It is not my intent to paint 100 faces the same way - I look at it as exercise - to approach each one differently, in other words, switch around the steps from beginning to end and see what happens. And I like surprises. That's how I learn. The main constant is that I don't sketch any out before I go at it. I think that builds confidence.
Now with this guy, I used the background aqua to define the shape of the head first. Starting on one end and moving around to the other end. Surprisingly, it worked on the first try. What I was left with was a black, the ground color, as a silhouette of the head, then just filled it in. Very cool process.
Meanwhile, I'm working on another painting for the Charleston Art Auction in November, and these studies have really given me some helpful tips with what I'm doing. Yay. I love that.
All this talk Neil Hollingsworth's been doing about painting cows persuaded me to put the felons aside for a bit and join in. There's a good reason artists love this subject - it's a patchwork of every color on the palette.
My aim was to keep loose, like with the faces, and keep the brush moving fast and furious. No sketching, no pausing, just motor on. Very fun and liberating.
and..... my good friend, Karen Hollingsworth, has small works on auction that are delightful. And she has a new blog.
If I had to choose a personal favorite of the 10 - it is this one. About a third of the way into it, I didn't think I could pull it off. A black person's skin contains multitudes of color, absorbing light more than reflecting light - making for rich grey-purples, maroons, blues with warm reds. It can be daunting - I try to think of it as a landscape of tones rather than a human face, something I remind myself of with any subject.
Meanwhile I'm working on a painting for the Charleston Art Auction - bringing to it some things I've learned from painting these faces. I think I'm on the right track.
The rules of painting are meaningless to me, as with the rules of color. It can bog you down, make you doubt yourself. Rely on instinct. Put a dab of paint down that you may not 'believe' is right and see what happens. Like that blood-red around the eyes. Last minute touch. I'm learning a lot.
In the past seven days, I've had to replace a broken truck and the air-conditioner in my studio finally died. A brutal week to say the least, but it's done. And I'm back to painting in a much more pleasant environment. Yay.
My mom would always point out that skin contains all ranges of color, not just what you see at a glance. Something that I find most fascinating and fun when painting humans. Today, it's all about more exercises.
I have this habit of equating food with painting. Let me give you an example - I lost 51 pounds in about a year's time and I've hit a plateau. The advise is to change it up, increase my exercise. Hmmm........ okay. Painting wise, I've hit a plateau. So I'm changing it up and increasing the exercises.
Today I started a new series called '100 Faces' - a personal challenge to practice and study painting the human face. Good warm-ups to get the blood moving. My references are taken from mugshots all around the country.
Reporting in, from an unintended absence - I did take about a week off from painting, went on a road trip to visit family and oddly enough, I didn't go off with my camera. I just enjoyed the time with my favorite people. Haven't done that in a l-o-n-g time.
When I got home, I jumped right back into the studio ready to work. I painted a new piece, which has been set aside for the Charleston Art Auction in November, then proceeded to paint two failures. I worked them over and over, liked them, hated them again and put my brushes away and sulked. Yes, it happens to me too.
So...... I did paperwork, worked on the details for my November workshop, cleaned my house, did my laundry and all those other mundane chores until I was ready to paint again. And I failed. Again. Yes, it happens to me too. I could blame it on the heat index for frying my brain - although it's just plain normal to go through these times.
What I do know is, when you hit a plateau, change it up. So I worked with a more desaturated, value study if you will - using thick paint, palette knives and brushes and just went at it. Tomorrow I'll face it again.
On a more positive note, I was interviewed by Southwest Art Magazine, for a featured article coming up in their October issue. I'm so excited. I am clearly not a southwest-themed painter, they do include events and artists east of the Mississippi. How cool is that?
This new painting is a scene from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an elegant woman relaxing with the daily newspaper in the sculpture gallery.
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."