Sunday, November 23, 2014

L.W. Roth, The Oldest



One morning with Henry, the next with Holbein, The Younger's painting of Erasmus, painted in 1523


Erasmus must have been the
model for Scrooge. He
has a very slight smile that
looks like he doesn't
smile much. 
Erasmus's eyes are too open in my sketch, but Ellis walked into the session with his second cup of coffee and I was distracted  by talk of what goes to the cleaner, bathing suits not fitting over our bellies and what's all this junk on the couch? I told him to shove over my too small discards and take a seat. I was enjoying the  banter.  --But while chatting about nothing important,  my artist's eye was noting Holbein's elegant skin tones--tones to aspire to later in the studio.  Holbein is,  as Schmid suggested, an old master to note.  There's a lot of linear edges in this portrait done in what looks like Burnt Sienna--or Transparent Red Oxide?  The guy had a real light touch and knew how to render a curve.  If you look closely at the painting, you can see Holbein's brush strokes; they follow form. I do suspect he used glazes, wheras Todd Burroughs, my instructor on the Venetian Tecnique, does not.    Holbein used very light lines in his drawings as well as his paintings and  then some color washes. Somewhere during my Holbein observation, I changed over from a General 370something to a Berol HB. I needed to lighten up my heavy hand.  HB wasn't light enough.  I got a 3H. 

My study of Holbein's portrait of Erasmus launched a new sketch book, but there were sketches in the old one that have painting potential--in 2015

Piggyback with Brittney and JD.  JD was fine, but I cropped Brittney out of the drawing. I made such a mess of her, she needed her own study.   I also did a separate drawing of JD's hands clasped around her neck.  For that sketch, I constructed a little grid within the free hand drawing.   You use whatever tools you have to get the measurements, right.

This gal has got hypnotic eyes. 

Then Henry and Alison.
A study of how these two heads fit together done after the sketch in my last post.


Sargent's Gabriel examined by LWR. 
As I was studying a Sargent drawing this morning and trying to mimic his elegant strokes, I started to wonder why am I doing this?  Holbein's skin tones noted will  be helpful, but copying Sargent's line/mass drawings may be inhibiting my own development?  Sargent is dead.  He had an elegant touch--as did Holbein.  My touch is bolder.   I stopped trying to reproduce Sargent and began looking at the subject--his glorious hair, the proud stance, the haughty look in his eyes--and making my own marks.  We all  have artists we admire, but when it comes to putting down a mark, it's our own that counts. 

NOW WHAT ABOUT THIS GIANT MONOCHROME THAT'S GOING ON AND ON?
 Everyday, I scumble a bit more, just a bit, for my  patience runs out quickly.  Eventually, however,  this elder will finish it--I'll just be an older elder-- I'll be L.W.Roth, The Oldest!  OMG!



I am down to working out  details--the drapes, the window casing,  the arms, the view out the window--all are a matter of balancing the values and treating the edges.   I decided to do a separate study in color of  the scene out the window  the other day, but it was an alla prima wipe out. That area has to be treated as carefully as the rest of the elements.  My failure tipped me off that I've had enough painting for a while.  I am pleased with how this one is going.  It's just going to have to get there next year.

If weather permits, I'm taking it  to class tomorrow for a critique.  After that,  I'm through for the Holidays. The next paintings you'll see posted will be watercolors. They will be colorful. They will be abstract.  They will be fun. They will be free.   Have a lovely holiday season. Drive safely, have that extra glass of hooch at home--otherwise, get a cab.  Don't overdo on the Christmas cookies. Too many cookies in December spoil June. Cherish your loved ones even if they have no sense of humor and hate the reindeer sweater or the polka dot socks.  Tis the season to be jolly. Laugh and make merry.  Hugs to all and to all a good night.   Linda

 



19 comments:

  1. You are SOOo bloody clever, Linda. I admire the way you 'go' at things as if you don't want anything to vanish before you capture it. You, and a number of others hereabouts, drove me to painting. From your architectural background and precision, you pointed me in a new direction and showed me how to cover myself and the door handles in paint..............Thanks for that

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    1. Next on my list of household chores is wiping off door handles and switch plates! The banisters could use some attention as well. That's how it goes in a painter's house. I am finding oils cleaner than acrylics. The paint will also come out of clothing. It is odd that I have returned to the pencil, after putting it aside five years ago--or is it? The precision of the Venetian Method, has stirred my love for draughtsmanship. Thanks John. It's nice to see you here and on my side bar.

