Friday, December 31, 2010

playing with colour is hard when the sun keeps going in and out

makes me realise how spoilt I am with regular sunshine most painting days.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

how many colours does Photoshop have?

I'm slowly working my way through the Photoshop Elements tutorial book (onto lesson 5, all about selections), and thought I'd put what I'd learnt to use to check out some possible colour combinations for the background of John.  I'd already painted dark green graduating to white, which didn't work, so thought I'd have a go virtually.  I don't want to do any more to the portrait itself yet in terms of playing with colour, tone and the like till I've sorted out the background.  So, here are 6 versions.  I'll play with graduating it to give it depth.  Currently tossing up between blue (with some Darwin clouds perhaps) and lilac.  Mmmm.

then felt I like some watcher of the skies

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

drawing to practice

I'm also enjoying life drawing on sundays (thanks Mark for your sterling work organising the models for these CAAS sessions), and beginning to play with mild distortion in some of the sketches, either at the session itself, or afterwards in little drawings:

drawing to decide

Haven't done much by way of painting of late, apart from a bit more on the street scene: this is definitely a stage by stage one, as it's so big (for me) at 90x120cm the sheer amount of detail is a bit overwhelming:  but I want the detail in, to have both the sense of teeming life, but also the paradoxical sense of peace and quite of family, friends, food and music.

The main work has been on some portraits, one a commission, the others of an ex-student of mine who was good enough to spend an hour on campus last Sunday being photographed.  We've got a bit of a Buddha (under the tree) and solid mandala thing going, which should be fun to play with.

More and more I'm relying on drawing to help me work out which photos and which bits of photos could work as paintings:  the portrait of John is a prime example.

I really knew that toothy grins don't work (for me at least) as painted portraits, but so much of his personality seems caught up in it that I tried to see if I could make it work with a drawing.  Absolutely no go, so at least I know.

Then it was a matter of which of three, almost identical compositions to go for:  the first two, as photographs, weren't great because they were slight overshots (looking down), which again, didn't seem to work with what I wanted to come across in the portrait.  Both worked better as drawings, and I was able to decide that the second one, which has him shifted slightly forward (rather that sitting back) was more of what I wanted.  How they look as drawings is part of it, but how I think when I'm looking in order to draw (as opposed to just looking) is more of it.  Hence why I really enjoy the opportunity of drawing from life.

I really liked this one as a photograph:  it was a slight undershot which gave it a kind of 'visionary-ness' to it, and I thought this could be the one.  But, drawing it out helped me work out that it didn't have the same strength as the one above it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

stop here or gently pass

Not much by the way of painting this weekend, but lots of canvas stretching and gessoing, and gradually getting to grips with Photoshop (on tutorial 3 of 13!).