Friday, September 17, 2010

Second Lisa


Lisa (2)
Original oil Painting 20x16"
by Susan Roux

I thought I'd finish her off by late morning yesterday, but it took until 5:30 p.m. before I signed her. What is it about portraits? I couldn't seem to stop picking at her...

I was thrilled with my first Lisa. I found her fresh and alive and I was so surprised how much it looked like my sister. It was as though she was in the room smiling at me. Redoing a portrait was Don Hatfield's suggestion. He told me I would learn a lot by doing so. So I decided to try her again. I was curious as to what I could learn by redoing her, but mostly I wondered if I really had the ability to capture her again. If I could, it would tell me I knew what I was doing. If not, then it was just a fluke that the first one came out so good.

This one was challenging. Very challenging. I took a different approach for experimental sake and worked it without the first in view. I wanted to work strictly from the photo and not attempt to copy the original painting. It wasn't until close to finishing that I brought both together. To my grand surprise, I found the second painting to be much better than the first. If I think about form and 3-dimensionality, I see substantial improvement. Painterly? I can't really say that her face is painterly, but certainly the rest of her is. I question in portrait painting if painterly should be a goal. If someone were to commission a portrait would they want it well rendered?

During this experiment, what did I learn?

The first thing I learned is no portrait is easy. At least not when you're a new puppy at it like I am! There came a time when I saw more changes in color on my photo than I had before. I think this is why it was so hard to finish. Even in places were I thought I had painted all the information I could see, I kept finding more. I think part of the lesson is simply learning how to see and interpreting what it is you're seeing. As artists, once we see what it is, how its made up in colors and values, we can paint it. The difficulty is when we cannot break it down to those simple elements. I have to admit, I'm breaking it down more easily these days.

I'm exhibiting in a one-day group show at the hospital in November. Many doctors and their families will attend. I'm thinking of bringing this second Lisa and offer my services for portraits. I don't know if I'm jumping the gun too quickly here, but being able to capture my sister a second time has boosted my confidence. Part of me shivers at the thought of claiming that I can capture others. What if I'm commissioned and I really can't? The other part of me timidly whispers, "You can do this..."

I have to start somewhere, right?

Here's the first Lisa and the second Lisa, side-by-side as promised. What do you think?
















Quick note: Thanks to all of you for your wonderful and helpful comments. They're always appreciated. For those of you experiencing painter's block, I received some very helpful information from bloggers. Please make sure and read each other's comments.

Thanks again.

30 comments:

  1. I love them both - second has more depth and realism! Go for it, practice makes perfect.

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  2. Stupendi! hai esaltato la bellezza di donna, uno sguardo molto sensuale che ti regala gioia e vitalità. Complimenti e se ti va passa a farmi visita così prima di fare ritorno puoi prendere il mio pensiero presente sul 2 blog
    Ti aspetto ciao

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  3. Second Lisa is better! Anyway, paint a portrait is how to walk on Everest for me! Arianna

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  4. Es un excelente retrato, Susan. ¡Enhorabuena!

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  5. The are both great but I am definitely drawn to the darker background ... more contrast ... it's so beautiful and very striking!

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  6. Both are magnificent, Susan. I have to say I like the first painting a tad more because the lighter palette works so well with her face and features, and the happiness that seems to be such a natural part of her.

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  7. Je pense et nous en avons discuter ensemble hier que ton deuxième portrait est techniquement plus réussi.
    En ce qui concerne le portrait, je pense aussi que le fait que ce soit celui de ta soeur, tu y as apporté tout ton amour...
    Tu la connais parfaitement bien... Tu pourrais en regardant son portrait sentir son souffle, son odeur, entendre son rire. Tu n'as pas seulement peint un portrait, tu y a mis son âme... Bisous

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  8. Susan...
    What a wonderful post.... I almost didn't come to the blog because the thumbnail looked like the same one I had read before...

    Then I started reading... Gosh I admire you. I doubt I would have done a second painting. I liked your first. As I was reading, I said to myself... what if the second isn't really as good as the first? I'm so glad that you put them side by side... I really do like them both... but I think the deepening of the shadow forms has made the second one better than the first ..... Although I did like the background of the first initially... Sigh... Just a wonderful job on both of these!!

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  9. Repeating a painting is one of the hardest things to do! I think that not looking at the first painting was a very good choice to make. You avoided a lot of grief by doing that. Both paintings are lovely, but technically speaking the second was a grand success. I like the contrast of the darker background, the naturalness of her hair, and her face is beautifully rendered, and yes, painterly. Nice job!

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  10. They are both excellent and any one of us would be proud to claim that we did them. That said I think I prefer the first one the one that uses the lighter colours.

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  11. I can really feel a gentle breeze blowing here. Lovely painting!

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  12. two fabulous portraits---did you project the initial drawings? They are identical! It is a wonderful "experiment" to re-paint her and I agree with you that this proves that you "have it" (a deep understanding of values in flesh). I tend to like portrait #1 for it's warmer "sunnier" colors....but both paintings are GREAT.

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  13. No Celeste, I don't use a projector. I don't use a pencil at all, I just jump right in with paint.

    Thanks.

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  14. I can't believe you have any doubt at all that you couldn't paint a portrait! You did an amazing job and anyone would be thrilled to hire you!

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  15. I read through the comments and found about an even split of likes.
    For me, the second Lisa is even better; I love the more developed form. I find it wonderful that you kept the freshness in the second work and love that you kept finding new colors in your photo (that happens to me, too).

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  16. Lisa looks good in both paintings. You are a very good artist. ~Ron

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  17. Magnifique portrait Susan qui véhicule beaucoup de joie !

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  18. I noticed you over at Mr. Geezer's blog. Was interested because my middle name is Roux. Just had to let you know how much i've enjoyed skimming thru your blog & enjoying your paintings. :)

    Thank you

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  19. Fabulous! Love the expression and the softness of the edges. Great job.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  20. you've done a wonderful job on both, brilliant handling of tones and brushwork

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  21. Wow Susan. You are continuing to amaze me. I think your art is improving in giant leaps and bounds. This one is wonderful.
    Great job.

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  22. Maravilhoso!

    Da tela, ressalta uma vida cheia de alegria!

    Beijinho

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  23. They are both so good. I guess I like the summery colours in the first one the best. You are an amazing artist.

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  24. Susan! Each of these have their own qualities.
    I find it inspiring to maybe do a "2nd" of some of my paintings.
    I like the 1st one, but then the 2nd one also.
    I think the 2nd one defines the smile to a higher level though, so I feel you've captured, or are showing us a closer, or deeper sense of her personality. Very good!

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  25. You are very brave and generous to have painted a portrait twice and then post it! I do like the first one, even though this is not a poll, only because her inner glow comes through in the warmer colors. What hard work this mush have been. Two thumbs up!

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  26. I prefer the first one because it looks more "impressionnist" and Lisa looks very feminine in this sunny light.

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  27. Great portrait! I like the second one. It feels fresh!
    It's been nice catching up with your blog.
    Really nice work!

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  28. I love the concept of having a fresh look the 2nd time around. Both beautiful, more sensitivity in the 2nd one for me.Maybe because you've already "touched" each plane of her face?!

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