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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

ML: All Drawn In And Ready To Paint

ML, Washed over with Burnt Umbra/MS mix and ready
for Phase two: the monochromatic Grisaille

Pencil Draw-in completed by  going over pencil
lines with thinned down Burnt Umbra

Beginning with a grid system proportionate to the  grid drawn over the selected reference
used as a guide for the draw-in using a number #3H pencil.
The reference was 8" x 10"; the canvas is 16" x 20" twice as large.

Mrs. ML's reference photograph cropped and converted to black and white.

Because Mrs. L's reference photograph is missing important details, I took my time with the draw-in phase of the Venetian/Flemish painting process.
The facial features lost in extreme light and darkness needed to be carefully scrutinized to get them down and get a likeness.  The grid helped a great deal, but has its own built-in failing:  lines have dimensions that if not accounted for will throw off the enlargement.  But you know that from my last post.

To lighten up, there was John T, my FB buddy,
looking like a thug on the wall of the post office.
He's changed his profile picture since then.
Securing the draw-in with thinned down paint, step 2 of the draw-in phase,  also points out the areas where attention must be paid to how the pieces go together--a portrait is a construction as well as an expression, as well as an impression, as well as a recorded image of an individual.  While painting down the pencil contour lines, I was informed about where I would need to simplify and be vague in the painting process.  I have no doubt that during the painting of this portrait I will doing some smaller studies--the head, the hands, the head of the guitar and the guitar neck. 

It took me a couple of weeks to get to this point.  I took a lot of breaks to refresh my concentration. I took a few breaks to conquer impatience and a tendency to procrastinate brought on by the degree of concentration involved.  But this method of painting is right for Morris.  He was deeply serious about his music and that shows in his expression; I didn't want to paint him lightly.   I just wish Mrs. L has frozen the action.  Morris was rocking on his guitar.


  1. Oh, how I admire your concentration, your patience and your attention to detail. Just the planning of such an enterprise would stop me! Excited to see the finish.

    1. When I started thinking I had no reason to paint fast, the slow and steady aspects of the process became attractive. I was very pleased with my first efforts and then this reference came along that was so right for the process, I had to have another go at it. It is a pleasure going into the studio aware of the possible trouble spots and having a good idea of how to handle them. Working slowly gives me time to think ahead.

  2. Ditto for Sharon's comment above. Sending you wishes for many more peaceful painting hours.

    1. Not so much peaceful, as a sense of calmness. In Phase one, the draw-in, all the danger spots are revealed. My hand has touched and followed every curve of the form. I've learned which shapes are key, which will fade off, which edges will be hard and which need to be soft. Working slowly, there is time to consider what I want from the painting. When tired, it's time to break. No rush. No urgency. I really was surprised when I decided to paint this man this way, but it was the right process for the subject and me.

  3. Linda, I can understand and empathize with all your thoughts and preparation so far. It reads like you are planning a campaign! The photo shows his focus, his love of the guitar. I KNOW this will be fantastic - slow-going but fantastic.

    1. I am enjoying the orderliness of the process. It appeals to the draughtsman's in me.