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.
This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Pam Carriker and revolved around a selfie. Now I do draw self-portraits from time to time because I am an available and compliant model but I am really not my favourite subject. There is nothing interesting or inspirational about my face. I have no compelling bone structure. In fact, my face looks like it was hewn from a potato. Which is OK because I have intelligence, wit and charisma on my side. Ha ha! For this exercise, I chose to avoid the complications of painting glasses so I used a selfie sans spectacles which confirmed to me that I actually look better when I wear glasses as it gives my face more proportion and interest. So, yes, selfies are not my favourite subject but I appreciate they make for a good exercise.
The print of the selfie was transferred to the paper using a simple but effective technique which ensured the proportions of the face were accurate. This proved to be interesting as my husband and three of my sons all remarked, when looking at the finished piece, that my cheeks are chubbier in real life. The approach to the painting was grungy which I enjoyed immensely. Lots of dribble and mess and scrunging the paint around. I also liked that it was largely monochromatic with just a little pop of colour here and there. I chose purple because it is my favourite colour. I would say that the finished piece resembles me but is not a strong likeness. In that regard, it makes me think of those drawings of suspects created from eye witness statements: it is close enough to identify it as me but things are awry enough for it to be not quite right.
Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Jenny Grant. Her style was described as ethereal yet grungy so that was the objective of the lesson, to use her approach to layering to create an outcome that was a bit grubby and messy yet aesthetically appealing. Given my history of making mud when using more than a couple of layers, it was a challenging balance to strike.
As per normal, I deviated a little from the tutorial partly through pragmatism (I do not own all the required materials) and partly through choice (so that I can make the lesson fit my own style). The colour scheme was inspired by the top I happened to be wearing at the time but pink and turquoise seems to be a palette I keep returning to anyway. I, of course, enjoyed all the opportunities for dribbling and splattering. I think the trails of ink are my favourite element of this piece. Hopefully the close up shows that I used pearlescent paint in the hair and eyes, aiming for the sheen of those areas to counterpoint the darker areas of the painting.