Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi is my favorite artist. Her life story is amazing on several levels. Wikipedia gives an account of her life.

When you get past her life story, the story she tells on a canvas is just as enthralling. Artemisia shows a vast amount of emotion in her paintings. While I would not go so far as to say the male point of view is lacking this, I will say that it is refreshing to see a story told as a woman would tell it to another woman. Her work speaks to me. I loved it before I discovered the history of the woman behind the paintings, but I truly appreciated it more, once I learned more.

As I work on my self portraits the back of my mind is always holding on to this image.

If you have trouble finding clear images of here work there is always ARC. They do not have her full body of work, however the images they do have are very nice quality.

Artemisia dared to be different. At the same time, she challenged herself to be held under high standards. That is my goal as an artist.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Better Half

The Better Half

Oil on Canvas Panel

Titanium White
Yellow Ocher
Indian Red
Burnt Umber
Ivory Black

Another Self Portrait. I call this my better half because I have a scar over my left eye which gives that eye a funny shape.

I did this by taping the canvas panel directly to a mirror and blocking in the shape picking out my basic shadow shapes. When I first started this block in, I was having a very hard time predicting the outcome of my color mixes. When I wasn't struggling with color, I was struggling with value. I stopped at the block in point and decided to get out another small canvas panel and do a mixing chart. When I was done, I taped that directly to the mirror next to my painting and voila! I will take pictures of that mixing chart and post it later.

In the joy of smearing paint with a brush, I lost my eye shape. I am afraid this isn't really "my" eye. This is what I would look like if I had someone elses eye. "My" eye is a little more slanted and there are more folds. The nose is pretty close and the lips are about right. My jaw is a little less rounded. I guess this is what I might look like if I had a nip and a tuck. Oil paint is a lot cheaper than a plastic surgeon!

I know I will eventually pick this apart and think about what I can do to improve this. For now, I am pleased with the results. I will go into my next oil painting with much more confidence that I can work with color. I will conquer my fear one 4x6 canvas panel at a time.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bobby Chiu - Great advice

I have seen a few videos by Bobby Chiu. Although his digital paintings are great to watch, it is important to turn up the volume and listen. I am getting addicted to his videos more for his advice than his art. (His art is great too, don't get me wrong.)

Go see his videos and turn up the volume!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Getting Ugly Out of the way

Getting Ugly Out of the Way
Yarka Russian Sauce Classic Drawing Crayons
Yellow Canson Pastel paper

I was bored with TV, so I sat on the computer room floor indian style and proped my mirror up on the chair. The light was pretty much directly over my head, so I decided to key in on the 4 lit spots on my face. An interesting effect is that I was sitting scrunched and in bad posture, so my portrait turned out scrunched looking. I struggled with that nose area far too long to admit on webspace. I enjoyed the reflective areas in the shadows. When you don't have many lighted areas to work with, reflective areas are fun to play with.

My bone structure in my face is very demanding. I have high cheekbones and a pretty prominant forehead (for a girl) . It may just appear to be that way because my eye sockets are pretty deep. I am not sure from day to day and some days I think its a combo. I am not a "manly" woman, but I do need to be careful to pull out the girl spots in these self portraits sometimes

I just left an indication of folds for the sweatshirt I was wearing. I love it when artists do that. I am not sure why. I guess I like the idea that "it all started with a line". That is probably why I like sketches sometimes more than a finished piece.

I am naming this "Getting Ugly Out of the Way" because I am convinced that I must do this to find that inner core of goodness and good art that I have locked inside me. I don't intentionally make ugly art or ugly sketches. It just happens. If you don't get it out of your system, you end up with a build up of ugly art that you never gave yourself a chance to get rid of, so you are stuck in UAS. (Ugly Art Syndrome) Then when you least expect it, poof.. it happens. By getting every piece of art you have in your system out, you can sort through it a lot easier and toss the ugly art aside.

I believe it is a good idea to display your ugly art. Save at least one piece - your ugliest. If you have room, keep the ugliest 3. Update when necessary. Keep that as close as possible to your easle or working space. When you get horribly discouraged, glance around at your ugly stuff. Compare. Then ask yourself "Am I truly prepared to add to my wall of shame?" If the answer is yes, then drive on in anticipation with determination! My Grandmother used to tell me that if you are going to do something, do it right. At the end of the day, you can always tell yourself "Been there, done that.. Hung it on the wall" and move on to the next project.

