Still in progress–finding the right target.

I am nearing the end of this coffee shop watercolor study, which I think I will call The Red Necklace, as that is really the most compelling part. I have done corrective work on the shape of the face since the picture I am posting here, as the angle isn’t quite right and the eye and cheek on the far side are too far out, and the chin is too extended. I know I won’t get it in the end–too much working of the paper to be able to truly salvage this–but it has been a great learning experience. I have never painted a person’s face before. It’s not as forgiving a task as painting a turkey or a dog.  

I think where I was successful with the turkeys was being able to work a lot of abstract marks into the structure of the face, and could leave parts of it abstract without as much burden of accuracy. Sargent was excellent at capturing faces in watercolor without overworking them, and I should study his efforts closely.

Between Homer, Wyeth, and Sargent, I am not exactly sure what my target should be. I won’t hit it on my first try, but at least I am aiming in the right direction. Anyway, this was supposed to be a compositional study for a larger work. I probably got a little more detailed than I should have. It’s hard to do details on such a small face (about 1 square inch). As I write this I am realizing that if I just get the proper turn of the head captured, that will likely do the trick in getting the attitude right, even if some of the details are off. Something for later tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.



Garden Sketch

I took the day off today for my older daughter’s kindergarten awards ceremony and party. After that ended it was too hot to do anything outside, so while we are waiting for the pool to open, I did this quick garden sketch from inside my studio window. Not quite sure how to handle mulch, but I think this works well enough. A couple bees were hovering around this plant. Can’t remember what it’s called. 

Natural poetry in apparently simple images

I’ve been feeling the need recently to be more deliberate about my painting, more contemplative, maybe, and develop some themes regarding people’s relationships to their places, but I have been so active mentally on other things, that I haven’t really been able to or wanted to focus on close painting studies on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps that will come soon.

In the meantime I am just trying to stay active and try things out. Here’s my Aunt’s dog hearing something disturbing and rising from a nap. I love the effort and contortion he’s going through, just to tell off some small chirping thing. Sometimes there’s natural poetry in apparently simple images, and I don’t need to underlay theory.

I have posted in reverse order from completion back to pencil drawing.