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Old 08-01-2001, 06:42 AM
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Roni Anderson Roni Anderson is offline
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Thumbs up

Sandra, thanks for a great demo. I too have printed off your comments and will refer to them in the future. I'm very new here and this is the first demo I've checked out...can't wait to see more! Is this a monthly demo project? Could one be done similar to this in w/c? Thanks again for your time - you have been a real inspiration to me!
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Old 08-15-2001, 01:54 PM
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JeanineJ JeanineJ is offline
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Re: Portrait Demonstration: Ruth in Pastels

Quote:
Originally posted by sandrafletcher
I'm delighted that the step-by-step demo of my portrait of Ruth has been published. If I can answer any questions, please let me know.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the link:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles/Sa...128/index.html


Brilliant demo! Thanks so much!
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Old 09-07-2001, 01:14 AM
Anonymouse Anonymouse is offline
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I will say it

Okay, someone has to protest on this whole digital image thing
my problem here is not thay you use photoshop for your work because as a graphic designer I do the same, but the most basic skill any artist can have is that of drawing. To not use this skill when creating ones own work flavors what one produces and in effect makes it not ones own. A mahl stick, paint, camera obscurers and the like are vehicles that we use to turn our talent into a lasting work of art. I might as well use ketchup, a napkin, and my finger (as a matter of fact I have). These are vehicles to achieve what we have in mind, however we still have to do the work and the think through the piece. That is what makes it art.
I think I would have had less of a problem if this was tracing straight from the photo or a blow up or a print of it. but separating the colors and values with filters and tracing even those takes all the skill out of it and makes this nothing more than a paint by numbers. If I wanted a photoshop filtered photo i would have saved myself the trouble and printed rather than waste my time, paper, and pastels. What happened to observation? What happened to hand-eye coordination? Using a method like this to speed production makes this little more than a factory line. Dale Chihuly, for all his fame and wealth uses the factory line method too, and therefor I can't treat his work as more than overpriced kitch.
Instead of showing how we can use these methods to speed our production, how about introducing methods of improving perception and observation, because after all that is what the basis of drawing (and therefore portraiture) lies in.
I could go on but I won't... the subject grates like fingernails across a chalkboard
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Old 09-07-2001, 07:40 AM
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Hi Anon,

I agree that the tutorial Sandra posted was very basic but I guess I looked at it as a lesson for the very inexperienced or novice artist who is just beginning. I'm sure she didn't intend it to be used for the body of a person's work- maybe just for someone who has never attempted a portrait and wants to give it a try.

I actually learned something from the first part, which mentions making a scan and narrowing the values down so that they are simpler to see. And I actually used this successfully for a portrait from a photograph, although it didn't help me much as I have developed an eye over the years to read values.

Quote:
I used trace down paper, which has a coating of graphite on one side, to trace the posterized image onto the Canson paper.


I never trace, although I think lots of artists do. I use a grid once in awhile but even then you are doing most of the drawing by eye.

This part I don't agree with (like you)- but again- if you've never drawn or done a portrait you might find it helpful for the first one. I think you have to view her lesson in the correct context. Maybe you are a more experienced artist who doesn't need this lesson. I don't either. But there are plenty of beginners who just might consider this a very valuable presentation and help them get started.

She also included a very basic lesson on color value which might be helpful to a beginner.

I find it a little odd that this is your first post. Could it be that you registered just to give your comments on this thread/project? If so, why? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and you have just given yours.

Best regards,

Nora
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Old 09-08-2001, 12:06 AM
Anonymouse Anonymouse is offline
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You are right, I did sign on just to post the reply. The reason I did so was because the thought of this is very grating to me. Perhaps my current experience with portraiture is what egged me on to post it but my feelings onthe subject come from a deep respect for drawing in general.

To go into a brief descriptuion of the current project, as a wedding present a year ago, I promised some friends a portrait of them. This has been the most laborious task of my artistic career. (not laborious in a bad way) I have been reinventing myself throughout the whole time i have been working on it, and recently just bought another similarly sized canvas to start a duplicate painting that i can feel free to experiment on. Now i have two paintings that i feel are not getting the results I want.
Now I am no stranger to painting or even portraiture. I have made several portrats in my life in several mediums. On top of all of this I am a very good drawing artist (you can judge for yourself at http://www.bloodgroove.org/art/index.cfm). I came to wet canvas looking for techniques to help me approach this project which has been vexing me for so long. This, added with my philosophy of art and belief that drawing is the backbone of art, influenced my decision to post.

