Sunday, August 2, 2015

Day 2: 31 P in 31 D

August 2, 2015 - Day 2
Well, I am off to a wonderful beginning!  The painting of Brooke yesterday was a great start.  She is a very sweet young lady with a great future ahead. She wished to put her engagement ring into the pose and so I felt a bit of a time challenge to make it happen but I did feel good when I made it happen within the 3 hour scheduled time.  It was so very fun to work with her.  It is difficult to sit that long without talking but she was great.  Her smile was contagious and I found myself smiling a lot during the moments where I asked her to hold a "Mona Lisa" smile.  I wish I could have painted her gorgeous smile but it is impossible to hold that pose for 3 hours.  I am happy that this went so well and pleased with the outcome.

I am so happy that I am doing this.  So far, I am really enjoying this and my models seem to tell me they are also enjoying this.  

Today, I had Arlene Gorman pose for me from 10-1 and I just loved the outcome.  Arlene and I go back a ways and have always enjoyed catching up.  As she found out, I cannot answer questions well when I am focused on painting.  In fact, I really shouldn't talk in order to do a good job.  But, we did manage to get caught up!  Luckily for her, I don't have any updates other than work. Arlene is a beautiful light to auburn haired friend with sparkling blue-green eyes and has always had a great outlook on life.  I know you have already heard this, but I wish that holding a smile for 3 hours was possible so that all my paintings could have teeth in them.  But, pushing myself to get this much done so fast is it, for now.  I do try to get that slight smile that shows softly by the lifting of the corners of the mouth. "Mona Lisa smile".

What I am finding about the painting process:  Yesterday, I kind of struggled with my thoughts about how to approach this.  After all, it was day 1 and all that applies to it.  I knew the recipes and my color was accurate to what I wanted but there was a process that I hadn't slipped into yet.  I need to be able to see exactly what I needed to see down to that little crease behind the eye when there are shadows, eye makeup, and distance between us.  I am working about 4 feet back from my models.
By the way, they will all sit in the same high-back dark yellow-green velour chair.   A chair that has seen many interesting moments because it was one of my mom's chairs from her private practice as a marriage, child, & family counselor.

Yesterday I got into my groove by the end of the sitting but I was slow to get there.  Today, however, I found that I was much more accurate in the placement of strokes to represent the colors/value I saw in Arlene. I ponder how much of the ability to capture one person faster or labor longer is due the smoothness of skin and the way that there are less "landmarks" in smooth skin verses those of us that are past 40.  I think the more landmarks we have the easier it is to capture a likeness.  Although, then you deal with the fact that most of us want to be flattered, for those landmarks to be softened or taken out totally.
My goals: Working from photos makes you lazy.  I am doing this exercise for myself to heighten my observation of color in people.  I have been working from life off and on for my whole life, but when I go to the studio and the model isn't there in front of me, I tend to depend too much on what a photo records and not the true reality of vision. I felt like I was working too much from photos and wanted to take my level of observation from real life to a higher understanding.
It was exhilarating when I felt that today.  I felt every color and shift of color according to the temperature of the light or shadow on my subjects. I was far more comfortable with the progress of my painting by the 2 hour mark -when I needed to have all the areas filled in and to begin working on the details that softened the skin and flattered Arlene.  Although, I would love to take each of these into a formal portrait and continue to work on them long after the 3 hours, that isn't the goal and all of my little changes that I still want to make are not allowed.  So, I force myself to stop working on the paintings at the 3 hour mark.  Ooookaaay ... I admit it.  I may have adjusted a couple minor things after the model leaves.  But, it is dangerous to work without your model.  A little is good, a lot is bad.  But, in the end, I need to remember what my models have said when the 3 hours are done:  Arlene loved it and said "that's what I look like!"  Brooke said she "loved it".  So, I am pleased with that.

Other work involved:  As for the work involved, the "model releases" are being filled out, here.  It's always so hard to get papers made out ahead of time.  I do appreciate those who did fill them out and send them to me ahead.  But, life is made of moments where we reinvent the plan.  And, that's okay.   As in the four people who I am about to reschedule.  It is difficult and I apologize to those who asked me earlier to do this.  I just haven't had any time during July to solve this.  Now it's a must.  I do however still have four people on the waiting list as an option if I just cannot find a way to fit the others in.
I am also concerned that I haven't been receiving the written questionnaire that I am counting on for the book.  I have had 2 out of 2 models without that filled in for me.  I sure hope I get those back, they are the basis of how I plan to create the first of two books that I have planned.  I want to share what I see from the inside out by having the words from the models to put next to their paintings.
I do know ... I need not worry.  It does always work out... it's a mystery how. (Shakespeare in Love reference.)

Feeling: I was exhausted yesterday after painting Brooke (probably because of the young ladies I worked so hard with last week and maybe some of the HHT) ... but today I find myself energized again.  After the session with Arlene I met up with a close friend for lunch at Jack's Urban Eatery and then shopped at Trader Joe's for my healthy morning smoothy ingredients of spinach, kale, egg, protein & green powders, avocado, almond milk, pineapple juice, strawberries, blueberries, and banana.  It may sound awful, but it is actually delicious!  I have been drinking this for breakfast for 3 years now and without it, I feel spacey, and unfocused.  A healthy lunch with Lori was grounding.  I find that at this time in my life I am so blessed with the best friends I could have and feel so thankful for all of them. Some male and some female, some students, some BFF's, some from high school, some life just gave me, and some have 4 legs.  I couldn't be more blessed in that area.  Feeling happy.  Feeling loved.

Tomorrow's model is Barbara Manwell.  Can't wait ... 

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