Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face

I started this portrait in Buechner's workshop last August, and spent several Mondays afterwards, while painting with Lin on her porch, trying to understand how to paint a face.

She doesn't look like our model, but at least she has a face!  This is a huge accomplishment for me.  I haven't been able to finish a portrait, going all the way back to Art 101 in college.  I freaked out when we were supposed to draw a self-portrait and ended up submitting a faceless, Brancusi-ish ovoid thing. 

Since then, I start portraits and work my way all around the subject, creating interesting backgrounds, carefully paying attention to body language and skin texture, but avoid finishing the faces.

About half of Buechner's workshop was dedicated to creating a portrait.  We worked from a live model, the lovely Maria, Tom's current assistant, and a very good painter herself.

He showed us how he tones his surface with a greenish, ghoulish color --we used raw umber, Naples yellow and ultramarine blue, if I remember correctly.  We let that dry. Then, he spent an extraordinary amount of time just observing the model and drawing an outline.  Like a crayon coloring book!  I wish I had a photo of that step.  It was a big surprise to me.

Then, he worked fairly quickly rendering his portrait, exaggerating his point of view --- he was going for the boyish/androgynous-thing he does.  He let the green underpainting show through.  You can see his version of Maria on the West End Gallery website.

I was going for a mysterious shadow hiding one side of the face, by wrapping my background around her.

This is what I had by the end of the workshop.  I ended up using very little of the green underpainting.  Still not sure how to do that effectively.  I liked her Cuban hat at this point, so I left it alone.  I had never used Raw Umber before -- and I stopped using it after this portrait.  Maybe that's weird, but I just don't like what it does to my colors. 

I should have taken a reference photo from my exact position.  As a result, I wasted lots of time trying to figure out the direction of her nose, and never quite got it right. 

Nevertheless, I have grown accustomed to her face. I can live with her as she is now. 

Not sure what to title this portrait.  Some suggestions have been:
  • Lost in Thought
  • Ambivalence
  • Maria
16 x 20 Alkyd on Multimedia ArtBoard

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