masters, Manet, Cassatt, and Sargent...where
often sessions of painting the face were scraped
back, often frustrating the sitter for posing for
lengths of time seeing the artist literally scrape
the portrait off.
Thing is...each time scraped back, a ghost of a
film of paint is left from that session. The
result of several scrape backs...or more, is that
a particular quality is built up that more ideally
suited the representation of the flesh appearance
these master painters wanted. I'm playing with
this idea to see what that practice might lead to.
What will be most difficult for me is my ability
to paint quickly in an alla prima style, meaning
I would incline to some impatience waiting for
something I believe I have the skill to just paint'
right away. That is not to say I couldn't work on
other work while this one is going thru this
process. So, if you are following along on this
one, take up a seat.
This is my grand daughter, Isabeau, or whom we
affectionately call "Beau"...so cute, the older of
two little girls now that my son Jason and his
wife Kat have-
She is five now...this picture she was probably
four years of age...
Mary Cassatt was a master of painting women and
children...and this one is a lovely example...
Here was my initial sketch placing a few gestural
charcoal vine stick marks to place the portrait-
My son Jason and I were chatting a bit, his really
fine work and the fine work of many master painters
relying on drafting a good accurate drawing, or a
"mock" onto the canvas, panel...and then paint layers
built up into that. I certainly agree many masters
worked that way.
Many masters also as teachers taught that the danger
is painting up to the lines leaving a stiff image that
comes off feeling filled in. The secret being to paint
thru the lines, not up to them, blending into the
I am one comfortable with many years of drawing as
a foundation, tending to feel that drawing is drawing
with a whole other tactile feel, and that painting is
painting. The idea being to see in terms of spatial
relationships, masses...value and color. Its not that one
way is right over the other, but suits different
personalities and working methods one develops.
You see that I did begin with some charcoal vine marks
above, other times I simply use turps and a hog bristle
round and sketch a few gestural marks. Still, using the
midvalue flesh tone block-in that Sargent demonstrated
you see that any drafting of a drawing is consumed by
Tomorrow back in my art room, I'll scrape this paint
block-in down...then repaint, and work darker and
lighter values in. I'll plan on scraping that back
as well, and we'll just see how this one progresses.
Should be interesting and instructive for myself as
well as anyone else.