THE FACE OF VENTURA project gets underway for 2011... I painted my third sitter yesterday in a three hour sitting at my cold studio for what will be a total of 52 people painted over two years to reflect the current day face of this charming old mission seaside town in California.
Each face and the sitter's story will appear in each edition of The Ventura Breeze http://www.venturabreeze.com/
So many thanks to The Breeze publisher Sheldon Brown for his incredible support getting it all going and helping create this challenge and to my artist mind, a living art project. We have had some fun stimulating chats getting it off the ground.
Sheldon and I, along with the newspaper readership, will decide who gets to be painted. My aim is for it to be in an interactive art project in this town, with young people also involved in an educational way, watching not only the portraits being painted but hearing the stories and thoughts of the sitters, some incredible people from ALL walks of life living and working in Ventura.
Read more about it here for now until I can link it to The Ventura Breeze.
I also plan to use social media to show the drawing and painting stages of each sitter's sketch, in an educational way, after it has made it's debut in The Breeze.
Wishing to protect my sitter's privacy this week until the sketch appears in the paper, I post a sketch I did of said sitter in my sketch book, a sharp-minded environmentalist, the night before the sitting and then the drawing block-in the next day at the actual sitting.
Sittings from life with real people, not models, are a challenge to the artist. One must talk AND paint. One must do a fairly o.k. job with paint if the sketch is then to appear in a newspaper. My plan is to make NO changes to the faces of the sitter after he/she leaves the sitting. THE DIRECT INTERACTION BETWEEN US being the most important point. My art ego will have to adjust to this! The sitter is shown the world of the portrait artist, the portrait artist is shown the world of the sitter. And no money changes hands. What a concept!
Only four days to go in my daily drawing challenge to myself for 2010...I taste victory and a glorious drawing sunset going down on this rather large art event in my art life drawing every day no matter what - for which I have received tremendous support from all over the world. Thank you!
Just a few nay-sayers, who said what was the big deal about drawing every day anyway. They did that and always had. Hmmm... No-one does something EVERY single day in a year apart from brush their teeth. It is NOT as easy as it sounds. But more about that later.
Now I just need to focus on eating no carbs. so I can get into those silver sparkles on that dress in this photo for New Year's Eve. I will be drawing my last drawing for the challenge at 12.10 am New Year's morning in said dress.
I knew drawing through Christmas, and a big birthday with a ZERO in it right before it, would be one of the hardest times in the challenge. It was- but I made it with some sever self-descipline around stuffing turkeys Xmas Eve, limiting bloody marys Xmas Day, cooking for 18, and tons of festive fun!
I had a scary moment last night. I almost forgot to draw for the day. Gasping in horror at the dinner table, a couple of glasses of eggnog/wine in, in I ran to the sketch pad.
This has only happened once before on July 4th when I was at a party and had to rush home to do draw to meet the 24 hour period.
It scared me tho' that I am so close to the end of the daily challenge and my mind body and soul clearly wants it to be all over now. I don't need a careless eggnog slip-up.
With 18 coming people for lunch Xmas Day, four family friends arriving from Australia today to stay, my own family/daughters visiting, beds to be made up, cooking, cleaning and, did I mention, wanting to enjoy it all, the challenge aspect is ever present and to be honest a real drag at this point.
I had my family last night set a 'reminder" alarm to draw for the next SEVEN days so there are no slip ups to ruin a daily challenge thru' the year. That would make me hit the eggnog hard and I don't even like eggnog.
The great thing about drawing every day for a year is that you really fine-hone your skill set and also discover the techniques that appeal to you the most,keep you showing up at that drawing board day after day, at moments when you would most certainly have other plans and would rather be doing something else.
Yesterday's drawing reflects a technique I have learned to really like this year, white chalk on toned paper, a simple half hour drawing, done on a busy celebratory day for me with my family -just before the champagne was opened, deliberately so!
12 Days to Go One thing leads to another....my yesterday's daily challenge portrait of Kate Middleton found me in the middle of royal blog sphere land in particular this one http://www.thedailykate.org/ run by a lady called Ella Kay. A fun site. Oh, how I would love to hang with this gal and chat over a glass or two, THE royal fan that I am.
