Making do

This is not the blog I intended.  This is a substitute blog, making do with unused photographs that I happen to have already uploaded to WordPress.  The problem is computers.  I have two computers at home now, resulting from my retirement.  I call one the Office computer, for obvious reasons, so I guess the other one is my Home computer.  Home computer is an iMac that I bought years ago, used, on eBay.  Everyone who spends any time at all in my house has their own account on Home computer.  It had been acting flaky, but only when it refused to connect to the internet did I take action.  Maybe it is a coincidence, but running Disk Repair only made it worse.  The repairs were not completed:  the program stopped in the middle and said it could not repair the disk and that I should back up what files I could and then reformat (erase) the disk.  That’s a scary message.  I never made contact with that disk again.  Well, maybe that is a bit overdramatic.  I can’t get the damn thing to start up.  I sure hope that I will be able to make contact when I get the cable that I need to connect Firewire between these two computers.  I have a drawer full of Firewire cables.  But Office computer is pretty new and has an 800 FW port, while Home computer boasts only a 400 FW port.  So I purchased a $9 400-to-800 cable on eBay and am awaiting its arrival with a heart filled with hope.  (Home computer has so many of my images, irreplaceable images.)

But in the meantime, I thought, I can bring the new images from the camera’s USB compact flash card onto Office computer, and from there to WordPress, using the card reader that used to live with Home computer.  But Office computer refuses to acknowledge the presence of this alien card.  I changed its USB cable just in case the problem lies with the cable.  Yes, I happen to have another drawer full of USB cables with every configuration possible (except the one that would connect my two computers).  Still no action.  I can see a little light blinking in the card reader, but it looks a lot wimpier than the strong light I remember from when it was paired to Home computer.  Another coincidence?  Who knows!  I am reeling.  Almost gave up on blog altogether when I realized that this very situation may be worth blogging about, ’cause everyone relates to computer frustration.

But enough of prologue.  Let’s see what I have in the media library that you haven’t seen yet.

Fletch under the Assael Influence

Fletch under the Assael Influence

This is a fairly large (16×12) study (see, I am learning at least to consider them as studies!) from a recent Tuesday Life Group session.  The Assael workshop had just ended, and I was very attentive to the shadows, making them as dark and as blue as I could.  There is also a “philosophy” that I think I observed in Steven Assael, which now infects my own:  get close, then closer, then closer, then closer, almost to infinity, until you are as close as you believe you can get.  Close to what?  Perfection, I suppose, but to break it down into parts:  value, color, shape.  Remember when he played on my painting, running over the shapes I had drawn, then left, instructing me to fix the drawing?  (Revisit that post here.)

So here’s the Assael process as digested by me:  you sketch in large shapes just to make sure the composition will work, then plug in the values and colors very roughly (as far as the drawing is concerned), then when those values and colors are “perfect”, you perfect the drawing by tightening up the shapes.

In this study of Fletch, I was trying to apply those principles without having first articulated the principles in my head, so it was haphazard.  When I ever get my photos back onto a computer under my control, you will see in my last two figure studies something closer to the Assael process, although they will look rougher.  Rougher yet closer to perfect?  How can that be?  It’s a puzzlement, and a delight, a never-ending search for the Way.

The other image I have been holding back is this work in progress–so much “in progress” that I was embarrassed to show it:

unfinished portrait of Becky

unfinished portrait of Becky

One of the images on my compact flash card is the finished–hmm, closer to finished–portrait of Becky.  I corrected the wayward eye and worked on the values and colors.  I carved back on the left side of the face as well.  Dangerous to change drawing without the model as reference, but I felt I was making adjustments on the basis of information already there.  Clearly the eye was too far to the right, so I only had to remember the shape and move it ever so slightly to the left.  (Do wish I could show you now instead of later!)  When I decided the face was too wide on the left side, I kept the same line and just moved it by millimeters (hope “millimeter” is small enough to be my meaning–let’s just say VERY small degrees) by painting the negative space:  more hair, less face. I had to trust that the line itself was accurate.  A leap of faith in myself.  Well, I had no choice, did I?

So that’s it.  I have nothing more held back, you know it all.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (both are in Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Kimball-Jenkins Gallery in Concord, NH; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at Stella Blu, an American Tapas restaurant in Nashua; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester;  the East End Art Gallery in Riverhead, Long Island; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter;  and at her studio by appointment.