Thursday, October 31, 2019

Studio Update

For the past month, two things have been going on in the studio.  One, I've been working on a wedding painting of a really lovely couple.  And two, I've been struggling through a non-productive patch with my life sessions.  Spoiler alert: both of these things have come to a good conclusion, but getting there wasn't easy.

The painting, for some reason, has wanted to fight me since Day 1.  The couple wanted the painting to be of the walk back down the aisle as a newly-married couple.  That means a balanced, almost T-shaped composition, with the couple in the middle foreground, the key members of the groom's family and friends on the right, and the key members of the bride's family on the left.  And then there's the decision of what to do with the audience.  In this case, I initially started painting them in.  But that gives some undesirable results.  They're sitting with their backs to the viewer, so you see the backs of their heads.  There's no clear pattern to the figures, so it's just a mishmash of colors and shapes.  And they cover up the parents and much of the wedding party.  So, after wrestling with them, I pulled out my #10 brush and (virtually) assassinated them all.  That let me simplify the composition, develop the wedding party and parents, and really focus attention on the couple.

But no, you can't see it right now, because it's still out to the couple for their initial comments and approval.  Once they give it the thumbs-up, I'll post it here.

The other issue was getting something decent to come out of my weekly life drawing and painting sessions.  My efforts were almost totally unsatisfactory to me.  One was an oil sketch that I wiped out at the end of the night, while the next was a charcoal and pastel portrait that I reworked quite a bit the next day before giving up and tearing it to pieces.  A third was an oil sketch that I didn't really care for, but the model liked it, so I gave it to her.  But that's life as an artist: sometimes you go through a stretch where you can't get the mojo going.  The only way to get through it is to keep plugging away, because sooner or later, things will start happening again.

And that happened last night.  We had a male model who was a great portrait subject.  I worked in charcoal and pastel.  After the first half hour, I wasn't happy with the way it was going, so wiped it out and started over again.  This time, I had the faint structure left over from the first effort, so I took a slightly different approach to developing the image, and it immediately worked pretty well.  So here's the final image:

George #1

I didn't mean to decapitate the poor guy, but  every time I tried to draw in his shoulders, it just seemed wrong.  So I erased everything except the head.  But it's a good likeness of him, so I'm happy.

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