While I agree that this is a good approach for a beginner to get quick results, I do not believe that this will teach the beginning artist anything. If the beginning artist wants to make something that can be considered art or progress in their own artistic endeavours they need to understand how to approach the subject out of themselves rather than a short cut method.
The foundation of drawing lies in observation and while we might use a method such as running an image thru a black and white filter to understand it better, it is still our sense of observation that we use to interpret the information that we have been given, by the filtered image. Without this understanding the image remains disconnected and inactive.

To make two quotes from separate sources that go togehter well "Computers are useless - all they can do is give us answers", "It is the question that drives us"
(I'll give you a cookie if you can guess both sources of the quotes)

Now that I have published my first book me and my ego shall wait to find another subject which so encites us as much as this one.
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Old 09-08-2001, 08:52 AM
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dollardays dollardays is offline
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Struggle
A picture should be a re-creation of an event rather than an illustration of an object; but there is no tension in the picture unless there is a struggle with the object. (Francis Bacon)

Painters often seem to be involved in a great struggle with those things they have the greatest difficulty mastering… It is as though the artist is always working a little bit beyond his area of competence, stubbornly doing what is to some degree impossible. (Alan Feltus)

Every painting is a war. You have to struggle every day, and to struggle every day with your inadequacies is a damn nuisance. (Neil Welliver)


I can sympathize with your struggle, Anon. I have run into the same thing on a couple of occasions. The funny thing is, it usually happens when I try to do a great job on someone I know well. An example: my husband's deceased grandfather, who we all truly loved. I have done two pastels and am now working on an oil. Nothing I do seems to reveal the character and soul of the man, which is what I try to express in a portrait.

I set them aside and go back in a few weeks and it still does not come to me- so I start over.

Maybe your paintings would appear wonderful to the couple you are painting, but they do not satisfy YOU, as we are (in general) our own toughest critics.

Quote:
The foundation of drawing lies in observation and while we might use a method such as running an image thru a black and white filter to understand it better, it is still our sense of observation that we use to interpret the information


I totally agree with you on this. Drawing skills are a necessity if you wish to excel any in any medium. I still think the first part of the lesson might be helpful to a beginner, though, and I admire Sandra for having the guts to put the lesson up, knowing the controversy it might create. (I, like you, am a bit unnerved about the tracing values portion- this is something one should learn to observe on your own IMO).

However, as several posters have responded with positive remarks about the lesson, I can't help but think that it might have value to some.

Post your progress pictures, Anon, if you haven't already done so. Or send a photo/URL to me with PM Messaging, and I will be glad to try and help or at least offer an objective opinion.

Regards,

Nora
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Old 09-08-2001, 03:43 PM
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sandge sandge is offline
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Hi Anonymous! Welcome to WetCanvas!
Now that you have made your feelings known on my demonstration I do hope you will stick around to share your art and ideas. There are many talented artists who visit this board so please feel free to post any questions about your current project and I'm sure you will get several perspectives on it from other members which might help you (or not ).

I would just like to point out that my article was a demonstration of the way I produced my painting. It was written because I was asked to take some step-by-step progress photos. It is not intended to be prescriptive in any way -- folks can take from it anything they find helpful.

The key points I wanted to show were:
  • developing an idea, ie what inspired me about the photo in the first place
  • the value of the preparatory colour and tonal sketches -- the colour study done in pastel, the tonal one in photoshop
  • developing the whole painting rather than concentrating on bits
  • judging the tonal value of colours
While I agree that it is vital for artist to develop their observational skills (and there is no substitute for working from life in this regard) discussion of this was beyond the scope of this particular article. WetCanvas is always looking for new articles and anyone is welcome to submit one -- perhaps you would consider submitting something on this subject?

What I will say is that the article does show the way I work -- be it a portrait or my more usual landscape subjects. I use photos and do a lot of my sketching on computer. Photoshop is a tool that I use to help me work through a lot of ideas really quickly. I am a great believer in approaching the 'canvas' (paper in my case) with lots of preparatory work and the idea of what I want firmly in my head. That's not to say it doesn't change when I get going with the pigments. For me, starting a painting without knowing what I'm aiming for only leads to a lot of wasted time and materials.
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Old 09-08-2001, 03:46 PM
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Hi Nora!

