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Monday, July 18, 2011

Smokin' Revisited

Smokin', 16x20, oil on canvas
Smokin, 2009
This painting is from a photo I took while on a trip through Burgundy in 2007. (This medieval walled town of Semur was really a neat place to stop.) I decided that his face still did not read as well as I would like it to; so my intent was to fix that. Well, once I got it on my easel I saw a myriad of "issues." The only things I did not touch were her jeans and shoes and his shoes. Everything else was redone. I started with the wall that is in full sun and brightened that up. I then redid his cast shadow and the steps they are sitting on. I decided to work on her first, starting with giving her a neck. I hadn't realized what a bull neck I had given her. I both lightened and darkened her hair giving it more form. From there, her shirt, adding more variety of color and form. The shirt then reflected into her face where I then went in and softened the planes of her face and neck. Her arms and hands needed the same thing, and also more color (red!) in between her fingers.

On him, I had noticed his jeans didn't read quite right; what was in the sun needed to be lighter and what was in the shadow needed to be darker; the reflected light bouncing off the wall didn't work as well as it could, so that got fixed. On his shirt, I realized I had made the neck of it too high on his neck, so I took that down and did some other minor adjustments. I realized that his head is in full sun, and yet I had his hair as pretty much a solid dark, so he needed his curls put in. Not quite ready to do his face, I simplified his backpack and the started on his arms. Once that was done, he got a much needed facelift. In the original I had tried to simplify the shadow side of his face, but in doing so, I had not given him any features at all. Very amorphous. Still wanting to keep that one big shadow shape, I was able to give him a complete nose and set of lips. To be fair to myself, this painting was done when I was trying to go back to my graphic roots, so the goal was to keep the shapes and forms more flat.

I can't decide if I am giving too much information out in these before and after's. If I should just post the new version as a new painting and forget the "before" version. My thought is that any artist struggling in their own work see what is possible and that there is almost always hope; from the viewer's perspective, my intent is to educate. If I talk about why I am making the changes, that the viewer can learn how to get more out of any painting they come across and become more discerning. Any and all feedback is always welcome!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I personally find great delight studying your comments and seeing how you do this detail work. It is very educational and helpful. I try to share it with everyone I know who is artistically inclined. I would think the comparison photos are very good instruction, which is what you would do in a gallery classroom setting.
It think you could even post a couple of these in your shows for deeper interest....
I'm praying for you and about your show. I know you will have GREAT FAVOR and I hope a lot of fun.