Beginning of new oil portrait

Isn't this girl darling? Her parents were the winners of my donation of an oil portrait to the local PBS station's on-air auction last spring. I wondered if they were ever going to call me, so much time had passed. But I heard from them just before Christmas and tonight was the first chance I had to start in on it. The main reference photo was taken with a flash indoors in front of a Christmas tree, so is pretty washed out in terms of shadow and depth of color. I have some other photos of her that I'm using for color reference and a photo of her in the sweater they preferred her to wear instead of the Christmas-y one in the main reference. So this is a compilation of information from several references. It will be a vignette, also, - the body will not be painted solidly all the way to the bottom, so the focus will remain on her pretty face. There's much refining to do, of course, but I like the start. I'll post progress images as I go along.

On a completely unrelated note, I finally started in on a project on which I've been stuck for a long, long time. It took a challenge by -and an agreement with- another participant in the Artist's Way group I joined to get me moving finally. Suffice to say I'm grateful to be experiencing movement from that very stuck place. The project involves painting four 18"x18" oil paintings of different images of Abraham Lincoln in a style not my own- rather like a Warhol: strong flat color at the major value changes of the image.
This morning I was introduced to the concept of "Escape Velocity." It seems appropriate here.
Escape velocity refers to the speed a rocket must reach before it can leave planet Earth; for its mass to move outside the gravitational pull of Earth. Apply that to what it takes to move outside our comfort zones.... getting focused on our art enough to pull away from the attraction of TV or food or whatever else we do that replaces the time we could be creating. I've used genealogy, cleaning, movies... all sorts of things, to keep from getting started on a painting I say I want to do. Once started, though, momentum really helps me. Overcoming the inertia is the tricky part.
If you feel like sharing your tricks to handle that tricky part, please do!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I think that's a super portrait of the little girl...ya know I think it's lookin pretty good as is, I'd be scared to refine it and lose that freshness. good idea about the vignette. I really admire your capabilities and confidance as a portrait painter.
tricky challenge the warhol style portraits of Abe...good luck with that, but you are right you will surely learn something when you move out of a comfort zone. As far tackling the inertia, I have equal delaying tactics when I need to get to work on a painting...a trick I tempt myself with is I tell myself I can treat myself and make a cappacino and take it into the studio to drink before I paint...this usually works, i love a homemade cappacino, and once I'm up in the studio, i immediately get interested in something and begin.

Jo Castillo said...

Susan, the girl is a cutie. Don't do too much, she looks great.

So does Abe, actually. Good idea.

My hangup is the computer. I avoid painting, cleaning, and most "work" by reading blogs, games, etc. I have to just get away from the computer and start something .. the old, just do it.

Not very original. Ha.