Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Contour Progress

I felt the need of a larger blow up of the head and hand.  Here's where a
 sophisticated photo editing program would have come in handy.
After years of concentrating on the shape of the positive and negative forms when drawing, contour lines feel  strange, austere, missing something.  What you see took about three hours including scaling the enlarged head photo to match the smaller scaled reference of the whole image.  This step is where all those years of architectural drawing paid off. I kept subdividing the grid squares to get lines more accurate. I was aware of where the grid could go awry. The last few years of drawing and painting with no preliminary drawing kept butting in to make me want to sketch.  I worked all afternoon trying to keep that urge in check.

--Not to worry, I will not keep posting the accomplishments of each day. I do plan on working in some gestural heads to keep life interesting and my eye/hand sharp.  Friday is a drop in painting studio.  I am planning to attend, but I plan to draw, not paint.  The models are clothed.  I need more work on drapery type items than I do on nude figures; I find those boring after so many classes way back when.

This was my first portrait and first oil painting--the one that started all of my research.
I used a grid system for the initial drawing with paint. From there, I went directly into color.
There was no grisaille, monochromatic underpainting. I was my loose self on the background blanket.
The client provided the reference photograph, which was taken by a professional photographer.
This was done in February, 2012.
 

20 comments:

  1. I love how you take the time to construct this self portrait. I don't have that patience may I buy some of yours? Looking forward to see the progress.

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    1. It's not how I take the time, it's how the Venetians took the time way back when. I'm just following what is being taught. I may have made a mistake since my patience runs short, but I am bound to come out of this class with something of value--more patience. :-)). I can tell you one thing: The slow pace of construction and the organization makes this painting style less stressful. In addition, I will definitely know when I am finished. I do know the painting will not be finished in the eleven more weeks of class time. This is not a one semester project.

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  2. De tekening schiet al lekker op en een prachtig schilderij lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thanks Danielle. It's very slow going and it's not going to get any faster. This technique isn't one you see too many painters using. I now understand why. After a summer with Richard Schmid, it's a nice change. I wanted to examine the other side of the coin.

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  3. Hi Linda! What patience you have with that grid and drawing! I used to do that many years ago but I got lazy. Now, I just go for a certain likeness and emotion. People I noticed prefer the photography style. Good luck with this one. The painting you made with the baby and his older brother is just so touching. Congrat!

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    1. Helen, I don't have that much patience. What I do have is a desire to know my choices and capabilities. This is how I find out. I do believe though that the canvas is way too large for learning a technique. The children was a lot smaller.

      I think people do prefer the traditional style. It has history. It has substance. They don't know that both require the same amount of skill. You can't do gestural well, unless you have done this. Thank you.

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  4. I loved seeing your early portrait. Your first oil? Wow. No muddy colors. Lots of volume and good proportions. Well done, Linda!
    I now see the new portrait will be fairly easy for you because you have an eye for what it should look like, clearly in your head. The new technique in your painting will most likely, when completed, have a more refined finish than your previous vision/version. Patience can be totally relaxing. It all depends on how fascinating you find the process and so far I see glimpses of it showing up.
    Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

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    1. Thanks Julie. I think I am curious about the process as a whole. As I said, I used a grid for the kids because I hadn't done a portrait that getting the likeness was important. Commissions do make likenesses count. I didn't do the Grisaille step. Here I will. I also do not handle the paint the way this fellow casually said we will be painting from light to dark. I always did from dark to light. Then there's the matter of painting medium. For the kids I used half oil half mineral spirits. This guy uses two parts spirits to one part oil. The drying will be faster. I may not like that for the blended layer of color. It should be fine for the monochrome step and the local color step, see, I already have my own ideas. This class is only eleven more weeks. I'll see how far I get. I could also use some pointers on brushwork-- I am a Schmid fan after all--and blending. People talk scumbling I want to see someone else's idea of what that is. If I don't finish this, I'll take another class in the Spring; I hibernate in the winter--although I just ordered a pair of North Face boots with some sort of spike on the bottom.

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  5. I love how you changed the focus of the face to be more prominent. It is going to be great! I love your first portrait(s). I remember being amazed that you would take on a double..and of children (baby!) too. What a challenge. I think you like hard stuff!

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    1. Thanks Celeste. I was amazed at that first portrait too. I didn't know I had it in me. Turns out it was a milestone. I am grateful to the young man who gave me the push. Without this one, I wouldn't have been doing what I've been doing these last couple of years, would never have explored Gestural, would never have run into Schmid, would never have run into Burroughs and would never have discovered that I had actually been flirting with the Venetian technique back then, but didn't know it!

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  6. Hello Linda!
    I so very much love "The Contour In Progress!" A great photo of you! Great pose! Beautiful! Full of drama and so much more! I am glad you took a photo of your work in progress. Very eager to see the various stages of this one!
    Love seeing one of your older works! Also beautiful! Love seeing the "sold" sign! Good for you Linda!
    Have a great autumn!
    Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael, but is there a great autumn Michael? After last winter, falling leaves make me shudder thinking of what's coming--LOTS OF GREAT PAINTING DAYS! This Venetian experience plus what I picked up from Richard Schmid will make the dark months glow. Enjoy the golden season. Enjoy easel time.

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  7. Your contour progress is FANTASTIC so far and honestly I would love to see every step you take...you're amazing!!! and as far as your "first portrait"
    OMG!!!! its so beautiful...the precious pose ... color and skin tones ...all amazing! You should be SO proud of yourself.. I am!!!

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    1. Thanks Hilda. I really took my time, stopping frequently to subdivide a square--like the one the eye fell into and the nose. I also blew up portions of the reference photo and made separate prints. Then I did a grid over those scaled according to the reference as a whole. I think that accuracy at this initial step is paramount to the success of the painting. This is a technique dependent on patience.

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  8. This is wonderful , so filled with emotion and love , hard to believe this is your very first portrait in oil , so gorgeous !

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    1. This little painting all took patience, which came easy since I really had no memory of how to use the medium. I used the grid for the initial drawing, but didn't do a monochromatic underpainting. I didn't know what a grisaille was till this class. I went right in with the the darks and worked up to the highlights. I had used oils before, but not for forty years or so. I was as surprised as anyone that the painting was a success. I made no promises to the client.

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  9. Amazing, and so interesting. Please post your daily progress, I am so eager to see, and maybe learn too. Stunning first portrait! Don't you study too hard or you may lose your very fine, magical, instinct!

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    1. The next time you'll see this painting is after I finish nailing down the contour with raw or burnt umbra, I don't remember what earth color was suggested. I have to look at Todd's print-out directions. I was going to start it when I finished the contour, but it wouldn't have had time to dry. I'll start it tomorrow in class. I do not look forward to moving a large, wet canvas back to the car then having to go back for my suitcase. There's a rather steep hill. This is a tough painting to do somewhere other than my studio. It's too big for a learning experience.

      I still haven't finished Henry. I did get to his shoes last week, but they had to dry before I added details.

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  10. You have a TON of patience. It is indeed a virtue. As for the first portrait/oil? Wow!

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  11. Congratulations on the sale! It's a stunning portrait.

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