Saturday, May 31, 2008

I started a Ron Paul portrait in acrylics...

...but, man, acrylics and oils are SLOW and messy... I started this Ron Paul portrait with the idea of experimenting, and I did so, and I've been REALLY studying color mixing for portraiture this past week or so, yet...Yet, I don't have time for this right now. I'd like to have my own "stand" somewhere, maybe at Clearwater Beach, where artists are allowed to set-up for a small fee, and I'd like to offer serious portraits (as well as crazy caricatures?), but I think I'll just stick with the pastels for now, like in the Angelina pic. Pastels are faster, and they're a traditional medium for quick portraits in an hour or two. ...Thought I'd go ahead and post this... I'll finish when I have time. It's really barely started, all rough and craggy, but kinda cool, for a start...

A couple of couples this week

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Pitt... OK, let's move on

Brangelina, goodbye... I need to get out of this family, lol, but I'll post the final studies, ...I must say, I learned a lot. I might just keep doing portraits...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lesson Learned: Use WHITE paper with graphite

I used a toned "charcoal" paper, and a 6B graphite pencil. And it was looking kinda good until I realized I couldn't add much in the way of highlights. I grabbed some pastel sticks, but that stuff doesn't stick to graphite! I knew that, too... Guess I just wasn't thinking. ...Or is there an alternative? ...Anyway, so I just quit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Adjusting Angelina

OK, so I threw-in some hair highlights... Not perfect, but better... Think I'm gonna just stop right here. I see some things to work on, but I need to get started on something new...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pastel Portraiture Revisited

My secret desire is to learn to do real portraits, but it's tough to figure it all out. The human face has a bewilderingly large number of variables: different hues, different values, varying chroma. But I may be starting a renewed effort to learn portraiture. This photo is of my latest effort...
.... To further explain: a year or two ago I tried learning to paint portraits with pastels on velour paper. I failed. Well, I watched a video the other day in which an artist (Joy Argento) does just this, painting a lovely pastel portrait of our friend Angelina on velour, which is a traditional way of using pastels (on VELOUR, that is) for portraiture. So I thought I'd try it again. I went to Art Systems on Friday and got some velour paper and a pastel set. I'm not sure if I used the right colors, but I think I did better than before. Velour is notoriously difficult to use, yet I seem to be getting the hang of it. Masters use velour beautifully. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE AND SEE DETAILS.)

I am so very happy...

I just deleted the post I originally had here, because, honestly, the caricature painting I had posted was so bad, I should have never posted it anyway. Instead, I think I will do some complaining!!!

Well, not complaining, really, just an update, and a listing of some difficulties. It's pretty extraordinary. Here goes:
My move onto my sailboat in Apollo Beach occurs at the end of June, in a little over a month. Very exciting! But with some caveats:
I had figured, if all goes wrong, I could very simply live on the sailboat, and take the bus up to Busch Gardens in Tampa and draw caricatures. But it turns out that the bus schedule is impossible, so I'll need to use my (very) old Jeep. But it's a LONG commute, and the pay ain't that great, and that old Jeep of mine could die at any time, and the whole thing looks really bad.
I don't WANT to commute anymore, anyway. I want to live simply, sail, draw and paint, not get rich, but be happy and see beautiful things. Anyway... I'm moving forward: for better or worse, I'm moving onto the sailboat next month.
And here's another thing: my friend says that my marina slip fee will be "at least" $200 a month, so maybe I'm looking at 3 or 400? I don't know. It's a rather informal situation.
Also, I was expecting to pay very little to get my boat's bottom scraped and repainted, but I think now that it might cost $1000 or more. I DO NOT have that kind of money anymore.
My shoulder has caused me to work less, and will continue to do so, as well as hurting my enthusiasm for murals, which, honestly, takes a toll on my shoulder. I lied about that before. Sorry.
I mean, maybe I can get into portrait work, and get a better price for my artwork, but there's so much uncertainty in all this, that I've been VERY depressed.
I've also been sick for several weeks, just a nagging cold virus, and it's over now, but it's dramatically added to my foul temperament.
Next, my former understanding was that I would be getting $600 from the IRS, but I just learned TODAY that I will NOT be getting that check, since I have a debt to the IRS. That's the kicker. That's the one thing I couldn't afford to go wrong, and now it has. I'm in trouble.
I mean, none of this would have been THAT bad, I guess, but I learned a while back that I'm being taken off my work schedule come May 31. Not my idea. I always knew I could just stay on the schedule through most of June (our busiest month) and make some last-ditch savings for the move onto the boat, and that became my plan. That's not going to happen now, unless I can get lots of sub shifts, and at decent locations.
I could go on and on about this, but I don't want to subject y'all to my sailor cursing.

The funny thing is, I AM happy. I think it's because my artwork has become the center of my life. I couldn't say that a few months ago. All I want now is to live cheaply and work on my art. And if I must sell my Jeep, I will. And if I must sell my sailboat, I will. I'll live on a canoe or something, and paint portraits by the beach, or whatever. But GO FORWARD with the art. Live cheaply and beautifully, by the sea. And I am doing that now, in one way or another. It's very exciting. Whatever happens, happens. It'll work-out.
...Just a little frightening.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

I love the portrait of Jefferson below. I strikes me now, a thought!: Portraiture (the greatest of the arts) was long perfected even 200 years ago. It's fascinating to consider: such a technical and ephemeral skill, so magical to the masses, is now being forgotten as silicone tech courageously destroys all else.

And now for some Jefferson quotes. (I hope I don't go to jail for spreading these revolutionary ideas!)...
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. "

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

"I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. "

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. "

"I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? ...The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all."

"Most bad government has grown out of too much government."

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."

"History, in general, only informs us what bad government is."

"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."

"It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father."

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."