Once more with feeling

Portrait swap

Update : November 23, 2007 : Worked some more on the portrait today.Β  Still very much a limited palette.Β  Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue ( used by mistake πŸ˜› ) Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and a teeny weeny bit of Sap Green.Β  And oh I did use and equally tiny amount of cadmium red medium.

Portrait Swap 2 Portrait Swap 2

November 21, 2007 : I am making very slow progress on the WetCanvas Annual Portrait swap project. Incredible portraits have been started, finished and are in the process of being mailed out. If you want a treat go and have a look.

I’m one of the few in the group still stuck in the early stages. The 10″ by 12″ canvas board proved to be too small. I was waiting for my husband to return with some larger canvas boards [ i always have an excuse πŸ˜› ]. Giving it another go on one that is 12″ by 16″.

The first layer was drawn using burnt sienna thinned down with turpentine. Today, I added in some white and burnt umber to separate out the light and dark areas. I’ve managed to shorten the length of the face a bit today but it needs to be shortened some more and the features need to be reworked. Leaving that for tomorrow night. πŸ˜€


Annual Portrait Swap at WetCanvas!

Portrait swap

I forgot to add two more commitments for the month of November. Six and Seven. One was accepting an invitation for an exhibition, my first. And a second was helping a friend key in and sort out some text for her brochure.

The first casualty in this list of 7 activities has been 50,000 words for Nanowrimo. When the matter of the exhibition came up it took a backseat. I did write 6519 words and may add more to it when I find the time but it’s unlikely to be in November.

Here’s step one of the portrait for the Annual WetCanvas swap. 10″ X 12″ oil on canvas board.

Three, Four and Five

Self Portrait

In yesterdays post, I talked about the first two of my Going Nuts in November projects. This post expands on the other three πŸ˜€

The third project. While reading about Nanowrimo I can across Nablopomo, which is about blogging everyday for a month. Sounded like a good idea to me but when I went to sign up I realised that it was for the month of November. Did that stop me?? And now for everyday in November, I’ll be attempting to make a post a day.

The fourth project.

71979-final-1.jpg ppw - final
And then came the realisation that last year, around this time, I’d taken part for the first time in the 3rd Annual Portrait swap being held at WetCanvas! How could I not participate again? And so I signed up for that too. πŸ˜€ ( The portraits above are from last years swap )

And the fifth acitivity is attending an art appreciation course with either Rokeya Sultana or Javed Jalil at the Art Club Gallery. I have to go over in the next couple of days to sign up.Β  I’d like to take sessions with both of them but then I think I’ll be asking for more trouble πŸ˜€

Now that you know the whole story – Wish me luck!

About the painting at the top of this post. One more wip. Started this self portrait several nights back. I’m hoping to progress it further before my hair grows back! There is a slight tilt to the head as I was peeping from behind the easel to look into the full length mirror on my cupboard. Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas.

Project Andrew Wyeth

Drawing upside downaw-wip

I’m participating in the next MOM too and they are looking at Andrew Wyeth’s work on WetCanvas for the months of March and April. I havent managed to locate as many references as I would’ve liked. There are a couple of portrait photographs of the artist available online and he makes a very interesting subject himself! The first one has been made by turning the reference upside down. The second one was started yesterday in Art Rage. The photo above shows different points of time when I saved the file. I’ve decided to stop work on it…… for now πŸ˜€ This thread will be updated with all further work related to this project and move to the top of the list based on that day.

Project Matisse

Henri Matisse - Self Portrait - 1918

Copy of Matisse’s Self Portrait 1918

Feb 8, 2007: The chosen Master for the months of Jan and Feb ’07 over at WetCanvas! is Henri Matisse. I have been enjoying this project too especially all the lovely colours that I’m getting to use. My first 3 attempts are digital. Oils in Art Rage 2. As in the past, this post will get updated with all further attempts too. I’m hoping to make the next one of one of his still life paintings.

