Monday, April 26, 2010

Painting Analytically

I worked on a new piece yesterday.  I had started it on Monday then got most of the way done yesterday.  I don't have a name for her yet.  Any ideas? 
It was lovely using different colors for the skin than I usually use.  Her skin tones are so rich and gorgeous.  It was quite a pleasure moving into purples and alizaron crimson and Quinacridone red and violet, mixing in some viridian green and ultramarine blue for the shadows. 
I also enjoyed crafting her hand.  It's so important to the piece because it tells so much about her.  It is so expressive.  I've learned that the trick to painting hands to to simply think about values and shapes.  What I mean by that is - I don't think, "OK, now I'm painting a finger, and here's a wrist."  Instead, my thought process considers the color and value (light or darkness) and shape I'm trying to paint.  So where he fingers connect to her hand, I was thinking about using some purple and some red mixed with a bit of white, darker on the left, lighter on the right, blending into lighter as the peak descends. Then a kite-shaped area intersected by a curved line which is probably a vein or artery.  The line is dark on one side, lighter on the other.  If you break the whole into such small pieces so analytically, it's possible to paint anything, whether from a photograph or from life.  It just doesn't work as well for me for something that isn't right in front of me.

I think people who paint from their head have a different gift/skill/talent than I have.  I am able to copy things I see very well.  I am not able to draw the female figure well without looking at it.  I simply don't have that gift.  I don't see the interconnectedness of the bones, muscles, sinews, etc.  But I do see the kite intersecting with the curve and all the different kites coming together at a point where there's a curved protrusion.  My mind is very analytical.  I guess that's why I'm good at math and languages AND art.  My art is done analytically.  I'm thankful that the kind of art I like to do is aligned with the kind of art I am capable of doing!

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