Thursday, May 17, 2012

"gotta love my mom": almost in time for mothers' day

well, i almost made the self-imposed deadline but not quite. in my defense, i might have finished it by sunday if my lovely spouse hadn't insisted on playing golf....what did she think it was, her day??? so she dragged me kicking and screaming into arguably the nicest spring day we have had since our return to la crosse , as if i was going to enjoy that. enough of my br'er rabbit-esque silliness. obviously we had a good time and a lovely mothers' day.

all i really did was put in some background, first, in the upper right and then the upper left. in regard to the former i used a technique that i have rarely used, that of wet glazing. this is where one puts down one wash on top of another before the first has dried. the way i have seen this done in the past is to put on a yellow first (quinacridone gold in this instance) followed by a red (rose) and finished with a blue (cobalt blue). i didn't like the dull grayish cast that i got so put on a cerulean after it had dried. still not entirely happy with it. on the upper left i just put down my more typical splashes of each color (see below) and just lightly maneuvered them together letting them do their thing. i did spritz some clear water along the bottom edge and blotted a bit to to taper the color. this resulted in some runs that didn't bother me, in fact, i liked them. so i left them in. at this point i noticed that i had painted ben's *right* hand a lovely shade of blue. thinking this was probably a mistake, him having abandoned his smurfian predilections long ago, i lifted it out and put down a more fleshlike color in a shadow tint.

"gotta love my mom" 16"X20"
a few more shadows and folds on ben's sweatshirt and the same on joan's fleece about finished this masterpiece, and only 4 days late. she is currently out on the links giving me time to mat and frame it before her return. she usually remarks how everybody gets a painting except her. this should disabuse of her that notion....for a while at least.

in form of a critique, i am relatively happy with the figures and faces (in real life the skin tones are quite a bit warmer than as depicted in this photo) at this point in my development, but the backgrounds are not at the same level. every once in a while i stumble serendipitously into a good solution, but it seems rather random. in the next one of this nature i am going to try for a more flat wash initially and then add a little texture. this is more in line with what i have seen others do in the background, like ted nuttall to name one, and i like it better than what i have been doing.

post script: i see i have neglected to finish the *left* side of ben's hair. i will put sown something similar to the *right* but won't wait to post.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

life drawing/painting session 2012.2

this is the second session i have attended this year. i needed to clear out some rustiness from the winter. no comments, just photos of the 2 better sketches. both are from 25 minute poses. i think that the figures are coming along, but i still need to do some work on the backgrounds. i am beginning to think that there really isn't enough time to do this thoughtfully in the typical 30-minute pose, but maybe with time i will get some insight into getting some defining swatches in better places to make a decent composition.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"gotta love my mom": little by little

the last day or so i haven't had or taken the time to paint. whether it was other activities or mood, i am not too sure. be that as it may there are only a few changes wrought over the last 48 hours. to begin with the glaring whiteness of ben's chin was bothering me when i went into the studio and looked at the painting. so i painted a light flesh-colored wash over it to tone it down. the *right* side of ben's and the *left* side of joan's hair were painted in and scraped a bit. and i put in some small swatches of clothing over ben's *left* arm as it came up against joan's hair which gave me a release for her hair shape and next to ben's *right* cheek so that i could lose that edge of his face into something.

i didn't like the shape of joan's hair so i tried to "correct" it with a dark background wash. i actually was mulling over not putting much, if any, background in this painting, but now i am committed to at least some. i am still going to try to keep it to a minimum and see how that looks when all is said and done. these colors were just adjusted splashes of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

off to see how muddy i can get slogging through 18 holes of golf after our three straight days of rain. i'll probably need to be hosed off in the driveway before domilcile entrance is granted upon my return. i can hardly wait.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"gotta love my mom": next 30 minutes

