Girl with Flame Hair

Last week’s Let’s Face It lesson was taken by Iris Fritschi-Cussens.  One of the things I really like about Iris’ lessons is that she approaches art in a way that enables one to take either a more painterly or a more illustrative approach and to find a way to mesh the methodology she demonstrates with one’s own style.  It seems to me to be an extension of her attitude that each of us should accept where we are with our skill level and style and embrace and develop that instead of crippling our creativity with unrealistic expectations, to just experience the joy of creativity and not be concerned with a wider audience.

The idea behind this lesson was to playfully create an interesting background and then paint a 3/4 facing portrait on top of it.  I decided, however, to twist the idea a bit and to make the background become part of the foreground: all my painting, spatter and mark-making in the background was painted around to form the negative shapes of the clothing, the hair, and the irises of the eyes.  I quite like the effect and might continue to explore this approach to negative space painting.  The face I am less happy with.  I seem to be prone to drawing my figures with a strong jawline and heavy chin.  Of course, Rossetti did likewise so perhaps I should not worry too much about drawing and painting more delicate features.  I think she has a bit of a 1930s vibe to her.  Still, I think I did a better job with Iris’ previous lesson.  What I have enjoyed with both lessons is using the Stabilo All pencil to create a dark but smudgy outline.  I think that helps me merge painting with my illustrative style of drawing, makes the paintings more “me”.

Week 12 - Three Quarter Portrait over Background


Emerging from the Background

This week has not been a great art week for me.  It has been a busy week and I have had one of my kids at home sick for two days.  I have been too busy bleaching and disinfecting for the muse to visit me and my mojo has fled.  Coinciding with this episode of artistic cack-handedness, both the art courses this week presented me with techniques I found very difficult.  Maybe this week’s creative trough will lead me to an artistic peak next week.

This week’s Let’s Face It lesson was taken by Juna Biagioni and was essentially about gradually pulling a face out of a background layer using very loose brush marks.  I managed to start off with loose marks, moving the brush from my elbow rather than from my wrist, but in the final layers I tightened up too much.  I should have re-sketched the facial features and proportions between layers as I once more ended up painting a face with a long nose, large chin, and heavy jaw line whereas the proportions I had originally sketched were much rounder and more petite.  I guess everything gradually drifted south as I added each layer  I also failed entirely to achieve the softness that Biagioni’s art work demonstrates.

I will add that the piece is much warmer than it appears in the photo.  What looks very pale in the photo is actually a warm flesh tone in real life.  However, since my DSLR broke and I have not yet plumped up the courage to attempt a repair, I am having to make do with my phone’s camera.

Week 9 - Face Pulled from the Background