Sunday, January 2, 2011

100 Faces in 100 Days: Day Two

"Rachel", 100 Faces in 100 Days: Day Two, oil on board, 12"h x 12"w
Wow. Today was wonderful. I chose my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project as one of my goals for this year because I spent time thinking about those moments/days/times that I felt most alive and energized as a painter. Guess when those were?  Answer: Whenever I had the great privilege to paint someone who was sitting right in front of me. My chances to do so came in classes I took in portraiture and figure or when I'd hire a model to give a demo or teach class. A few times, a group of us from my studio (the Artists' Atelier, working studios of 17 artists located at 1144 Walker Road, Suites D&G, Great Falls, VA) would hire a professional model to come sit for us for five or six sessions, once a week. But, it's been awhile and I missed it!!! Painting from life is awfully close to what I hope heaven is like. So much fun. So inspiring. A chance to talk and really get to know someone else in such an easy, comfortable setting.

Rachel with "Rachel"
Today's model for Face #2 is Rachel, a ten-year-old who sat for me for about two-and-a-half hours. She serenaded her mom and me with the clarinet at the end of the sitting ... which was great. Rachel and her mom (Diane) and I talked about who else in the family might be good candidates for my faces project. I know that Diane will sit (sometime soon) and that maybe I'll see Rachel's brother (age 8) and possibly her dad.

It was fun to witness Diane and Rachel's discussions. Just easygoing, interesting, fun, full of good humor. I have a mirror set up behind my easel so both of them could see me working away and the canvas in progress. I stop and show what I'm doing and explain the process or how I break down lights and darks, etc. But mainly I share my joy at having them there to paint.

Another view. The shorter chair was for Rachel's clarinet concert.
I did have an a-ha moment last night ... and the night before that.

My a-ha moment last night (while I was half asleep) was that I need to get back to the way I developed alla prima (painted all at once, in one sitting) portraits previously (as in Robert Liberace and Danni Dawson's classes at the Art League and workshops taken at Studio Incamminati) versus a do-everything-at-once approach I'd adopted briefly ... perhaps in panic. Today I laid in the darks, all in one shade (a mix of transparent red oxide and French ultramarine blue) and solidified my drawing in this simple step. When I was satisfied, I moved on to my lights. That's exactly how I've approached the portrait for almost-countless demos. Do what you know. So, my a-ha moment is sort of a ... duh.

Yet it worked.

So much easier.  By the way, I am happy with my portrait of Dorry as Face #1 yesterday -- it was just harder to get there. That's how I learn, though. Even if learning is re-learning.

I'm getting volunteers ... not enough yet ... so contact me. The hardest times to fill will be toward the beginning of this project because I've had so little time to get the word "out." All ages, shapes, sizes, personalities, ethnicities, energies ... I want you. (Email me ... call.)

This project is about the process. The time we get to spend together letting each other into the other's lives. An exciting time for me as a painter.

While I have no immediate plans (or venues) ... I'm sure I will exhibit these as a whole somewhere. I'll post each day my Face of the Day on my blog. I'll most likely publish a book. (Can't imagine not doing that.)

So, I'm not sure who I'm painting tomorrow ... or the next day ... but I imagine a grand time. Can't wait to get up in the morning. Can't wait to get started.

Thanks, Rachel!!! Thanks, Diane!!!!

Take a look at earlier posts for more info on my project.

"Rachel", 100 Faces in 100 Days: Day 2, oil on Raphael linen-lined panel, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011. (All portraits will be on the same support; same size; similar proportions. And, by the way, don't sweat what to wear -- just a little will show -- or looking photo-perfect. I'm not taking a photo and I don't see "perfectly.")

And, in case you missed it ... here's Dorry's account of providing Face #1... Dorry writes a blog as well and wrote about today's events as providing my First Face on the first day of the New Year. It provides an interesting perspective of just how much torture I'll subject you to.  Check it out here. Warning. I've been captured in my painter's smock. Several times.

Phone: 703.403.7435

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