Monday, November 3, 2014

I Skipped Class; I had A Better Plan

Erin Revisited, Venetian Style. Palette knife being used on background grasses. I'm working from the top down.

Erin using the direct, slow alla prima method.
I skipped class to start a new painting, a considerably smaller painting, using the Venetian Technique.  Erin Revisited is 9" x 12".  It's a size a novice to the method can finish in a thirteen week class period and hopefully less. 

My selfie will be in the monochrome phase till I am satisfied with the value relationships. Working on the tank top, arms, window casing and exterior scene over last week, I realized I won't be happy with the values for a while; adjustments are constant. I needed a fresh start that would get me into the color phase before the last class, December 1st.  Scumbling color to a smooth, life-like finish is why I took the class. 

 While this reference photo has some complex details, it doesn't have as many as the larger portrait--plus, I've gained some experience the last six weeks.  I think the instructor was mistaken to have insisted upon such a large size. He recommended no canvas smaller than 24 by 30 to 'minimize drawing and perspective problems,'   problems I do not have.

Meanwhile my selfie will stay in the studio where it's size and wetness is no transportation problem--especially while the art association is resurfacing their driveway and parking distances are miles from the door. 

IN PROGRESS STILL: Today: window casing and forearm.  Tomorrow: drapes.  In the sixteenth century, artists did do monochromes a section at a time.  Contemporary artists work all over the canvas.  That doesn't work well with the Venetian Technique.  I suspect working the canvas in small sections, establishes the proper values faster and cuts .adjustments down to a few at the finish? Working section by section on Erin will be enlightening--no pun intended--hell yes, pun intended! 

Confined to Studio till the parking lot is finished. 





     

21 comments:

  1. Good thinking, and Erin is a lovely choice. You are putting me to shame with so much work. Flippin' Brill!

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    1. Get out of here! You're cranking them out and each is full of energy and a great sense of color!

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  2. Hi Linda,
    Your comment about the 16th c. technique for monochrome intrigues me. Now I'm motivated to do more reading about earlier painting techniques. And I so look forward to watching Erin Encore come to life!!
    Kathryn

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  3. Google Philip Steadman. He's an architect who got interested in how the Dutch masters--in particular Vermeer--painted his master pieces. He concluded they painted with the aid of the camera obscura. On his website, there's a tab for Methods. It's enlightening reading. My instructor never mentioned the artisans of that century painted in small sections. I wish he had. The problems I was running into with value changes and large areas of wet paint would have been more manageable. --David Hockney, a contemporary artist of note, also looked into historic painting methods and has published an interesting two part video I watched on my iPad. There's also a documentary film called Tim's Vermeer. Tim is an extremely successful inventor who got into film special effects. His dream was to paint a Vermeer after he learned of the tools Vermeer (and no doubt other master painters of that time) used to get the fabulous details and spectacular perspectives we see in their paintings. Tim reproduced Vermeer's Piano Lesson by constructing a camera obscura and inventing a 'hand' mirror that reflected reality onto the surface to be painted. While I firmly believe in perfecting free hand drawing skills, I think many contemporary realistic artists may have been too hard on themselves. Interesting stuff to find out Photo Realism has been around for centuries.

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  4. A super start, Linda. I will look forward to seeing the development of your new piece. I observed your grid making with great awe! i can see why tracing became so popular. It saves so much time. ...but only if you can already draw well enough to be able to correct the distortions of scale the camera lens can make.
    Thanks for the reference to the Steadman site. Really found it interesting.
    I was already familiar with Hockney's take on camera obscura. and I don't happen to agree with ALL of it. Seen a few amazing artists get great accuracy by looking and measuring. He is interesting though.
    Your instructor may not have your "inquiring mind" and may not know what you have learned out of the classroom for your own growth. Please
    let us know what he says.

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    1. I used a bit of a grid--not as complete--more like lining things up with the handle of your brush, plus a few draughtsman tricks. Measurement is nothing new to me after thirty years of design. You're right. Each pencil mark has width and those widths add up to distort ions unless you know to compensate for them.

      The contour came easy. I had suddenly started to free hand contour during my SAD light Am sessions--that's what made me choose Erin. I decided to draw her again and found myself drawing her in contour. Odd. I hated contour drawing in art college! Anyway, going smaller is the right move. I don't think I'll pass that info on to him. He's young. Let him make his own discoveries. I got what I wanted from this class plus all my reading and experimentation this last year.

      Another interesting piece of info from the past: way back in old fashion times, artist sat as they painted, and held the brush like a pencil as they scumbled. These last weeks my painting hand has been cramping--freezing in the pencil holding position. To stop that, I've been training myself to scumble holding the long brushes as they should be held. That has required knowing exactly how little paint you need on the brush. I haven't sat down yet either, though everyone in the class sits. I still like to back up and squint as I've done all my life.

