Saturday, December 12, 2009

Progress on new piece, Day V (it feels like 25!)

Here are the pictures from 12/11's day in the studio.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this piece is pretty darn challenging!  But that's OK.  At the same time as I'm working on it, I'm reading a book about the time the Mona Lisa was stolen.  In it, the author quotes many people's rapturous opinions about the painting and why it has come to be one of the most famous pieces of art in the Western world.  It took daVinci 4 years to paint it.  The quotes inspire me to keep working to try to make it sublime.  Knowing it took him 4 years helps me have more patience!  I do feel like it's starting to come together.  The colors are more unified and are blending well.  The values are working.  The dimensionality is working.  I can see plenty of room for improvement, but I'm feeling like I might be on the home stretch - I can believe that it may come to look like my vision of it one of these days.

When I begin a piece, I have a vision in my head of how the piece will look when I'm done.  As I work on it, sometimes it has different ideas than I do, so sometimes we have a dialog - or an active discussion - or even an argument!  Sometimes the piece's will is stronger than mine - as it was in Dancing Woman.  Usually though, my vision and the will of the piece are mostly in harmony.  They blend and become one as I work on the piece.  That happened in Flinging the Red Scarf.  It looks a lot like I planned for it to look, but when I really study it, I can see that it grew and developed as I worked on it, and I like it better than my vision of it.  Cool!

With this new piece, which I still haven't named, I had a vision of it as slightly green in hue.  It has shifted throughout from purple to brown to green and all around the three.  It hasn't quite settled in yet.  That feels like my biggest challenge with this piece overall.  It also depends on what time of day I work on it and whether I use artificial lighting or not as to what color it appears to be.  I have to use Photoshop to get the colors accurate before I post them each day because they appear so very different depending on what time of day I take them!  I've been working early in the day lately.  My studio was built with clerestory windows and an overhang so I don't get direct light coming into the studio ever except right around now.  I didn't notice it last year, but now I see it every day.  It lands directly on my canvas at 10 AM and makes it so I can't even paint on it because the light is so strong!  I have to move the canvas and my palette until about 12:30!  It's the strangest thing!  It simply wasn't an issue in the summer/spring.  When Adele and I were painting the other day, the sun was moving across the sky the whole time and completely changing the lighting on the still life constantly.  Tricky!

1. 1:12 PM - At this stage, I had already glazed the hands and arms with a greener hue and worked on getting the arm more refined.  This is certainly still in process!

2. 3:07 PM  I added the hue to the legs to unify them.  The color is looking better to me, but splotchy, not integrated yet.  I'm liking the left food a lot.

3. 4:16 PM - time to stop to go take a walk, but I didn't want to quit!  That's usually how it is by then - I really get on a roll by the time it's time to quit.

I worked on the face more, starting to make it look real.  I also gave the legs more definition.  When I look at them here, the bottom leg looks a little bit strange, like a beautiful piece of ceramics with lovely curves - but not like a let!  I'll have to work on that yet.  Could be I got too carried away with light and dark (which create form).  The face isn't looking like my model yet, but it's a good start.  Trouble with the arm by the elbow.  It looks weird too.  Photographs are a really good tool to help me see where things are still off.  I can look at the canvas for hours without seeing the issues, but seeing it here on the screen, especially a day later, makes the issues crystal clear!  I'm feeling very brave for posting them for all the world to see!  The process isn't necessarily pretty!

I won't be able to paint again until Tuesday morning, I don't think.  A friend of mine is in hospice care so I'll be sitting with her Monday morning, and tomorrow is Meeting then tutoring all day - til 9 PM.  I had a migraine today which hasn't gone away yet - it was hell tutoring Spanish, German, and physical science with my brains screaming at me to let them out of my head all day.  I hope they get what they need tonight and feel much better tomorrow.  This is very painful!

Off to Sleepyland to try to help it!

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