Friday, 15 October 2010

Fighting With San Miguel Etc., Etc.

This has been such a weird week. A week where none of my artistic projects had any success and even a planned visit to a major art exhibit tanked. I have five paintings on the go in various stages; three for The Virtual Paintout challenge and two tiny portraits which I am not confident about. All are at the beginning stages, which is where I usually feel like giving up. Nothing seems to happen at this stage, and it takes me a lot of energy to push on. The art exhibit was something I and a colleague were looking forward to - a visit to Tate Modern to see Ai Weiwei's beautiful work in the Turbine Hall. Unfortunately the 100 million pieces of porcelain are giving off dust and that has been deemed a possible health threat so visitors can only view the exhibit from the second floor gallery which, in my opinion, and I think probably that of the artist, takes all the joy and meaning out of the work. Visitors are supposed to walk over these tiny porcelain seeds and muse upon them. What bliss we thought - a superb interlude to a dreary week in the office!! On hearing the news, I threw a mini strop and lost interest, so I came home tonight hoping to move on with my latest Virtual Paintout fiesta. Not.

I decided to do a quick, small oil sketch of a scene I had rejected as I thought playing with the colours would be a good practice run for the three scenes I have chosen. Not. It reminded me of a painting I had done earlier this year of the lane near my home which I keep forgetting to delete from this blog, but keep just to remind myself that I at least tried. Another obstacle was that I was painting on gessoed card and it was so slippery like the Nocturne experience a few days ago. Another obstacle, another lesson.

I am posting this photograph here as a mini diary of sorts, getting stuff out of the system. Maybe at the end of the year I can go back and delete all the junk posts from this blog, but tonight, hey, it's a-staying here.

"Sketch of Street in San Miguel de Allende"
11" x 11" - Oil on Gessoed Card

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Value Sketches for Portrait

I have been busy today. After posting the sketch for the Nocturne painting earlier I was determined to move some creative energy. I have two small canvases with a turquoise ground which I want to use for small portraits. I found two beautiful photographs in a glossy monograph on portraits and my works will be based on these. The format of the canvas is tiny - 5" x 5" - and, in prepration, I decided to do some value sketches in exactly the same size. It's been a day of values hasn't it? Many lessons in this session. Firstly, the tiny size cramped any possible rendering of the subtle gradations in the half-tones, and secondly, it was going to be more complicated than I first thought. I thought I would post these sketches here so I can get used to them. I also processed the sketch with a blue tint just to see how the values translate against colour. The light I was drawing in wasn't so good, nor was the photography, but I don't have the correct lighting or camera for drawings. I hope to start on the painting tomorrow.

Preliminary Portrait Sketch
5" x 5" - Pencil on Cartridge Paper

Preliminary Portrait Sketch - Blue Tint
5" x 5" - Pencil on Cartridge Paper