Sunday, February 12, 2012

Florence Italy Figure Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),
I have not decided whether it is because I have no shame or whether it is just because I am a horrible liar that I am about to share with you what I am. You may remember my blog post on 15 January 2012 about my struggles to learn how to figure paint here in Florence, Italy. I often feel like a bit of a fraud when kind people remark that creating figure art comes so natural to me. It does not. I work and work and work at it. No lie.

Despite the fact that after my first day of frustration and the next day Maestro John Angel gave me a compliment in front of the whole class, I am still trying to overcome my first bad day on this painting of Federica. John Angel does watch his students paint; even if he is standing far enough away that you think he is not looking at what you are doing. Of course, I also get lost in my own brain when I am drawing and am not much aware of my surroundings.

At some point, he recommended that the class do as I was doing – cross referencing relationships using triangles. I have always felt that the more relationships I make (or notice) between specific points, the more my drawing will be successful. In this case, I had used my knitting needle to determine the position of the hand based on the line formed by a point in the shoulder and the belly button… or something similar that escapes my memory now.

I have failed somehow to get the gesture I once was happy with and I have yet to return to that first drawing that I erased during my frustration spell. Still, with refinement of the shapes I am designing, I hope to “scootch” my way back to something depicting emotion.

So, are you ready? Scary gets less so, I hope…

Image 1: really horrifying … no gesture, bad proportions. The only emotion I feel when looking at this is embarrassment.

Image 2: I am attempting to get the face, but it is still too narrow and poorly done. Her belly is way too round, and … need I go on?

Image 3: Frustrated with my own work, I chose to move on through the process. Here I have left behind the sketching in raw umber in favor of adding the light tones using Titanium White and Ivory Black. I have started the Big Form Modeling, the beginning of the process of creating the illusion of three dimensions.

Image 4: More shape refining, especially in the face, is starting to occur. My figure is looking better, but is still off on too many proportions.

Image 5: Another reason that I am here is to learn to be a painter. As John Angel has been lecturing us, poets use words, musicians use notes, and painters are in love with shapes. But also, we love the quality of PAINT! My tendency is to use too little. Ironic since it was originally the “squishability” factor of oil paint that led me to want to play with clay.

Image 6: By this time, Frederica had cut her hair into a shorter do that is quite attractive. In my attempt to refine the shapes in the face and still use this particular style of a grisaille (white and black) painting with a brown shadow tone, I have added yellow ochre to my raw umber to give some opacity to the browns.

Image 7: Still, so many problems with my shapes! However, I am starting to feel that I am beginning to capture her emotion of at least boredom. Sometimes the model looks teary eyed. She said this happens when her contact lenses start to bother her, but I actually enjoy the sad and pensive expression this gives her. It suits the slumped over posture as well, do you not agree?

And since I prefer not to end this session with any ugliness, here is one of the more subtle skies over my beloved Florence, Italy. Some days, I happened to walk out of the studio at just the most beautiful hour! Enjoy.