First of all, you really should see it live and in person. Trust me – the colours of her hair have a nice depth, and her skin tones are far more delicate than what you see here. For some reason, WordPress just makes this one seem garish.
But wonky colours aside, I’m not sure about proceeding this way. I can look at this painting and know exactly where I stitched stuff together (and I will always see that!), and don’t get me started on how long it took to find all the right elements! Even when I got the right shoulder and head pose (and the hair!), it didn’t always follow that the shadows matched. In fact, finding all the reference images ended up taking much longer than the actual painting!
What I like about this painting:
the fact that it’s an ORIGINAL work. I promise: there ain’t nobody nowhere walking around looking like this!
What I like less about the painting:
I couldn’t find very hi-res references, so it feels a little “fudged and slurred through the difficult passages”. But more than that, I started the painting with a sense of “why bother?”, and that’s just not the way to do it…
I will always and forever look at this painting and wonder “Do all the elements coalesce? Can anyone tell it’s a Franken-painting?”
What I learned through this process:
coming up with original ideas is HARD. And SCARY.
and ultimately, that is why some artists are strictly representational. If it’s not directly in front of them, they won’t paint it.
I miss the zen factor of painting from internet images.
What I MIGHT change…
Her hair. I liked my initial colour layout and just kept it that way, but now I wonder: does it look too unfinished?
Here is my painting for September 7th – Day 7 (well, for me, it’s Day 2) of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.
What I’m happy with:
pretty much everything on the right side. Those pale colours with that thin outline really make me hum with satisfaction.
the white highlights. SO much easier to do on any surface that is NOT paper.
What I’m less happy with:
pretty much everything on the left side. The reference image is very calm, and I somehow made her look like she walked away from a bad fistfight (“you should see the OTHER guy!”).
What I’ve learned so far:
because I have practically zero training in painting (and this despite the fact that I have a Fine Arts Degree – chew upon that, alma mater!), I’m a lot less comfortable making paintings that are, I dunno… paint forward? I forced myself to use the biggest brushes possible for as long as possible on this tiny panel, but I was happiest when I could take out the detail brush, or when I could apply the paint as if I was drawing.
Slow-Dri Blending Gel really works. Bless you, Liquitex.
What was going through my mind practically all the way through:
I suck at painting
y’know, if I did this with Photoshop, it would come out AMAZING
I swear to you that I am not crazy – I’m just at a serious stand-still when it comes to my art! I need a decisive kick in the pants, so against my better judgement, I’ve decided to participate in Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge!
I’m just kidding – cranking out a painting a day is actually a really good idea. I did that for a week last winter and I ended up learning so much (and bonus! I had 5 beautiful landscape paintings by the end of it). I talk a big talk about how I want to be a serious artist, but that’s never going to happen if I can’t even decide on what I want to paint, or if I lack the skills to get those paintings onto canvas. Thirty days of face studies should not only bring my skill level up to something acceptable, but also help me to determine if painting the figure is what I want to focus on at all.
Every now and then, I like to get back to basics and do a proper study. Since most of the paintings that I have planned center on portraits of women wearing late 60’s – early 70’s clothing, an image from my copy of La Fileuse (a French knitting pattern catalog) from 1968 was a good place to start.
Being a sucker for punishment, I also decided to use only white and Phthalo Blue (“the priceless troublemaker”, as Carol Marine would say). Here’s what I learned from this particular experience:
I’m pretty happy with the results, but I have to say: Carol Marine was right about Phthalo Blue. Even the tiniest drop will have far-reaching consequences. Use with caution!
Along those lines, no amount of white on top of Phthalo Blue will be nice and bright. Best to use a light touch.
Because I wanted crisp lines along the edges of the painting, I applied a light coat of matte medium along the edge of the artists’ tape. The paint didn’t bleed, but it did form a kind of “shelf”.
Also, when you look at the painting from the side, there’s a slight difference in sheen where I applied the medium, and where I didn’t. I’m pretty sure that can be solved by applying a varnish all over, but that reminds me that…
… I forgot to varnish the painting before removing the tape. Oops.