Thursday, July 8, 2010

Workshop Learning

In June, I had the opportunity to receive portraiture training from Carolyn Anderson at a workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was intense. I was very discouraged after the first day, and considered coming home. Of the 24 artists in attendance, I had the fewest skills, by far.
This first painting is done from a live model (as all were, except the one of the two cousins).
Here, she looks dead. She looks flat and colorless. Real faces are neither. The risk or difficulty of painting a portrait is, we all know what faces look like. We think. I found out I didn't. I had no idea a face had so much color in it, for example. This portrait was embarrassing to me.

So, on day two, I tried again. I failed, miserably. I scraped off the paint, set this one aside, and tried again.

And this portrait came of the second attempt. This is much better than the first portrait of the young lady, I think.

Day three. After another demo, I tried this young girl. She is twelve, but had the patience to sit for three hours for us (with breaks). There are things about this one that show additional progress on my part such as the absence of hard edges. Now I figured I didn't have to go home, but was learning.
Painting from a photo instead of a model. The temptation is to reproduce the photo. That will not be a portrait, but simply a reproduction. The two cousins here are two of my grandaughters. I focused on not trying to copy the photo, but on trying to get the feeling of love across these two girls have for each other, the warmth of the day, and the summer sunlight. I like this one.

Last day. The model is a young lady in her early twenties. Try as I could, I could not get the painting to look very feminine to me, though in real life she was beautifully feminine. The portrait, however, looks masculine to me. Interestingly, all the artists using this model had portraits looking more or less masculine, too. She did seem to be a strong young lady, neither slender or weak in appearance. I am not sure what happened in my mind with this one. Or rather what happened between my eyes, my brain, and my hands.

With this small taste of portraiture, I have to conclude I like it afterall. But I have much to learn. Much to learn. Anyone want to volunteer to model?

No comments: