Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Faces, faces, faces

For most of my art life I was terrified of trying to create a face.     If you are a follower of my blog you will see that gradually I am conquering that fear.       It's slow going, but my goodness if I can paint my dog Lulu, I guess I can paint a person.      I was sketching from some magazine pages in the little journal and think I have made some progress.      The first one here is from a 2008 Cloth Paper Scissors magazine article by Juliana Coles.      I loved the image she created and it has haunted me for all these years, until I finally picked up a pencil and tried to capture it for myself.    It lacks her spontaneity and genius - but I love it anyway.    I covered my pages with  repositional plastic  sheets so the pencil would not smudge from one page to the next.  

This face is a sketch of the painting done by Russian artist Bruni of his wife.   It's one of my all time favorite portraits.  I have used it in collages and altered books.      The portraits done in the 1914-1922 time period have always appealed to me.      They seem so modern and stylish.     At the time they were done they were very unlike older time periods and they were modern then.   To my eye, they still are.   

This one is loosely based on another of Juliana Cole's drawings in her journal  from the same July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.     I was so taken by the planes of the face, how sculptural it looks.    Hers is 100 times better, but I loved the exercise of trying to capture the same planes.    I could not capture the expression.    I need to work on that next.  

This one is my own.     I found really liked drawing across the two pages.    I think I'll be doing more of these.

This poor little journal is another mish mash of styles and techniques.     Whatever interests me at the moment goes into the journals.       My plan to have one for portraits, one for doodling, one for whatever else - just does not work.   They are either too intimidating, or too structured for me.  I prefer the spontaneous approach to art.   There are days when I can't draw a face if my life depended on  it, and other days when they just draw themselves.     I don't force myself to do things that don't suit me at the moment.      

At the senior center yesterday one of the really finest watercolorists in this city was saying how she always wanted to do portraits but was always afraid to try.     She's 81 now, and I think she might want to try.    I told her what I told myself awhile back - what are you waiting for?     Time's running out and if you always wanted to do it, then go for it.  She'd soon know if she enjoyed the learning curve (she is very structured) - or if she liked doing them.     She has stretched herself a lot in the last two years.    More than the rest of her whole life, artwise.    She is using new techniques and tools and is leading her classes to explore more and try new things rather than the tried and true landscapes and still lifes and florals and koi.         I hope she gives portrait painting at least a quick try.  

One of the other seniors at the center did a portrait of a friends' granddaughter last year and she had never done a face in her whole life.    She's in the over 80 age range, and she did a great job.   Her subject was recognizable and had life and spirit in it.      We were all so proud of her to make this huge leap.      Her friend now has this absolutely one of a gifts.       I think it worked for her because she did it so lovingly and carefully.       You just don't know what you can do until you try.   

My young friend Roberta did a portrait this year of her niece.   Awesome.  Roberta paints a lot of women's faces and even a man  now and then, but not of living people.       She really captured the smile first of her subject and then the eyes and face.     It was done with thought and care and hope and a prayer.     She did a super job.   I'm so proud of your progress Roberta. We keep nudging each other along in our art journeys.  

Now, I'd better  nudge myself into doing some laundry.          LOL

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