Saturday, July 12, 2014

'Jerry' and 'Tom'

'Jerry,' a value study, oils on canvas board,  9" x 12"


JD's head has been
added to my wall
AFTER softening some edges,
 hardening some edges and
losing some entirely.
 This is 'Jerry.' I spotted him and his friend 'Tom' at the neighborhood diner.  Pretending to be figuring out how my camera worked, I snapped their photo.  I liked the look of good friends. I liked the red glass on the bar in front of them with the brilliant, bluish backlighting. I tend to photograph subjects backlighted often.  The results are a challenge to balance in Photoshop, yet I keep doing it.  I either have to consciously choose seats at the bar with better lighting or learn to deal with what backlighting does to skin tones. 

Both value studies were done quickly--an hour or two--with value accuracy and edges in mind.  Tom taught me how many more sketches I have to do to get where I want to go with both.   Jerry's monochrome scheme was much more comfortable to do.  With Tom, I tried Holbein The Younger's pink underlay to see if a mid-tone flesh tones simplified the value dance.   I can't decide if it confuse me or it helped.  A mid tone pinkish flesh tone certainly made more sense. There were a lot more soft
edges with Jerry and Tom than with Johnny Depp. Depp was mostly hard edged.  The harsh, overhead lighting made him that way.



'Tom', A value study, oils on canvas board, 9" x 12"
I noticed with both of these sketches, that they got better when I got aggravated with how things were going. I guess I free up when I think I've screwed up? The Schmid lesson here is the importance of practice, practice, practice.

18 comments:

  1. They are both such good portraits, Linda... I love Tom......SO realistic... and love the blues in Jerry!! Both wonderful value studies....You're doing such amazing portraits lately...!!!!

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    1. Thanks Hilda. I do think I have improved since I've been studying Schmid's books. He talks to me. Of course, painting daily shoves you a long way forward too.

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  2. Loving every minute of you progress. Tom is particularly impressive. I have learned only recently that it is better to paint a portrait on a toned ground! Not the white canvas! You go girl!

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    1. I liked mixing a flesh tone 'pink' to use as the under-layer. It set the standard for finding the right tones for the important forms. I started the first portrait for this week the same way--this time removing paint from the lightest areas with a q-tip. Before pink, I used Burnt Sienna as I was taught years ago--but that usually led to a dark painting. A middle pink ground, like a white ground, doesn't effect the brilliance of the colors.

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  3. Spatial fluidity, colors, values ​​... your strong portraits take shape and life, with bold and dare .
    I admire all these developments that the practice involves, speeding the painting process in the magic moment , when the idea is "new born" in the painter mind.

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    1. Educated spontaneity is what I'm after. It's coming along. --I love that portrait that Olivier did of you and your grandchild! What a generous act of friendship.

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  4. Jerry knocks my socks off! Your value study is complete with lost and found edges, bold brushwork and great personality shinning through. I love it. I wonder what you think of the Holbein pink under-color. Does it help you determine the correct values as you paint? I almost never begin with a white canvas. I find them much too scary! Nice work, Linda. I am also interested in your comment about freeing up as your frustration grew. That happens with me at times.

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    1. First off, Thank you. Second, I mostly start with a canvas wiped down with Burnt Sienna. Holbein's flesh tone pink was better--lighter, brighter, not as heavy. It did give me a measuring standard for mixing the lights and the darks, which I still mixed too intuitively instead of using my gray scale to judge their accuracy against the 'live' reference photo. Naturally, my intuitive mixes were slightly off--in most cases way too light. They needed several adjustments. I got annoyed with myself for not having taken the time and the painting began looking patchy to me. That's when I figured 'broken is broken', a saying I came up with years ago when I attempted to repair my locked garbage disposer and took it apart on the kitchen floor to get out the hairpin that had fallen in. I figured then, why not try to fix it myself rather than call a service man because I could.be successful and in case I wasn't, broken is broken and the service guy would fix whatever I did wrong on top of what was wrong. When I figure I've ruined a painting, I rarely just wipe it out or throw it away. I start to play with it because I can do no more wrong--broken is broken. Often that's when things start coming together. My inhibitions are gone.

      Reading about making art is a lot like taking a tennis lesson or a painting workshop. Lessons make you stiff. They constipated you to an extent. The cognitive information stops you up for a time as you take in the information, digest it, get comfortable with it, and finally add it to your archives. Till it's yours, your serve and your paintings may be way off the mark. I am not finding that with Schmid. Schmid and I are on the same wave-length. His writings are completely comprehensible to me.

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  5. These are all really GREAT. I did an oil study today (a portrait) and OMG it soooo sucked. I bow to you!

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    1. Thank you, but today is today and there's another portrait to be tried. For a while there both Jerry and Tom went through an ugly, OMG stage.

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  6. I laughed reading Celeste above. I cannot imagine her producing anything BAD. It is all relative. Bad for her is most likely great for others.
    I am enjoying following your journey and see you are not using RS colors for flesh. I find that intriguing. I do like the one of Jerry best but only because it is more fully realized - full face.
    I went back to look at your older portraits and they are still waaaay better than most artists can ever hope to do. No matter what the media. Good is. Good!

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    1. Me neither. Forgive me, but what does RS stand for? Am I having a senior moment? No neatly packaged flesh color for me, just a little yellow ochre, a little Terra rosa, a dash of cadmium red medium and a palette knife swipe of white-- then throw in a dash of Cadmium yellow medium to warm it a bit and a smidgen of sap Green to cool it down and stir well--or some mixture like that? :-)) I do hope to pass up a few artists in this genre. It is perfect for me. The shame is, I waited so long to discover my pension and begin training. The joy is, I did and this beats playing golf.

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    2. RS stands for Richard Schmid - sorry Linda. Being a lazy typist.

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    3. Whoops! you would have thought I would have caught it. Must have been sleeping when I read your comment. All this reading and painting knocks me out. Sorry.

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  7. Linda, your portrait study of "Tom" is superb!!! And I do the same - loosen up when I feel I have screwed up!
    Kathryn

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    1. So maybe we should botch the job in the very first strokes to shake off our stage fright and relax? We're only making pictures. What's the big deal? :-)). Thanks. Just exercising daily as Schmid suggested. The more regularly we paint, the less scary the white surface.

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  8. I think all three look fantastic. You've got talent, lady :-)

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    1. Thanks--but talent, alas, isn't enough. One has to really work at this everyday! It's exhausting! Just kidding, of course, but I owe my current status to Richard Schmid. He has me looking in the right direction. It's been a very informative and richly rewarding summer.

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