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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cold Feet

Why did I start this painting by drawing on an untoned canvas?
Because I was testing out (without)) thinking a 3H pencil, one
of the things on my supply list for class.  Most of the pencils around here are HB
and softer.  I never draw lines; I see shapes. Now what I do?

With everything back in its place in the studio, I'm back to work--mostly .gathering together the supplies I need for Todd Burrough's Venetian Technique Painting Class, which starts September 8th.  I am getting a bit nervous--a lot nervous.  The catalogue said this class is for third level painters.  While some of my paintings might be third level, quite a few of them fall in categories I consider way below that level. I do hate what the quest for excellence does to me. In the drawing classes I took,  my drawing bested the rest.  But that was then and this is now-- fifty some odd years later and a long career doing a whole different kind of drawing. I hope I can keep up? Yes, I've got a case of cold feet to the extent that today, I did what I have never done:  used a #3H pencil to draw in Henry.  It's a start I find odd, yet my supply list called for a hard lead pencil, a knead eraser and a straight edge. I assumed I could expect an initial draw-in.  I had to try this start for myself, but forgot to tone the canvas! My conclusion pencil doesn't belong in a painting, paint does. I will try not to walk in on the wrong foot and with the wrong attitude. I will be open minded.

(FYI Denatured Alcohol does a fine job erasing pencil on acrylic primed ground, better than the knead eraser).

We'll be working on one painting from a reference photograph for thirteen weeks. I am considering the following photographs, but leaning towards my granddaughter in her slutty maid Halloween garb, more gaudy Lautrec than pristine Renaissance--or Steve napping.  I'll keep looking. Right now what am I going to do with a too heavily pencil drawn kid sitting on a rock? Why did I not tone the canvas? In my frenzie to get back to work, I skipped a beat! I should have known better--but practice and practice and practice and problem solving will decrease.

I like the three figures in this one and the monochromatic, limited palette, but
I suspect it's too complicated for a new student of the Venetian method. The glare of the lights on the mirror
and the stuff on the vanity have to go. Keep the towel, the toothbrush and paste; clear the rest including the background doorways and picture. The shaving cream by Jon's hand might be okay?
Possible title Les Hommes  ala Toilet, also Very Lautrec.  Maybe It's A Man's World?

Unknown photographer, but well known grand daughter dressed in her slutty maid garb for Halloween.
Maybe a bit too Lautrec and not enough Titian?  Would be fun to paint though. Center her. Finish her right arm, get rid of the door. Muted Chinese red is a perfect ground color to go with those lips and the sultry look.


I like this one too. It may be perfect for a first.  It's fuzzy, but I could get him to nap for me again, cut the strength of the daylight and zero in--plus I've had practice--but do get rid of the .TV changer!
 I've never been asked to bring a reference photo to class. This is very unusual.  Usually there's a model, but I do love the idea of putting all that time into painting a loved one rather than a stranger.
Of the Flemish Renaissance paintings my favorite is Brueghel's  The Wedding Dance, which  is and will remain in the collection of the DIA. He painted the peasants, folks like us living normal lives.

This is really one hell of a painting!  It's a lot clearer seen in person. Pay our fabulous art collection a visit. I'll meet you.
We also have a couple of Titians and Van Eyke,  of course, thanks to the Fords, other automotive giants and the
Founders' Society of which I've been a member since I was seventeen.

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND! A nice holiday weekend for sure, but, in my opinion, the worst holiday of the year.  Even though we have till September 21st to enjoy summer, we insist upon cutting summer off at this holiday. How dumb can you get! Kathleen Turner could kill me, but I'm still wearing white.



  1. So much on which to comment ...
    Definitely do a painting of your grand-daughter! Not too sure about the bathroom scene, though the concept is very interesting. Your sleeping son will make a good a great reference, too. And I love Brueghel's [father and son] work, too. You will be FINE in the class!!! And you'll love it!
    I'm having qualms about teaching this fall, too. - bit nervous ...

    1. But you will be the instructor, the lady at the head of the class. You are very organized and meticulous in your approach and process. You have a lovely way about you and your demo posts have been very enlightening to this person who just knows wet-into-wet, no more. You're going to do great.

      I'm nervous not about how I'll do, but do I really want to learn a tighter approach to painting than what I've been doing all summer? Schmid gave me a point of view that freed me up My impulse to go ahead was based on my thinking "know how to paint tight and loosening will be easier given the stricter approach." I have no idea if that's true or something I made up. I might be doing this half-assed backward. But this year is a year of education for me. I found my subject. I found my medium. Now I want the best approach for my temperament. I'm also going to attend the open drawing studio with my charcoals. That should balance the "Venetian technique?" When class is over December 1st, I'm putting away the oils, getting out my watercolor materials and heading for the beach to play wet into wet while wet for three weeks. By the time the holidays are over, my head will have cleared. I hope.

  2. I admire your courage, and think you will get a lot out of it. Julia Child didn't learn to cook through a book - she went to the best!

    I choose number 3. I think it's interesting - love all the colors in the pillows and the shirts. I don't find the fuzziness bothersome - paint is not so linear. My only concern would be that you don't have an entire hand there. There is something in the way. But number 2 is great too. I agree that number 1 you could get too hung up in details.

