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Friday, January 9, 2015

Do Overs

 What's wrong with this painting?  Her balance is off.  While her right leg is raised to step forward, her shoulder isn't, yet her torso is tilted. enough wasted paint. I trashed her and started fresh. Don't like how it's going? DO IT OVER!
The height of that shoulder and it's tilt towards her back is key to making that small
movement believable.

While I didn't do over yesterday's thirty minute drawing, I did examine what was wrong with the likeness--the eyes, the chin, the pursed lips, the smile muscles.  It's times like these, the portrait artist should schedule an hour sitting and draw from life.  Calipers would be helpful.  Controlled lighting, of course.  But this gal lives across the country, a photograph is it,so DO OVER--AND OVER AGAIN USING WHATEVER TOOLS ARE NECESSARY.  Patrons like their kids looking like their kids.

Yesterday's drawing couldn't be saved no
matter how hard I applied the pencil or wiped out shadows.
The proportions weren't right. DO OVER!



  1. The balance of the whole lady in the first painting looks fine to me, In fact I was so impressed with that one! The second, although I know it is early days, looks like she is pitched forward, mid-stumble. I love how you keep going til you get it right.

    1. When you take a step forward, you lean into the step.. this woman was not only stepping forward, but also doing a slight twist to call to her kids. The twist is important. It conveys the spur of the moment shout, I'll be in the hot tub (by the way). That's how the photograph reads. That's how the strategic points matched up. The first painting was fine if off kilter was okay. It was not. I'm after catching the moment. The sea, the sand were fine--and will be fine again.

  2. Looks like we are both in the 'reworking' of what nearly worked but didn't. I like how your background seems to dictate the study of the architecture of walking and smiling. I think the day we hit perfect output each time, the challenge will no longer drive us on. Starting to paint at 75 has put me miles behind and so I'm never going to get to the standard I'm seeking ... but great fun trying!

    1. I'll be seventy four next Tuesday. Five years ago I decided to draw stuff again instead of architectural building plans for renovations. Three years ago, I realized I had a gift for portraiture---not that the structure of us humans isn't based upon particularly sized plane with specific points. Of course, humans must be done in oils. Acrylic, watercolor and markers were good enough for drawing stuff, but not people. The last months, I decided playing around wasn't good enough. I liked the traditional methods. I respect them. I like exactness. So I've come back around to what I used to do: draw until whatever it was until it was as I thought it should be. The top painting is fine for some, but her gesture was incorrect. It's correct now. You're right. At seventy four or five, it should be fun. And it is, when things go as planned. Care less isn't my style. I should have noticed the error on the first one and wiped it out then. By the time I did, there was too much paint on the canvas--and that was another dissatisfaction. I do use too much paint that's unnecessary. That comes from my acrylic days when I mixed the palette in bulk and painted like DeKooning---adding more and more paint till the canvas made sense.

      All of this is great fun. I am so grateful to have been gifted this love and drive. It's regenerating. It's uplifting. It's a blessing even when things screw up! So: what do you put on your paintings before you put on the final varnish coat? Whatever it was, it wasn't dry and caused the varnish to blush. I recall reading about varnish blushing when I was refinishing a cherry Tressell table. Ralph Mayer's book tells you everything about every serious art material. It should be on your bookshelf. It's an old book, but still in print--just like us. Your comments do get me talking. Love them!

  3. It's fun to see the "do overs"..great work! :)