Saturday, May 14, 2016

Red-headed Mystery Woman

Sometimes a face is just a face, with the person behind it a mystery.  Certain features evoke feelings about personality traits, but are they necessarily accurate?  Large wide-set eyes suggest innocence, but might they not hide a scheming nature?  A long hooked nose is something one would have to become resigned to (unless plastic surgery were an option) and we tend unconsciously to assign certain assumptions to those with extraordinary facial features, don't we?  One more face for the tally.

Entirely off subject, I had to hire a crew of arborists to remove a standing dead grand fir in the back yard: it was 120 feet tall, had died two years ago, and I was concerned that when it finally fell it might hurt or kill someone, so I had it removed piece by piece, a harrowing job for the guy who had to climb it.  Now the ospreys will have to find another perch from which to survey the lake below for dinner.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Sketchbook

I find myself in a motel room in Tennessee with time on my hands, and though I have no recent painting to share, I did pack a sketchbook in case I found the time to use it on this trip.  I keep several sketchbooks around, large ones, small ones for the car, some for finished drawings and portraits, some for thumbnails or color studies.  It might be better to use only one at a time so that it is easier to track progress, but the one I brought along has been used for marker value drawings, studies for paintings, etc. and I thought I would share a bit of that today, an excuse for a post.

The two sketches above were done in watercolor, feeling out ideas for larger paintings, and they were done very quickly; my objective was to see if I liked the overall look.  I don't believe either one was carried on as a painting.

Sometimes I just like to work on drawing, especially portraits.  I am still working on my goal of doing 10,000 faces in order to get better.  When I do something like the above (if my recollection is right, it might be a study from a painting by Ilia Repin) I am working on learning to quickly get proportion right, building confidence in translating without distortion.

These two were done with markers, and the goal was to evaluate composition and value.  I did later work these into paintings, and the work done in the sketches helped make the final result stronger.  This particular sketchbook is 98 pound paper, meant for mixed media, and still the markers bleed through, so it's important to sketch on only one side of the page.  In my opinion, it's helpful to have a variety of sketchbooks, some better for pencil, others better for charcoal, still others for watercolor.  The problem I have is trying to use them all often enough.  It's one thing to pull one out for some preparatory work when building toward a painting, but I wish I could do better in sketching in the field, just for the practice in seeing and drawing.  In fact, that's where I'm headed right now, out to find some subjects for study.

Happy sketching to you all!