Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Face Study

It seems I cannot put my hands correctly on the keyboard sometimes and get the most awful gobbledygook of letters and garbage spilling from the ends of my fingers onto the screen. It's not like I cannot feel the bumps on J and F, but I don't take the time to focus on the tips of my index fingers so I can settle my fingers correctly. Always in a rush -- or seemingly so. SO much to do. So little time to do it in. And it's a work night and I still haven't slept yet, unless you count the occasional doze while I watch random videos and think about the art work staring at me from my desk. And so it goe.

I can hear the thunder outside and the dead needles on the pine trees across the way are brown and drooping as the rain begins pattering on the tin chimneys that poke up like burnt out candles on the roof of the house. I have no idea why so many chimneys were needed, but maybe the restaurant that this structure once held needed all those exhaust holes because they had so many cooking areas or were venting the steam and heat from the thousands of patrons polluting the air with their talk and eating and complaints. One never knows when one lives in a converted building.

I have been working out with the colored pencils and refining my techniques, although it will take a whole lot more time and oceans of practice before my skills equal what is inside my head. I'm getting there, but slowly. Think ant crawling on giant mountain starting halfway (okay, only a quarter of the way) up the slope. At least that is how it seems to me.

In order to get better with drawing and coloring the different features of people, I thought it best to work on the ones that give me the most trouble. Noses, mouths, and noses.

I have found while reading extensively in colored pencil studies and watching videos on drawing that many artists begin with the eyes. Why not, I think? After all, the eyes are the first thing we focus on and good eye contact is what all psychiatrists focus on when interviewing patients acting disturbed in some way. People who cannot or will not maintain good eye contact are those with problems that need, and should be, addressed. Many artists begin their paintings with the eyes, whether it be people or animals. The eyes are the windows to the soul and provide a good focal point to expand upon. I've always thought that way even when drawing. The only time I didn't focus on the eyes was while doing quick study sketches in 1- and 5-minute increments. I was quite good at roughing in the figure and attitude and still managed to imbue the lines with personality. Of course that was 40 years ago, more than 20 of which I didn't draw at all. I could also draw one of my hands (usually not the one holding the pencil, pen, etc.) without moving the pencil from the paper or looking at what I was drawing. Feeling my way through the curves, angles, and details of the hand with the tip of the pencil on the paper. It was a frequent exercise in Mr. Wood's art class when I was in the 9th grade.

Don't know if I can still do it because I haven't practiced lately. I haven't practiced much of anything come to that, except for noses, two of which are drawn above. It took me a while to get the proportions and colors right, and they're still not what I would consider finished by any means. They're a beginning.

Okay, not a lot of noses, but every nose counts -- even though I picked them.

I found an old (very old) photograph my of great aunt Ann in my desk drawer and decided to give it a shot. It's a sepia toned photograph with color added later (not by me) and it seemed a good subject at the time. The jaw is too square and I haven't quite gotten the proportions just right (might as well add chins to the list of anatomy to work on), but it's a beginning.

The colors are still faint, only 4 or 5 layers at this point, but I'm getting there. I even worked on it a little more after I took this photograph. As I said before, a slow process, but a beginning.

Much of the portrait is a suggestion of color and line. The chin is too far from the lips and the lips aren't quite right. The hair is a studied mass of curls upon curls and her hair is much darker. Yes, she's wearing a sable coat with what looks like copper buttons covered in verdigris. (That would be oxidation.)  My rendering makes her look so much younger, but that is because I've not worked on for more than 4 or 5 hours.

I can see my mother in her features and in her eyes, which are hazel. The hair line, the eyebrows, and the line of the face and ears are just like my mother's, but they would since the lady in the picture is Mom's aunt, one of her father's sisters. I can see the Eastern European peasant stock in the features and the line of the jaw, as well as the thick dark hair that is so much like Mom's. Even the lips remind me of Mom's.

I have found that as I draw it's as if I can feel the lines of the face, the heaviness of the jaw, the texture of the skin. When I sketched Connor the first time, I felt the lines of my ex-husband's face and the set of his features. So much for my ex-mother-in-law'ss claims that his grandfather (my ex-husband) was probably not my son David Scott's father. Betty, my ex-mother-in-law went around telling her friends and random strangers that I was pregnant with only god knew who's child because I slept around (okay, she said whored around). Too bad David Scott was born looking just like pictures of his father when he was born and growing up. Imagine that.

And he took my virginity, something only I could know for sure and he could be fairly certain of. I had no doubt and neither did my ex-husband Dave. Only his mother lived in the land of Denial about my son's paternity and her son's culpability in the implantation of his seed in my just deflowered passages.

Anyway, I do feel the curves and lines and angles of the faces I draw, especially when I know the subjects so well. I knew my Great Aunt Ann fairly well, and she lived with us during the latter months and years of her life when Alzheimer's had her in its unrelenting, debilitating grip. She was a woman of means and creative talents (from what we could tell from her stash of artistic endeavors in stitchery) and style. She had a lot of style, and could indulge her stylish clothes and hats -- and vintage costume jewelry good enough to stand in for copies of a king's ransom of jewels and settings. She also had some pearls, but I don't know what happened to them. They likely ended up in one of the numerous plastic bags of jewelry my mother bought and carried with her everywhere.

The thing about pearls is that they lose their luster and their resilience if they are not worn next to the skin. Oh, well.

So, above are my latest forays back into the world of art and creating art. I still have a long way to go to base camp, but I am making my way forward and upward.

That is all. Disperse.

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