Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On Cropping


So these two underpaintings are totally kicking my butt. I enjoyed the process of doing them, as I always do, but when I was finished with the second one, I wasn't so sure about them and decided not to do the other two that I had planned. They just seemed so ordinary I guess. On Doug's advice I cropped in on the faces, but not as much as he thought I should have. He thinks I should go really tight on the faces. I might do that at some point but really do not feel that is what I want to do right now, so I did some half assed compromise. I should know by now that those never work!

Anyway, I keep trying to figure out what to do with the top one, I have painted that lady's face a hundred times and have wiped the paint off every time. I have about one more shot, maybe two at the most, before the underpainting layer starts to degrade! And I haven't even started to work on prom girl, although I actually think that piece has a bit more promise. Something about the corsage I think. Or maybe it's the strap without the corsage that is appealing.

Anyway, will keep y'all posted on what comes next!


Sheila said...

I think you're right about the top portrait. I think seeing her pearls and the cut of her collar lends to accentuate the curves of her face.

As for prom girl.. I can hardly wait to see how she evolves!

Barbara J Carter said...

This could be your opportunity to take a chance or change things up a bit. Maybe go more abstract? What's to lose?

Almira said...

I think the corsage on the shoulder tells the story about Prom Girl, so it works. I think something needs to be added on the, I'm going to call "My Aunt Daisy" portrait that tells us a little more about her: her hands in white gloves clutching something; a lapel pin signifying something unique to her or the expectation of her--just suggestions. These people are fascinating because they remind me of my relatives. Don't give up.

Helen Suzanne said...

The trouble is with cropping in to the face means it just becomes another portrait... standard view, standard composition. What I love about your people is their body language, the ordinary person becomes an extraordinary individual with their unique tensions and weight. They feel like family because of their clothes and stature.

How's that for a spanner to throw in ;))

Both Sides of Ben Marlan said...

youre courageous to do portraits in any case. maybe youre getting too caught up in it and just need to paint fast or with more emotion. it works for me when i get too caught in how a painting looks. the end result is always better.

Laura said...

It might be that the woman on top lacks personality, I have no interest in getting to know her, whereas the prom girl is wonderful in her expression- you can imagine what she's thinking, and the corsage adds to her eccentricity.

But I'm not sure it's the cropping, although I do like seeing more of the figure as well.

Tracy said...

Sheila, I might work on prom girl first, maybe that will give me some inspiration about handling the other one. (crossing my fingers)

Barbara, I think my intent here was to change things up, and I would always like to go more abstract. However, I didn't really accomplish either of those things and will either have to see what I can do at the color stage, or just try again with the next ones. You are right though, not much to lose!!

Thanks Almira, I agree with you about the corage and prom girl. I am a bit disappointed in My Aunt Daisy (great title! Might use it!!) at this stage, was hoping for a different and less refined look for her, but didn't get it.

Helen Suzanne, what you said here is almost exactly what I told Doug- I wanted more of the body language of these people to be visible. He wanted me to do even more cropping, just focus on the face, but I don't feel like that's right for these people. So I compromised, bleh!

Thanks, Ben, yes I should probably do a bit less thinking at this point, but I haven't been working on these for awhile so I had some time to obsess:) usually though when i get to the color I don't do much thinking, but this time i had underpaintings that i wasn't too sure about and so that affected me.

Laura, I agree with you about the top one, very little personality and not what I was hoping to capture in the underpainting at all. I might be able to do something in the color stage, but if not, another piece in the sand down pile!

debra gershman said...

i love your work and don't think these are ordinary in the least.