Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Loosening Up

Abner did this one with me.*

I'm not sure why, but I can really relax and whale away at my own face on the page. I'm more free playing around, and I have a better idea what I'm after. Is it because there is no one and nothing to offend? That's not totally true - there are others who might be upset at my face rendered oddly. So what is it? Familiarity with my subject? Thirty plus years of shaving this face in the mirror (the parts without the beard and mustache still need shaving) makes me an expert on this set of shapes?

One thing that really opened me up, compared to the subjects I've been attempting lately, was the scale. Larger objects, commanding the space. Like the Toad painting, below, done over a year ago now.

And I was inspired by the really impressive drawings (regardless of the tools done to render them) in the credits for Sherlock Holmes. The artist(s) involved in those did an amazing job picking stills to work from, and then turned them into 19th century engraving style, but modern croppings and compositions. I found the combination and the lovely blacks and strong contrast arresting and exciting. It made me want to do faces, up close.

Maybe I should work with some photos of strangers, and have an even more free time?

Anyway, this made me feel better than I've felt in weeks.

19 x 19 watercolor, white charcoal, and Prismacolor on Arches hot press.

* Abner is my older Cotman size 12 watercolor brush. He has less of a point than Louise has.


Campbell Jane said...

What a personality you have captured!

Lisa said...

It's fantastic. That expression is priceless and the angle is so cool.

The Sherlock Holmes credits were so amazing. I'm glad you've had time to see it and be inspired.

Don said...

You are welcome to browse my portraits looking for faces. Also, I have posted a boatload of old family photos to my website. There are interesting faces there, and most of them are long dead, so no worries about offending anyone. I think you could do something with Uncle Burt and his pipe. Take a look and let me know. I can shoot you hi-res images at any time.

linda said...

steve, this is wonderful and you have really got me intrigued with the white charcoal i have yet to get... i had the weirdest experience when i was writing this little comment when, from within the periphery of my eye, you winked at me... now that's some painting! ;)

hoping you find that time and freedom you want ... you can paint my face anytime, that would be so fantastic to see what you did with it.... ♥

Pagan Sphinx said...

I love this one of you! It shows in this portrait that you ARE feeling better!

I'm amused by the names, though not surprised, that you name your brushes. Cunning Runt has names for his lenses. :-}

susan said...

It's a great portrait. Who is it? Nah, really it's an excellent likeness and I love the slightly sardonic demeanor as you wait to choose which of the thousand ideas you want to capture next.

My biggest watercolor brush is a Windsor Newton Series 7 #6. I can't afford the bigger ones :-) Well, to be honest almost all my paintings are done using brushes between 1 and 6 with the favorite being a #3. Sometimes it's the only one.

June Saville said...

Must do a self portrait Steve!
By the way I'm seeing Sherlock Holmes this afternoon so will take particular notice of the credits ...
June in Oz

Linda said...

Great portrait, and I love that you name your brushes (I name my memorable pens).

Thanks for finding my blog (again); I lost my links when it crashed last Fall, and am slowly putting those back together.

Peace, Linda

The Cunning Runt said...

Abner has a great eye for light. I find the luminescence of this rendering to be most exciting.

And you, You Handsome Devil, look both handsome and devilish!