Golden Girl

Is that the distant sound of Gustav Klimt spinning in his grave?

When I saw the Art Journal Adventure prompt of “Silence is Golden”, a nudge to use metallics, I immediately thought that a Klimt homage was in order.  He is one of my favourite artists because of the way he combines influences like psychology and mythology, blending the contemporary with the classical, juxtaposing the human form with bold areas of shape and pattern.  He’s a pretty inspirational artist and I like to dip into aspects of his style with my own illustrations from time to time.

I like the effect of metallic paints but I do find them tricky to work with.  I had to build up several thinner layers of bronze and gold before it looked smooth and not brushstroke-patchy.  The sheen of the metallic paint also makes it a bit tricky to get subsequent layers to behave well on top of the base layer.  I let the layer where I was building up the larger shapes of pattern get a bit sloppy as a result.  Klimt would not have approved, I’m sure.  I could have been more meticulous by taking my time but that didn’t happen.  Often in my art journal I start with a head and face and work outwards from there but this time the head and face were blanks until I had played around with all the patterns, though I had pencilled in the lozenge shape of the hair in advance as a frame to the face.

7 Golden Girl 1

7 Golden Girl 2

Female Form Silhouette

It has taken me almost two weeks to complete this Let’s Face It lesson but I’ve done it.  It took me almost a week just to find time to watch the lesson video and then, despite skipping some steps of the process demonstrated, it took me a further week to get the piece completed.  The lesson was taken by Deanna Strachan-Wilson and was about creating a simplified form of a female figure in a layered piece.  One of the corners I cut was in not drawing a figure based on a photograph and instead drawing from my imagination.  As such, my proportions are not realistic and I very much simplified the profile of the face plus I added a wing to balance out the composition.  I actually preferred my piece before I added gesso to the figure but I wanted to try and stay true to the methods of the lesson where I could since I had jettisoned other steps.  I do, however, like the warm, grungy sepia, vintage tones of the piece and especially the washes of bronze and the spatters of gold.

Week 41 - Figure Silhouette 1

Week 41 - Figure Silhouette 2

Girl with Bronze Disc

By taking short cuts, I actually managed to find time for two art lessons from last week.  It also helped that my kids had friends over to play so they were occupied and I could find a chunk of time in which to sit at my kitchen table and get arty and make a start on this piece.

Last week’s Let’s Face It lesson was taken by Kara Bullock and was more practice in drawing the face along with hands.  It also involved using white gesso to paint the face and hands in greyscale.  That was not something I had done before and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Perhaps that was because it almost felt like drawing with gesso rather than treating the gesso like paint.  I do also really like creating pieces that are monochromatic or have very limited palettes so I added very little in the way of colour to the areas of flesh in the figure and face and I kept the background grungy and neutral.  The background that Bullock demonstrated in the tutorial was really very different from the one I ended up with but it was the creation of the background that was my major shortcut for this piece so I had to try something new.  Her background had been pretty textural and grungy, however, so I tried to generate that same sort of feeling but in a different way.  By way of contrast to all the texture and grunge, however, I added a disc of bronze paint behind the figure.  I do love to add discs and halos surrounding the figures in my art work.  I don’t know why.  I just go with it.

Week 38 - Paint with Gesso 1

Week 38 - Paint with Gesso 2

 

Girl with Bronze Eyes

Last week’s Let’s Face It lesson was taken by Muriel Stegers.  I had to improvise a fair bit with the materials and I didn’t follow the subject of the portrait but I did paint over collage, use metallic paints, and lots of dribble which were major elements in the lesson.

I am not sure how I feel about my outcome.  I like the degree of blending in the skin tones and I like the metallic elements, especially the bronze irises.  I also like that the collage layer adds a layer of interest to the background.  However, the ear lobe is too high on the head, I think the liberal use of metallic paint might be a bit overwhelming, and I think all the dribble at the bottom of the painting detracts from the face.

Week 14 Portrait Metallic Bronze 1

Week 14 Portrait Metallic Bronze 3