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lisasb
05-04-2008, 10:18 AM
Hi, gang -

As some of you have seen, I'm starting to work on portraits and figures in OP. I'm not very experienced with human subjects, so far I've pretty much only worked from photos when painting figures.

I'd really like to start dropping in on life drawing sessions, so I'd love any advice any of you could give me, especially on life drawing with OP.

I know OP is a little less forgiving, but I've never been crazy about using charcoal, OP just feels better. Jim, if you read this, I know you've done some really nice paintings of live subjects in OP, I'd love to hear what materials you use.

Any tips or advice are welcome, I've never done a life drawing class before.

Thanks,
Lisa.

Pat Isaac
05-04-2008, 12:43 PM
Life drawing classes are one of my favorite things. The one I go to in my studio complex starts off with 30 second sketches and builds to 5 minutes. It's a wonderful experience to just get the gesture down on paper. I always used charcoal for these quickies, but have now found that I can use the the La Grande Senneliers the same way as the charcoal. No time for detail.
I have used them for longer poses too.
I recently purchased some graphite bars from Kama pigments when I bought my EGOPs These are round fat crayon like sticks. Great for quick sketches.

Pat

lisasb
05-04-2008, 03:30 PM
Pat, what kind of paper do you use? I know newsprint is popular and inexpensive, but I love working on toned papers, so I was thinking about colored charcoal paper.

Lisa.

Pat Isaac
05-04-2008, 05:33 PM
Lisa, it depends on whether they are quick poses or longer poses. For the quickies, I use newsprint and for the longer ones I have used canvas skin, which I like. I haven't tried any toned papers for OP as the poses are too short for a finished piece. Sometimes there are longer poses, but I haven't got to one yet and there I might try some toned papers, maybe even tone some of my own, like 140lb watercolor paper. I have a bunch of it.

Pat

Scarefishcrow
05-05-2008, 12:57 AM
Life drawing classes are one of my favorite things. The one I go to in my studio complex starts off with 30 second sketches and builds to 5 minutes. It's a wonderful experience to just get the gesture down on paper. I always used charcoal for these quickies, but have now found that I can use the the La Grande Senneliers the same way as the charcoal. No time for detail.
I have used them for longer poses too.
I recently purchased some graphite bars from Kama pigments when I bought my EGOPs These are round fat crayon like sticks. Great for quick sketches.

Pat

Pat, would this be a place where one of the firmer brands that are slightly drier might also be used? Even some of the cheaper student grade smaller round shaped ops that could be used with even something like cheaper sketch paper. I just bought a set of 48 Van Goghs from Blick's in Chicago and they have some wonderful colors and I think they have been reformulated because they seem to lay down much easier, without the pressure needed for Expressionist. They are all rated as +++ lightfast excect for about a 1/2dozen ++. For sketch work they certainly are inexpensive (48 for $35; not bad). I have color charts made and will post them. Erengi's are another option.

Is any of this sensible to you? (I certainly am no potraitist, so hope I'm not out of line here).

Bill

Pat Isaac
05-05-2008, 09:07 AM
I don't see why they wouldn't work as well, though I have never tried them. Actually, I do have a couple of Van Goghs that I tried, because I liked the color. I think I'm spoiled by my soft OPs as I found them hard to work with. They just didn't move around easily. That's only my take though.

Pat

lisasb
05-05-2008, 11:32 AM
Thanks for the info, Pat. It probably makes sense to use newsprint for the short poses, 'cause it's by far the cheapest.

For longer poses I might try using a paper I've been sketching on: Strathmore Artagain, assorted tints. It's recycled, acid-free, and pretty cheap. It holds a few layers of OP, and I like the gray tints.

Bill, I was actually planning to try out my Erengis and Pentels in class (once I finally get there). I do like how the Erengis lay down, I find them quite smooth. The Pentels are more like crayons, which I also like. I'll let you know how it goes, though I don't think I'll be able to manage class tonight, it'll probably have to be next week.

Lisa.

Scarefishcrow
05-05-2008, 03:03 PM
Thanks, Pat and Lisa.

Lisa, I look forward to hearing about your experiences. I really want to take some classes in basic drawing, if nothing else to force me to do some of it. I carry sketchbook around and even did a couple of quick 5 min sketches at the AIC. But I am a severe creature of habit with my ADD and I have to engrain behaviors as habitual or I let things slide (familiar with that situation in students, Pat???).

I have been thinking about a way of laying out test strips for OPs that will give lots of info and allow them to be consistent. I am still planning to take you up, Lisa, on your offer of Ca sunlight through glass. Because glass does absorb UV, and since OP is mounted under glass usually, that is a significant question.

