Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Week Painting with Schmid

Jordanna, oils, 11 x 14"

Four things can go wrong with a paintings, says Schmid:  color, values, drawing, edges. One of these or several in combination. 

Usually the cause is working too fast and trying to get too much on the canvas all at once, carelessness measuring for the drawing, making the little shapes of color the wrong shapes and lastly, too many interruptions from the outside world that broke concentration. This painting of Jordana went through all of those errors this past week and is probably still in a state of error, but times up.

CONCLUSION OF THE QUALITY OF MY WORK THIS WEEK:  I HAVE A LOT MORE HEADS TO PAINT TO MASTER THE LOOSENESS THAT LOOKS EASY, BUT ISN'T.

Today, I have a big interruption from the outside world.  My grandson is celebrating his HS graduation. To mark the milestone, Ellis and I got him a tandem skydive jump complete with video, still shots and tee. It's not a gift he'll forget. I hear it takes your breath away, but while it was never on my Bucket List, it was on his. It's nice to check it off while you're still young and invulnerable. Happy graduation Darling.

I journaled the phases Jordanna went through this week and my thoughts about her development.
If interested do scroll through. Meanwhile have a lovely weekend and do paint if you have no interruptions to throw you off.




HEAD #1; Day #1; Tough Tilt Tiny Surface.

Initial Draw-in. Interesting, but poor.
 
Resulted in a scrape out.
I didn't get the tilt of the head due to my poor drawing.
What did I learn from my time spent?  Thin to thick.  Light to dark.  Measure, measure, measure again--and for God's sake, get a decent size canvas!

Why do I choose to show you this 'failure'? Because it wasn't.  My discoveries put me on the right track. Today's results will lead to tomorrow's successes.  Cliché?  You bet.  True? Absolutely, or it wouldn't be a cliché.

DAY #2; Second Start Head #1

I ADMIT IT! I AM A RICHARD SCHMID GROUPIE.

Book Two was delivered at the right time.

Family Dolls oil on canvas, 24 x 48" by Richard Schmid.  Now this is a still life
 that turns me on to still lifes. It's anything but static. I might have to round up some dolls.


The day started out with a bang. Late yesterday Alla Prima II arrived. It's a 2013 expanded version of Richard Schmid's Alla Prima Everything I know about Painting, 1998.  Morning coffee was spent reading the introduction and seven pages of 'Good Ideas and Free Advice,' chapter one. Schmid's words--like 'analytical grasp' and 'working circumstances'--urged me to put down the book and get back to work. As Richard Bach said in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the book fell open to the right pages.   My errors yesterday were not analyzing my subject enough to catch that tilt of her head and working in a size that I already knew from Max and Trevor was too small and too uncomfortable. Before descending the stairs to my workplace, I measured a small portrait by  Sawyer we have over the sofa.  It was nine by eleven, a size I didn't have  in stock. Eleven by fourteen would have to do for a fresh start.

 (When I said a head a day, I didn't mean a different painting a day. Fine art painting doesn't  work that way. Some heads go fast; others take longer. At this stage in my development there will be repetitions for I am more interested in building my skills than cranking out a lot of pictures).



At the end of the day, a reasonable likeness was achieved--I think?


I got the tilt of her head, her eyes were following me around the studio, her hand was believable, but in the course of the drawing, I discovered she had started to move exactly when I snapped the shutter and that was  throwing off the  line of her high cheekbones from the line of her chin.   That edge would need careful attention when I got into color. I worked in the gray made from the leftover paint from Trevor. I figured keep away from color till the forms were right.  I felt good about the size of my support and the drawing, but I checked it out in the mirror to make sure.


A  mirror image is a good way to check out the accuracy of a drawing


(When I said a head-a-day, I didn't mean one you never saw before. I did mean one would be painted everyday. Today, yesterday's needed major drawing corrections). 

