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April 29, 2007

serena barton's "not just a pretty face"

by gl. at 4:54 pm

last week we hosted a portrait workshop, "not just a pretty face." i also attended this workshop, in part because one of the possibilities was using water-soluable oil paints, and i've never used oil paints before. it turns out the drying time drives me crazy, and i am very content to use acryclics for the rest of my life. :)

one of the other things i discovered is that i don't actually like painting faces. i like drawing faces, i like inking faces, and maybe tinting them w/ watercolor, but painting faces feels clumsy and thick and vague. my paint never goes where i want it to or how i want it to. during my first one i was really frustrated: i thought i was going to cry, but i told myself to just grit my teeth and stick with it for the next few hours. by the third one i was feeling much better, though i still can't say i feel very fond of the process.

we did two studies and a "final" portrait during the workshop. we probably had 30-45 minutes to do the studies and 1-1.5 hours to do the final. even so, we ran way over time. when we offer this class again, it will be our first 2-day workshop. :)

we picked several possible portraits from "the masters," but i ended up working on the same one each time: manet's "berthe morisot with a bouquet of violets." i tend to need repetition for reinforcement & progress, so even while i cringe to show them, i'm still pleased at this sequence:

the first is the orginal, the next two are studies, and the last is the final portrait i was working towards. nobody gets it when i say i think my second study looks like a female version of neil gaiman. ;) with the last one i was using much thinner paint, almost like layers of glazes or watercolors, rather than full-strength acryclics. there's plenty to critcize about each of them, but it is both a relief & a pleasure to see progress and development over the sequence. i'll never be manet, but i feel i learned something, and that's important to me.

the next workshop is another version of vicki lind's "don't think! paint!" that was so popular in november. we've already had a good response for it, but i'm a little nervous because it's the first workshop i won't be there for at all, even next door. i have another (exciting!) appointment i must attend that day instead (and which i expect to write more about later...!).

posted by gl. | April 29, 2007 4:54 PM | categories: classes & workshops