Thursday, October 28, 2010

What’s in a Title–part 2


While the subject of meadows comes up frequently in my paintings, fishing is another topic I paint quite often (as in this painting, ‘Fishing on a Warm December Day’).

Not that I’m much of an angler myself. I can’t quite deal with putting a slimy, wriggling worm on a hook, but once ‘somebody’ (bluntly speaking, my husband), puts it on, I’m content hanging the bait in the water and become mesmerized watching the bopper dance on the waves. Catching a fish is great excitement, but taking it off the hook……..weeellll, whoever hooks the worm (aka. sweet husband) has to take the fish off, also.

Despite all my shortcomings as a fisherwoman, though, hanging a line in the water, being outside, listening to the birds, etc. is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a few hours.

My first introduction to fishing came in the form of a book, Hermann Hesse’s ‘Unterm Rad’ (Beneath the Wheel). It deals with the intense stress an intelligent young boy is  dealing with trying to fulfill people’s expectations. His outlet is fishing, and Hermann Hesse describes it in such a beautiful way, that many who read the book, want to try it themselves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to (or how not to) paint a portrait

MaraMonday morning is Figure Drawing day at the Huntsville Art League. This week, we had a beautiful young woman as our model, which in itself presents a challenge. No wrinkles to serve as  landmarks and ‘architectural’ scaffolding.

She asked me how I go about drawing or painting a figure. A caveat before I proceed: I’ve been known to do an in-depth study of a nose and turn it into a beautifully rendered horse’s head. Interestingly enough, I tried to draw an actual horse’s head from life this weekend and failed miserably, but I digress.

The first thing in drawing a portrait is to get the features placed where they ought to be. I use a wooden steak skewer to help me measure distances, angles, etc. Which works very well for marking distances that are fairly far apart, such as the width and length of the head. What I learned this Monday is that with my wiggy contact lenses and fuzzy vision, measuring small distances is not quite so accurate. So not much of a likeness.

Regardless of likeness or lack thereof, I then proceeded with the painting process. It started out pretty good, but what can go wrong when one uses such faint values to be almost invisible. I had a feeling of problems ahead when I realized that my only red on my palette was a strong hot pink (another lesson learned: pack my stuff the day before. Monday mornings are not a good time to think with a clear head about which colors to put on a palette, and just grabbing one leads to such situations as this one.) So I threw realism into the wind and decided to use all colors on my palette, get the values believable, and have fun. Which I did. Lots of it. And I learned another thing about watercolor as a medium: when I don’t want it to drip, it will, but if I actually want a drip, it won’t do it. Go figure…….