She also runs a few other charming royal blog sites too listed on The Daily Kate where I found an equally charming old photo of The Queen Mum when she was very young. Rumor has it according to this blog sphere that this might be the tiara Kate wears on her wedding day.
I knew I had to draw The Queen Mum with my own twist on the photo of course. I post the block-in from one day's sitting and the finish today.
Guessed correctly on Facebook, yes, yesterday's block-in was for a sketch portrait of Miss Kate
Middleton. I have
admired the dignity this young lady has carried herself with through her goldfish bowl courtship over the last eight years with the future King of England. Just hope, she copes with the GIANT GLOBAL bowl she will now live in for the rest of her life.
I wanted to capture some of this, a pensive moment, a confident smart, beautiful, young woman finally marrying the man she clearly loves but on the threshold of a huge tidal wave.
Most pictures of her she shows a quick-to-smile face with teeth. I didn't want that. I combined a couple of images to get more of the look I wanted, reflecting this moment in time. THAT RIGHT EYE was really important to the whole feel It took me some time. She will become the most photo'd woman in the world shortly - and probably the most painted and drawn too.
I like what I got. I think it is one of my favorite sketches from the year, not that it is terribly complicated, but probably because I was also a huge fan of Princess Diana's and like the rest of the world watched Prince William grow up, fascinated by it all.
I have a real soft spot for him and I think he has made an excellent choice in this young woman.
15 days to go on the daily drawing 2010 challenge...exciting times ahead, a 52 head portrait project, my second sitter painted today which met the drawing challenge.
I can't say much more except my sitter today was THE most amazing man, 97 years-young, painted in a freezing cold studio, with a life story to tell of such intelligence in career, integrity in life, and overall brilliance with a healthy splash of good humor. I am so privileged to meet and paint people like this. For want of a better word. Wow. ...a few people in the studio alongside, recording, photo'ing, and just plain enjoying the moment, as did I!
I have drawn so far for 347 days in 2010, in an unbroken challenge to myself to draw daily for a minimum of 30 minutes (most days way more), NO MATTER WHAT!
I have just 17 days left to go. Barring a disaster, January 1st will be my LAST drawing for this yearly challenge.
At this point, this drawing work horse has left the stable and will reach the finish. A bit tired from all the hurdles and sheer length of the race, not expecting a ribbon or recognition, but knowing she achieved something she never thought she could do. Knowing she grew as an artist from the daily discipline, some days extremely hard to muster.
I am trying not to make it a sloppy, complacent end, falling over the finish line with a splat rather than a leap. I want a grand-stand effort, just for myself!
Here are my drawing efforts for the last three days. The first done over two nights in two half hour sittings, block-in and finish. The third, my teaching class demo at The California Art Institute today. Whenever I have painted a model from life I have counted it for the daily drawing challenge as it sure involves drawing.
I wish I could post what I drew and painted yesterday but I can't, especially as I really like it. The mystery will be revealed in the 2011 New Year edition of The Ventura Breeze Newspaper. Let's just say one project/challenge leads to another. This challenge will involved painting 50 people directly from life, the first one of which I did yesterday...stay tuned.
In the final days of a yearly drawing challenge through the busy Holiday Season you want an easy ride. No fuss, no muss. Hold the Eggnog while you creep under the wire.
December is a hellish month to end a yearly drawing challenge. There is SO much going on. Dare I also say, I WANT TO ENJOY the Season. The drawing for this day was probably one of my hardest days so far to squeeze in.
I drove all over Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, about six hours in the car total, between three lengthy appointments, ending in Beverly Hills for my husband's office Xmas party at night with a certain requirement to look presentable, hair washed etc. No green paint exuding from body parts that non-artists might be alarmed by.