Thanks for your comments -- it's always good to receive feedback. I'm so glad you found some of my article useful.
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Old 09-08-2001, 03:57 PM
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Re: I will say it

Quote:
Originally posted by Anonymouse
Okay, someone has to protest on this whole digital image thing
my problem here is not thay you use photoshop for your work because as a graphic designer I do the same, but the most basic skill any artist can have is that of drawing. To not use this skill when creating ones own work flavors what one produces and in effect makes it not ones own. A mahl stick, paint, camera obscurers and the like are vehicles that we use to turn our talent into a lasting work of art. I might as well use ketchup, a napkin, and my finger (as a matter of fact I have). These are vehicles to achieve what we have in mind, however we still have to do the work and the think through the piece. That is what makes it art.
I think I would have had less of a problem if this was tracing straight from the photo or a blow up or a print of it. but separating the colors and values with filters and tracing even those takes all the skill out of it and makes this nothing more than a paint by numbers. If I wanted a photoshop filtered photo i would have saved myself the trouble and printed rather than waste my time, paper, and pastels. What happened to observation? What happened to hand-eye coordination? Using a method like this to speed production makes this little more than a factory line. Dale Chihuly, for all his fame and wealth uses the factory line method too, and therefor I can't treat his work as more than overpriced kitch.
Instead of showing how we can use these methods to speed our production, how about introducing methods of improving perception and observation, because after all that is what the basis of drawing (and therefore portraiture) lies in.
I could go on but I won't... the subject grates like fingernails across a chalkboard

I think drawing and hand-to-eye coordination are basic skills, and any artist benefits from continual development of them, but the most basic skills of an artist, to me, are perception and interpretation. Without them, excellent drawing is simply great draftsmanship, not great art. Sandra's demo emphasises perception, and technical hints to aid perception and interpretation, rather than drawing (which is not a quick teach) or hand-to-eye coordination (which is mostly genetic luck and some muscular development from LOTS of practice). Maybe the lessons are more fundamental than you need; maybe you are afraid of abuse; neither can harm your art, though, so relax.

You might want to check out the classic techniques for using tempera and fresco; they have more resemblance to do-it-yourself "paint by number" than most of us are comfortable to admit. For factory lines - consider the apprenticeship and workshop systems which generated some of those classics we love. Art is commercial, and yet always MAY transcend its very mercenary root system.

A comment on pure art and accepting/rejecting technical gimmicks: for recent western art, the Impressionists tossed out a lot of technical knowledge (although they were VERY grounded in it). This brought in a lot of freshness, splendid color... but did you know that some of the techniques used in paint application, and the paints themselves, are resulting in painting disintigration and tremendous color loss in less than 100 years? So I worry more about artists using bad grounds, paints, and techniques, rather than the moral threat of tracing.

I look forward to seeing more of your postings. In particular, I hope you will post a lesson on "methods of improving perception and observation." I would like to hear what works for you. :-)

Last edited by Maria Gusta : 09-10-2001 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 09-10-2001, 02:05 AM
Anonymouse Anonymouse is offline
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Hello y'alls,
Observation (or perception), interpretation, and draftsmanship are the foundations of drawing. It is a three fold process by which we come about with the physical product. (I will keep this discussion in the range of drawing and painting for simpliciity's sake.) Vini, vidi, vinci if you will. And while conceptualization is grand, I will give the money to the better draftsman rather than the better concept. Now, I know someone will say that concept drives art like the early to mid 20th century modern artists, but I will note that Willem deKooning was a phenomenal drawing artist. When an artist achieves an understanding of the three basic functions of drawing, he can then experiment and know how to remove certain aspects of those drawings and insert other concepts into his work, thereby creating abstracts.

Good materials is a subject that anyone who wants to make good, lasting art should be well versed in. (Something I need to learn more about myself.) Jackson Pollock used all sorts of incompatible paints when using his splatter techniques and they are falling apart less than 50 years after they were made. I worry about artists that use bad mediums as well. I am however not concerned about moral threats of tracing as I am of what these method take away from the work in question. Most of the time you can tell when someone used a photograph for a painting or drawing or took shortcuts to finsih their work. The result is a noticable insincere quality to the work. Poses look forced, dynamism is lost, and the work doesn't flow as well as it could have otherwise.

As for a lesson on "methods of improving perception and observation" I can highly recommend certain books, but with my schedule as it is I doubt I will be getting around to that any time soon. However, if I get the time, I will consider doing it. The books are The Natural Way to Draw : A Working Plan for Art Study by Kimon Nicolaides and Bridgman's complete guide to drawing from life.

I would say more, and more in depth but I do have work in the morning...

BTW, I highly apologize if for any reason I offend anyone, it is not my intention, but as I have made art my life I get somewhat carried away.

