Monday, January 5, 2009


I'm making another attempt at my headshot abstract painting. This time a number of little study paintings were done until a reasonably pleasing design was achieved. The two primary colours were picked utilizing the blue and yellow mixing study (see the previous post). I liked the way Prussian blue and Cad yellow combined. I wanted one of the colours to be warm and the other cooler to get a yin yang thing going on. But i also wanted the blues and greens to be a little bit representative of the subject's eye colour. I'm not sure if either of these objectives were met, but i'll save judgement until the end.

I've been having a hard time making any progress on this project in the last few days. Perhaps it's a function of the holidays or maybe non-negotiable time will have to be scheduled specifically for painting. I want to get a portfolio together for the restaurant auction asap.

Update: January 7, 2009

Yellow strokes were added over the first wash of blue strokes. Then i decided the big opening in the centre needed some horizontal action. I still don't disagree with that, however as soon as i put the horizontal blue strokes in the centre of the painting i was kicking myself. I should have been more careful and put some compositional thought into it. After that dried, i added some yellow underneath the horizontal blue to try and move the centre of that mess downward, unsuccessfully.

I added another blue layer vertically to try and fill in that centre hole and repeat the vertical curvy line left of centre. But the horizontal line still stuck out like a sore thumb.

I filled in some of the white negative space with a very diffuse yellow wash to try and take the bright edge off. Then i wanted to add some black to the most predominate gestures to fill in the darker side of a full tonal range, to have a complete tonal range in each gesture. Then I decided to move the whole key of the painting to dark and blue.

I washed off paint along the sides of the gestures trying again to add tonal depth to the gestures.

I'm pretty happy with it now, however i think it needs something in top right to balance the painting, and i'm going to try and wash off more of that horizontal stroke in the centre.

Update: January 8, 2009
Those few horizontal brushstrokes in the middle are causing the most trouble in this painting. I re-wetted the paper and tried moving the paint around to "erase" them. I then had to reinforce the vertical lines that were over the horizontal ones. That wasn't as successful as i hoped. Then i took a plastic eraser to the offensive parts and again had to re-apply paint to the vertical strokes. I think the horizontal part isn't sticking out as much as a couple days ago. After applying so much dark tones on the vertical marks over the horizontal line, i think the whole thing is now looking tonally flat. I also made a dark horizontal line in the top right corner to add a little more balance.
I splatted some Prussian blue on the light area at the top, and quite liked that. I then splatted water on the middle and lower third hoping to get more interesting texture to compensate for the whole thing still looking flat. But that didn't do much. So i went back to the old crutch and applied yellowish wash onto the entire surface of a big piece of cellophane film and lay that on top of the entire painting. I let that dry before removing it. It's done.
I asked Di if she liked it, and she said "no". I chuckled inside. This girl is brutally honest; to a fault sometimes. I guess it's not really a fault, just brutal. And given a choice I'd rather hear the truth than have a friend awkwardly lie. I think the photo of the painting looks better and is more vibrant than the actual painting. Maybe i should spray glossy fixer on it? I don't like the painting either, so Di and i are in agreement. I'll keep it, but hopefully i'll come up with some better stuff for the auction.

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