Usually I have planned what I am drawing for the day through 2010, taking quite some considerable time doing so. This day, I looked in my car trunk, usually full of art stuff, and grabbed the nearest 'copy' thing I could find. I spent 15 minutes on it at lunch appointment 'waiting', 10 minutes in the 'waiting' room for next appointment broken up into two five minute segments, completing the last 5 minutes after a long drive home, 'waiting' to go to - BED! This is what it took THIS day to meet the year's challenge of drawing every day for 2010 outside of everything else that is going on. Not pleasant this day. Sorry.
I honestly will never forget the commitment of my year's challenge to myself. And I know I didn't cheat. I am proud of that especially on days like these. No-one would know. I would and perhaps my husband too. He has seen it all firsthand.
Please could December go fast now - and at this point perhaps Eggnog infused.
I heard through the art grapevine that Master painter Jove Wang says if you are not inspired by what you are about to paint, don't paint. Or something like that.
This got me thinking... many days I show up and make myself paint (did I mention that 365 days of drawing I have been doing, no matter what?) when I don't feel like it at all. Usually something will 'flow' when I get my brush to canvas after about 15 minutes, especially with a strong coffee in hand.
On really desperate days, the promise of lunch at the local TACO stand near the studio works. Gosh, I think I have eaten scads of tacos this year and drunk too much coffee. I call this my own personal art discipline - and a bad diet art plan.
I enjoyed my teaching class at CAI this week a lot. But I wasn't inspired. The drawing was competent and the demo ok...but I was not feeling 'it'. The model was great too.
But I am still grateful I picked up my brushes. I feel I am cheating myself if I don't paint when the model is there even if I am not feeling inspired. Flexing my drawing/ life-painting muscle with a promise of a fish taco.
This study will join the other 2500 in the cupboard that I don't know what to do with.
Master Jove Wang has a point! I bet he doesn't bribe himself with tacos.
I wanted to do a simple still life today after my weekend of Santa demos. The drawing block-in was done in my gifted teen teaching class and counts for the daily drawing challenge, not that it is a good drawing. I forgive myself. Santa wore me out.
I have been trying to shake it up a bit in my somewhat brief teaching class demos at CAI -as I talk a lot and work on students' paintings. So much to do in only a three hour class.
I know what I can do around a 16 x 20, or 18 x 24, demo after teaching for a while and doing public demos for lots of art groups in and around LA - but I got a bit tired of the same ol', same ol', I thought I was doing or maybe relying on, around time constraints and getting the teaching message across.
So this semester and last, I have gone for much smaller canvases, different crops, different lighting, not always that successful but pushing me not only as an artist but also as a teacher. This one paid off more than others, 5x9, about an hour of painting. I liked her expression and the simplicity of it all.
Seems like there are 'three for one' Holiday specials in all the stores/online outlets, so I thought I would do one too. The last three days of drawing to meet the challenge I have drawn up three heads hoping to paint them soon. You will see them next to a few Sargents I have done in the past. This is a good exercise. Do the copies small. Put the timer on for an hour. Get out a big brush.
Plenty of leftovers in a yearly drawing challenge. This was my effort from yesterday, Thanksgiving, sitting at this table. My husband cooked that stuffed pumkin (can you beleive?) while I drew the sweet one.
Ok...let's talk turkey. I really learn from Old Master Anders Zorn as I have discussed many times this year copying his pen and ink drawings often with a Bic pen. I was reminded of a few things this week, the direction I need to go in my art, things I really need to focus on, by a certain present day Master artist I trust deeply.
He told me "Get the Zorn books out". Morgan Weistling also said a similar thing to his students at The Weekend With The Masters three day workshop where I was lucky enough to be his assistant. Morgan said to learn about painting study Zorn etchings.
My Zorn books are never far away but today they are front and centre. This was my drawing for the challenge from yesterday, a copy of Zorn's head, with a paint block-in on the drawing I did today. I wanted to focus on actual paint rather than his etchings on this one. I set myself a timer of about an hour to mass in the shapes with a big brush.
Now I need to do my drawing for TODAY and dress the turkey for TOMORROW. Let's hope I don't get confused and draw a Zorn on the turkey.
You will be seeing a lot more of Zorn in the next few weeks from me until the challenge end.