DAY 3, HEAD #1; HALF-DAY SESSION; ERRANDS

After reading Choices, an insert before Chapter 2  in Richard Schmid's Alla Prima II, published in 2013, I made a journal note:
It is refreshing to me to have finally found a genre that demands a knowledge of structure on a par with architectural design and construction--accuracy of measurement; color selected according to its spacial effects; tools well cared for to give their most precise performance and an artisan who is capable of being diligent, thoughtful and calculating on every stroke of her brush. Add to that the wet-into-wet technique, the direct painting method, and gestural portraiture absolutely suits my temperament, a gifted child who could always draw raised by non art loving parents who nevertheless found her way to  Lautrec, Van Gogh, Picasso, Nevelson, Hess, Sol Lewitt,  DeKooning and Pollack and finally back to Van Gogh, Richard Schmid, Holbein and the Dutch Masters.  How lucky I am to have found the best path for a time when I have the time unencumbered by earthly concerns. 




Ran out of Cobalt Violet.  Turned out I was right including it in my twelve color palette.  Nice to know, but the lack of it stopped me cold. Jorgette's skin tones fall mostly in the Transparent Red Oxide family with a tad of Cadmium Yellow Medium, Alizarin and yes, Cobalt Violet. Her hand is not going to be a walk in the park--maybe it's not a walk at all.  Paint what enticed you to paint in the first place. Leave the unimportant go. Her thumb and index finger is about it for the hand and a suggestion will do. 

DAY FOUR: SCARY




Resemblance is starting to take shape, but a misplaced dab did give her what looks like a wandering eye.
Tomorrow, early AM, the fix? Only if I work slowly, accurately, with lots of squinting, backing up and checking the mirror image.

 

20 comments:

  1. Good Morning Linda,
    Great portrait and documentation of your work. I hope budding painters take the time to read, as well as, enjoy the sequential photos. In fact, every level of painter could benefit from this post. It's fun to watch as you absorb Mr. Schmid's decades of experience and transpose it into action. Linda--you are a dynamo!
    Enjoy your Saturday!
    Sincerely,
    Gary.

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    1. Not a dynamo, just curious about what I was missing all the years I painted as a form of self expression.This book is just my cup of tea--both his books were a great investment. Schmid's information is practical.

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  2. I dropped by to say hello! I have been absent from blogging for a while, and I did miss your posts. It’s good to be back. I see you are still grinding it out. Good for you!

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    1. Glad you're back. I missed your posts. These days I'm not grinding, I am absolutely enjoying being re-programmed in oils and painting by a very practical guy.

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  3. excellent post...lots of fun to follow the step by step. I love Schmid too....his books are brilliant. Have you seen his dvd of "the Captain"? Love your painting. Looks great...watching for the next phase!

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    1. There may not be one. I love that his notations are practical and not antsy-fartsy. His text still has a humble tone, which is commonly missing from other artstist's' books. I do not like authoritarian books. There's too much uncertainty in the various factors in painting that we all know exists every time we start a new piece--and it doesn't matter what level you are in the struggle to achieve art.

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  4. It appears you and Schmid have become very close friends, and it looks like he is good for you. I'm not sure I agree with only four thing going wrong with a painting - I think I have found at least a dozen more these past few weeks.

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    1. Oh my and I bet they all have to do with values. What I never realized before is how much time is spent hovering over the palette mixing the right value. I am now constantly consulting my charts, consulting the reference photo, checking the value of my mixes against the value I see. Then there are the shapes of the forms, considering which brush would be best for that shape and noting the edge of the shape-- hard or soft. The man has me doing a lot of thinking before making a stroke. Painting loose is anything but. Jordanna is still not quite Jordanna. My error is in the shape of the forms around her eyes. I had them, but let down my guard and painted too quickly. Schmid's books are the best couple of hundred I ever spent on an art class. He is practical. I am practical, but I grew up in an era where I GOTTA BE ME, I GOTTA BE FREE was the word on the streets and in the art galleries. I was swept in and missed out on disciplined training. Schmid has given me some tangibles to work with. AND there are Schmid Workshops offered by other Schmid followers, unfortunately not Schmid, but Schmid is on the roster. I told you. I am a groupie for the second time in my life. The first art guy I highly respected was Russel Keater, my anatomy and figurative drawing instructor.