Pat, I understand your preference for the softies, and I think that is a natural evolution from migration (or addition to) a primary working habit in oils.

I know I say this all the time, but I was impressed that Leslie's book reinforced the idea that all the art quality brands and their different working characteistics are part of the diversity that OP offers and each has its place. In fact, one of Leslie's first statements was that in an ideal world, the OP artist would have a full set of every quality brand available.

I used VG's for some time and found them typically quite similar to Expressionists. This new set is labelled Fine Quality OP, almost all with +++ rating, and typically two tones (?) per color, but no CI names on label. It is quite subtle, but I'm pretty certain Royal Talens has reformulated them because, while still among the firmer varieties, they seem to lay down the color much easier. I did test strips on Strathmore Canvas Paper and whether it was the paper or the OP (not sure), they seemed to go one with a particularly pronounced translucency. Covering well, but not heavily opaque, particularly in some colors. This cold be a very useful characteristic in some layering approaches.

When I scan the color strips I set up I will post them in my Color Chart thread.

Pat, I know you may have missed it in all my rambling about NC and Jerrys, but I was surprised to see Mungyo (??) labeled as artist OP in nice diverse wood box sets. Many of them were JUMBOS the size of Senn Grandes. Had you seen these before?? They were a new twist to me.

I also had a chance to squeeze (on the sly) various RF sticks and know why you like them. They seem to be about as close to being able to hold the contents of a tube of oil paint without the tube!!! However, with the Large size Irridescent stick topping out the price scale at $83/stick, I decided to add half a dozen colors to my basic 12 stick Shiva set and complete 30 something set of Kama oil sticks and complete set of Kama EGOP. Want to try some larger works with them!

Oh, so many things to do and so little time!!!! I really wish I could be in a group of artists like you since I know the feedback must energize you! (BTW, I know my stuff for Associate Membership in OPS went through, but still don't see my name listed on the site. Not a big deal, but are you still having problems with support there? Oops, slipped OT, sorry Lisa).


Gosh, I would love to be able to get together with everyone on here and have a big painting party for a week in some beautiful spot and get to know everyone better (even Wendell and his fruit flies and voles. In fact, sounds like he lives in the perfect place to put us all up and feed us. Shall we set a date and let him know we are all comming and to stock up on everything. Never been to Canada and he lives pretty close to my ancestral french acadian roots! Okay. It's settled, we accept Wendells generous offer to host the first annual OP week long Paint In at his residence. Pat, you want to let him know or should we recruit ANNIE????:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


BTW, do you need more Gulls, Pat, I have a bunch from NC I would be glad to load into your boats!!!!:D

:music: :heart: :music:

lisasb
05-06-2008, 12:36 PM
Well, I got brave and went to life drawing at the Santa Cruz Art League last night, 7:00 - 10:00. We had 4 5-minute poses, a couple of 10-minute poses, and then three or four 25-35 minute poses.

It was a lot of fun, I used a couple of Erengis for the short poses, but found myself switching to pastel pencils for the longer poses so I could correct more easily. The Erengis were really nice on newsprint, they're nice and smooth and not scratchy-feeling.

Great learning experience -- for instance, I learned that when I'm drawing fast, I make biggish heads and little teeny feet and hands! There are (at least) a couple of really skilled artists in the group, so I hope I can learn from them. It was a really friendly group, too.

I'm definitely going to go on a regular basis, this is exactly what I need to take my drawing skills up a notch. I do plan on continuing to use OPs as much as I can.

Bill, I'll be glad to tape color swatches up in my car and house (we have lots of south-facing windows) to help with the research. Of course, I haven't seen the sun since Thursday, it looks like our June Gloom is a month early -- in Santa Cruz in the summer, the combination of icy cold water (this year it's 49-50 degrees!) with hot weather inland makes for quite a bit of fog. Still, we do get lots of sun starting in August...Anyway, let me know when you have strips ready and I'll send you my mailing address.

Jumbo Mungyos, sounds intriguing. Was this at Jerry's? I was wishing for the Sennelier Grandes when I was doing the background for my last portrait, which was 24x18", but they are definitely not on the budget.

Group painting trip, sounds fun, thanks for hosting, Wendell :wink2: :lol: . I bet I could talk my husband into it if we met somewhere windy (we're die-hard windsurfers) -- how about Maui, Aruba, or Brazil :lol:. Oh well, a girl can dream; my idea of a perfect vacation is somewhere warm and windy where I can paint in the morning and sail in the afternoon.

Lisa.