Copy of Madame Matisse, “The Green Line” ( La Raie verte). 1905
mrs matisse - copy a master

Copy of Self-Portrait in a Striped T-Shirt. 1906
matisse self p - copy a master

Copy of Portrait of AndrΓ© Derain. 1905
andre derain  - henri matisse - copy a master

Update : Feb 28, 2007 : Just managed to squeeze in the last one for this MOM. I have tried to copy one more of Matisse’s Self Portraits.Β  This one is dated 1918 and you can see the original here. This MOM thread too will remain open and we can continue to post but I wanted to meet the commitment I had made to myself to make at least one that was not digital. This one is made with oil pastels on the reverse side of a 8 X 10 mount board. It’s still WIP and I’ll be visiting the Oil Pastels sub forum for some tips and help to finish it.

Henri Matisse - Self Portrait - 1918

WDE 9/2 – Jurrien – Pen & Ink

WDE 9/2 - Jurrien

I think it must be over a year (at least!) of wanting to participate in these Weekend Drawing Events I’ve finally posted a drawing. WDE’s are hosted every weekend by different individuals at WetCanvas! This weeks host is Connie and she’s put up some fabulous images. The rule is that you get half and hour to choose one of the images that have been put specially for the event and then two hours to work on it. You then post your attempt. If it isnt finished you mark it as WIP and post the completed image later. Lots of people do several drawings / paintings. And I intend to do several too. They are easy on the rules and you can post until the next WDE is announced or even later if you choose. The only request is to stop at the 2 hr mark and keep a record before proceeding further.

My first attempt has not worked out very well. It took about an hour and by then I decided that I’d better stop. πŸ˜€ I have shortened the length of his face amongst other things. So no likeness and no pout. Never mind. I hope to do better with the other references and future WDE’s. I’m thrilled to have finally managed to make and post my attempt! Will add the others to this post as soon as they are ready.

WDE 9/2 - mus

Update: Feb 13, 07: I’ve attempted very few animals and Mus reminded me of my dog, Snowy and I felt I had to give it a try. Digital, made using oils in Art Rage.

A Portrait Swap

ppw - final

I’ve had a good two months working on the MoM Amedeo Modigliani project over at WetCanvas!. The main painting will be completed later in the month as I’ve signed up for the 3rd Annual Portrait Swap Project.

The process – all participants were paired by the moderator on Nov 1st. We then exchanged a head and shoulder photo with our partners. Work began immediately. At the end of 3 weeks the finished Portraits will be swapped.

My partner is an experienced artist. You can see my portrait beautifully finished in the thread and I’m really looking forward to hanging it up on my wall. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to participate and learn.

As in the Project Modigliani post I’ll keep updating this post with the date and progress. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Nov 6 : get familiar pen sketch. having spent the last couple of weeks doing digital art i felt that i needed to start something by hand.

Nov 7 : following a process shown in a demo by dsimons and followed by my partner for this project. initial drawing with burnt sienna and wiping out the highlights. the face has become larger than the rough composition sketch that I had made on a square piece of paper.

PPW - get familiar PPW - WIP1

Nov 8 : made several corrections. at the end the chin was on the bottom edge of the canvas and certainly not what I had planned on. I will be wiping it off and starting again.

Nov 9 : new start. still not as small as I would’ve liked. more work on it tomorrow

PPW - WIP2 PPW - Redo - WIP3

Nov 12 : defining the features. trying for a likeness. need to work more on making the portrait look less harsh. after a few more minor changes i plan to start adding color from tomorrow.

Nov 13 : got very good advice ( see comments ) from Bob Martin and have now reduced the difference in values between the two sides of the face. added some color. still need to work on the features and try for a likeness. will make some more adjustments before adding more color.


