I started this post on the 23rd of May and then misplaces the pictures. Although that probably reads like, “The dog ate my homework” sadly it’s true. I have too many cards for my camera and somehow they were scrambled. So, aplogies in advance…
One May 15th we started the final pose of the class. We had a great model who has the kind of pale skin that really reflects and bounces light all around. Marjorie placed her in a reclining position a tad reminiscent of an obilesque. Marjorie placed a screaming cadmium orange sheet and thicker ultramarine blue cloth beneath the model. Colors bounced all over her; it was great.
During the first week of this pose all we worked on was establishing a strong grisaille painting. I used a 6×8 inch raymar panel (Claessen’s #15 double oil primed – which I love-the paint just slides on the surface).
I have to say that I wasn’t crazy with my initial drawing with the painting -I was afraid that I’d made her look a little like a guitar or cello, with that indention in her waist and the way you could see the models hip bone. I decided to stick with it and see where the painting took me. One of the most difficult moments I have at this stage is when I lay in the color. I tend to be too timid and eventually I end up with a very washed out image that tends to gray out. I’ve worked hard the last two terms to work on it-I guess realizing what I am doing is the first step towards fixing or at least improving on this.
The following Friday (the 22nd) I applied the color. I don’t think it went too badly, and I really liked how things were going with the painting so far. The model’s pose is lovely and rather challenging since almost everyone is dealing with foreshortening of one limb(s) or another. It has been a lesson in understanding that literal translation of what you see does not always translate well into the actual image.
I had trouble with the orange, I kept trying to put it into the foreground but it really washed out the colors of her flesh. It was hard to be subtle with the reflections along her buttocks. When I put the color in that I saw, it did some strange things to the figure. Eventually I wiped the orange and most of the blue out of the foreground.
Another problem I had at this stage was with area of her lower back sometimes referred to as the dimples of venus-the dimples on her lower back. In her position it formed a diamond shape that had orange, red, and violet. In order to paint this area the challenge was how to paint these and not make them overwhelm that area-or even worse, to look like a diamond of color slapped on there. I had to ask Rob to help me on this. Mainly what he did was to take a #2 round bristle, and gently blend some of the paint around to soften what I had started.
On the third evening, I basically spent more time throwing paint at this- I can’t seem to find the pictures I took of it. I worked on her legs and feet which came out well. I really liked the feet because -well I usually would just gloss over them. This time I think I got them right. Basically I would add something, think dear lord what did I just do, gently blend it or move paint around a bit more to fix it. Mainly at the end of the evening the upper back looked a little bit better, somehow I’d soften the shadows enough where they seemed to work-her head and neck weren’t working but I decided to leave it as is.
On the fourth evening I decided to concentrate on her lower back and legs. Again I ended up needing help from Rob to translate what I saw and was trying to accomplish and get it down on the canvas.
Rob had suggested leaving it and I think he was right. So last Friday I went ahead and pulled it out set up-and realised he was right. I really like this painting just as it is. Friday night, I decided although it was unfinished and I had to work on the uper back, neck, arm -well everything above the waist- I wanted to leave it as is. So I pulled out another panel and set to work on something else. I will write about that in another post.