Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 4 -- Unfinished

Ok at this stage the likeness is the most accurate it has been, but I am frustrated because it wont be done in the time we have to work on this painting :(

So I ended up having to take a bunch of pix with my iPhone as reference so that I can finish it back in NYC. I am totally tenuous about this endeavor but have to make do...Actually looking at the painting now, I don't hate myself as much as I did.

Post Script:
Airport security was most kind when handling the painting -- "I'll make sure it doesn't get scratched" they conveyor belt guy said. How nice, right? Also, the people on the other end said "wow you did that?" to which I responded that it totally wasnt done yet before the other person said "I would buy that."

This was all a great boost and set me at ease for the flight that had me most nervous =)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 2 & 3 -- Progress-ish

(Day 2)

Ok so I'm getting the major shapes in place and the darks and lights are starting to make more sense. Again, this was done with the squinting technique. The likeness isnt there yet and I wish MCK would magically appear over my shoulder and let me know how to push it forward...

(End of Day 3)

Here the colors are working much better as they are more accurate. Also Im happy to report that I went back to drawing and found out that I had put in the neck lines to long, and by shortening them, the face makes more sense. By going back to drawng, I noticed a few lines in the subject that helped to define the form. Unfortunately, the overall expression looks like she's in disdain, which is TOTALLY off the mark, but should be fixed in the next session :) I also think the texture of the hair is starting to make more sense.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Painting From Life -- For Real!

(Study in graphite and charcoal thumbnail sketch)

This assignment was sort of scary to me, for I am, for the first time, actually painting from life. This is the first time I've painting in non-studio conditions, aside from my one attempt at painting my father that didnt go well.

MCK always says this is the only way to paint. I've seen that much of her work is done by painting her subjects at their houses etc, and so here I am with my first real attempt. The conditions, all in all, are good. It was my first time trying to use a disposable paper palette and it SUCKED. I bought them for my mother and would advise against it. I see people using them in class and after about 20 min, I don't understand how they can actually mix colors on them.

I ended up using an old desk drawer as a make-shift palette :)

I think it's going well so far. The studies and the subsequent painting were done in one session. A note on light I figured out...When painting from daylight it was great - felt like the studio, but it seems that evening hours work best for the subject. So, we set up a lamp in the same position as the sunlight but it's so interesting how it completely changed the colors that I perceive.

In the daylight the background was a cool white, while in the evening with the artificial light it was a warm beige. Also, the cool highlights have been replaced with warmer colors. I don't know how I'm going to handle all this, out here in the field, ad hoc painting as it is.

Either way this is all exciting and I'm happy to report that the skills that I've learned in class are translating to this first real experience. More updates to follow...!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 4/Finished!

When MCK critiqued this time she focused on the drawing more than anything. Her biggest problem was his forehead, saying that it should be larger, and when she made the correction, other pieces soon became more obvious that had to change (such as the neck and hair line).

I was willing to make the forehead and neck change, but I felt like there was no time to change the top of the head and still have time enough to add the details.

On this last day I was reticent to add the facial hair as details, but I knew it would really sell the likeness. In the meantime, this painting has brought more classmates over to me than the previous paintings. They say I'm developing a style, but to me I'm just trying to do what MCK says and listen and read and make a good painting.

But, with the push from Jackie, I tackled the facial hair and was AMAZED at what it did to the painting. It really came to life and Jackie stopped mid-pose to tell me so! It felt GREAT.

I studied this painting on my train ride to school, and knew that I had to fix the background, add facial and necklace details, and color the new forehead/neck, and of course add the highlights. I worked at it and executed the plan -- even working straight thru the long break -- and here you have it.

I feel this is the best work Ive done so far and wish you could see it in person or at least that I could take a better picture of it. Either way, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 2-3

In these days I just kept diligently working on getting the shapes and colors right -- still conscience of the 5 day deadline on this painting. By the end of the 3rd day I was beginning to get muddy again but I brought the painting back in 1 pose! So much for the days of pining and freaking out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

MCK Fall Model #4 - Day 1 - A Quick Study

I've only got 5 days for this model, so I have to work much faster than I'm used to. Good news is Ive got a GREAT easel this time, but I wont have the full 10 days on it. So, instead of taking a whole day for the drawing, I did 2 quick sketches with pencil and charcoal, and then raced to get this down on the panel.

The likeness is way off and I believe that I'll get closer tmrw when I start putting in the lights and, more importantly, redrawing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 8 -- Finishing Up

Done and done! This was the first time that I finished a painting and wasnt rushing at the last minute during the last pose. I set in the final details, cleaned up some small parts on the darks and lights. Well I stepped back and figured "Im done." It was a great feeling and only around 10:15 :) So I was going to pack up and leave but then I figured I could use all the extra time to finish up the last painting...

So here's the finished version of the previous painting. I cleaned up the entire background and it look much better. Oh man so tired...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 3 -- Glasses

So this is my palette, clean and ready for another day's work. I took this picture because it's my new layout. I've been sneaking looks at other peoples' palettes, reading notes, and asking MCK but no one had a specific layout to share. So I took it open myself to lay it out like this (from bottom left going clockwise up):
Ivory Black, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Veridian, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Permanent, Light Red, Cadmium Red, Flake White #1

If anyone has any suggestions on another way to set up my palette I would love to hear it, but I'll see how this works for now. I've abandoned the palette from my previous class to see how these work out, but I like having them all laid out at once, so if I need a color it's right there, no searching for it as MCK says.

