Sunday, October 7, 2007

ArtPact #18

(Originally published on May 12, 2007).

"You are stalling",
she said.

Y'see, after a lot of hesitation, I finally jumped in and did the first painting of La Sagesse
. I was very intimidated, as it's a great photo and very easy to screw-up. So, NOT painting it would make sure I don't. But then again, I do want to paint it... Typical for a first painting - I guess there's no way to avoid this.

"I'll make several versions of it", I told myself and The JohnnyB, and went ahead with the first version. As expected, I turned out copying what I saw, clinging to the photo, trying to capturing every little bit that's in it, rather than creating my own painting from it.
It was frustrating, and I could not tell what's wrong with it, so I just stopped, and - being very frustrated - I decided I might as well have some fun, and did two in my sketchy-line style with some light washes, which I have recently started to explore. It was fun. Not yet what I want, but - it's also about enjoying the journey.

On Thursday I went to our critique group meeting. It was a very reduced-forum, only the three of us: WebbieM, RabkieM and myself. It was actually quite pleasant, and each of us ended up getting a lot of attention and critique of her work.
WebbieM nailed down what was wrong with my first painting: I was using hues & tints, and then tones.

OK, a quick lesson in color: 'hue' is pure intense color, out of the tube. 'tint' is the hue mixed with white or water to lighten its value, and 'tone' is the hue mixed with its complement to create neutral grays. Confused? Wait - let's also add 'shade', which is the hue mixed with black. Hues and tints tend to be more intense and bright and cheery, while tones and shades are tuned down, more grayish and a bit more moody. Somehow, all my paintings end up with tones and shades, and I keep trying to get to cheery, but that's not part of the lesson, and not what you are paying for.

So, I was using cheery hues and tints in the sky and ocean, while the figures and their shadows were all tones. Doesn't quite feel right. Then, RabkieM pointed out what was wrong with my sketchy one, and I was very grateful for their help.

After the meeting, I was telling RabkieM how weird it is that I cannot bring myself to paint portraits since I started taking WackieM's advanced portrait workshop, and instead I'm doing figures and other stuff.

RabkieM gave me a reprimanding knowing look and said, "You know what you are doing, don't you!?".

"What?", I asked with angelic eyes.

"You are stalling".

"Me? stalling?", I faked insulted astonishment (like, Duh...).

"Yes. I am only saying this because I do the same. It's just like doing the laundry or washing dishes or finding little house projects instead of painting. You should be working on your self-portrait, which is the homework we got from WackieM, not escaping to this beach scene!!".

Ah, I really hate it when people are right.

I went back home, and proceeded to work on the first La Sagesse painting, keeping in mind WebbieM's comment. Yup, the 'after' painting (the one on the right) looks more unified. Not quite a bright Caribbean beach, more like a beach on very hazy day, or at dusk, but hey - at least it has a consistent mood.

But RabkieM's words kept echoing in my head.

And so, the next evening, I decided that she really is right. A couple of weeks ago, The JohnnyB took a photograph of me in the same pose of the
self portraits
I painted from life at the workshop. I printed that photo, dug out all those tissue papers that I prepared a month ago, got the guts to finally tear them up (the first tear broke my heart, but once I got over it, I proceeded to slash them, pogrom-style) . . . . .

. . . . 4 hours later - I came up with this:

"Self-Portrait #3", Collage on matboard, 19"x16"

I was having soooooooooooooo much fun, it must be illegal in some states!!
And now I am hooked on collage!!

So - I owe a big, Huge, IMMENSE Thank You to RabkieM.

The Beach Boys can wait....

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