Friday, January 16, 2015

Small Brushes, Big Moves On Small Stuff

Detail, I'll Be In The Hot Tub, 9 x 12 oil on canvas panel
This composition would have made a nice painting in a 16 x 20 format, more me, less DPW.
But no, I insisted on trying small for scumbling practice.  What was I thinking?  I was thinking of other artists' work--and just wanted to see if I could do what they do.  Bad form, but the bonus is I did learn what my small brushes could do. I had rarely if ever used them. Yesterday, they were just the right tool. 

This gal still needs work on  skin tones and the ground she's standing on, (unless I cut her off at the crotch), but after I fussed over her hand and those sandals, how could I ignore her feet, the sand, the shadow of her extended arm. I can't.

Erin Too, First pass graphite, 6 x 8""
Erin


Some thirty minute drawings go better than others.  This one is a first pass on my granddaughter Erin, who is developing into a beautiful young woman.  She's not beautiful here. Tilts and twists are challenging.  Tomorrow, I'll  take another pass.  My angle is right. The eyes are wrong.  There's a resemblance, but no likeness.  In the book of this perfectionist, a portrait is a portrait when there's a strong likeness.  She'll be visiting this summer.  I'll have her live and in front of me. Can't wait--I'll have JD too--two live-in models.  And they were worried there was nothing to do in Detroit!

Have a great weekend everybody.  I'm going to finish Carol Marine's book.
I think reading it, made me try a full figure in a small space.  I'm so impressionable for an old lady! Ye Gads! I'll take my tongue out of my cheek now.



16 comments:

  1. Can't keep up with you Linda, which is my loss. I just love your Header/portrait, what a clever palette ... I taking notes you know!

    I'm finding with portraits that it is best for me to paint 'strangers': it's the technique and skin tones I'm really after at this stage. If I get a good likeness that's a pleasant incidental. If I paint, say, family and the likeness isn't 100% then it's a failure!

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    1. The nice part of my thirty minute ritual is, I care, but don't. There's always something about the person's structure to learn. There's tomorrow morning. The object is to keep sharpening the eye. AND THE PENCILS! 😊

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  2. Love 'Hot Tub' but never mind the details............the light is magic....how'd you get that! Your drawings get better and better.

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    1. Thanks. Aside from learning how to use my tiny brushes, this painting pushed me on values on the light side. There was lots of sun on this woman's back and reflected light off the sand doing interesting things to her flesh tones and her dress. Took a lot of trial and error. Having eliminated the need to rush the finish, I kept at it. Speed is learned slowly.

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  3. Love your new "banner" on your blog---looks great! Your lady on the beach is great. Looking forward to the next drawing (of your beautiful granddaughter)

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  4. Thanks. I was concerned it was too big and it probably is, but I'll stick with it. It was an important painting for me. Erin will be Erin one of these mornings.

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  5. Oh Linda!!! You did such an amazing job with Erin....the likeness is dead on! Most people avoid that wide smile but you do SO well with it.!
    Your Hot Tub lady is coming along beautifully...love the shadows on her arm!

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    1. Glad you mentioned those shadows--they were a bear with sunlight coming from everywhere! Thank you much Hilda.

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  6. I really like the first subject, there is such a great movement, she will be awesome when finished !

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    1. Thanks Jane. I just signed her today. She took longer than I expected due to my inexperience with classic realism, a small format and using the tiniest of brushes. As with every painting I do, I learned a lot.

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  7. Erin, of course, is a beauty. Now, as for the first one, there is something bothering me about the perspective. I'm not sure if cutting her off would be better or worse. The water, especially on the left, seems out of place. Maybe because I live in Florida and visit the beach quite a bit. If she were standing on the sand, the swells just do not look right with respect to her torso. You know I love your work, so maybe I'm all wet. Forgive me.

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    1. You're right you fox! I wrote a reply talking about angles and upon scrutinizing the reference had to delete it; it was nonsense. That little mark I removed from her right shoulder has to be replaced to straighten the wave. Thanks JJ! Good eye! It's nice having a third eye eyeing these things before signing.

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  8. I have to admit I really loved seeing color on your page. It is s joyful/ playful piece with implied movement so I imagine the full figure.
    Your drawings are always excellent, Linda, but no where near as exciting as your expressive mark making in paint!

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    1. The drawings are not my work. They are my therapy; they accompany my thirty minute exposure to sunlight every morning to keep away the winter doldrums. But they do have merit. My eye is getting sharper at reading anatomical angles and relationships. In April the lamp gets put away probably the sketch pads will too--unless I've formed a habit I can't shake?

      The funny thing about this painting is-- I'm not liking the color! I'm fine with the figure, but the background is annoying. All backgrounds are annoying. In the time I've been painting and drawing, I have noticed It's difficult to extract the subject from the ground; the ground shapes the subject--like my theory that there is no negative space in painting. The forms around the subject are as important as the forms that make up the subject. Left alone on a pale ground, this woman would be (alert pun coming up) out of water, a cut-out. Yesterday, I was thinking maybe I am a grisaille painter? My sculptural orientation, my years designing three dimensional structures suggest form is what turns me on. Occasionally a form would suggest color during the design stage. Rarely. But I would pass that along to the client. I mostly left color up to them; Color a personal thing. But I am not abandoning color.

      Your post about painting over a previously painting got me excited about it. I have a large failed painting just sitting there waiting for a shake up. I might give painting on top of a painting a try. Not with oils though. Acrylics can be mixed in bulk so that mixing doesn't get in the way of spontaneously responding to what's going down. I love the idea--and could use some action. Thanks for your comment. It really got me going.

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  9. I am enjoying your drawings so much, Linda! I look forward to your summer visit with Erin, too - to see what the two of you get up to ...
    Kathryn

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. It's a long way till there will be four live-in models in this house. June.

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