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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Revisit an old friend...working on a 'good start'

I've not been very regular lately with the blog. Been working on the upcoming Ozark Pastel Society's annual show workshop with Leslie B. DeMille. Can't very well post any progress paintings if I have a notion of entering them into the show for his judging.
And I am working on a commission portrait for a surprise, and if I post much about that it won't be a surprise! So, this topic came up when seeing it rekindled my curiosity.
The wonders of a digital age...I have over 15,000 photos on my laptop. I never know what photo is going to catch my eye, some I've painted, some I've started. Each is a memory from France, Italy, Prague, Salzburg, CapeTown, Frankfurt, and my own backyard.
Sometimes a pattern of lights and darks jumps out at me from a photo that I've looked at a million times before. Some I have felt like saving until I had more mastery of my skills.
And the subject of today's post, my foray into my continual study of art techniques. This one intrigued me to the point that after receiving my materials I scurried into the studio and sponged some gold acrylic onto a gesso board. Not very well thought out, but at least I had the good sense to keep the acrylic out of the area of my subject.
The circumstances that yielded this photo were interesting, and just chance. While on my first workshop retreat with Kippy in France, we jumped in the car late one afternoon with Jeanette Martin and found a good en plein air spot. We set up in the shade next to an old building. While we were painting, a local resident came out and started talking with Kippy. From all I could understand, she might have been asking us to move on. Actually she was offering us entrance to the little building. Inside was a shrine of sorts, containing 2 exquisite sculptures. This is one of them. And if I could speak French, I might remember the name of the sculptor...a native son of this tiny village who donated these sculptures to honor the village.
The technique? Silverpoint. Yup. Leonardo, Rubens, Ross. Actually this drawing went so well (in 2006) that I scared me into putting it down. I'm kinda like Fanny Brice (remember Streisand in Funny Girl)? Jump in the deep end of the pool holding your nose. Visit for lots of info.

Even carried it with me when I went back to Kippy's in February 2007. Had it propped up in my kitchen and saw it every day. What scared me (other than fear of screwing it up) is the awareness that once you make a mark on the board, it is not removable. Permanent. No erasing. It is there to stay. Also, you learn quickly to do your darkest darks first, cause they are only about a 6 or 7 on the value scale. No black blacks. Cool thing is that the silver tarnishes with time. You can use gold and copper too, but silver was historic.

For some reason, maybe a sense of needing the control (OCD?) and tiny bitty-ittle marks, I picked it back up last week and took it to my day of shop-keeping at Poor Richard's Art, my local gallery. Bill (owner's husband and manager) about had a fit over it.

Anyway, I feel a bit more confident with it now. I may even have a customer for it. Just have to figure out how to complete the background...and the skirt. Oh, the other thing is that the silver does NOT photograph well.

EEOWW! That background will be muchly toned down!


Anonymous said...

You amaze me more that words can say. You've always had talent but now - WOW! Great work - that's just an observation from a complete novice - but I am impressed. Love you - hope to see you soon.
Susan G

vickiandrandyrossart said...

thanks, old friend! (Just reference to how long we've been BFF). Good thing is that art (studying, doing, talking about) gets that 40 pound gorilla off my shoulders and I feel lighthearted. And that, my friend, is a very good thing!