Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Week's Paintings

I am having a lot of fun, really.
I am also frustrated. But in a good way.
I did my 4 paintings this week, but just barely. Procrastinating Friday and Saturday- partly because I wanted to get differnt masking tape, but mostly because Joe was home sick. And he's never sick!
The first two paintings are of the same photo, and have the irritating quality of being too realistic, but not actually realistic. Not Impressionistic either- so they're in an awkward middle style between the two. I mean, they are pretty good paintings, better than a lot of people will ever do, and i enjoyed doing them.
Here they are in progress:

And finished:

Tuesday I posted the in progress photo on Facebook and commented "not bad. But I want to be faster, looser. In painting." And Elli commented, which was really helpful because I was just doing the same things I already do, and getting the same sort of results. She said I need to do a loose underpainting. Lots of marks and very expressive.

So I had already tracer-projected guidelines for two more images onto the other two sheets. I pick the one with the sunny colors and did this, using alizarin crimson and burnt sienna and carmine red, thinned with OMS. I am worried when I start, because the paint obliterates the pencil lines I had drawn. But I make a couple lines with brown sharpie so I know what goes where. And then I moved the girls face a bit. . . 

This is FUN! It feels looser and faster! Whee!
Pretty cool, huh? Okay, the mother's face is a little weird, but the photo is taken from a high angle and her hair obscure her face, so I did what I could.

On Wednesday, I want to let this wonderful underpainting dry, and also I am afraid of screwing it up, so I go back to the first two and put in tons of effort making things right- smoothing the shading, fixing the shape of the features, painting the blonde hair. I even use a 000 brush and painted eyelashes!
I spend 5 hours on this!

Such detail! I think I want to paint loose and impressionistic, but it's a very slippery slope towards trying to make the painting look more like the photo. Which is completely not the direction I want to go, but I went there anyway.

Thursday morning and I decide I can work for 2-3 hours before class. I'm still afraid to mess up the lovely red underpainting, and I haven't done anything on the 4th sheet since I traced the lines. So I need to work on that, and go fast.
I decide to try making some marks with my hard chalk pastels, spray on fixative, and then paint over that. But I'm not so sure the chalk won't disappear, so I do a little experiment. And yep, I lose the lines. Although that little experiment was nice and loose! So instead of doing what I had actually dreamed about - thick impasto a la Van Gogh - I get busy with the pastels. Thinking - at least this piece won't have wet paint when I take it to class. Which is a dumb reason to choose a medium.
I forced myself not to blend, and not worry about color (I don't have a great range of colors anyway). So I fussed with this one for about 2 hours:

O-Kay, well at least I did something! I could do more with this, but I am not going to!
I had time to take a shower, eat lunch, and make it to Queen Creek in time.
Next post will be about the critique session!
Posted by Adriene Buffington

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