I like painting the figure because of the compositional elements it allows, but when I include a face I can't help but focus on the likeness instead of the elements that compose it. I've reworked the face a bit today to soften it and give it the same brushwork as the rest of the body. Maybe a bit more work to do.
I chose this image because of the interesting shape created by the bikini top. It's a pure, flat black applied with even strokes, and I like the contrast with the the molded body and the tonal differences of all that skin. Her whole front is in shadow, and this was a challenge to make her appear rounded. The black bikini reminded me of the hat ribbon in Manet's portrait of Jeanne de Marsy. If you can isolate it as it's own shape, it's weird looking, but it works as a heavy contrast to the light palette and floral designs of the dress and background. Similarly, in Woman at Her Toilette, Berthe Morisot painted a choker as a slash of black across the softly colored canvas. It's one of those wonderful "moments" I admire that gives so much interest to a picture.
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Two more sketches of Woman, and I realize that part of her magic is how she maintains her gracefulness from every possible angle, from her fingertips to her toes. I took a dozen photos of her, and as I looked for one to sketch, I knew I'd have to do a few. And kudos to the AIC for placing her under a skylight. Shazam!
Oh My Gouache.
I have wanted to paint with gouache since I first noticed it at an exhibition in college. Silty, fluid, creamy, it seemed like a good way to enhance my drawings. I start all of my paintings with exact charcoal drawings, and there's always a little part of me that doesn't want to paint over them. With gouache I hoped I could maintain the draughtsmanship of my work. Today I did my first gouache painting. It's gallery 271 at the Art Institute with my favorite sculpture, Woman (Elevation) (1927) by Gaston Lachaise, front and center. I have only five colors, and I was nervous about mixing others, and I didn't end up making many. The drawing is driven by the silhouette of Woman. I love silhouettes because of the stark contrast of dark and light as well as the focus on line. I tried adding the chevron floor pattern to see if I could and also because I couldn't get shading right. The pattern is a diversion, and it's the wrong direction. Oops.
I Heart Art
I do! I make it, sell it, think about it, look at it, read about it, and (sometimes) I write about it. Join my mailing list, and you'll receive my brief--promise--messages about new work, shows, events, and a little inspiration. Probably a picture of my dog, too.