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

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flowergirl - A New Work

Where do the days fly away to? Seems like there's never enough hours in the day or days in the week to get everything accomplished!

Ah well, today is not the day for such serious musings as the brevity of our days. I've started a new project that I'm really excited about. I'm excited because I think some of my experimenting and ongoing study of art is beginning to pay off, and because I have a vision in my head of where I want to go with this portrait - and I hope that I can keep that vision fresh and constant until I'm finished. (Reference from Wet Canvas RIL - thank you to the generous person who posted this gorgeous photo).

I decided to start with the face first this time. In the past I've waited to do the face until last. Not really sure why - possibly because I'm impatient to jump in with all those yummy colors and like to get warmed up on the less important parts of a picture. But this time I wanted to get the face in first and see how that affected the work process.

I'm working lighter, both in terms of pencil pressure and color. I'm using lighter colors and darkening ever-so-gradually to avoid re-do's. I'm trying to abdicate the throne as The Queen of Re-do. One title up for grabs... any takers? ;-)

I'm posting a couple of WIP's - sorry, not great pics. The first one is the pencil sketch and it's so light that, except for the face, it may not show up on the monitor. On the second WIP I've started on the face, getting the basics in and working gradually on modeling the features. I've found two things that have helped me a lot: first is to work as far away from the paper as is comfortable. Since cp is done on a desk (as opposed to an oil painter standing in front of an easel) it's all too easy to pore over the piece, working very close to it. For me this is not good - I tend to bog down in minor detail and lose sight of the big picture. It works better for me to get up close for critical features such as eyes, mouth and nose; and then sit back and put a little distance between me and the paper. The distance helps me to more clearly see the masses, shapes and tonal ranges and when working on the face it's easier to keep in mind the entire facial expression, not just one feature. The second thing that helps a lot is..... walk away! Take a coffee break, put a load of laundry in the washer, go for a walk, catch up on your blogging (I'm on a painting break to do this post). It's amazing how the errors jump out at you when you've been away for a little while, and it's nice to catch problems early... before there are several layers of color to remove in order to correct something.

As an aside, after being gently but persistently nudged by Jeanne and Jo's dedicated sketching habits I decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! So, I purchased a sketchbook (a size that's easy to carry - I had several of the large sketchbooks but they're too big to carry around) and have started sketching somewhat regularly. I have also purchased (credit for this purchase also goes to Jo - see her posts here using this medium) a beginner set of the Winsor & Newton Artisan water mixable oil paints. It's little box of five tubes of paint... but enough for me to find out if I can tolerate these oils. I hope I can - I love oil paint but can't stand the nauseating fumes. So - this should be interesting!

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