PaintBlog: Project Telephone Girl, Parts 4 and 5

Since I got to have all that fun with blog moving stuff and whatever and what-not, I’m going to combine the last two sessions into one fun-filled post. Well, okay, it’s not filled with fun. It’s filled with delicious candy.

Session Four concentrated on the arms. With a surprise, twist ending. First, the right arm. Blocked in and slightly shaded.

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We add some more shading to that, and start differentiating the fingers:

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At this point, I thought it would be a bit dull to post pictures of arms. While I’m frequently a bit dull, I figured, hey, let’s look at this work in a greater context.

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With another view, slightly further back to give it even more context:

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Below, we start on the left arm, and then we add a line about where the counter top ought to be. It was here that I subconsciously realized a big mistake I’d made. More on that after a couple more pictures. 

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And below, even more shading. Her arm is bleeding in to where her dress will be, but that’s okay, it’s easy to paint over things.

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Easy to paint over things…that’s when it struck me. If I was going to do any background stuff (which I will) I would either have to paint over the edges of what I’ve got of her, then re-do her, or squooch right up close with tiny brushes. Normally what I do is fill in most of the background before adding foreground objects; as noted, it’s easy to place something on top of something that already exists.

It’s much harder to put something behind something that already exists.

I’m not sure what happened next. Perhaps it was panic or depression, but I decided I should work on the face. Why? I don’t know. But I ruined it. As you can see:

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Fortunately, our story does not end here.

________________________Continued_______________________

Session Five began with the clear intention of a rescue mission. I think I’d barely got in from work when I started up. I guess that means the project was becoming important to me. Well anyway.  It’s always worse before it gets better:

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Just to hammer the point home:

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Quit punching me! she seems to be saying.  So some more modeling and blending, let’s get those highlights and shadows back.

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This is better, though an obvious flaw is made more readily apparent:

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Yes, one eye doesn’t match the other in height.  Well, time to worry about that when we’re back to looking like something resembling humanity.

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We seem to be getting better.  Though there are an awful lot of shadows where there should be fewer.

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Hey, let’s have a big hand!  Come on, let’s hear it!

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Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!  I’ll be here all week.  Actually, it’s very easy to obsess over a particular detail until one’s perspective vanishes completely (which may have happened at the end of session four), so it’s a good idea to work on something else while the mind cools.  The image above was an attempt to not only make the arm look better, but to stop thinking about the face. 

I think the image below is getting pretty close to something worthwhile.  The eyes have been evened-out, for one thing:

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Though perhaps I should have raised them instead of lowering them.  (It’s hard to remember my mental state of a couple of days ago.)  So, here’s how she looks in context. 

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And another shot of same, after some tiny little bits of more work were applied.

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Now I have to start thinking about the background.  I’ve already decided I’m not going to duplicate what’s in the photo–it’s a bit cluttered for my tastes (though if you could see where I live you’d wonder why).  I have a couple of ideas which I like, but I’m going to have to think about planning them.  I also have to let the paint dry pretty thoroughly if I’m going to be backgrounding. 

On a slightly related note, the photographer posted a note on the group list wondering why no one had enquired about biographical details of the subject.  My reaction was, yellow alert.  Admittedly, I’m something of a creep, but I thought this wasn’t something relevant.  I agree that all human beings have value, but this project wasn’t about human beings, or even ultimately about Telephone Girl.  It’s about an image, about the choices and directions one takes when one decides to do creative work.  I’m not painting a portrait of her; I’m not trying to show her essence or otherwise capture any aspect of her.  The image is an image and all I’m doing is choosing colors and brushes and then applying them.    If I were doing a portrait as a portrait, I wouldn’t have done it this way.

Admittedly, that makes me seem like a cold, uncaring person.  Well…who said I wasn’t?

The photographer then posted some info and I read a phrase or so before I knew what I was doing.  I stopped right away and haven’t been back to the group, because I don’t want to read more.  It’s changed the nature of the project for me; I feel as if it’s being wrested out of my hands and forced into something I wouldn’t choose to do.  I’m not sure how the other members feel about this; the original idea was that we were supposed to interpret an image in our own way without being directed. 

I imagine few really feel the same way as I, so when I continue, I may simply keep the work here, rather than present it to the group.  Maybe. 

More as it happens, and thanks for stopping by. 

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2 thoughts on “PaintBlog: Project Telephone Girl, Parts 4 and 5

  1. I tend to interpret people as concepts (derived from their current actions) in real life vs their life stories. I think that’s one of the reasons I have difficulty remembering people’s names. I think this goes back to a time in my youth when I tried to assess people without thinking (I was big into Castaneda, back then). Since it’s worked out so well for me, so far, I see no reason to change (except in certain cases where I need to force myself to do otherwise for conventions of business or society). Or maybe I’m just self-centered and trying to justify my approach to people. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

  2. Hm, maybe we’re all self centered.

    B, your painting is so freaking amazing!
    I can only do as well with pastels, paintbrushes are creatures of the damned when in my hands.

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