Enjoy life now... it has an expiration date.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Portrait of Levi - Almost Finished

Here's WIP #4 on Levi's portrait. I was hoping to finish up today, but when I scanned it I noticed a few areas that need tweaking. Something about scanning.... seems to emphasize any problem areas. I've really enjoyed doing this portrait and have learned a lot. As usual, comments and any suggestions you'd like to offer are welcome!

What I learned on this painting:

- I bought a dozen or so Polychromos pencils and a half dozen more Lyra's to add to my cp stash. I've got a large collection of Prismas and love the color range, but I think the Polychromos and Lyra's may become my favorites because they're so smooth. I used all three three brands on this portrait.
- I've been working really hard on developing a lighter touch, particularly in areas where there's a color or value transition. It's easier to add color than it is to remove it, so I tried to stay aware of how much color I was laying down and not go too dark or too saturated too fast. I think I've made some progress.
- Still working on keeping the big picture in mind as I go... that is, not getting caught up in one little section and working it to death before I realize I've emphasized that area more than I wanted.

Things to try on future paintings:

- An underpainting in either acrylic or watercolor. I want a smoother finished look, but for children's skin I don't want to burnish or use solvents. When painting skin I prefer a few fairly light layers to many layers that build up thickness.
- Using a hotpress wc paper.... I'm curious to see what effects I'll get using cp on a very smooth paper. Since it's wc it will take the underpainting without a problem. I know the look I'm after, so I'm going to experiment and see what works best.

AND..... for 2009:

I was reading Laure's blog (Painted Thoughts) and found an idea that made perfect sense to me. Laure mentioned that instead of making New Year's resolutions she had chosen a word for 2009. Her word is "Intent". She referenced another blog (Christine Kane) who explains the concept. Check it out. I thought it was a great idea, much more doable for me than a "to do" list. There is even a list of possible words on Kane's blog if you're not sure. As soon as I read Laure's post I knew what my guiding word for 2009 would be: ACTION!! I've read a lot of art books, browsed a lot of blogs, weighed and considered color theory, done all kinds of arty experiments with various media.... and now it's time to get down to business and be productive! Even if I make a mess, it's okay.... as long as I'm doing something! This year is going to be my year to do, not just to think about doing. I have a quote taped to my computer. It's a reminder/warning to myself. It reads, "I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung." (Tagore). I don't want to die with my song unsung. So this year I will do more than think about it.... I will do it.


"JeanneG" said...

Nice job on the portrait. And I love your "word". Where do you come up with all the quotes you use?

Laure Ferlita said...

I am so EXCITED to hear that you are joining up with a Word of the Year! If you stay with it, and really embrace it, you'll be amazed at all that it will bring into your life. Intent has already began to influence my thinking and it's wonderful!

Love where you're at on Levi's portrait! Two small (and only if they work for your vision) suggestions: My eye does not read the steps as steps but rather as boards behind Levi. Maybe darken along the back of the steps - they do not appear to "lay down" and recede into the darkness as steps would. Second add just a teeny tiny bit of pinkness to his little cheeks, especially his right (our left, the one in shadow). He's obviously full of life, but I think the strong light has robbed his face of most color. A little artistic license would bring him to full life!!

Lin said...

TERESA! THIS IS SO GLORIOUS! MASTERFUL, BRILLIANTLY DONE! WHAT A FANTASTIC JOB YOU DID!! WOW OH WOW!! I love your word too -- and will have to add ACTION to my to do list, which somehow I can't seem to do without! Can't wait to see more of your incredible work. You've outdone yourself here!

Dave King said...

Well done, the portrait. Your resolutions leave me, not having made any, feeling somewhat guilty.
I also loved the Tagore quote.

Teresa said...

Thanks everyone for the kind comments... all very much appreciated!

Jeanne: I get quotes from different sources. I've been collecting them for years! Not sure where I found this particular quote, but I really like it!

Laure: THANK YOU for the oh-so helpful suggestions! I had already added some pink to his face, but kept looking at the steps/boards and thinking that something wasn't quite right somewhere. You're right... they DO need some shading. Thanks again!

Lin: I can't imagine you having "Action" as your Word of the Year! As hectic and productive as your life is I would have thought you would have selected something more along the lines of "Tranquility" or "Serenity"!

Dave: You don't have to feel guilty.... it's not too late!

Helen said...

Hi Teresa, just popping in to say thank-you for calling by and attempting to read my blog. I'm sorry the colours are so awful, I don't know why, because when I have checked it is showing in the colour of type and background that I have chosen, which is readable! Please do try again, lets hope things are behaving themselves.
I have been following your blog for some time now, and watching the portrait of Levi grow. It is beautiful, you are so talented, and I, without an artistic bone in my body am very envious.

Ana Tirolese said...

I think your portrait of Levi is quite wonderful and sweet. I look forward to the final product, as I cannot see what else needs to be done.

Ann said...

This is a beautiful portrait! Such a charming little guy, you have really captured him in the moment.
Aren't the polychromos wonderful! You will love using them on hot press watercolor paper. I had better success with Fabranio hp than Arches hp, although that may just be me :)
Terrific goals for 2009 too. I'll be looking forward to what all that 'action' results in here!

Teresa Mallen said...

Great to see your WIP on Levi. I love your focus on ACTION for 2009! I look forward to seeing where this leads you.

Jo Castillo said...

Oh, Teresa, this is looking so good!
I hope that your "action" spurs me on, too. I need a kick in the pants once in a while!

Teresa said...

Helen: Thank you... glad you stopped by - and I certainly will come visit your blog again!

Ana: Thank you!

Ann: Thank you! Curious.... what is it about the Fabriano that you prefer to the Arches?

Teresa and Jo: I'm also interested in seeing where a focus on "Action" leads! I could quite often use a good boot in the britches myself.

Ann said...

Teresa, it was the little spots of pigment that the arches catches from the cp. Little catches or globs of cp that erasing only made worse and made more spots. I know I'm not explaining it well, but it must be some irregularities in the texture of the paper. I haven't had that problem with fabriano. But maybe it's just due to my drawing technique :)

Rubén Opazo said...

Esta obra me ha encantado, Teresa, una expresión maravillosa, los retratos de niños son los que mas disfruto haciéndolos, este tiene una alegría pura en su bello rostro.
Mil Felicidades y Saludos.

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