Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another face

I've been looking in a paperback book, 500 Self Portraits, a Phaedon Book I ordered  from Amazon.  Since I want to practice drawing a lot of different faces with vastly different features, I figured I could find them in this book.     So far, I've drawn two.    This is Perugino from page 49.     He included a self portrait in a fresco in the Sistine Chapel (1450-1523)    Here's his pic.
Double chin, crooked nose, tight lips.     That's a change for me.     I love his nose, but not the rest.    His eyes are too large.     It's only practice .     Little by little I expect I'll understand more about noses and mouths.     Now I have the fun of finding the next victim in this book.    Or maybe I'll try him again.   Mostly the subjects in the book are men, which is fun.  Their features are so interesting.     Portraits are arranged chronologically .   It will be awhile before I find a woman's portrait.

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

Art Journal

Awhile back I started a little journal using the rubber stamps I carved.  Then i set it aside and forgot about it.     Later I decided to play around with little zen doodles and looked for a suitable journal and grabbed this one.     LOL   I accidentally started the zen journal from the reverse side of the journal, so the front is one thing, and the back is something else entirely.     Oh well. 

Here are a few of the zen doodles with some color added with colored pencils and caligraphy pens.      
 It didn't take me too many days to figure out that I really prefer strong central images with less clutter.   

Here are some of the next ones more stylized and simple.   At first I thought I'd zen doodle around the images and fill in the entire background.    I liked the starkness of the cleaner pages, so left them to stand alone.     

 Next pages I sort of tried to combine the strong central  image with backgrounds filled.

These small journals are fun to use to explore different ideas and inspirations.   Also to try out new art supplies.   Such as the new set of colored pencils I bought recently.   And the colored calligraphy pens.    

Now that I look back over my doodles, I don't think they even resemble the zen doodles that are so popular with many artists today.

Did I ever mention my father's nicknames for me as a young child?   Pumpkin Doodle or Doodle Bug.      I guess my doodles are pumking doodles.    LOL

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lulu's portrait

Now, this one is looking more like Lulu when she is trying to be patient, waiting for me to call her for a treat.
I'm going to start this one of Nikki soon.
This is a little envelope I sent to a friend.     I had a bunch of happy face stickers and thought I'd give then noses before they went on their way.   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Inspiration in a spider web

A few of us got together to work on altering flatware at Phyllis's house.   Out front as I was headed towards the car, I noticed this great feat of architecture done by a master spider.         

Is'nt it neat?  It reminds me of macrame.     Wish I had a really good camera for this one.     This is a Canon point and shoot digital.     

Lulu revisited

Here is the one I showed earlier today.   Now it has the plaid added.       She also looks so much different, I'm glad I took a photo of the earlier version.

It does not look at all like Lulu.     I'd better take it back to the studio and do more work on it.    

Here is another.  
It does not look like her either.   It's very hard to capture her look and her personality on paper.   At least for me.      I'm determined to keep trying though.     I'm as stubborn as she is.    LOL

Lulu in progress

I started another painting of Lulu.    She's a willing subject, but looks different every time I look at her with her tousled hair and wonky teeth.         Here is what I did at the senior center Monday morning, doesn't she look angelic?     Well, she isn't.     It needs a lot more work, but I photographed it so I could remember there is an angel dog hidden behind the scruffy rough and tumble little terrier/devil dog I know so well.    

This was done with a pencil sketch and thinned out acrylic washes.     White gesso, raw umber, red iron oxide and yellow iron oxide. 

There is  a plaid chair sketched in behind her, not sure how I will handle that yet.     Next time you see this you probably will not recognize it.    Lulu is a challenge in life and in paintings.       

Altered spoons

Digging for ideas for the Lodi Mixed Media Group, I thought we could revive altered cutlery as shown in Cloth Paper Scissors in the May/June 2008 magazine.      It was brought back again last year in Somerset, and I always planned to do some, just never got around to it.       In Boulder Creek a few years back, I bought some big spoons to alter, then put them away.       Phyllis and I were in Lodi last week and found spoons and forks at a very reasonable price, next to nothing - lol.      So, I set about making samples for the meeting.   Here they are.  
It was a lot of fun to work with wires and beads and a sledge hammer and letter punch.     All so different after my 30 days of painting.    I also found while digging in studio a bunch of things  (boxes and boxes of things) I can pass along, since they no longer hold any interest for me.     This is a good thing.      

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

End of 30 day challenges - the collage

Our final step is to make a collage of our 30 day paintings using
a free online photo editing program.    Here is my collage.   Now I'm really done and can go work in the garden.