Spring Girl

This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Misty Mawn.  Misty Mawn is a mixed media artist I had heard a lot about so it was fun to experience a lesson with her and learn what her approach to art is.  Hers is a much looser, much more painterly, much more intuitive style than I know I am capable of so the lesson really dragged me out of my comfort zone.

This is one of those pieces I regret not taking progress shots of because at no stage did it ever resemble or even predict what it was going to end up looking like.  My initial sketch was actually a self-portrait (without glasses) and actually a rather good one so I wish I had thought to take a picture of that.  It was, however, never my intention for the final painting to resemble me.  Instead I was using my face as scaffolding to underpin the other layers.  As soon as I started applying paint, with a large brush, the quality of the drawing disappeared and it became a mess.  I was not happy with either my mixing of flesh tones nor my mark making with the brush.  It was a complete and utter mess and I seriously doubted in my ability to refine that layer enough to make it worth persevering with and progressing.  I managed to refine it a little more by switching to a medium brush and by improving the flesh tones but it was definitely in the “ugly stage” by then.  I admit that it was then that I threw in the towel.  I could not get the painting to emerge as anything worthy of escaping the trash bin using a painterly, loose approach and acrylic paint.  What I decided to do, therefore, was use other media and revert to my drawing skills to pull out the facial details and make the painting cohere.  That saved the day and saved the piece from going in the bin.

As an aside, the green and pink colour scheme definitely speaks to my longing for Spring.  I am so done with Winter and its bleak, grey, dull days.

3 Spring Girl

13 thoughts on “Spring Girl

  1. I enjoyed reading about how the piece changed. How the elements the drawing were lost once you applied paint. The ability to keep what you like from a rough sketch or first drawing in a final rendering is so difficult. It’s what I struggle with daily. But your final piece is very strong so you managed to wrestle a POV out of it no matter the road traveled to get there.

    • Thank you, Mark. I am glad to know I am not the only one who struggles with this. I am definitely much stronger at drawing than I am at painting which is frustrating as it means it is often the initial sketch that is the best part and, of course, that gets lost under subsequent layers. I do feel I am improving though. It is just very slow and gradual progress.

  2. I like what you ended up with! I think I’ve come to the conclusion that taking lessons leads us to really unpin our own style and that the way other people work is theirs and while it is worthwhile to try out their style and understand what they are doing, ultimately we are refining our own…… does that make any sense to you, I think I’m gabbling, Haven’t had first coffee yet 😉 Your style is very strong and recognisably ‘you’ – I think I’ve said that before …… I love that name ‘Misty Mawn’ it’s way cool and I have always wondered if it is a real name 🙂

    • I had that same thought about her name. I suspect she either adopted it as a romantic, creative moniker or else her parents were free spirit types. Either way it perfectly suits her.

      In doing these courses the past couple of years, I have definitely tried to apply the techniques and approaches of other people to my own style. I don’t want to “art” like other people after all; I want to better “art” like me. I will say it is useful to learn what things don’t work for me as well as what does. This piece, for instance, reinforced the fact that I can only get to a certain level of detail with acrylic and then no more. Time to switch to other media.

      Thank you so much, Pauline, for always being such a great source of encouragement and support and for reading my blog. I truly appreciate it and you.

  3. She is beautiful and I love the colors! It seems like forever since the sun has been out. I haven’t been able to get any good photos for a blog post. I’m hoping the sun will shine tomorrow.

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