In terms of number and variety, my output last week may seem disappointing–my figure workshop with Peter Granucci skips a week and last week was a skip week; then my portrait class with Cameron Bennett was taken up with critiques and a demonstration painting by Cameron; and finally our Saturday life group (SLG) was cancelled because our model was sick with the flu. However, the Sunday clothed-model group met as planned, and resulted in a piece that makes me happy. No, make that thrilled.
This is Sabrin, the same model that we had the last two weeks. The first week with Sabrine I painted a 3/4 portrait from a 3/4 view on the lighted side (see that week’s blog). The next week, I drew her in profile in charcoal (last week’s blog). This week, I found myself again on the side with a profile, but with an exciting new headdress and the full three hours to paint. I actually finished in about 2 and 1/2 hours. The panel was small–only 12×10.
Her headdress pattern comes from gold threads. I created the impression of a gold pattern by simply drawing through the wet paint with my “color shaper”, which is a rubber-tipped point. I used the same technique to create her earring. When the paint dries a little more, I will add some sparkle to the gold threads, her earring and the gold chain around her neck.
You might be able to see that I added cerulean blue to the highlights on her skin. The light bounced off her skin so brightly that it was hard to determine exactly what color it should be (never pure white! Lois Griffel’s voice echoes in my brain). I decided to use the blue of the sky, even though she was lit by a combination of natural light from the window and a spotlight from the same direction. The blue works, I think.
I have to confess I got the idea of using blue light from two sources–one is Peter Granucci who uses the blue light on rocks and other surfaces lit by the sun, and the other comes from a class at the Institute conducted in the same room where I take my portrait class with Cameron Bennett. The students left their works in progress in this room and their assignment was apparently to paint the lit surfaces of a human figure in a bright aqua blue. Sounds bizarre, right? But it was remarkably effective. My experiment with the same was much more subtle.
Last week, the piece I was happiest with was a painting of a portrait from a photo I did not take, indeed from a photo of a person who was a total stranger to me. How does the one compare to the other?
I love both of them equally. I can’t come up with a way to measure the merit of the painting from life over the painting from a photo–even knowing intuitively that the former ought to be better than the latter. But maybe any judgment would be contaminated by one common attribute that helps them both–I didn’t care about getting the exact likeness of either one, which freed me to just paint beautiful, as I see beautiful.
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