfortunately. You all are witnessing my stubborn nature and reluctance to give up.

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    2. I am all for pushing the colors and experimenting, just remember to not get stuck with the reference photo, and use the color balance you want, not what you see (not sure if I got that right) =)

      Go go go, it is path worth taking =)

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    3. I know exactly what you mean. Some of that has happened in the background. The skin tones will eventually balance, but I'm still dissatisfied with the electric green in the background which I did pick up from the background. Realizing that I've been doing some experiments with other colors and lightening (no pun intended) the value. Of course, I do have the option of pushing it farther. Thanks Roger for your informed feed back.

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  2. I think you are on to something. However, it seems to me #3 is closest to what I would like to see, while #1 is losing ground. It is fascinating.

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    1. Me too, and yes, the guy on the left slipped, but he's a brushstroke away from a half grin. Guy in the middle needs the most attention. These heads are like paragraphs; they just need some reordering. The guy on the right is a tweak and a background away from Eureka! Keep on trekking. God, I wish I could get my bike out!

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  3. I sometimes like it when the reference photos are poor - it allows more creativity. "In spite of all the trial and error, my likenesses are good-- the somewhat unconventional colors are interesting--and I have managed to make the position of the guys believable." - That is what is important. Isn't it crazy that each time they "improve" a computer system it gets less user friendly?

    I am looking at your post, btw, right before I am going to bed - lol.

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    1. Yes. I just said that to Ellis! Why tick so many of us off as we flounder about between tiles and the tried and true desktop icons? Why not tip us off that you just don't pop - disk into the drive anymore and expect it to jump to screen; you must fool around? I'll ask when I get to Seattle.

      Most all of my people shots are spur of the moment and not well thought out. Back when this pic was taken, the flash was on for some odd reason? Very unusual for me. -- as I write, I'm getting out of bed. :-))

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  4. I like the threesome. I see the same pushing of color and active brush work as in your abstract andscapes. Energhetic and believable.
    I had my computer expert take my Windows 8 back to W 7 becuse it was just so different, but I hear the newer 8.1 is much better.
    I just went to an Mac laptop for at home so learning all over again.

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    1. Thanks Julie. Kind words about some pretty raw painting--but the truth is the truth. In this arena, I'm raw. Not so much in the computer arena. THEY tell me, I'm a computing wizard among seventy year olds! :-)) Though raw when I first confronted 8, I upgraded to 8.1 immediately just because I figured 8 must have been lacking to have come out with a new rendition so quickly.

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  5. At a certain moment you just, you know your sons, you'll understand if you came to the right place ... the faces expressing three personalities so different ... one seems more like Ellis, one seems to be close to you, as spirit.
      And one ... looks different, like taking the two characters of the parents, and he now look at the world in a completely different way.
    I wonder if these my intuitions are true.
    A portrait complex, as this is done to portray the soul of the people, their mood .... but also interact with the viewer.
    Happy painting with your so interesting thoughts!!!

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    1. Then I have done a fine job if you see that in this painting! You got it Rita. You are very perceptive-- and I must be an okay painter. With a few tweaks, I think I can move on.
      I think that's why I used what I knew was an inferior reference. The snapshot snapped their personalities with one quick click. Maybe I'll call this one In A Flash?

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  6. a triple portrait.....gahh!! (who does this...haha!) Yet...you seem to have captured so much good here, if I were you I would be satisfied with the interesting color and the nice resemblances and call it good. Yes, it is unconventional...and why not! :)

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    1. An insane woman. But Rita got it! I feel great about that. Hopefully my raw technique will get better in future efforts. I have to stop admiring Sargent and Van Gogh or as mom used to say stop looking at everybody else and concentrate on what YOU are doing. :-)) it's funny how no matter how old you get, you never forget mom-isms.

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  7. Hi Linda.
    Fantastic portraits and drawings. As a matter if fact, full marks. All the best Linda.
    Vic.

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    1. Thanks Vic. You are doing terrific in life drawing. Your post really surprised me. I don't recall seeing figures in your stunning landscapes.

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  8. Oy. Windows sounds like a bad dream. My OS is so old I have been forced to stop using it. Soon I am going to have to updated to some new system.

    The painting is looking good to me. I can see where Sargeant and Van Gogh might pull you in different directions, but this looks like you are being true to yourself.

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    1. I keep wanting to tweak it. This one seems to be important to me, so I'll keep tweaking till it's out of my system. It has served a very good purpose: a much needed study of color, which I've always avoided. Figurative painting seems to demand I not only pay attention, but understand color as well. First thing to understand is I don't need a lot of colors, twelve will do.

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  9. You have given yourself good advice regarding Sargent and Van Gogh, not easy I know, but you are unique and you are very evident in your painting.......strong, passionate, vigorous and very colourful, you don't need them at all!

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    1. You are by BFF! Thank you for your confidence! I do love looking at the color sense and drawing techniques of these men though. I can't seem to keep the books open though for longer than five minutes before I must draw or paint something. Inspirational they are, but I don't want to be them or anyone else on canvas. How goes it with you? I haven't seen you online lately, but then I haven't been online myself very much--too busy catching up on years of painting and experimenting--boring to some, not boring to any of us.

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  10. I love your work !
    Best regards !

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