Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Late for Class and Last Night's Portrait Sketch

Happy Valentine's Day!

At least THEY were on time
This morning, I was snoozing away at fifteen minutes until the start of class. That's not good since I really needed some time to get ready, ten minutes travel and an hour to set up the room. I arrived at 10:04 (for a 10am class). Fortunately, I've got an understanding, helpful, super group of students. No one made me pay for the blunder. Or at least, not too much.

Today was a step back from painting whole, complicated set-ups ... with a set of exercises painting single objects in a simplified manner on a piece of unstretched canvas. When the canvas isn't so precious (that big white surface that cost $x) and you consider something an exercise vs. your next masterpiece, pressure eases and ... there's a better chance that you'll paint boldly. (Bold is better.) The class divided up their 12"h x 12"w scrap of canvas into four 6"x6"s and created a colored sketch in each quadrant. (Okay, I should have a picture for this.) They practiced with each mini sketch ... simplifying the form, color mixing, values, paint handling ... and I could talk to them about each of those parts -- all important pieces of the puzzle of painting. These were good exercises to focus them ... and to focus me. I hope they paint hundreds more. There's a lesson in every one.

Why I Was Late
"Color Study" #1
Last night I was painting the first of three studies for a family portrait commission -- after teaching Monday's class. Despite the lack of posts, I've been going full steam ahead for the last two weeks. So I was tired before getting started. But, not as tired as I apparently was this morning.

This was meant to be a color study so that I'd know the true skin colors of my subject for a finished oil portrait that would be painted from charcoal sketches and photo references. Once that paintbrush got into my hand, though, I couldn't stop and it turned into much more than a color study ... and more of a ... portrait.

Sometimes, It All Works
My husband Randy was as impressed as I was with last night's unintended color-study-turned-into-portrait result. I may not be as "lucky" with color studies of the next two members of the family but that's not the point. (Remind me.) The color studies are a reference for me. (I want to know what the face, hair and clothing colors are in the light and shadows -- information that photos will not convey.) The real work and pressure -- comes later when I am painting the whole family portrait as a finished piece.

Just getting started. That's me in the smock.
Doing these charcoal and oil sketches on site is a good way of involving my clients in the process of developing their portrait. We share in the fun of watching it develop and I get to spend more time capturing life with it right in front of me. Once I move to a large canvas, I'll take those pieces -- the color studies/oil sketches and charcoal compositional sketches along with some photos and  objects -- and work rather endlessly on painting alone in my studio. Hopefully, these beginning stages -- spent together -- will play over and over again in my head once facing that big, white stretched canvas in the studio. That's the plan.

On Exhibit:
"Drama Queens" and "Classical Painting Atelier" are on view at the Artists' Atelier "Wet Paint!" February Exhibit, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA. Open Hours: Saturdays, noon-4pm or whenever an artist is in ... or by appointment. Contact info below.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 1 (faces 1-54): www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/100_Faces_in_100_Days_Project.html
100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 2 (faces 55-100): www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/100_Faces_in_100_Days_Project_2.html

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