Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Grisaille Gets Some Color

Erin, oil, 12" x 16", A grisaille start is getting color.
She sat waiting for me since I finished the grisaille layer of her portrait last October. I decided it was time to give her some color.   I began with a few strands of her hair on the left side of her face which related to the beach towel she's sitting on.  To get the values of the hair strands, I had to establish the values in the beach towel.  I love the way the grisaille layer guides the value mix. It . takes the guess work out. The important thing to remember is to start at the top side and work down--or carry a big mahl stick!

MORNING THIRTY MINUTE DRAWING SESSION:


Poor girl has no feet.  She was taller than my sketch pad! 
This lovely with the swan neck and great hair had the worst
 expression on her face when I blew up the reference.

I sort of suspected I would run out of space with the gal texting in the sun, but I wanted to take a look at the striking contrast of the values anyway.  She took more than one session (2.5) of measurement and shading and erasing.  I like her for another beach people painting--she will have the use of her toes in that one.

This other gal I spotted in the pool with her boyfriend/husband.  I loved her luscious hair and long neck. Classic good looks! But they must have been having a few words even though they looked pretty loving from a distance.  When I blew her up and saw those eyes closed, her lips pursed and her chin jetted out I couldn't imagine what he might have said--either that, or he was about to toss her into the water and she was braced? 

I am having a ball reliving our holiday with these little sketches. They bring back the warmth, the aromas, the pleasures of the beach while snow is falling outside  my window.

 

12 comments:

  1. Love your involvement in the classical approach - grisaille then build on it. I seems to me to be the best way to nail the value scheme of the picture. Great pointer for us all. Your sketches are great fun.

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    1. Those sketches have extended our holiday! As I draw these strangers, I can see them live, in the flesh and in full color. It's an enjoyable half hour.

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  2. Still spending time looking at that header.

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    1. A grisaille is a workout! In painting over Erin's grisaille, I'll see if that initial workout is worth the time and effort. I must say, I do like the precision of this method as much as I like the feeling of spontaneity of alla prima or the gestural direct method. The gestural method begins with an excitement that quickly dies as the painting takes on a life of its own and becomes demanding.

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  3. I love how Erin is coming along! The grisaille does for you what a good shaded drawing does for me - it's an indispensable guide. I look forward to more of Erin.
    Kathryn

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    1. I have no idea how fast or slow the color layer will be the beach towel was any indication. It should be quick? I've always done a loose monochrome start when I painted, but never solidly painted the draw-in in. You could always see the canvas through the paint and details weren't addressed. The grisaille method is a solid finish and perhaps a clearer one? I am using Erin to see what I missed by not taking a second class from Todd Burroughs. I thought his recommended size was way too large for teaching a painting method that is incredibly slow. Stupid. The grisaille of me will stay a grisaille. Using myself as the guinea pig, I have no obligation to anyone to color it.

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    2. Love your attitude, Linda! I feel you are doing so well in learning and improving your painting techniques. [not well said, on my part, but well meant]

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  4. Love the introduction of color to Erin.
    Neat to know you have found a method you like so much. Some artists never do.

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    1. I like all of the starts. Starts are the fun part. Finishes are where things get blurry. :-))

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  5. Beautiful work Linda! A fresh and lovely painting and I see winter is not too hard on you...: Ha ! Ha !

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    1. That Sun Torch SAD lamp has made all the difference in the world! Just thirty minutes exposed to those eye opening rays while drawing to keep from being bored has made me so much more cheerful. Snow actually looks good to me, beautiful really. Great grays! I highly recommend it to anyone who lives in the dark during these months. I had no idea that I "suffered" from Seasonal Adjustment Disorder. I just thought winter made me grumpy because the elements are grumpy. But my therapist that SAD might be responsible for some of my gloomy attitudes and recommended it. I didn't follow his advice for three years, then I thought, what the hell. It couldn't hurt. I found one on sale at Etsy and bought it in spite of my grumpy spouse saying it was snake oil. Snake oil for some may just be a happy placebo for others? Anyway, it did the trick and a happy bonus is the drawings.

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    2. I have a close friend I told about "your" light and she got one and LOVES it. Her daughter is sooooo grateful.
      See what good you have done passing it on.

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