So, this week, I unfortunately was hit with a pretty bad flu. I think my art suffered for it. I got some toned paper, but the oil paint doesn’t really translate well to it.
I actually thought about not posting these since are definitely not the best I can do, but I once heard some wise advice that you should not be afraid to do something you need to do, even if it’s doing it badly. This was important lesson in what not to do as much as what to do.
Don’t paint directly on paper.
Angle features better. It’s easy to just paint things flat.
Don’t mix burnt umber/ cadmium red/ flake white. They muddy up very quickly
Do not work on a big important project when you’re really sick. As much as not painting might be killing you, your quality will suffer for it.
Day 19: Old Master
Day 20: Child Lips
So, full disclosure, I didn’t paint these lips on Day 20. I was too sick to paint on Day 20, but I actually painted these on the same day as Day 21, the Woman’s lips.
Day 21: Woman’s Lips
Day 22: Man’s Lips
So, since it became clear that the paper wasn’t working, I used a canvas panel I used in the past for a previous exercise. And again, I wanted to paint a beard. Nick Offerman’s Beard to be exact.
So… children’s lips are very difficult. Their heads are somewhat shaped differently than adults. There’s more fat in their faces so it looks like their mouths protrude out more. It’s difficult to draw dimples and not make them look like wrinkles. The key thing here I think is the eyes. These don’t really look like children’s lips, but I have a feeling they would if their eyes were there. That seems to be a common theme. Most expression is in the eyes, so I’ve been finding there’s a lot of information missing without them.
I don’t know what to write, so here is the most recent progress of my Springtime Copy:
So far, I’ve spent several months working on it a little bit every day. I learned a lot about painting in general by doing this. I feel like it looks like a child’s drawing when side by side with the original, but that’s okay. I’m still very happy with how it’s turning. It’s not done. I’m taking a break from it to work on some original artwork (finally), but I just wanted to show you my progress.
Also, How to Fight Writer’s Block: Just type “I don’t know what to write…” and see what comes after.
I’m sure you must have experienced what you may call, “The Perfect Moment”. Maybe you were outside on a sunny day. The air warms your skin at the right temperature, You forget where you are, maybe even who you are. There is a moment where everything, even for just a moment, all seems right. Fitting music plays at just the right time. As crazy as our lives there, there is this moment of serenity, making us appreciate the miracle that, in this moment, we are alive.
I imagine for many people, myself included, those moments are most frequent while in the arms of someone we love.
The artistic term for this is “sublime” which is akin to an almost unearthly happiness. If an art piece makes you feel this way, to me, that’s a truly powerful thing. In a world rife with poverty, the horrors of war, and divisiveness, art pieces that bring a sense of beauty and joy into it remind us that maybe there is something deep within us that has the potential to do good.
Not unlike this painting by Pierre Auguste Cot, a pupil of my favorite artist, Adolph Bouguereau.
In May, I found this painting on the internet. I’ve seen it before on several occasions, though never been able to in person. Though I can’t say I felt the “sublime” by only looking at a photo of a painting on the internet, I was still very drawn to it. To me, this looked like a simulation of the sublime, perfect moment. I could feel some semblance of what the young lovers in the painting felt. The light breaking through the leaves, the sleepy, happy expressions, the sense of movement from the girl’s transparent clothing, and the sense of happy calmness from the blueish green color choices and vibrancy surrounding the couple. Everything in their lives feels perfect. A moment. Captured forever.
I found that the best way for me to learn about art is to reverse engineer it. I’ve decided to copy the painting and learn what I can. I even want to sort of go against my art history education (or revert to an older method of said education?) where I attempt to look at the piece uncorrupted by historical context. I come to purely my own conclusions. I attempt to form a relationship with the artwork, to find hidden clues on my own without having read anything by previous art critics or analysts.
Then after I complete the painting, read the literature on it and see how close my interpretations are to the traditional art historians.
I’m mostly doing this for fun, also to improve my artistic skill, and also to keep up and expand on my art education. Unlike the Cafe Terrace at Night copy I did a while back, nobody is paying me to make this painting. This is all out of my own pocket. I have no due dates, no grades to worry about, so even if my interpretations are completely off, the only thing I have to lose is perhaps maybe a sense of pride upon being called out by someone smarter than me, and I that’s something I don’t mind losing if it helps me become more educated.
I appreciate this journey you’re taking with me as I do this, and for taking the time to read this post. So thank you.