Posts Tagged ‘drawing before painting’

Back In The Saddle Again – Work In Progress

March 22, 2010

Moving towards painting without drawing first. Didn’t say how I was progressing in that arena, just hoping that someday I might befriend proportion and scale without drawing first. Until then……

Willow charcoal is loose, ethereal, rubs off if you exhale too close to the canvas. Good for keeping loose, so I purposely remove some line work as the paint goes down or else the dastardly pitfall of filling in can ruin the gesture.

So just as Stella was getting her dormant groove back, I had to leave this piece and be away for a week. I’m going to seriously try not to muck it up since painting on top of already dried paint sometimes leads me to that dreadful trap of adding too much, playing the game of chasing values and almost reproducing an entire second painting over the dried one underneath. I said I’d try.

Please hope I succeed.

Now THEY have succeeded in convincing me that after a week away, walking them would have more merit than watching me twist in the wind figuring this stuff out. ” Oh, just take us for a walk and forget about your whining”……….

You cannot ignore 4 eyes and 4 ears of this magnitude of cuteness and continue your mission.

I tried.

Really, I did.

Trying to ignore them.

I know when I’m done for.

Walking, it is.

I am a sap.

Locally Grown- New Painting in Progress

October 13, 2008

When I first moved here from NYC 7 years ago, I was in for an awakening in the produce department of our supermarket. Everything is shipped in from the states ( so you pay for food AND fuel ), and the produce is old by the time you get it.

I was introduced to Mr. Carter, above, a farmer, living here for the past 50 years and a strong believer in organic farming. Using a quarter acre of his land, my husband and I grew: lettuce, watermelon, peppers, squash, basil, chard, and fennel. And sold it at our local farmers’ market. We no longer grow, but still shop at the market to support the farmers who still do. We’re a fairly dry island and water is unpredictable.

It’s easier to paint a farmer than to be one.

I started the sketch on a toned canvas using vine charcoal- I love its’ softness. Then I washed in some tones to get composition.

Mr. Carter does have a face- I’m having some trouble getting it right so in the name of patience, I’ll get on it tomorrow after it dries a little more. The pants and the boots are NOT giving me trouble.

Works in progress remind me of the bride in curlers, no makeup, old clothes and sneakers. Then the stages of makeover, and layers, and magic, and good lighting and a loving congregation, and presto! She’s a beauty. I’m hoping some of that happens here.

Mr. Carter and Miss Bonnie as St. Croix Gothic.

Traded a pitchfork for a palette knife- neither job is easy.

I’m going to Florida to see my mother for a week – leave me some comments to come home to. Even constructive ones on finishing this piece.

The Elixir

May 29, 2008

– An earlier post ( Oh No, I’ve Hit A Wall ) showed this drawing which led to the progression of studies that ultimately produced the finished painting at the very bottom of this sequence. It’s acrylic in 11X14.

Thought it would be interesting to show how painting or drawing the same thing over and over again makes it familiar. It worked for Van Gogh. How many of HIS self portraits can you look at and never find it repetitive!

-My reference is a vintage photo from Guadaloupe seen here on top of the easel. ( Notice the red-eyed and eager studio assistant in the right hand background ). From the drawing, I moved again to my new favorite- cardboard, to do a value and placement study.

-The Committment- CANVAS! I found myself referring to some of the lessons of my workshop in the use of focal point and making the contrasts of light and dark more bold.

James Gurney in his spectacularly informative blog, Gurney Journey, describes “flagging the face” where you highlight the focal face with a contrasted light color behind to draw the eye in.

I used a glazing medium which allows the paint to be more malleable and layered the colors for subtle color shifts. Finished painting is here to the left.

-The Elixir is taken seriously in the Caribbean and Africa. There are references to ” Bush Tea ” here on St. Croix which includes some or all of : Lemongrass, Basil, Ginger, Mint. The applications of leaves that have been heated in oil and applied directly to afflicted parts of the body are legendary among the elders who have passed this information on.

Eden South, a local company here on St. Croix has a very extensive listing of plants and herbs with illustrations and uses for the endless varieties that grow here.

Let’s all raise a glass of our favorite elixir and toast to creativity, good health, free expression and a change in November!