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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ooh-La-La Bebe...Chantal

John Singer Sargeant once said, and has been often quoted, "a portrait is a painting of someone with something wrong with the mouth". Enuf said!

Great exercise on the hair, though!

The 'finished' one  is below.

The last photo is of the gang...from left, Suzanne, Chantal, Kippy, Lisa.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Classic Beauty

Les did his demo as we worked on our paintings. Of course, remember that each artist is seeing a different view/position of the model.

It was a lesson in itself to watch Les realize that from his first 5 minutes, he had nailed her features. He was so involved in his demo that he could have kept going with no notice of time.

Lesson: no matter how skilled an artist may become, or how many portraits completed, there is still room for the perfect model, perfect light, and the muse appears to bring everything together.

The first photo is of his vantage point.

The second photo is of my vantage point. The next 2 photos are of his first 5 minute progress, then his finished portrait. The last photo is my finished portrait. I ran out of time to finesse her hand. Also, the model and her expression always change as you are painting. There is a 10 minute break every 25 minutes...SO, any resemblance to the first photo of a pose is strictly accidental! And that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Note to me: must figure out how to control the position of the photos...some day when I have time!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Features on Velour paper

For some reason (?) Mr. D felt we could use some detail work. On Velour paper. Talk about a nice surface! Les brought some for us to work on. He makes this look SO easy...have to remember he started doing portraits when he was 8! and he is 81 now. 

There is hope for me yet!

Can't wait to show you the results of the model on Monday.

For those of you who do pastel, you have probably heard all the negatives of velour paper. However, Les has some little tricks that offset the problems. AND, the advantages are fantastic!

Brocante Day

Petite de juenier (breakfast) outside in the courtyard...then to the brocante (antique/garage sale) set up in booths in the village of Sergines. I found a tabletop easel, a Richard Schmid style fisherman's cap (for 1 euro) that Ron bought for me. For those of you who don't paint, Schmid is one of the great living artists who calls his Greek fisherman's hat his 'lucky' hat. I'm sure it will do the same for me  :)

Sunday evening we went for aperitifs at Serge and Caroline's house. Serge has a graphics project for me to do. We are painting so much I don't know how I can work anything else in. I also found 4 vintage French kitchen match boxes that I will make Journey JuJu Travel Shrines with. (I have a link to her blog on the sidebar of this blog.

This little girl was making a getaway with her dolls, top speed, with her dad in hot pursuit. Our resident Frenchman, Jerome, looking very French in a doorway...and a poppy field on the way home.

Clavichords and Big Lutes

I need a few lessons from my nephew, Josh, who may have surpassed my abilities with uploading videos. Anyway, should I not get the video to load (I keep getting a message in French...probably thinking it is porn or something)

SO, I uploaded it to my .mac gallery The church Mons sur Montis (I think). It was constructed in the 14 or 15th century, and undergoing renovation (notice the plastic chairs)? In the center of the room was a railing with a lucite slab in the floor. It contained an archeological dig, and skulls of some massacred English soldiers...during that time.

The French LOVE any kind of event. We got there at 8pm, and they started at 9:15 or so. After an hour and a half of continuous music that was created for the King of France, music that might have been delightful as background music (but not to sit quietly and listen for that long). Lisa played with her Blackberry (and then lied about it), I played with the camera. 

All the instruments were either vintage or fine reproductions. The Clavichord and whatever the big lute thing was, the violins, cello, bass (10 musicians I think) all made strange sounds. Found out they were strung with gut string...requiring constant tuning.

After 2 standing ovations and encores, we were finally invited to a local art show. Arrived home around 11pm, and then DINNER!

Needless to say, we rested in on Sunday.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Master of the House, Jerome

Better today. The first painting is Les'...painted on velour paper.

Each of these last painting sessions were only 2 1/2 hours...very demanding for us.

I got an 'atta-girl' for the loose way i did the sweater and shirt. Of course, if I had had more time, I'm sure I would have overworked it.

At 6:30, the wine calls and we scurry to do some sort of finish, and down the stairs to the warm inviting atmosphere in the kitchen, with a crackling fire in the background, and breathe a sigh of contentment  as we sit down to another of Marc's divine concoctions for dinner. 

And realize that tomorrow is another day, another model, and another attempt to cram Les' lifetime of experience into a couple of hours. However, progress is being made by all of us and that is a realistic expectation.

Even Renoir had 'overs'

2 steps back! Kinda like playing forward, 2 back and reassess. Or hope for a better card, maybe a Free Pass? No such luck.

Today Les did his demo of Georges in oil. After watching him pull off another winner, we worked on ours. This first painting is Les', the others are mine. 

funny thing about painting, every 'master' has a different technique, different theories of how to get the blasted image on canvas. Every one has a different 'palette' composed of particular pigments that they have tested and used for years. Their favorite brushes, some use medium to soften the pigment, some don't. SO, as a student, it seems you are always working with unfamiliar techniques and materials. THERE, that is my story and I'm stickin' to it!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Play in France after a 2 1/2 hour session with Agnes

ROAD TRIP! Suzanne suggested the chateau Vaux le Vitomte. tt is the chateau that was copied for Versailles. 

Amazing how much there is 
to see within an hour from Fontaine-Fourches. 
After the tour, we drove home by way of an 
old Fort...

I guess I'm going to have to do some research on blog software so I can get the pics lined up where I want them. This is driving me crazy! We are all pooped...long nap today, so we can catch up a bit. Then Les starts our individual portraits.

Day 2 Agnes

Agnes is such a girly girl, married to Marc the chef and mother to Leo who is 8-ish. She designs high-end fabrics for Manuel Canovas, gardens, and makes sinful desserts.

And rides a big Yamaha Crotch Rocket! This is her biker jacket.

Again, you can see the progression from my viewpoint as I paint. 

Very please with how this turned out.

We had lunch outside, then left for an afternoon of play.


ps: we only had a little over 2 hours from start to finish!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 2 Mr. D, Painting Paul

First day jitters. Whew. After watching Sunday's commission demo's, all of us were feeling a bit in over our heads. Kinda glad to get the first one down. However, I had a few points going in...I walked Les through getting his email, and he was totally flustered. Muttering things just under his breath...I asked him to sit still in his frustration so I could enjoy it a bit. And to have compassion for what I was going to feel under HIS instruction!

4 easel positions, draw numbers, #1 gets to pick 
their position first. I was 
#4...and held my own.

We're sitting at breakfast 
now, with Day #3 model, 
Georges...who appears to 
have Greek blood...and a 
wonderful profile. More about him later...just a 

Back to Paul...and a few photos. 

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