Pat Isaac
05-06-2008, 01:31 PM
Hooray for you, Lisa. Sounds as if you had a great time at the life drawing class. I know I've said this before, but I think it is the best drawing experience and a sure way to notch up skills.

So when are we leaving on our painting trip?? huh..huh....

I have not seen the big mungyo's, Bill. It does seem as if many of the OP brands are getting on the bandwagon. It may be that they have reformulated their OPs, but I think it bears looking at. I have noticed that there are a number of "artist quality" materials out there, but I wouldn't consider them artist quality.

No more gulls...:lol:

Pat

Scarefishcrow
05-06-2008, 09:27 PM
Lisa, you have done the hardest part of all. Gone to your first class. That's how I felt when I finally, queasily posted my first work and then found out that people want to help and tend to respect people who are trying to learn since even the greatest artist typically has to have gone through that stage at some point in their life?

Right, St. Patricia:angel: , my patron saint! (Although after I told my wife about the "tap...tap...tap..." and she saw me scurrying to paint she now wants to invite you for an extended visit to see if you can work the same wonders on other parts of my act that my lovely wife has found hard to change!!!!)

The jumbo Mungyo's were in Jerry's original retail store. Haven't seen them online either, Pat.

Pat, I agree with you that the bandwagon is filling up faster. That's good news and bad news. The good news is that with new OP brands or types comming out in "art" quality, then there must be a market and perhaps our fold is growing. Reading Leslie's book I was astounded at the number of artists he featured work from 15yrs ago that were working in OP. The bad new is, as you suggest, we continue to need to read the fine print. The Van Gogh's, e.g., I recently bought don't really say "artist quality" on the packaging but are called Super Fine OP. They do have lightfastness ratings and all but a few are +++ with only about 6 ++. The labels do not list CI names. I need to check their site to see if more info is available.

I think while most people like Senns and Holbeins and NeoPastels and would probably agree they are Artist grade, I think the Specialists and Erengis, in particular, are IMHO artist grade. They carry full label info on CI Names of pigments used and the lightfastness ratings of the pigments. Of course, that is the caveat...The lightfastness ratings on ALL OP sticks, as far as I am aware, are based on the ratings the pigments used have and not on tests made on the sticks themselves.

Prior to getting Leslie's book, it had been mentioned several times in various places that he found that some of the "student" grade OP's performed better or as well as Artist grade. After examining the text, that is NOT what he found. He clearly stated that Expressionist and Grummbachers were "...not impressively lightfast...." and Pandas failed almost ever instance. That is why I think some sort of standardized test, even if relatively crude as was Leslie's, would provide useful information in the absence of something better. However, sophisticated design is NOT as important in doing something like this, but doing things in a CONSISTENT and REPEATABLE fashion most certainly is. That is why I have not rushed to stick sheets out in the sun (that is not meant to be a criticism of your tests, Lisa, because I think the issue of fading UNDER GLASS is a very important element since that is how OP is generally framed!!).

Wendell is probably gonna kill me if he ever stumbles on this thread and hears I started a rumor he was hosting an OP paint in.:eek: :eek: :eek: (He could always serve chocolated covered fruit flies and delicious Vole and Crocus stew:lol: :lol: )

You gotta admit it would be fun, though!:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Pat Isaac
05-15-2008, 07:48 AM
Here is a post from bill that was lost in the crash.

I'll inform my wife you politely decline the offer!!! (BTW, thanks, those ...tap...tap...taps.... seem to trigger some deeply buried "teacher fear":lol: :lol: :lol: ). Don't teach my wife that trick!!! I'll be good, most likely!:rolleyes:

I tried some double talk but I don't think Wendell's gonna fall for it. Raphael's "School of Athens" 1/2 size? You know how bit that Honker is, Pat???? 1/2 size would probably keep you supplied with canvas for a year or two, minimum!

Lisa... anymore classes? (Ok, that was a pretty cheap way to slip something in and claim I wasn't OT.) But I really want to see some of your life drawing sketches!

Bill



Pat

tubbekans
05-20-2008, 06:56 PM
Off to Wendell's we go then. La la la, over the hills and through the woods. ::evil: :lol:

Might be easier to do a paint in virtually Bill. They have done those sometimes called a VPON. I've never participated but there are some threads on Wetcanvas about them.

I'm off to see your life drawing sketches too Lisa. I am curious how you carry your OP to the sessions? Guess I don't have any great tips on life drawing. Just Nike it as they say, or tennis shoe it or something like that. And then post the results for us to see!

Pat Isaac
05-20-2008, 07:04 PM
I used to be part of VPON, but I didn't have a video cam so it was just looking at others. Now I do, but not sure I have the time.

Looking forward to more sketches, Lisa.

Pat