My Blog List

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Good Week In The Life Of A Recovering Painter

Figures properly positioned on the canvas, painting over the pencil lines with very fluid Burnt Umbra is the next step,

Over a week of trying to build up energy  with regular strength building stretches  and cardio sessions, my painting sessions were limited and slow-going but regular, AND happily, my daily drawing sessions picked up.  It pays to be active.  And active I was in the studio and with my sketchpad.

This is my third exploration of the Venetian start method, but I did something differently. I reached for a Q-tip and began noting the shading around the heads.  I am expecting this extra bit of work to be obliterated when I wash the canvas down with Burnt Umbra and mineral spirits, but I will have familiarized myself with what areas are important in shaping the forms to emphasize their expressions.  It was slow going as usual; there's little difference between a pencil point and a  pointer brush.  Each head took about an hour, but the slow pace allowed me to put some thought into how to handle the background? Throughout this slow painting method, I am always correcting the drawing and weighing the importance of this or that detail.

Off time, I explored a reference photo I was given for a portrait and afterwards turned it down.  I didn't like the composition. I didn't like the look of the dog. And, after doing this get acquainted sketch, I was certain the reference wasn't something I wanted use.  I rejected the project.  The patron wasn't  happy, but when energy and strength are a priority and the project that's already on the easel is challenging, additional  projects must be considered carefully.

The puppy wasn't happy; the camera flash had destroyed her nap and  the photographer was given the evil eye.
 Rude Awakening,  a get acquainted graphite sketch, 4" x 6".

Then I explored figurative forms dancing--the Jitter Bug and the Swing.  These dances from the forties and fifties had as much to do with figures in fast motion as they did with the clothes the dancers wore.  The fabric lines emphasized both the body forms and the speed at which the figures were moving.  While I spent years of drawing nudes and learning anatomy, I spent little time watching fabrics in motion--and it's the fabric that makes these figures lively on the page--his pants in the first sketch and her skirt in the second.

Jitter Bug, graphite pencil sketch, 4" x 6"

You Ain't got Thing If You Ain't Got That Swing,  graphite pencil sketch 6" x 4"

Then, I was out of ideas.  But, there was my breakfast coffee cup, juice glass and eyeglasses on the table beside me.  Not terribly exciting, but still exercising the eye/hand and loosening up  the arm while drawing from life, instead of a photo.  Important stuff. It was a great week!  I hope you all had the same my friends. 


  1. I love the dancers! And I will follow your progress of the painting with interest!

    1. Dancers are a wonderful subject! The images are alive so the drawing or the painting can't help to be energetic. Add lively brushstrokes and color and you really have something going that's a winner.

  2. Wow! I love your energy, it always shows I your work. Do you think it is a consequence of being laid up? I think not, you have had the same energy and enthusiasm since I've known you. The emotion in your work is magic. I want to dance, the dog is menacing and I really need to eavesdrop on those ladies! Cool trick with the bag handle adding to the spatial perception.

    1. That's the dancers' energy. Mine is still struggling. I figured a lively subject might give me a shove--along with hanging out in the gym doing gym stuff. Old habits are more easily broken than fired up again.

  3. Glad to see you winning the battle, but sorry it is such a difficult fight back to full fitness.

    I sort of use the Venetian start method, but thought I was following the Velazquez method ... all the same thing I guess.

    Pat and I (kids of the 50s') grew up on Rock 'n Roll and the jive, albeit we moved more into Latin-American ... cha cha cha. Just love these dance scenes ... you've captured it all exactly!

    1. What caught my attention was the movement of their bodies in their voluminous clothing. Just like the fringed dresses of the flappers emphasized the jumpy movements of the Charleston--but then there was the twist, the mashed potato, the stroll and dirty dancing of our time when clothes were more fitted and not as lively as the swingers and bobby soxers who came before.

      It is hard building back up after weeks of sitting and icing--especially being three years older with another sedentary surgery just last year. But you do it. So the Venetian or the Velazquez method or the Flemish method is appropriate. It demands consideration and drying times and more scumbling than gestural strokes. It's perfect for me for now. --The Samba is a fast dance and the cha-cha was fun too, also the tango, which always made me laugh; it was so dramatically series. Maybe I'll keep going with this series? It's a nice change.

  4. Am fascinated in watching your progress painting with the Venetian method. I am certain I don't have the patience however I love learning different approaches and appreciate you showing us your work in progress along with your thoughts. As always, your sketches are dynamic and confident - love the movement in the fabrics and the body positions. Lovely work, Linda!

  5. Lots of energy and movement, all really great subjects !