“Splurge” seemed the right word, so I looked it up, and indeed, there is a secondary meaning that covers what I feel I have today: an extravagant display. Beginning with the figure workshop with Peter Granucci last Tuesday, through the class with Cameron Bennett, and and ending today with my last–no, my most recent–edits of the Sami and Noodles portrait, my week was full of figures and faces, most of them falling squarely under the category of portraiture. Oddly enough, my favorite of the week is the most unlikely candidate. I entered a contest to paint a portrait from a supplied photograph by Shan Peck–he is the photographer and the contest administrator and the juror. It’s not a big deal, just a fun thing to do, and it became a project to do in my class with Cameron. I can’t reproduce Shan’s photo here–he made a point of forbidding any use of it other than to paint the portrait–but you can link to it here.
Since we were encouraged to upload our works in progress, I snapped a few of those on my cell phone (had to figure that out first–what a banner week!).
Our Sunday model, Sabrin, was slated to keep the same post and dress as she had last week, so I went prepared to draw a charcoal portrait of her. She was very late in arriving, however, so another artist volunteered to sit for us. As a result, I came away with two charcoal portraits, one better than the other. The first did not capture a good likeness. If I had had the time, I hope I would have achieved a likeness. As it stands, I believe I exaggerated the size of her nose.
The profile of Sabrin came out well, I think, likeness or not. Her mouth was very interesting and challenging to capture.
While we are on the subject of portraits, I took another crack at the portrait of Sami and Noodles. It’s harder to capture children, I think, because you have to keep a light touch. Their features are so delicate. For that very reason, though, painting portraits of children makes for terrific practice in making marks at the precisely correct spot to provoke a translation in the viewer’s brain that matches reality. Our eye/brain supplies so much of the information that an artist who tried to lay out all the information before you, especially in a child’s face, comes across as heavy-handed and awkward. As a result of trying to avoid heavy-handedness, I spent most of my time today painting out the details that I had so carefully laid in earlier. I may not be there yet, but at least I know where I want to be.
I’m not done yet. Remember, I promised a “splurge”. Tuesday, Peter suggested that my last drawing was worthy of working up to a finished piece. I had that drawing pad with me Saturday when my car broke down, so I was able to pass the time waiting for the tow truck by working on that drawing. Never has such a usually tedious wait passed so delightfully.
Wait, there’s more. Saturday morning (the regular Saturday life group) I completed two charcoal drawings with which I was happy. One of my favorite models–it’s remarkable how much difference a good model can make to the drawing. Last week’s was uninspiring. This week’s–well, it’s what keeps me going back.
I think that’s it. Seven days, seven happy figure/portrait projects.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth; at the Sage Gallery in Manchester; at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; and at her studio by appointment.
Link to website: www.paintingsbyaline.com