Nov 14 : added some color and continuing to make minor changes but i’m just not getting it so far. always the optimist, I’m hoping that tomorrow when i go back to look at it the errors will shout out to me. πŸ˜€

Nov 16 : made some changes. i’m thinking of another 2 sessions to finish. the effect is much smoother that i would like. it’s either painting with a big brush or getting some level of likeness with smaller ones and i’ve choosen the later. since taking the photo i’ve moved the right eyebrow down further.


Nov 20 : I’ve lost the expression in her eyes but moved a few steps closer in getting a likeness and increased the contrast between the two sides of the face. definitely more work required. comments and suggestions are very welcome. and i look forward to these especially when i’m stuck πŸ˜€

Nov 23 : Made changes to the eyes, chin and then tried to make the right side of the painting darker. It got a bit too dark. Wiping it off didnt help because of the canvas texture. The paint came off the dots and remained in the gaps in between.

ppw - wip 8 ppw

Nov 28 : Took a break for a few days. Yesterday I painted over the darker side to lighten it. Today after some more paint I signed my name on it and I’m calling it done. I still havent got the likeness or the shade that I was looking for for the shadows but I’m happy with where this portrait has taken me. I’ve asked for and got great advice and encouragement from Bob Martin, Sangeeta, Lynn and other fellow WetCanvasers and have learnt a lot. Halfway through I was kicking my self for signing up but now at the end I’m really glad I participated.

ppw - final

The painting has been set aside to dry and will be mailed to Lynn in a weeks time. Mine is already winging its way to me and I’m looking forward to hanging it up on the wall.

After Amedeo Modigliani

I’ve been a member at WetCanvas! for quite a while now, putting up entries in bursts. I’ve been wanting to participate in Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) and to paint a Master of the Month (MOM) for quite a while now. MOM is the study of a master artist and his work, style and techniques by copying one of two selected pieces. There is also an option of selecting from two photos from the Image Reference Library to create your own work in the style and/or technique of the featured master .

I’ve decided to have a go at this MOM since the artist for the months of September and October is Amedeo Modigliani, one of my favourites. I had the good fortune of seeing the exhibition, Modigliani – Beyond the Myth, a couple of years ago. This exhibit had a large collection of his work. Here are links to the reviews of that exhibition in Lancette and The Julliard Journal.

To ensure that I do participate I’m making the preliminary sketches public hoping that it forces me to at least make a serious attempt at completing this project. I hope to do more than one and would like to start with a painting in his style. I’ll be using a B&W photo reference of Modigliani’s to make this portrait. My first attempts at converting the photograph into what I think would be a drawing in Modigliani’s style. Made on 8″X10″ paper in ink.

Amadeo Modigliani Amadeo Modigliani

Update: Sep 6: Selecting colors for the final piece. I tried a color sketch. I’m a bit irritated that I didn’t wait to get a photocopy of the drawing coz now I’ll just have to draw it again for the next bunch of colors. I’m happy with the orange but not with the blue and umber of his sweater. I’m thinking of using sap green / burnt umber instead. It should go better with the orange background as well. Made on 8″ X 10″ paper using poster colors

Color sketch color sketch 2

Update: Sep 7: Color Selection continues – tried another color combination from the colors used in his portrait of Chaim Soutine. also Modigliani had painted a light blue sweater wrapped around his neck in his last self portrait and I wanted to get that but mine turned out too bright. Made on 8″ X 10″ paper using poster colors
Color Sketch 3Color Sketch 4cs-5.jpg

Update: Sep 8: Color selection finalised using quick studies – Tried out 3 more variations and I’m thinking of going with the one with the orange background, olive green sweater and dark, filled in eyes.

