Monday, December 28, 2009

Finished Painting of Lena

I finished this painting of my granddaughter, Lena, just in time to frame it and give it to my daughter, Karmin, and her husband, Tom, for Christmas. I had to make up some leaves and move a branch around. There are are lot of pointers in the painting which hopefully draw the eye to Lena's face.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lena Painting Stage 2

Lena's right hand in the photo was too "posed" (all fingers perfectly aligned). I decided to change the hand and ended up looking at my own hand in a mirror and redrawing Lena's hand. Ultimately, I made only a few changes which, to my thinking, improved the look. I learned that small changes can make a big difference in my judgement. The tree gave me (is giving me) lots of trouble. I started putting in a lot of detail to attempt to capture the texture of the bark. At some point I decided that there was too much detail and smudged out (and erased) a lot of the work. When in doubt simplify. I am also learning that it is important to carefully study objects before attempting to paint them. When I get going, I begin to make up the texture. Unless I really know the object from study, I cannot capture the texture or essence of the object. Slowly, I added some of the detail back. The tree is still bugging me. I just read a quote from Sally Strand, "The lights carry the color, but the darks carry the painting." Now I'm concerned about the darks (trees left and right) and how they will or will not support Lena. My fear is that the dark trees with their detail will steal attention away from Lena. We'll see. Back to work.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lena Painting Stage 1

This is the beginning of a portrait of my granddaughter, Lena. The portrait is being painted with pastels on paper. My process starts with a drawing on rather cheap paper (newsprint). If my corrections are destroying the paper, I may use a light table to trace the drawing onto a fresh piece of cheap paper where I continue to make corrections. Once I'm satisfied with the drawing, I'll again use my light table to trace the final drawing onto tracing paper. On the back side of the tracing paper, I cover just the lines with soft, white pastel. The tracing paper is laid on pastel paper and the lines are delicately traced in order to transfer the image to the pastel paper. If the lines are traced with too much pressure, the transferred lines are difficult to cover or erase during the painting process. I have to remember to trace with just enough pressure to transfer the line to the pastel paper. The white lines in the above "start" are traced from the tracing paper. Since errors and distortions occur in this tracing process, the white guidelines on the pastel paper have to be checked and corrected. If time permits, I'll show the progress of the painting in subsequent blogs.