Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mom is Face 8, 100 Faces in 100 Days Project

"Mom", Face #8 of 100, oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Today was fun! Okay, you've heard that before.

Face #8 is none other than my Mom, Shonnie Johnson, numero uno Mom, art agent, friend, wife (to Dad), Nana (to lucky grandkids), neighbor (to all those Stratford House folks) ... and awfully cute, to boot. The hardest critic for my paintings of Mom is my Dad who thinks she's so beautiful that nothing I can create in paint can hold a candle to her. That's probably true.

But I tried.

She sat super still. She's had training as a model for one of my previous Portrait classes. This is NOT a requirement for my 100 Faces in 100 Days project, but she did it anyway. I did take a little lunch break sitting in the chair I set up for her ... and I admit that it was awfully comfy.

Mom walking around the Artists' Atelier, my shared studio
It was great to have some extended visiting time. It's impossible to get enough. 

Dad is going to be Face #11. He agreed to model for me after my Still Life class next week. What he doesn't know (even though my Mom and I are both telling him), is that he's going to enjoy this just as much as I am. It's a reprieve from all those things he has to do ... and some nice time making his daughter happy.

I'm filling up my Faces calendar a little at a time  and have a schedule opening for this coming Friday, January 14 in the afternoon and Sunday, January 16, also in the afternoon, both probably at 2pm. I've had lots of volunteers that I just need to assign to a particular day.

My Mom sat for me for about four hours. The range has been between 2-1/2 to 4 hours. I've been asked whether I think I'll speed up the more I do ... and I just don't know but my guess is that it will stay about the same. The span of time required seems to be less about the model than about me. I have been using the full time lately, though, because I spend more time in the Open Grisaille stage ... laying in the darks only (in a mix of transparent oxide red and French ultramarine blue) to nail my drawing. As soon as the darks are put down, it matters very little how much my sitter moves. After that, I am just looking for the colors of her/his skin tones and clothing in the light.

Open Grisaille stage ... just starting to add in the lights
I did take a shot of my painting of Mom as I was just beginning to lay in the lights. I keep my darks thin paint (just less of it -- I don't use any medium) and use thicker paint on my lights.

All of these paintings are being done on 12" x 12" Raphael oil-primed, linen-lined boards. They are a bit tricky, but I like them. The trickiness comes from their smooth, oil-primed texture. Paint is not absorbed at all and the hard, smooth surface makes every single brushstroke show. There's an upside to this, too. Brushstrokes are pretty beautiful in and of themselves ... and I think the "craziness" of them just adds energy and life to each of these paintings.

There are two more openings in my Portrait Painting and Drawing class that starts this coming Monday, January 10. The class is weekly from 10am-1pm for nine weeks and I give a demo in the first session. (The demo will be of Face #10: my Father-in-Law, Drate Banks.) See my web site's Classes page for more info and email me if you're interested. Classes are held through the Great Falls School of Art at 1144 Walker Road, Suite D, Great Falls, VA 22066. I hope you can join us!

Learn more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts or on my web site. I'm adding links to each day's Face back to the blog post for their day. Interesting. A bit of work but a great way to get to know more about them. My mom's not on there yet, but she will be.

I'm curious, too, what you see (those of you following this project). I know it's only the beginning of week two ... but is there a change? A common thread? Something you want to know more or less about?

Thanks, MOM for ALL you do ... including sitting for me!

"Mom", Face #8 in my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project, oil on Raphael board, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011.

Phone: 703.403.7435


Cheryl said...

I will be curious to know how painting a face you know very well - like this one you've known all your life - compares with people you know less well. Could you paint your mother's face even if she were not such a great model?

Shonnie (Mom) said...

Time with your "adult" kids is always special, and today was no exception. As Face #8, it was amazing watching Jill at work in full conversation mode with me, studio-mates or others.
If you're trying to make up your mind whether or not to volunteer as one of her models, my advice is...JUST DO IT!
It is fun, easy and provides a great
opportunity for the 2 of you to get to know each other better!

Dad said...

Jill, You surely did a great job with portrait #8. Only 92 more to go. What a treat for each of you to have one-on-one hours together! As you know, your mom truly enjoyed every minute, and I love the results and your blog. You are not only an artist with paints, but also with nice thoughts and all the right words. So many blessings!
Love, Dad

Jill Banks said...

Thanks, Mom AND Dad for your comments.

Cheryl, It's not really different other than I get more frustrated when something's "off" on a face I know very well. For some reason, I think that I should get it right with ease ... but all painting's take time to work out problem areas. There are regularly missteps in all. I just keep painting until I'm happy with the results.

Do you paint portraits yourself?

Cheryl said...

No, I don't draw very well - except quilting motifs! If Dorry shows you some of her larger recent pieces, you'll see my work there. I am now living in North Carolina, but if I were still in Great Falls, I'd be signing up for your classes. I've been reading art blogs for inspiration to take to quilting, photography and other forms of graphic expression.