Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"i am lakhota": continuing phases

i am back from our trip and have done a little bit more on the painting of marlene. it has been done in such dribs and drabs that i really can't remember what i did when or with what, but i thought that i would post it at this stage just to show you what i have done and prove that i was was back at work!. the only thing that i can say is that i got very sloppy with her shirt and , specifically, its shadows. i was working off of a close -up of her face and sort of working off memory and dead reckoning (both poorly in retrospect). so, i will have to lift off some of the shadows and re-paint them more precisely from the full figure photo that i originally took out a pine ridge. so here it is, blemishes and all:

the look i am going for is to suggest that her life is beset with some of the difficulties that reservation living bestows but that she has still maintained the proud bearing of her heritage as a lakhota native. she is a remarkable woman and i hope to convey that. we'll see as things progress.

more later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

away again

"mallard model with lemon"
i'm off visiting kids and grandkids in the pacific northwest for a couple of weeks and probably will get precious little painting done before we get home. daughter is graduating from nursing school having made a decision for a career change a few years ago and we are kidnapping our 10 year old granddaughter and bringing her back to wisconsin with us for a few weeks. so i think we will be in for some fun.

all in all, probably not many new posts for a while. here is a small still life i did awhile ago just for fun. sorry the photo isn't all that great.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

continuing steps on "new life" and "i am lakhota"

"new life"
as in a lot of my projects that linger for want of a finish, i find that this "may watercolor challenge" , too, is starting to lose its interest for me. i am, however, determined to finish it. my challenge will be to finish it in a thoughtful fashion and not just storm through to be rid of it. in pursuit of this i have put a somewhat lighter wash down on the left side of the background to start to paint the doorway which is the source for the diffused sunlight which illuminates the objects of interest, the girl and the chick. this i did by pre-wetting the area with clear water and a 2" flat that i found in a drawer this morning that i had forgotten that i had. worked pretty well for this but gave me neither the control, nor the variety of strokes that i was looking for with the actual application of the paint. for this i used the 1" flat. the colors are ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and umber, quinacridone gold, and a touch of mineral violet. when this is dry i will start to paint in the textures and define the individual bracing boards.

"i am lakhota"

on to my more current project that i started as a demonstration at the recent eastbank artists' monthly meeting "i am lakhota". i used pretty much a #6 round brush for all of these steps. i put down a slightly mixed puddle of alizarin crimson permanent, quinacridone gold with just a touch of cadmium red light and started with the mouth. a dab of the mixture in each corner and in the middle and then pulled this out to the rest of the upper lip with a damp clean brush. i also ran a single perpendicular stroke with the same damp clean brush from just below the nose through the *left* side of her lip to lose that edge which is in shadow. the cleft was put in in pure cerulean blue as was the shadow under the lower lip. this lower dab however was expanded to the shadow side of her chin with the reddish mixture as i described above. some of the shadow side neck was defined using the red mixture darkened with more alizarin and a bit of burnt sienna, bringing it down over the top of her shirt that is involved in the same shadow shape. i strengthened some of the shadow shapes around both eyes with the same colors admixed on the paper. the hair splotches were painted in with ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, and a dab of mineral violet to start to explain the lateral aspects of her face which are bordered by her hair. as usual, i couldn't resist a few scrapes on both sides when the paper had lost its sheen and i was sure the result would be a light strand of hair and not a dirty,
close up of "i am lakhota"
dark line (which would happen if i scraped too early, just a matter of trial and error for what works in your area and its relative humidity). the whole thing needed a good dry at this time so i will stop for the time being and allow that to happen. more later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"i am lakhota": first features

here are the first steps in painting the features on marlene. i painted these exactly like i do all the noses and eyes i have done so far on this blog and will refer the reader back to any other portrait sequence. the only difference is that alizarin crimson permanent was substituted for the cadmium red light and quinacridone gold was substituted for the cadmium yellow pale. i used a #6 round kolinski sable brush that pointed well. for the side plane of the *left* side of her face i put a swatch of cerulean blue lateral to the eye and then loaded the brush (switched to a #10 round) with the alizarin/gold combination and painted down using rolling horizontal movements in one continuous stroke until reaching the neck and/or running out of paint (i can't remember which). the point is not to lift the brush until i was finished with the stroke. i put a little more dark just lateral to the side plane of the face near the eye so that the hair would blend into the face at this point. then i scratched in a strand or two of hair when the sheen came off the wash using the palette knife.  here is a whole painting view and a close up of the face.

new portrait from pine ridge: "i am lakhota"

i have hit a bit of a lull lately due to a variety of circumstances i won't bore you with. suffice it to say that i think it (the sparse postings) will continue for a little while as we are now getting ready for company....granddaughter....visiting at the end of june, brief trip to the pacific northwest for daughter's graduation from nursing school, and still shaking off this virus. but last week i was obligated to do a demo at the monthly meeting of the eastbank artists and i will post the progress of the painting here today and see how i do finishing it before we leave early next week.

this is marlene. she is lakhota, who are part of the oglala sioux tribe inhabiting pine ridge reservation. she tries to maintain some of the old ways while living in the present. she is always present while we are at the clinic in porcupine making sure we are taken care of the way people should be who are doing something for the lakhota. she makes indian tacos on fry bread and generally makes sure we are entertained. she has a delightful dry sense of humor and i am proud to call her friend. she agreed to this picture to which i will try to do justice as a portrait.

i started by drawing a light pencil (i use a mechanical pencil with hb leads, 0.7mm) likeness of marlene on a piece of 16"X20" 140# cold press fabriano artistico extra white paper. once i was satisfied with the drawing i lightly drew a kneaded eraser diagonally across the drawing to remove excess graphite and reduce the intensity of the pencil lines. deciding to put down an initial wash before painting her features, i used a 1" flat sable brush and quinacridone gold and alizarin crimson permanent mixed slightly on the palette for the flesh tones making the center of her face warmer and intending on the *left* (*=from the model's perspective) side of her face to be somewhat darker in value as it is in shadow. these are new colors for me for the flesh tones and we'll see how they work. so far i think they were a good choice. i made sure that i connected the figure to the border of the painting using light washes of a variety of colors that more or less represented her clothing inferiorly and cerulean blue up top. this is the stage that i took to the meeting. i worked on her nose, two eyes and *left* side of face at the meeting and soon as i shoot a photo i will post that (probably later today).