Friday, August 13, 2010

Utter frustration...

Its been an interesting day, to say the least.

Toby and Leslie are evolving. I added more color to his face and worked hers some. I lightened the background to the left of his ear. That helped. The proportions are still off. If I could make a vertical fold just left of her nose and bend it to reduce the size of her face as it approaches Toby's, I'd be doing pretty good. Unfortunately this is not paper and I can't move the right side closer to the left like that on my canvas.

Here is a superimposed version of the painting and the actual photo I'm working from.

It clearly shows some major problems. When I line Toby's face up she looks like this. When I line her flowing hair up, she looks mostly correct, but he's all askew.

I was advised by the master to begin anew.

Say what?

I'll repeat it. I was advised by the master to begin anew. I did not take to these words lightly. Verbal resistance was my immediate reaction. In the end it all came down to how much I wanted to push myself for the sake of learning. I've never been one to settle for mediocre, so in complete frustration, I grabbed a new canvas and got to work.

I won't put you through the exasperation and groaning I experienced yesterday, but for those of you who heard I never came to blog, this is why. I was very busy in an angry sort of way. Suffice it to say, my attitude wasn't pretty.

Here's the new version. (Yeah, again my colors are off. The camera just doesn't understand what's on my canvas...)

Here's the new painting superimposed with the photograph.

Do I need to say anymore?


  1. Life is a learning experience. Look what you've learned! Can't wait to see more.

  2. For the record, this wasn't traced...

  3. I can see the improvement.
    Charles Sovek said, "don't make anything too precious". Which, at the time I didn't understand meant, if it's not right, start again ;)
    Now I wipe anything that isn't going where I want it to go. For years I had cartons of 'unfinished' work in my studio and last Thanksgiving I had a bonfire and burned them all :D
    It felt wonderful.
    Keep going with this, you've got a good start.

  4. Hi, Susan! We've all been there. It is so hard to wipe out (in this case, start over) your "babies"! But it is so worth it in the end. Good for you!

    I really liked where you were going with the colors in your original beginning, and it is/will be a very dynamic portrait!

  5. WOW.... I guess all that cussing (and listening to your mentor) was worth it....

    I am impressed..... also curious ... How do you superimpose one image over the other so we can see both??

  6. It will be beautiful, Susan.....It's difficult to start over but well worth it.

  7. I think it is looking great. What a challenge.

  8. To me it just looks good. But frustration I get. I hope that you can better enjoy the process next time you pick up the brushes.

  9. I so admire you for your dedication to your craft - keep up the good work.

  10. What a challenge--a double portrait! I know that my "mentor" Kitty Wallis would have said the same thing--"do it over". Whoa!...but after she has told me and many others to "start new" I am no longer surprised by those words.
    There is so much that is spot on in both of your versions...and I think it is generous of you to share the issues. Along with starting altogether new versions I would wait for portrait #1 to dry and sand her down and reposition her over the old her. Painting #1 is incredibly good of him and she is so close to being accurate. Both paintings are really great work...fresh and strong.

  11. Susan!

    Good for you for breaking down the wall of resistance and starting all over again from scratch! Not many would go to all that trouble.

    Clearly your second attempt paid off because the new painting looks perfectly lined up to the original photo!

    May I suggest using a grid system for future portraits? It helps get the placement of all the major points onto the canvas while still allowing you to draw the subject at the same time.

    Can't wait to see the finished piece!


  12. I like the freshness of the second. I like your method of super imposing the images. I had always just set them up side by side. something new!

  13. I love your paintings, your tips and your wonderful sense of humor :)


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