I made these in ArtRage using the last one that I had painted as a base. The first one took me a bit of time as I was familarizing myself with using the tablet instead of paper but the next two which were just a change in the color of the sweater took me a few minutes each. Really neat. I cant praise ArtRage enough. I’ve opened and quickly closed Photoshop many times finding it too complicated and bit overwhelming to start. This one is the first that I’ve found in quite a while that is easy, capable, fun to use and its free! πŸ˜€

Update: Sep 11: Choosing to do the Bonus option of copying one of Modigliani’s nudes, “Seated Nude 2”. He did a series of nudes on commission for the art dealer Leopold Zborowski. These form the bulk of the 30 odd nudes that he painted. The group has the option of trying out one of his nudes and I chose this one. I made the drawing with pencil on 12″ X 14″ paper. I’m hoping to gesso it and finish it in oil.

Seated Nude 2Elena Povolozky

Update: Sep 16: Copying his painting of “Elena Povolozky“. I got stuck while trying to move to working on a canvas. Friends on the forum were very encouraging and it had me wanting to do something and here is the result of my effort. A copy of his painting of Elena Povolozky. Turned out a bit manly but I’m pleased with the colors [ I was until I saw the online reference – all the works printed in my book are very very dark 😦 ] and to have learnt that Modigliani seemed to have painted form effortlessly.

Update : Oct 3 : Painting the nude in oil and copying “Man with a Pipe”: The first layer of oils were added about 10 days back and the second just yesterday. Still a long way to go.

Seated Nude 2Seated Nude 2

and then a short while back I decided to have a go at the Man with a Pipe (The Notary of Nice). This I like almost as much as the man with the orange background πŸ˜€ I had planned to use poster colors but ended up using Art Rage. I’ve used Layers again and seemed to have done a bit better with them this time. The yellow background was fun to do. I’ve got some really nice comments for this one on Flickr and I’m thinking of having a go at it with my poster colors too. πŸ˜›

man with yellow background

Charles Baudelaire put up a couple of good links in the MOM post on WetCanvas! on Modigliani and his style of painting which I’d like to keep with this post
1. A pencil drawing of the Seated Nude on the MOMA site.
2. Seated Nude Painting with an X-Rayed image of it. See smaller versions side by side on the Art & Architecture, UK website.

Update : Oct 11 : Copying “The Man with the Orange Background”. The paint on the nude is not dry as yet and I havent started work on the Modigliani Portrait. Decided to try out a new medium for this one. It’s one of my favorites, man with the orange background. It’s still WIP. I’m surfing the colour pencil forum on WetCanvas! to see how I can make this better. Rubbing alcohol or turpentine is one of the options I’m considering πŸ˜› Using a set of 12 Color Pencils on 8″ X 10″ paper.
WIP - Man with the orange backgroundWIP 2 - Man with orange background

Update : Oct 16, 29, 30 & 31st: Photo Reference of Modigliani sitting in his Studio to be made using his style. I’ve changed my mind yet again πŸ˜€ and have decided that the B&W photograph of Modigliani sitting on a chair in his studio would be a better one to attempt. The canvas has been primed – finally :P. It’s a bit big at 24″ X 30″. And below is the digital study that’s been made to select the colors that i’d like to use. Last nights efforts had to be wiped clean luckily it just spurred me on and today’s attempt has been photographed and put below. It needs to be reduced but I needed to step back and that’s what i’m doing now :P. More work on it tomorrow.

Update : Nov 3, 2006 :Β  Took a break for a couple of days as I wanted Burnt Umber and didnt have any.Β  Today I surfed and found out at About.com that I could make it by mixing Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna.Β  Needed that for his suit.Β  Also lightened the background.Β  I need to go back in an make it darker behind him after the paint has dried.
Modigliani in his studio - ref modi portrait for colors WIP - Modigliani in his studioWIP 2 - Modigliani in his Studio WIP 3 - Modigliani in his Studio Day 4 - Modigliani in his Studio

Update: Oct 28, 2006 : I had thought that there would be just the oil painting of the study above but I’ve yet to start it. While on holiday I made a pen & ink sketch from a photo reference. Was trying to kill time in between flights. I think I might like to make an etching with this sketch as a reference.