PS at risk of sounding like even more of a smart alek, it's tempera (a type of paint) not tempura (a method of japanese frying)
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Old 09-10-2001, 10:24 AM
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not reading this one...but NOW I am awake!

This is a great thread.
In case some of you guys don't really know Sandra, she is a hotshot. A really international league artist, published over here and around the world. Her skills and abilities of observation and rendering are basic and not even part of the question, but I like this discussion of the point when we really know our abilities and are able to depart from the powers of pure observation of nature and into how to become an interpretor of such.
I hate using photos. I do 95% of my work from life, and I observe well. SO???! I am NOT good at making the leap into statement. BUT the photos I have taken and am trying to use are approaching statement.
I have often taken a picture and photoshopped (in my case, Corel Photo) it into value ranges, Fuzzed backgrounds. Intensified colors and played like crazy with the original so I can OBSERVE more about the original picture.
When time is of the essence, I will print it out and mark my landmarks on the page REALLY generally.
I did one fully observed once and printed the picture at the same scale. I did good. After weeks, it was the identical proportions and layout. From then on, as needed, I took the short cut.
I think the tools in the toolbox of your brain become intuitive after time. It is not necessary to always learn it over and over.
When it is time to get INTO the picture, the framework is the least of the problems, if you can use tools!
I have chosen NOT to grind my own Pigments into chalks or put them in my own tubes. I know some people get JOY from it. I admire them, but I can skip it.
If a dabbler wants to see what a better drawing UNDER his technique will do for a picture, use the computer and paint by numbers. If a skilled artist wants to get into the paints or chalks right away, it will NOT end up flat. It will end up with the soul of the creative artist, again interpreting the experience through their eyes....
All of this is good!
I fear this may end up in debates.....
Thanks again for bringing up the subject, and thanks, Sandra, for giving us a glimpse at a great tool!
dj*
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Old 09-10-2001, 07:33 PM
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Wow...very intesting thread. That's what makes this web site so great!
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Old 09-13-2001, 02:16 AM
Anonymouse Anonymouse is offline
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My experience with photography in art has been a hit or miss with mostly misses. Unfortunately, I do not have the benefit for having the model in front of me most of the time and since i prefer figurative work it makes my life somewhat more difficult. I find that the photos are too constricting and much prefer the ability to have a model in front of me. the tightness and absoluteness of the photograph affects everyone in different ways but I have noticed it blocks a certain part of the creative system in alot of people. my best work comes from studying the figure and composing a figure based off of my studies. drawing from life is great, but i often get stuck in the nuances of the scene, however since it is a dynamic scene (a model never sits still) i can play, experiment and find what happens best. A photo binds me down entirely, i stop drawing and i start coloring... i usually get to caught up in what the colors and values are rahter than the structure of the painting itself. Also recently I have been trying to reinvent my painting technique since it I was not pleased with it before (I sculpt and draw more than i paint).

From what I have seen however, I am not the only one that has faced these issues when dealing with photos. I just went to a gallery opening this past friday and saw an artist who worked off of photographs and you could tell because all his figures floated and the piece did not coalesce itself into a unified whole. They lacked lacked shadows and his light sources were inconsistent. Another example I have seen was an incredibly talented painter whom i went to school with. I saw him do some extremely impressive still lives from photos but when it came to him drawing a child from a photo it was dreadfully obvious that his drawing skills needed alot of work becuase the body looked stiff, unnatural and out of proportion.

Anyway... Enough has probably been said on the subject but at dollardays' request I am posting my attempts at this portrait I am working on. If any of you want to drop me a line of advice or two please feel free, I am always open to hearing what people have to say.
the pics arent very good... I might try to make some better ones if i have time...

www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=18
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=19
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=20

PS. does anyone have any tips at how to overpaint or reprime oil paintings?

Last edited by Anonymouse : 09-13-2001 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 09-13-2001, 03:19 AM
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sandge sandge is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anonymouse


www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm&pass=18
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm&pass=19
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm&pass=20

PS. does anyone have any tips at how to overpaint or reprime oil paintings?

Those links only seem to work if you're already in your website - do you have any direct links?

There is technical oil painting advice on a-plenty in the oil painting forum:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/foru...=10&daysprune=
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Old 09-13-2001, 04:36 PM
Anonymouse Anonymouse is offline
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doh!
they were misspelled (i knew there was a reason i became an artist)

www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=18
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=19
www.bloodgroove.org/art/display.cfm?pass=20

I modified the previous post but here they are again
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