Sunday, October 7, 2007

ArtPact #31

(Originally published on September 27, 2007).

Finally, we have the house back to ourselves. Flooring is done for now, electricians are gone, no more people in the house all day long. And it's all looking great.

We are yet to unpack everything in order to have the house look normal again, but we are both too busy and tired to do that. Ah well, empty shelves never killed anyone.

I met with WackieM today, so she can me give her painting to deliver to our Annual Show, which we're hanging next Saturday (Ahhhhh!! got to frame mine!!!). She came to the cafe where our critique group meets, and after an inevitable series of "Wow!" at the sight of her painting (which is even more incredible in real life than its
online version), we sat at a table by the window.

We were hungrily devouring our soup & salads and chatting, when I suddenly stared outside the window.

"Ooooo Ooooooo!!! Hat!!! Woman!! THERE!!!", I fidgeted, reverting to fluent Neanderthalish.

WackieM did not show any signs of concern or surprise. That's a fairly acceptable behavior among figurative artists, who are always on the hunt for a good face. The object of my poetic reaction was a lady in her 80s, with a unique black hat, black suit, and all the chic in the world. There she sat, by herself, at the table outside, gazing at a glass of water. A painting waiting to happen. (if you were there, Rhonda, she would be a story waiting to be blogged. Well, she is, but painting comes first).

Usually, when I see such sights, something happens and I miss the opportunity. Not this time - I pulled out my loyal LumiB and snapped some shots. Not of the best quality, as it was through a window, and had to be done fast, with no zoom, so she won't notice and get either upset or too self-conscious. It's a good thing I acted quickly, as - soon enough - a young woman joined my muse and blocked the view.

After I came home, I thought of the many photos of people that got me all excited when I saw them, and are now just sitting around in my "People" folder, waiting to be painted some day.

Not this time!

Having been at our critique meeting, and reading the
new blog of WackieM, plus my recent Amazon purchase, "Experimental Drawing" which arrived today, made me realize I am finally back in da zone. And, to top it all and give me one last push in the right direction, LimaB has sent me an wonderful self-portrait she drew today, making me want to rush to my studio and rummage through the unpacked boxes for some paper and pencils.

Still, as my dominant state is procrastinating, I spoke on the phone, had dinner, learned how to upload movies from Amazon to TiVo... and then kicked myself.

"I am going to at least do one sketch tonight!", I announced to the skeptical The JohnnyB, who nodded carefully with the familiar so-whadaya-want-from-me look.

And I did.

I uploaded the photo onto the TV screen (Thank you, TiVo for all your wonders!!), and started, merely getting myself acquainted with the subject, not even pretending to make a value sketch yet.

The first sketch was made with the photo upright - pretty much copying what I saw. I didn't care much for the result. I then noticed that TiVo enables you to rotate the image (I love TiVo!!), so I turned it upside down, and did the second sketch.

* An education outreach as a bonus for those of you who stayed with me so far: Working upside down usually results in much better drawings. Looking at an image this way, where you cannot really recognize anything, your left brain (whose job is to title, catalogue and analyze everything) freaks out and abandons the arena with a cry of despair, leaving the stage for your right brain, which is the creative side, the one wearing a berret.

I do like some parts of the second sketch much much better. I know, Mike, I got too detailed too fast - but that is just the first attempt! I'll behave... promise!). As always, once I got going, I really wanted to continue - and yet, as I need to get up early tomorrow and look fresh and presentable (going to an Art Summit), I have to call it a day.

So, this is the second step in a long journey of the birth of a painting. The first one was to fall in love with the subject and get a reference photo.

To be continued.

By the way, I am still amused by the fact that WackiM invited me to lunch, claiming I am doing her a favor by volunteering to bring her painting to the Annual Show. Not only do we get to her her masterpiece hung on our living room wall for 10 days (The JohnnyB cannot take his eyes off the painting!), I was also blessed with this photography opportunity, which wouldn't have happened had we not met at the cafe. So, who exactly did whom a favor here, Eh???

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