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  2. Wow! That is a post and a half! I would be loathe to spoil L.W.Roth. The Oldest! with colour. She is magnificent. No really, your slow, steady, meticulous hard work has paid off. But I love those sketches, something I rarely do. Good point that your own mark, way of doing things is important, and I never did see the point of copying others' work. My favourite..........piggyback! What a delightful study. You are amazing. Enjoy your holiday.

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    1. Well who knows when I can paint during this week filled with all the stuff you have to do to get away. Trouble is I keep adding art supplies to the beach bag. I was thinking charcoal and pastels yesterday, but snuffed the idea. The possibility of too much scrubby chalk dust on the beach towel. I am a good guest.

      I'm thinking the same about the portrait. Tidy it up and let it go at that. I like Piggy Back best. It's fun. Henry and daughter is sweet, but I need a little fun. Thanks for the Wow. That's what I think after all these weeks. Talk about stamina. I still gots it! It's my patience that runs out after a half hour and I have to pace the house. :-))

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  3. Great post..love all the sketches. I was copying Sargent too and had the same epiphany --why am I doing this? I really did enjoy doing it and I DO think I learned things...but after awhile I had my fill of it. Your looking-out-the-window painting is truly fantastic. I hope you'll share the critique with us. I can't imagine that anything is wrong with it! Have a very happy vacation. :)

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  4. I enjoy doing it too, but his 'handwriting' is his and ours is ours. He and Holbein both got me to add 3Hs to the pencil box. With my heavier hand solved, now I have to figure out how to get the darks dark enough without increasing the shine that heavily applied graphite has. A YouTube video pencil artist used charcoal. I tried that out; it's too dark. Maybe rubbing alcohol? But that would change it from a drawing to a painting...

    While I would like Todd's input on that painting, I really hate dragging all the stuff to class just to get it. The painting IS going well. My scumbling has a telltale impatience in it, but I don't mind it and as I get closer to solidifying the form, I also get less active with the brush. I am not after photographic realism, I like the painterly touch. --and what did we decide about handwriting? We each have our own way of making a mark. Sometimes, I can be real hard headed.

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    1. PS: maybe I could bring it to one of your Thursday get togethers?

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  5. Your sketches are awesome ...just like this post... I love how you're adding the details to your painting and the drapes are amazing as well as the outside view....Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will look forward to more of your sketches.. !!!

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    1. No more awesome than yours. Thanks Hilda. The drapes are coming along. Today, I did more work on the right arm. It's a punch in the stomach when you have to paint your own arm with all the evidence of age related muscle deterioration and the resulting saggy skin. It's a darnn good thing I picked myself to scrutinize! A client wouldn't pay up. I call this painting, the painting from hell, but only because it's forcing me to do my best and that takes time and calls upon all my knowledge of painting. It's demanding. It's work. It's like draughting--the reason I loved Alla prima painting. When I'm working on it, however, I am enjoying every minute. The demanding technique satisfies my appreciation of precision. Weird. Like I said, I can't wait to splash some watercolor.

