I am participating in Greenville’s Open Studios for the first time this weekend! I am so excited! Come see my studio space, my artwork, and my process. The Address is 103 Comstock Ct., Greer, SC. If the studio is not too hectic, I will be working on the painting of Francesca.
If your downtown this weekend, don’t miss the All Squared Away exhibit at the MAC gallery. You will be able to see a sampling of artwork created by each of the 124 participating artists in the Open Studios weekend.
I am so excited to get started on this next painting because this girl really intrigues me! We met two weeks before she was scheduled to move to Massachusetts and despite her life being in flux, I found her to be both calm and accommodating. I envied her spontaneity as well as her go with the flow attitude: two qualities I have always admired in others but find difficult to exhibit myself. While chatting over coffee, Francesca was like an open book and filled me in about her life. She talked to me about her family, friends, pivotal moments of her life, as well as her influences, hobbies, character and personality. I started to form some loose ideas in my head about how to capture my impressions of this interesting, quirky, creative and confident girl. A week later we were out taking photographs and in a couple of hours we were done.
Francesca is an only child from a close-knit family. Her mother is Columbian and has extended family living here in the United States as well as Columbia. I learned that her very free-spirited nature is also very descriptive of her father, whom she admires and considers her best friend and one of her biggest influences. Having had the opportunity to travel, she has developed an appreciation for other cultures as well as gratitude for the opportunities she experiences as a citizen in the states. Francesca has lived in several areas of the country and it may have been the necessity to adapt to her new surroundings that has contributed to her outlook on life: one of openness, willingness to change and a desire to learn and experience new things. Some of her interests include circus performing, visual art, travel, writing, language and drama.
Although all drawing needs to be accurate to get a good likeness, so much character and personality are found in the eyes and mouth. Subtle adjustments in these areas can make a huge difference, taking a painting from resemblance to “you captured him so well!”.
Here are some close up photographs of the painting “Ethan” taken during the it’s progression. You can see how the small adjustments change the character ever so slightly but very importantly in these areas.
This is the initial sketch of Ethan done on my canvas with charcoal and ebony pencil. It is a rough drawing done as an understudy for the painting. I am the kind of painter that is constantly correcting drawing mistakes as I go. I would love to get it right from the very beginning, but this doesn’t usually happen. What I am looking to do at this stage is work out the placement of the figure, create a fairly accurate drawing, and establish the value pattern.
The first thing I noticed when I met Ethan was his confidence. He is obviously a very physically fit guy and takes pride in his athletic abilities and physique. What I didn’t know until later was he is also very friendly, captain of his track team and loves to goof around and laugh with his team mates and friends. Despite his cheerful and carefree nature, he takes his leadership role as track captain and athlete very seriously. I attended many a practice observing him in his element and saw a hard working competitor and a supportive and encouraging team member. It is all of these things that I wish to capture in my portrait of him.
Do you know a teen that would be interested in being part of my project “A Portrait of American Teens”?
I am looking for teen subjects that would bring diversity to the group of paintings. Diversity in many forms: could be ethnicity, family structure, personality, interests and goals. If you have a teen in mind, let me explain the process. I have subjects fill out a questionnaire and provide me with a candid photo of themselves. If I decide that they are a good fit for the group, meaning that they capture something different from what I already have, we would meet to get to know one another. If the process goes further, I would arrange for a photo shoot. As I get to know the teen, I will be formulating ideas about how to focus on what it is about them that I want to present to the viewer of the painting. I normally paint the portrait from the reference photos, although in some circumstances, if the teen is available, I may ask them to sit for me in order to make some prepatory sketches.
There is no monetary compensation for their time, although I can provide the teen with a cd of the images from their photo shoot. The finished painting, photos and any sketches made belong to me as well as rights to reproduction. I will not photograph or paint any portrait that is pornographic or defamatory in nature and parents and or guardians are welcome during any or all of this process.
If you or a teen you know a teen who might be interested, please contact me through the contact page of this blog.
Clarity came after putting this away for a little while. The background was too cluttered and it needed some quiet space. I removed the tree trunk and think it made a big difference. Now the focus is where it belongs, on her!
The painting of Megan is close to being done! It’s time to put it away so I can come back with a fresh eye and see what it needs in order to finish it up.
Here are some of the changes I made along the way.
Photo on far left:
The background has developed: darkened the shadow. Lots of work and rework on the jacket. All of these folds are giving me fits! I am bothered by the shoulder area and the associated folds and details. This area is still to be resolved. The face continues to be developed and changed to refine the likeness.
Photo in the middle:
It’s the jacket again! I realized that the drawing was off and ended up repainting quite a bit. It’s getting closer and starting to feel like there is actually a body under there. There has been a lot more refining on the face as well as the hair. I painted the right hand. Background is coming along, but I am still not quite happy. I will continue to figure it out.
Photo on the right:
I am pleased with the changes to the background. Moving the leaves all the way across has helped as well as developing some other dark areas. The tree trunk was reworked because it was drawing too much attention. I placed a shadow along the path to balance the strong directional line of the bench. Little changes were made to the shoulder and back area which made a huge difference. Don’ t know if you can see it, but a little more volume was given to the back and the values are working much better now. Again, many small refinements to the face. It’s incredible how small the changes in value and color in many areas of her cheek, but it’s made a big difference in getting the likeness. Pale skin is really beautiful because of the color subtleties. I will post some of the close-ups.