detail of next steps
i only had about half and hour to paint yesterday morning before errands, etc. got in the way. basically i painted the *right* side of joan's face even though i was trying to make her eyes the correct size and shape i managed, nonetheless, to make the *right* one a little too "tall." she is actually squinting more than i depicted it here. i don't think it is enough to worry about and change. additionally, i think her eyes are a little too close together, but rather than erasing and lifting out the *left* (which i think is the offending one) i believe i can get away with increasing the distance from the bridge of her nose to the medial canthus of the *left* eye. this will give the illusion of more space without having to do too much fiddling. i used a #8 "faux kolinsky" brush i just got to try out mainly because real kolinsky brushes are still so expensive. this brush was about 1/7th the price of a real sable and i must say behaves very well. it holds lots of water, snaps to a sharp point with just a flick of the wrist, and is just stiff enough to give good control over the point. i am a fan at this time and will probably try more sizes as time goes on and brushes wear out and need replacing. the colors were my old stand-by cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale, and cerulean blue in various proportions put on the paper singly and allowed to mingle with some manipulation of the brush. i still haven't decided on the color to use for joan's hair. the quinacridone gold isn't working very well, but i think that perhaps cerulean and one of the siennas or umbers, burnt or raw, might do the trick. her hair is a dark blonde turned kind of platinnum with age. our granddaughter sophie said once, " grandma, i like the color of your hair. its, like, the color of toilet paper." she didn't say whether that was right off the roll or used! i didn't ask. i may try experimenting on a spare sheet of paper (painting, not, you know, the other) before the next painting session. its a little unusual for me not to just barge in with a try right on the painting. maybe i am getting more cautious or smarter with old age..............naa. here is the view of the entire painting for reference.

full painting at this stage

Friday, May 4, 2012

"gotta love my mom": next painting

ben and joan in glacier 2009
for this next painting i have chosen a photo that we took out in glacier national park a couple of years ago when we were exchanging cars with our son who lives in portland. ben took the empire builder (amtrak train) out to montana and met us there after we drove the car out. we took the train home. it was a fun trip and he is showing his playful side in the reference photo. with mother's day rapidly approaching, this seemed appropriate.

drawing for "gotta love my mom"
to start this i drew the figures on 140# cold press arches paper that was 16"X20". i have quite a bit of this left over from several years ago before i decided that it wasn't my favorite (or even a close second) due to the amount of sizing. but i thought that i shouldn't waste it and maybe i have progressed to the point where the paper won't prove so resistant to my efforts.

with the last few paintings i began painting by putting an initial wash down over much of the figure and paper surface. in this instance i am reverting back to just starting out with the midtones in a variety of caucasian skin tones mixed from cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale, and cerulean blue. i usually start a face done this way at the nose as it gets me loosened up in an area that is not so critical (?) and then move on to the most important eyes. i have enumerated the steps so many times in the past that i fear doing so again will bring on waves of ennui (see, i do have some book learnin').
close-up of initial washes

the difference here is that ben has his eyes closed which makes them all the more easy this time around. i mainly use the cerulean blue pretty much as it comes out of the tube with a little work out on the palette in areas that i want to recede. like medial eye sockets lateral plane of face by eyes, indentation beneath the lower lip, and just under the chin. his hair is blowing in the wind so i scrape the strands into the drying wash with a palette knife. the timing, as i have said before, is critical if one wants a light value mark. too early and you get a dark indentation in the paper that accumulates wet paint. i have found that the right time for this is after about a minute or two when the sheen is starting to disappear from the paint. i like to lose edges, especially if i think ia am going to go with predominantly and untouched background, and i did that here with just a splash of clear water that i touch to the hair wash to provide and escape path on ben's *right* side just above the ear. the same is done off the *left* cheek with a release into joan's hair. that is about all i am going to do on ben's face at this time

moving on to joan's face, i make a mental note to make her eyes the correct size. for quite a while i think that i have been unconsciously making the eyes a tad too large. in this drawing i note i had done the same thing. in painting the *left* eye i re-sized the upper lid with the shadow underneath it and re-sized the vertical dimensions when i painted in the iris and released it into the lower lid. i connected the eye wash with the hair laterally and upper cheek inferiorly. the ubiquitous palette knife scrapes representing hair strands are evident, for better or worse (who did that?). this 20 minute session ended with putting in some color on ben's hand and painting in the cast shadow right away as well as a bit of his sweatshirt. when i am painting in this way i think that it is important to keep connecting, connecting, connecting so that the whole thing flows and doesn't look like a bunch of disparate parts. we can always go back later and make a hard edge here and there if desired. c'est tout ce que, pour l'instant.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"solly, by golly": through to the end

t +1:40 
i lifted out some offending shapes and corrected a splotch on his cheek and added a bit of pigment to the large rectangular shape behind and atop his head. this was down in two steps:

"solly, by golly" 16"X19" (t +1:45 hours)