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  6. You have been BUSY, madame!!! I love Holbein's work, too - as you say, beautiful skin tones, subtle colors. I love you very own personal take on Sargent. Your style is most distinctive ... play with the masters, but do it your way [I know, you do already] I am so looking forward to seeing your self-portrait finished. It looks superb already, Linda. Have a wonderful holiday!!!!!
    Kathryn

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. You too. You will promise not to laugh at my watercolors when I get back? They will be child's play. I am looking forward to doing just that. Holbein's flesh tones are next on my color mixing, chart making agenda. For this portrait, I found the nine step chart I made of Burnt Umbra most helpful when I began this new adventure into almost photographic realism. The more I painted, the more I could read the values on sight. Flesh tones can be mixed and stepped out too. Of course, the issue of temperature will be more complex in full color than with one color--although I did add ultramarine to the burnt umbra for a darker than dark tone. Just because the Venetians didn't do that, doesn't mean I can't. You know, I think I will miss this painting. As demanding as it is, I get a kick out of working the oils and getting the the blends right. It was, however, way too ambitious for a class project. I did email the instructor my opinions.

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  7. Wonderful sketches, Linda, indeed your style is very distinctive. Have a wonderful holiday!

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    1. Thanks Judy. You have a lovely holiday season too. I'm celebrating in between celebrations with 'Fun With Watercolors.'

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  8. Hi Linda,
    Very nice drawings. I agree with what you said about working on Sargent. I simply look at his work, am profoundly amazed and stop at that.
    You must be thinking about Mexico about now and who can blame you!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and New Year.
    Sincerely,
    Gary, and Michele, too.

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    1. Sitting in front of my SAD light, drawing for 30 minutes makes me not sad at all. It's a good way to kick off the day-- and therapeutic as well -- for those of us who detest dark mornings. I wish you and Michelle a wonderful holiday season too.

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  9. Hi Linda - enjoyed seeing your drawings. Do you know who was influenced by Holbein, but made it his own style - NICOLAI FECHIN! Check out his amazing work, Holbein had that very fine line and Fechin found a way to incorporate it into his brilliant work. There is a guy who could REALLY draw
    I chose a link I know is safe.
    http://linesandcolors.com/2011/11/25/nicolai-fechin-drawings-on-inspiration-blog/
    Enjoy your vacation in the sun. I look forward to breezy and happy watercolors.

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    1. Well, they're rather crude compared to Fechin. Looks like ink to me and reminds me of Holbein, but also Michaelangelo. Quill pen point not some pen points off the shelf at the art store. Maybe whatever calligraphers use? Phenomenal! Many hours spent observing, drawing. Thank you. I had never had the pleasure.

      I downloaded a oh so true cartoon book--The Secret to Being A Great Artist--http://mail01.tinyletterapp.com/doodlealley/the-secret-to-being-a-great-artist/1747261-doodlealley.com/k6ld8h92nj/thesecrettobeingagreatartist.pdf?c=fb4909d1-f256-410b-aeaf-e6b61a7aa421

      It's from Doodle Alley. Very clever with a very simple message elaborately illustrated and well written--draw, draw, draw.

      My beach bag is growing almost too heavy to carry to the beach! While I used to be concerned about the clothing I was taking, I am now thinking--graphite, charcoal, pastels, water markers, a charcoal pad. How can I leave home without them? What if? --I recall in college how my roommate and me had one outfit we threw on every evening to go to dinner. We called it our dinner outfit I'm back to that way of thinking: one pair of palazzo pants, a tank top ( I still wear them) and a jacket, all black coordinated, of course. Then to dress it up, one necklace. Art supplies, my swim noodle, my water volley ball and my camera get the rest of the space in the case. I have trouble leaving the things that make me, me, behind. :-))

      Happy Holidays Julie.

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  10. I so love everything about your drawings! Great skills Linda!!! I also very much enjoy your text! Have the best holiday season and enjoy the warm weather! Love hearing your bathing suit "banter!" So nice to laugh!
    Michael

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    1. You get to an age Michael and what's now compared with what was then is just hard to take. But I'm going swimming anyway. Thanks Michael for all your kind words these last years. I must get to the Boston area before I need a larger size swim suit.

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