    Finally, some folks outline on untoned canvas and then do the underpainting from that, and then finesse it after. Why not? I try many ways to paint. The actylic painting I am working on now started with a white drawing in watercolor pencil on black canvas. That was a switch. But I am being too tight. That is the drawback to line, I think. I love the drawing though!!

    1. I think so too, trouble is none of those colors are on the limited palette and that throws me. There are browns, transparent red oxide and ultramarine plus light and dark yellow ochre. Lemon yellow isn't a choice. It's going to be interesting how the instructor responds to my choices. The first one is complicated. Perhaps just a good photo? I'll keep hunting while I review the Renaissance painters over the weekend--maybe dress myself in drab browns and do a self portrait? Might be fun?

      Once I hit that drawing with paint I should be fine. Lines have never kept me in; they're just a guide. But the #3 H did okay. I just don't like it when the graphite mixes with the paint. It muddies it unless there's a fixative--and fixative adversely affects the tooth of the surface. I tried it once with a charcoal under-drawing. I'll think about it tomorrow. fiddle dee dee.

  3. Linda, dear - you in the brown school! Yikes and more YIKES! This is going to be interesting for me to see. I think of you as such a wonderful contemporary painter and love your colors. Also hard for me to imagine you going back in time and coloring in-between the lines.
    You will be top of the class - wait and see - and you may sneak a bit of color and light into your work that will influence everyone else.
    Choice of image - My take is the two males at the sink. I like the linkage of the light areas. You said the reason you liked the Brueghel is because it was portraying reality of the time. This image is certainly in our time. Maybe too complex to start off with, but definitely lots of different surfaces and textures to learn how to do in that particular method. Quite exciting.
    I thought graphite or pencil eventually bleeds thru oil painting. Acceptable in watercolor and acrylic... so maybe it is to sketch out preparatory drawing first to transfer???? This curious mind wants to know.

    1. L.W.Roth,August 29, 2014 at 7:46 AM
      Me too! Funny thing, I woke up this morning thinking I think I have room in my school bag for Quinacrodone violet and a Yellow--Naples is in Italy; it's Venetian. All I saw looking through Renaissance art yesterday was dames and squires, church people and some gal with a blue hat and pearl earring. A bust does not require 24 x 36.

      My boys shaving is complicated in form, but the colors are nearly monochromatic and there is a nice pattern of light and dark. Maybe save that one for the deep winter months and just get his drift this fall? I'll going to find a few more photos I wouldn't mind spending time with and make my decision based on what I see others have and what is said. Meanwhile I still need rags--not paper toweling, but rags. Anything that's a rag around here is worn to paint in. I might have to buy some! :-)). --as for pencil, he called for no drawing pads, but a straight edge, otherwise known as a ruler. He might be heading towards making a grid? I've done a grid before for complicated subjects, but put that method aside a couple of years ago when I decided to depend on my own drawing skills and eye for space. As for little Hank, I'm going to lightly rub him out, leaving a ghost of the drawing. Then start in with the paint. I don't like photographic painting. It's redundant and way too uptight for paint. I do appreciate the ability and the patience if that's what that is?


  4. Dear Linda.
    I saw on the Web, the painter, the methods of his school ... These ways seem to me those of the base of the photo-realism, here in Italy, which refers to Caravaggioand that many successful painters use for their prestigious (and very expensive) painting.
    I believe that this experience combined with that made ​​by the methods of Schmidt, will create fireworks from you !!! I'm looking forward...have nice week end!!!

    1. This class will be the other side of the coin. It will be interesting. After it's over, we re going on a long holiday, which I'm sure will give me enough time to sort things out and come out with what is useful. What isn't, I'll discard. I suspect the first thing in the trash bin will be the #3H pencil. I was painting little Henry today and I kept thinking i was coloring in a coloring book. The longer I worked, however, the looser I became. I was tossing aside the restraints of that pencil drawing. This painting will not be my best, but it will clarify which processes are for me and which are not. All of Schmid's processes aren't for me either. No way am I going to get involved in manufacturing my own canvases.

  5. This is a truly fascinating post Linda. I think it's your admission of nervousness (you'll do great darling) and your choices of photo references.
    I vote, assuming I get one, for the first one titled Man's World. (I vote for that title too.)
    My reasons? Glad you asked...
    1. YOU think it's the most complicated. So start there.
    2. I think it's the most interesting. We've seen all the other paintings, have we not?
    3. This photo will stretch you and that's why you've taken the class in the first place.

    On the other hand... I don't see a wrong move in choosing any of these! All will teach you something and all will result in a beautiful work.
    Your initial drawing, by the way, is fabulous. You still got it.

    1. Don't back down! You gave me your best opinion stick with it. I'm going to take all three photos with me and see what the other "kids" bring.

      Venetian paintings seem to have story telling backgrounds religious and otherwise. For the most part they are complicated. I favor the story of It's a Man's World too. It has social significance. It is a modern theme. It balances out an old world painting technique. I'm not expecting to come away from this class with a masterpiece tucked under my arm.

  6. Wat een schatje het ziet er nu al goed uit gaat vast heel mooi worden Linda lieve groetjes Daniƫlle