Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Result of Lines I Drew in August

This is the final result of a longer than usual meditation on lines, light, and my own face. I feel most at liberty to play with my own face, which is why I like to draw and paint it. Besides, I have more info on what goes on behind that face than any other, and that seems to inform the resulting images. As usual, my camera has understated the green a bit and reduced the contrast, but this is close.

The remaining four photos (I apologize for the weak light on these) were taken over a month of at several stages of the drawing and painting. These paintings seem to develop gradually, organically. The big leap was from the lines to see the face, realizing I needed to photograph myself from a certain angle, and laying in my portrait. The rest was a series of smaller discoveries.

Click for larger images. The final painting is 19 x 19, watercolor on Arches 140 lb hot press paper (my favorite - "bright white").

Painted mostly with Louise (a # 12 English Cotman 111 round) and a newcomer, Tildie (a #10 English Cotman round, used for the birds). Frondine laid in the yellow and blue in the Phase 4 image below - she's the big girl in my brush jar, a #22 "Ebony Splendor" flat. The rest of the jar is mostly a bright blue Cotman ghetto (and not all girls, my oldest pal in the jar is Abner).


Odd Chick said...

Blow me away incredible. You do things I only dream of. Inspiring is just an understatement for this piece.

lisahgolden said...

This is so cool, Steve! It's always such a delight to see the work in progress.

I love that you included trees, fish and birds in this self portrait.

Steve Emery said...

Odd Chick - Thank you. I was challenged recently by a close friend to paint the portrait of the me I see inside. I had told him that I don't picture myself with a beard or with grey hair... So how do I picture myself and can I paint it? What would that look like for each of us artists?

Lisa - Thanks! I realized shortly after the face emerged that there would have to be trees, birds and at least one yellow fish in the rest... But I didn't know it would be mostly about those. I have spent so many moments watching the flights of birds and the slow graceful dance of trees. I wondered at one point if a cat might also show up - another creature I have spent so much time observing, but just one cat in this image would change it a lot.

Steve Emery said...

Odd Chick - this portrait, of course, is not the portrait my friend meant... I have yet to try that one.

Does your inner artist look like you do on the outside?

Unknown said...

I really like it. :-)

L'Adelaide said...

this is not very far from what i saw in the early stages but of course, your wonderful sense of whimsy and style lift it far beyond any vision i may have had.....i love it!

i have one question....where is the sheep? ;)

i really MUST try this....i am having a bit of a slump at the moment but the journal is around...just in case....

susan said...

You should be justly proud of this wonderful combination of self-portrait and landscape. The fact you allowed the lines to form a tracery without conscious effort and then followed the found patterns this way is a marvel to me. I understand a lot of deliberation was involved after the first pencil encounters began suggesting shape and form but your vision of creating a landscape of your mind is ingenious.

I still can't understand how you manage to get such fine detail using the large brushes you do but your friends of the jar perform beautifully in your hands. Many congratulations on a project well done.