It is also important to hang your best stuff (that you did not sell or give away) on the opposite wall. Standing/sitting somewhere between your very best and very worst is where most people are in life anyway. You need the bad and the good for accurate comparison. Otherwise everything would be horribly bland. That is true in both art and life. The real glory of being an artist is that you get to show off.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Inner Critic

Inner Critic
Study for Self Portrait

Yarka Russian Sauce Classic Drawing Crayons

Canson Paper

Alanis Morisette was the music choice of the day. I respect Alanis tremendously. She just kind of puts it out there not caring if it is ugly or unladylike. She doesn't answer the booty call of our pop culture. You know when she is ticked. You know when she is in love. You know how to take her because there is no hidden agenda in her music. She just is. I like those kinds of people. There are far too few of those out there.

Another Self Portrait. I took a picture of the side of my face with the camera using the window as a light source. I loved the way the light hit the eyes and washed them out. I have a few ideas strolling about my brain on how to use this view of myself in my real self portrait. I may have something like this whispering in my own ear. I am going to have to figure out the lighting and where the placement of the main figure will be. I didn't draw myself nearly as old in this picture. I don't know if it is because I don't feel as old today, or if it is because this angle suites me better.

I love these crayons. They feel like charcoal. They are messy and its fun to just scribble your heart out on this paper. If you have $6 to spare, they are worth it. They are more fun broken than they are whole, so don't sweat it if you drop one. I used the sides, the jagged edges, the tiny pieces and the whole crayon and got the dust up my noes and in my eyes. I will probably dig the stuff out of my ears. Here is a helpful tip: Don't Blow on the paper!

I ruined the previous canvas. I made an attempt to add color and I completely over worked the bugger to the point that I just wanted to run over it with a vehicle in the mud after a weeks worth of rain. It is just as well. I learned a lot about the opacity of the paint. I learned a lot about rushing. I learned a lot about my own sense of frustration. I also learned that I can be quite creative when thinking about the many different ways one can destroy a painting.

It is all a work in progress. Life is a work in progress. Some things are worth repeating, only this time doing it right. Some things are a one time experience that you dare not repeat, but you like to talk about a lot. Then there are those other things you never tell a soul..

Thursday, October 12, 2006

.. And I am warm..

.. And I am warm..

Day 2
Burnt Umber on previous painting

I decided to try adding a burnt umber layer to this painting and perhaps refine some of my features. The lips and right eye are better, but the left is still a bit off. This does look a little more like me than before.

I am getting that old womans neck and throat. I can't say I am happy about that, but I might as well celebrate it, since I can't do a dang thing about it. Yes, I am getting those jowel thingies that hang off your bottom lip. Help! My face is falling!

I wonder, as I stare into the mirror if my mother would have looked like this had she lived this long. Funny how you can miss someone you really didn't know. Perhaps I just miss the idea of a mother. Perhaps in some strange way I connect myself to her when I look in a mirror. I wonder if Toni will do that when she gets older, since she has "our" face. Its odd to share a face with someone.

I am not sure why I returned to this painting. It was supposed to be practice for a "real" self portrait. Some things I learned are.. When you are dependant upon natural light to light your face, a cloudy day can really muff things up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am a thinker

I am Anna Sellers. I am a thinker.

This is a study for a self portrait.
Ivory black and Titanium white
9x12 Canvas panel.

In my final piece, I want to convey the thinking I do. I am not sure this expression is what I want, but I like the idea of staring beyond the hair that has drifted in front of my eye.

Should I be honest in the final piece? Should I show the baskets of dirty laundry behind me? Should I paint the school schedule that dictates my time for art? Should I paint my humble corner and warped mirror I am working from? How about the fake flowers that sit next to it that my daughter gave me for mothers day? After all, they do contribute to who I am.

How do you paint a hug. As the mother of 6 children, I live for the hugs as much as the artist in me lives for the art supplies. Should I paint photo's of my mother who gave me this face? Should I paint the hands of my grandfather who gave me this creative gene? Do I paint a strainer full of clean dishes to portray that I do a lot of my dreaming at the kitchen sink doing dishes?

The only thing I know for sure is ...

I have a lot more thinking to do