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  5. Dear Linda, while I was in Poland someone has stolen my gmail account and sent spam to ALL my contacts ... as he used my identity, my account is now being punished as if I were guilty of something .... Google is looking for fix the problem and my blog has lost all the photos and is reported as dangerous. It is not totally lost because, as an administrator, Danilo was with me.
    It 'nice to follow the progress of your thinking and how thoughts guide your actions. Schmid's book, it is wonderful in all the presentations I've seen. Have a nice week
    and best wishes for the new graduate in the family!

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    1. I'm so sorry for your troubles Rita. They are distressing. I had the nearly the same problem when Blogger/Google sold my name to Big Daddy (some network that had Daddy in its title) who sold it to some guy in Sweden. All the photos were gone. That's how I got to be L.W. and who knows how long that will be safe? The thing to do of course is to buy a website and make sure you keep up the payments and the renewal.

      Schmid is fascinating. I really am having a great time learning how to paint with oils properly. Having majored in sculpture, painting was just something I did all my life how I supposed it was done. I do wake up every morning anxious to read a little bit more and put it into practice where it counts--on the canvas. I don't care if it's not a masterpiece. I do care about the process--matching values, accurate brush strokes, accurate drawing and the importance of EDGES. I do care about cleanliness and avoiding MUD. Schmid has invigorated me.

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  6. The process is fantastic, Linda...thank you for sharing... you painted her beautifully!!!! As far as Richard Schmid... My friend just lent me the DVD..The Captain's Portrait... I'm really looking forward to seeing it...maybe it will inspire me to do a portrait in oils...LOL

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    1. I am getting the drift of gestural, but I am dissatisfied with her still. Her skin tones are all over the place...the DVD sound intriguing. I'll ook it up. I'm curious about everything Schmid. --There's Schmid method summer workshops in Putney, Vermont. It's difficult to get to Putney from where I am I think? It looks like you fly to Boston then rent a car and drive to Putney. I good at flying, not so good at driving by myself to Putney.

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  7. Fascinating! I love how you tell us every step, and you put me to shame...you work so hard. Your analytical mind is making a fine job of it too.

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    1. Coming from behind, hard work is in order if I'm to catch up and surpass the rest of you. Not only am I analytical, but I'm competitive too. I think that's why I like Schmid. He advocates analysis as the place to start. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, art was about self expression or nothing at all, (minimalists). Everybody was doing their own thing and it was all art. It's hard to shake that off. Portraiture demands that you do so. Portraiture is about structure. The gestural style is about expression. For me, both are a perfect blend. Meanwhile, as Roy would tell you, you better be analytical in construction or roofs cave in and shoddy builders go to jail. :-))

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    2. Ha! Indeed, Roy has a much more analytical mind than mine!

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    3. That's one reason your studio is such a secure place. The other is you love what can possibly happen there.

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  8. Congrats to your grandson!

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    1. It was a grand ending and an exciting beginning. Thanks JJ. There were three Valedictorians who had straight A's throughout school. None of them were Asian. ( None of them were my grandson). One of them, a five foot one gal with a wonderful sense of humor, also was offered three scholarships from universities for three different sports. Outstanding!

      Our graduation gift was outstanding too: a tandem skydive. He's always wanted to do that. We wanted to be remembered forever. We'll gather at the airfield to cheer him on in August just before he starts MSU. As always, we will have difficulty whom to root for at the U of M vs MSU game. There's four of us from U of M and now two of us from MSU. Being family, we do like everybody happy.

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  9. Great post! Great painting! They say the muse only comes to those who work. The muse is with you obviously.

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    1. Thanks Dan. Not all come out well though. There's a lot of do-overs trying to catch on to painting shapes directly with general colors. This one had an underpainting start, the one I started yesterday, I tried starting with the general colors only. I might white out that one once I give it another look see? But I am having a wonderful time reading Schmid's wonderful book and experimenting with his methods. Learning lots about the behavior of oils. --BTW his approach while centered on oils does extend to the other painting mediums.--You'd think I was getting a commission for selling his new book. I wish. :-))

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