As you can see the glasses are here! I was going to avoid these spectacles until the last stage, but the painting demanded they come earlier. I couldn't quite get the nose/mouth area to work. So I finally had to put in the bridge of the glasses and then the rest for me to get accurate measurements. As soon as they starting coming in the nose was A LOT easier to get more correct. But with the glasses I saw how far off the eyes were. I guess I'm saying that putting them in solved a lot of my early problems here and made me stress less about this troublesome area. It helped! Also, the likeness is now more on point because of them.

Next week is going to be weird because MCK is out of town, which means I'm going to have to finish this one on my own, but I guess that means I'm going to have to compensate by getting Renee to help me look at it.

Overall feeling ok about this one, but am a bit confused as to where to start on Monday -- perhaps the nose...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 1-2 Colors & Shapes

(Day 1)
Well I guess it's a portrait from the shoulders up! On the first day I just tried to get the drawing right, making sure that the contours of the face and hair matched as best I could. Added the darks right away and spent some time trying to get the color right, but I think I missed on that front. After that the background color had to come in right away as per MCKs training. She's standing in front of a curtain that's black and a wall that's grey hence the 2-colored background. From my angle, light is hitting the curtain making the black seem more like a violet. She's also wearing glasses which worries me because it just leaves that much more room for me to fuck this all up.

(Day 2)
On Day 2 my task was clear: get the colors right! I remixed the darkest dark but in writing this can't remember how I got there. The lightest light came in, and for that I used white with cerulean blue and some cad red and cad yellow. It was the blue that I was happy to see with me eye.

You can also see me redrawing with my black lines, making sure that I'm getting in all the major shapes that define her. By the time MCK came around she said to simplify the dark pattern (I had another reflective light on her neck area but the squinting trick made them disappear so she painted it out). I told her I was worried that I was way off on the color and she didn't think so. She added a bit of yellow ochre to whatever color I had mixed to get the shadow.

Also, from this angle, the area from the nose to mouth and left eye is tricky and she said "yes it is." So I'm worried about that too, but last time I got to committed to thinking I was right or that I might fuck it up and I did anyway. So if I have to repaint an entire area fuck it -- I'll do it. I asked her outright, was the ear wrong. She gave a look and said "it doesn't bother me -- it didn't jump out at me -- I didn't have a problem with it when I looked at the painting" so that made me feel like I learned from my past mistake. (I made sure to put it at an angle, which I didn't do last time.)

All in all not a bad couple of days. There's something about this painting, even at this stage, that looks like it has more weight or something...right?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 0 - New Model

First day of a new pose. Settling in always sucks, but it's sort of freeing only worrying about what Im actually going to paint. Looking at the model I like the shoulders up, but I wonder if it's too similar to "Camille."

I also like the navel area, so perhaps a 2 day study on that...?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Head Truncation

Illustration by Frank Porcu

We had homework during the week which was to construct a block of clay (from a larger one) with the dimensions of 1 head high, 3/4 head wide, and 7/8 head deep. We brought those in, and Porcu began a series of drawings (along with lecture) that outlined the truncations (cuts?) that would be performed to turn the block into the beginnings of our écorché skull.

The drawings/lecture lasted the ENTIRE time. We took diligent notes and you can see the beginning of them above. We actually ran out of time just setting up so there was no actual cutting that got done, which I think puts us behind schedule.

Something very cool happened however. In telling us about the truncations for the frontal and occipital parietal widths I actually saw the practical application of all this anatomical knowledge.

He explained the planes of the skull, noting that only one side of the skull, the "true side-plane" catches light "head on" and the other planes move away from the light. He demoed with an illustration and then wrapped a piece of paper around the model's skull.

We IMMEDIATELY saw the change in value of the paper. It's so obvious to me know, but this small demo made me realize how important this anatomy is. If I can know the exact underlying structure of the skull it will inform me as to the change in values in the shapes I see in the figure :)

He also showed us how the image of Washington on the $1 bill takes into account these anatomical laws and the image on the new $5 bill DOES NOT. Lincoln looks like a mutant and Frank showed us how and why.

My homework for next week will be to finally transfer my notes cleanly into my nice hard-bound notebooken. (That's make-believe dutch for cuaderno.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Days 8-9 The Finale

(Day 8)

Ok so Im done. Finished better than I thought I would considered the debacle of the last three days. Yesterday MCK came by and laid some of my fears to rest-ish. She said that I wasn't that far off on the nose. She cut into the left side of the neck and it felt better, the head made more sense to me. She said that the ear looked better but still had to be at an angle.

After her critique I still felt like I had taken many steps backwards. I was frustrated and really worried that I would end up with shite after having done something nice. What really got me was that she said "maybe should you stop/start a new one." Ugh! That's the last thing I wanted to hear -- it just made me feel like this one was beyond saving. But it made me realize that I fell into an old trap -- that of thinking that I was going to leave with a finished painting. I should've not gotten attached to it, should've just kept telling myself that it's only practice.

Today, I was determined. Leaving it as bad as day 9 was unacceptable. My only goal was to get the nose/mouth to work. Was saved me was going back to drawing. I took my #1 bright brush and drew in the mouth/nose area and started attacking it almost from scratch.

I went back and got the colors in better on the shadow areas in the main part but also in the highlights of her face. I shortened the forehead that had grown as part of MCKs suggestion -- it just didnt feel right and I figured out why. The model had rotated so much that I was seeing a significantly different angle than the original. It's just not fair, man. (Im not blaming the model, but shouldnt things be easier for us?)

By the end, the edges of lines were working much better around the face, and the colors were working better with each other. All I really have to do now is make the background a more uniform color, and I believe that will make the figure really pop. At least I can stand to look at the finished product without having to set it on fire. It looks better in person - most art does - but I will post the finished painting sometime soon.

Now its time for sleep, I've homework to do for Porcu's class on Sunday.

(Day 9/Final)