Change Is Good

I am now blogging on http://dinahsteveni.blogspot.com.

 

I faffed around WP too long trying to install a widget link to http://dailypaintworks.com/dinahsnipessteveni. It’s just not intuitive enough and too much to figure out. Sorry folks. I know some of you are really clever and get get on with the noodling around.  I looked around on Daily Paintworks to see if there was an artist who had WP and the widget link. Everyone seemed to be using blogspot. The one person I found on WP did not use the DPW widget. So it goes.

 

So, please, if you’re following my journey,  take a couple of minutes and realign your preferences.

Nick Nearly Forty

Nick Nearly FortyThis is the final version. One can see the detail now in the beard. I took some careful time with the eyes. There’s definitely a subtle twinkle now.The dimples help, and I lengthened the bottom lip. I’m quite pleased with the result. And if I’m happy my sitter will be too. Positivity is contagious. I’m not one of those fuss-pots,  who agonize over just another dab here or there.I look at a nearly finished painting, and ask myself the classic Painter’s Mantra: what three last things does this painting need?  Another huge tip is to Squint. A lot. Squint. I generally have it writ large and stuck to my easel.

Like many portrait painters, I work from photographs, which I prefer taking.This is not to say that I don’t adore working from a sitter, but I’ve invested in some excellent “glass” for my camera, arrange good lighting, use a remote shutter cord, a tripod. It works out.  If my simple instructions are followed: No teeth, and lift your chin, and give me a bit of the left side of your face — I am very content to work from someone’s photo. It’s called “turtling out” your chin. For anyone of a certain age, it generally  firms jaw line, and gets rid of some the the neck clutter because the angle and the shadows are more sympathetic. There are a few more steps to creating this pose, but it’s easy to see how effective it is for the most part. Inevitably, I do get good eye twinkle because the sitter is trying so darned hard not to give me teeth! It’s like saying: Don’t look now, but….

What’s On the Easel

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Working on a portrait in oils, 12″x12″. Need to wait another day, at the very least, before moving in to work on beard, eyebrows. And put in a subtle twinkle  in this guy’s face. Aren’t bearded men difficult? What I mean is that recording nuances of expression is a tad bit difficult. Nick does have dimples which will help. You can just make them out as shadowy areas. And I will plump up the areas around his smile lines to help with the twinkle. But right now the surface is wet and a loaded brush tends to drag the bottom layer of paint away and create a shadow patch. You can see what I mean up on the top left wing of his nose and center area on nose. It happens, folks. So the eyes have it. Pleased with them. Nice dead level look. Doesn’t suffer fools gladly kind of man. I also need to get that top lip darker. I sure miss painting the mouth with the philtrum and top lip and chin.  I always pay close attention to noses. Was it Rembrandt who commented that you want to be able to pick up the portrait by the nose? Anyway,  sound advice. I will position a standing lamp and angle on of the lights on the surface overnight which will help the drying. I don’t use any medium made with dryers at this stage. Just a simple mix of OMS + linseed oil.

 

While Nick Nearly Forty was put aside today, I worked on Radishes 12″ x 16″. I generally wash a bunch of radishes and keeping them tied in their bundle, serve them upside-down in a bowl of water, with a knife alongside so that folks can cut one off. Keeps them pretty and fresh. I thought this would make a charming still life and eventually the white roots will provide a wispy counterpoint to the solid reds as final details. I can hardly wait! It’s these crazy little wrinkles on a theme which keep me planning and thinking of the next painting. I had some material stored away for sewing into serviettes, the pattern provides a complementary mosaic to the rounded forms. You can make out the deep burnt sienna gesso ground I usually prefer to work on. Several coats, each carefully sanded smooth. I also place a piece of burnt sienna construction paper under my glass palette; and also have a medium gray one, and a white, and an ochre depending on my ground. Every little ruse helps with color mixing.

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Momento mori

The dark-eyed junco was, sadly, a victim of one of my cats. I’ve rearranged the bird-feeders now, so things have improved. No needless victims. I’ve been using these little tatami mats for several pictures which I’ll share by and by. Oil, 8×10″, linen covered panel.

Dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed junco

Sleeping Beauty

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Oil study of Honey Girl. She was a gentle, wise companion to my niece. HG will be be much missed. 

Ben

Ben I asked Ben to wear his work clothes, and bring some essential tools along to the sitting. He’s a lineman and often joins teams across the country to restore power after storm damage.He’s my son.

Portrait Presents

Benny and Maddie, 8″x10″, oil. Indirect method, aka Old Masters method with underpainting and glaze layers. I took a series of photos and urged no teeth, and lift your chin. I know many times I’ve observed portraits, with teeth showing in a smile, in which the subject appears a bit strained. In the hands of a Frans Hals, well, it’s an effortless mastery of observation and craft. Read more…

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