Ecstasy and Vanity

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An artist and old friend, Jirahr Zorthian once said there is only Ecstasy and  Vanity. I think I know what he meant and it appies to most every human experience, but certainly the creative process.

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Rule 62-Dont take yourself too seriosly

11-15-16tonal

The last few weeks at the Tuesday Art League I have been trying to paint oil portraits in 2 hours. That is an intense experience. I ran into a colleague on the street who said he was also at last weeks class. I was so busy, desperately trying to make the painting work that I didn’t even remember him, or say hello. In fact, I did not say hello to anyone or look at anyone else’s work.

Last night I just brought my charcoal and pad and I finished this sketch early and went around to share some coffee and a few jokes with my fellow artists.

Remember Rule #62.

No matter what.

Felt like the flu this weekend but you got to paint , no matter what.

From Right to Left:

25min Oil on canvas. Burnt Umber on Toned BU ground.

25min Burnt Umber, White, Ochre On BU ground.

50min Full Zorn pallet on BU ground.

Just trying to learn to draw with a long hairy stick.

3 ring circus

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2 Hours. Oil on plastic coated canvas. Zorn pallete.

Someone at the workshop asked me why I used a Zorn pallete, which is a limited pallete mixed from Zinc white, yellow ochre, alizarine Crimson and Lamp black. Its because oil painting is like a 3 ring circus. It’s a lot of technical stuff to manage while still trying to capture a likeness.

It’s like trying to tie your shoes while you are in a 100 yard dash.

Practice

Practice and humility are essential for my development in art and life.

Not because I am “not good enough”. Not because “I am better than”.

Both of these states are comparative and self-defeating. I am just an artist among artists.

I went to my regular figure drawing workshop yesterday and found out that a colleague was teaching a beginning figure drawing class right after the workshop. I have never had any instruction in drawing before and it never occurred to me that I needed any. He was gracious enough to allow me to sit in on his class and I learned much in his approach.

Charcoal Portrait Stages

14×17″ Charcoal from last night at the Art League

Very similar stages of completion but after a nights sleep and about 15 more minutes of work, the one on the right looks far better.

The one on the left is how I stopped with the model last night at 8pm.

I thought it was finished but when I looked this am with fresh eyes I saw some issues I needed to address.

  • Jaw too low where it meets the chin, decrease the jowl and strengthen jaw line
  • Too much highlight on cheek and forehead. Shade and tighten up/define highlights
  • Eye too dark. Highlight and define.
  • Separate head outline from background and darken head shadow on shoulder to make the head “pop out”.