Monday, July 6, 2015

An Elephant in The Room

My Guys, In Progress, oils, 40 something by 20"


Three years ago I had the nerve to think I could do a triple portrait right out of the gate without having paid any dues.  I chose a lousy reference photo of my three sons and proceeded to fail miserably.  I didn't trash it though. I hung it on the observation wall and have been observing it ever since.  Today, I attacked it wildly when the elephant trumpeted. I flung  paint big time at the beast who has been in our room since July first. I flung paint at the painting. I danced the blues with  BB King.  And I may have broken through to what was wrong with the painting when I started?   I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have the artist gene. It's a Godsend to be able to lift yourself out and away from life's travails.

Sorry about the glare. The painting is very wet--and will get wetter yet.  This beast is the kind that doesn't slink off quietly and this is the perfect  painting to try what I have wanted to try with portraits for quite some time--probably about three years.

Meanwhile, I did a little work on the self portrait I had started for the two hour challenge, but it was too tame for me to spend any more time on it.  I was enraged.

Mug Shot. In progress and no where near this dull.




 

12 comments:

  1. IMPRESSED! My Guys is going just the way it should........they all look at me with a steady stare and all have some attitude, good though, kindly to be proud of guys! The facial hair is a bit scary, but then I have been traumatised lately! That mug shot is a lovely lady, but I ain't never seen her without she's talking, ie. with her mouth closed :-))

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    1. Thus the title Mug Shot. :-))

      I had a great time with My Guys. Somewhere in the three years I had it on the observation wall, I adjusted the size of Jon's head using lead white just to see how workable the paint was. I figured the painting was horrible anyway why not. Then I was sorry. I figured I should have left the painting as was and moved on. Today, I figured I really had ruined it anyway so why not take out my aggressions? I should have done that sooner. I can't help the facial hair; they like it. They are full grown men. The nice part of this painting is it is mine. I get to abuse it as I please. I did think I needed a bigger brush.

      The self portrait looks better than this reproduction. It's more colorful. I really didn't feel like working small with a lot of control. I used up the paint on the palette on My Guys.

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  2. The vitality of the paint is quite wonderful... it is like they are moving. I love how the yellow-greenish color makes a great linkage for the three handsome guys of yours. The facial hair is a plus as far as I am concerned and all of their eyes are bright and intelligent... but yet...all different. You are really good at capturing character.
    The Mug Shot lady is looking amazing for two hours work. Sure can tell it is you.

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    1. What do you think of this two hour limit? I spent an hour livening up My Guys; will probably spend another. I like color on color and corrective drawing lines as they occur. The Guys did come alive with each thoughtless, but three years more experienced stroke of the brush that was too small. My vigor is restrained on a small canvas, as Mug Shot verifies. The boys are each about 16 x 18 more or less. This is how I like to paint. Scumbling doesn't suit me. My Venetian selfie suits grisaille. Tight ass strokes produce tight ass paintings that don't move.

      As for their facial hair; they have facial hair. Their mom wouldn't recognize them if I left it off. :-))

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    2. I have no idea what the two hour limit is - I thought it was self imposed by you, Linda.. Sometimes I set a timer, but only to help me not get too picky with details. Portraits take me a lot longer. My small paintings take at least three hours. I do paint larger painting quicker, but only because I find them easier.
      Whatever you did - really works!

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  3. I love your "mugshot", it is loose and have a great simplicity. Not the best photo of your sons, but I admire that keep going, I would have given up ages ago. I think the advantage with oil is that you can go over it without adding all the time, unless it dries. ;)
    I hope you are well and enjoying the summer, I do, even though we got our projects. Hopefully our green house comes on Friday.

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  4. I remember you starting My Guys, many battles ago. Now you've redefined the battle zone you're fighting under your own terms ...(what an awful analogy: 'fighting'). I haven't reached the bottom rung of painting yet, but I'm finding the bigger the better, which is strange when you consider my pen work is all about small strokes. Perhaps it's because I listen to you too much :).

    Not sure on this two hour thing - its produced some amazing results from both of you - not because I think it wrong (I know nothing) but I don't understand the reasoning; if I look back you probably explain why. The mug shot of you is great but it makes your nose a bit lop-sided (am I allowed to say that without sounding rude?).

    It's action there, Linda. Stay big and enjoy!

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    1. You my friend are a draughtsman. I am too. Draughtsman work small to scale. The pens and pencils and giant subjects demand to smaller scale. NOT SO WITH PAINT! You can scrawl with paint using no tools other than your hand and brush or thumb when need be. Painting is freedom from the draughtsman's restraints. I love that. These. Little paintings I've been trying, these exactly painted realistic paintings I tried put me back at my draughting board so to speak, working tiny, working accurately, precisely, tight. My scary health news said give it up. Paint as you did when painting was a release from the confines of draughting, of responsibilities and restrictions. I love big canvases and free association and color and line but always tempered with drawing. I put this painting aside three years ago because I didn't have the chutzpah to believe in myself and stop looking at what others were doing. Thankfully my boys have always allowed me to take liberties with their images. I'm taking liberties. Jump in. It's a gas as Sammy Davis Jr. of rat pack fame said. Next JD. He looks up tight to me. I do Like to abuse my family with paint.

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  5. OOOOOO ... I would have loved to be there to see you [and the elephant] in action!!! Here's to throwing paint!
    Kathryn

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    1. There is an exhilaration to painting impulsively that gets bogged down when too much thinking goes on.

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  6. Love your mugshot. Well, actually love all your work :-)

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    1. Thank you so much. It is as it is. I have had a revelation this last week--long time coming.

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