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  5. Great drawing Linda! I love the alla prima you've done and will just have to wait to see the new Erin. All very exciiting! Your own painting is also looking so god already.

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    1. Thanks Helen. The alla prima came out okay, but i have to see if I have the patience to paint as exacting as the old masters. What I like about their calculating method is it does away with all the doubt as to when enough is enough. What I don't like about their method is it lacks heart.

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  6. Hi Linda
    I really, really like your "selfie"!! I will follow your progress with anxious anticipation. We learn very much about value and design when going monochromatic no mater the choice of hue.
    I often use a grid when getting something "just right" is important to me. It is a method that still requires the skills of the artist even if it is not "free-hand" drawing.
    I visit your blog often even though I don't comment. I love your energy and creativity!
    Thanks for being a blog friend.
    Steven

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    1. My pleasure Steve. I really enjoyed your paintings, both the trees and those very creative mandalas. I tried my hand at those a couple of years back, but I don' think I had the right attitude. Yours are elegant.

      The grid is a very h andy tool. I've used it in combination with free hand drawings. It's a great tool for getting the right slant on a weird angle. I like my camera too for stopping the light and freezing the moment. No purist here. :-))

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  7. You're doing such a fantastic job on Erin, Linda!!! She's beautiful and I look forward to seeing your next post. I'm glad you're working slowly with your self-portrait....it's amazing so far!! Like you said...getting those values correctly is everything.!

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    1. It was amazing Hilda. I like to sketch while i's sitting in front of the SAD light for a half hour first thing in the morning. Sketching has always meant drawing fast and loose, but a couple of mornings ago, I started drawing Erin in contour. I was very surprised; I really did hate contour in College. I was also surprised that I was doing it free hand and without taking my eye off the angles of the shapes. I figured something in this method had sunk in to get me to slow down and increase my accuracy. I was amazed. Then I figured in should do Erin in the Venetian method, but smaller, a lot smaller. Smaller, I could get closer to a finish by the end of class. The instructor is going to be surprised that I changed in mid stream, but I'm the customer. I want to get what I came for: how to scumble that smooth finish. Not that I don't enjoy robust brushwork, I absolutely do, but all robust and no finesse can be too robust. :-)).

      As luck would have it, scumbling came naturally yesterday during my at home session. I just started to do it--made a few value errors, but they were easily detected and corrected. What I don't like about scumbling is how hard it is on my hand. The cramping meant, I needed more breaks. Tim, in Tim's Vermeer, mentioned that he couldn't work longer than fifteen minutes before he had to break. I must have been doing everything right?

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  8. Bonjour chère amie,

    La peinture de Erin est pleine de charme. Vous avez merveilleusement bien capturé le regard malicieux de cette enfant.
    Je suis également séduite par votre autoportrait qui prend une fière allure. Quel magnifique travail ! Bravo !

    Gros bisous ☂

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    1. Thanks Martine. As her grandmother, Erin's expression both fascinates and scares me. It's seductive--too seductive for an eleven year old! This is a cropped reference, I am considering doing a painting of my original photograph depending how my portrait comes out--and how my hand holds up. Hugs and many flawless paintings, Linda

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  9. What a great photo reference - you cropped it for a very interesting composition. And your contour drawing is right on. What a great start, Linda. As Robert Henri once said - "Do whatever you do intensely." And you do.

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    1. Thanks Susan. I think I'm coming to the end of my education--at least by the end of this class, the first of December. It's been an intense few months. There's a few other studies I have in mind, but on my own. I am looking forward to painting wet into wet watercolors on the beach in
      December.

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  10. oooo it is smart to shift gears and do another (different/smaller) painting. That's using your head! So often in classes I would dutifully do what the assignment was when I realize (now) that veering off would have served me better. It's all about learning. You're off to another great start. I will be watching both paintings with interest! :)

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    1. I might have waited too long? The monochrome of Erin is going slowly being that I chose this week to have work guys in to maintain the place. I'm going to have to work full time over the weekend to get somewhere by next Monday. Meanwhile I am making progress with my selfie. The best I will take away from this class is the value of doing a monochrome for teaching students how to read values--unfortunately I am not teaching yet. I will be trying this method out smaller yet--minus using a grid drawing. The grid drawing is a valuable thing to know if students don't know how to draw or you're doing a commissioned portrait of someone's children. Having drawn both free hand and mechanically and both together my whole working life, it was just time consuming. As I told Susan, my formal education is over.

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  11. I love to visit your wonderful blog Linda! Your work is outstanding and your text is always informative and so very interesting. I feel like I know you so well! I am thrilled to be one of your art buddies! Thanks so much for taking the time to post your art and more! Take care Linda! You are one of the best!
    Michael

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    1. You too Michael! This project has hardly allowed me to lift my hand away from the canvas! So a smaller project was needed. At this point, I am looking forward to getting back to myself. I've explored all the method I needed to explore from the Venetians.

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