Portrait of Our Granddaughter, Actress Violett Beane
Work in Progress for Webinar
I had no idea that giving this Corel Painter® Webinar would be so meaningful to me. In the past, I always turned down Tanya’s invitations to speak. It was mostly a fear of speaking in public, but compared to all the incredible art that I saw being produced with Painter … I didn’t think I had anything new and exciting to show, much less say.
Since giving the Webinar on Tuesday, I have received lovely and appreciative emails that have overwhelmed and deeply touched me. I was always reluctant to teach Painter in a classroom situation, because I would have to deal with the mechanics of each student’s laptop, and that freaked me out.
But the Webinar turned out to be the ideal way to reach hundreds of people, with no problems other than my own shaking hand that could hardly control the stylus at the beginning of the broadcast. I'm just glad my pounding heart can't be heard through my microphone.
The Q&A was wonderful because I got to communicate informally with actual participants and share information that addressed their particular needs. Tanya is a gifted facilitator.
Being able to finally teach what I do and share what I’ve learned has been the frosting on my career. The webinar is out there now on YouTube for anyone interested, or can be viewed on this post. I cannot tell you how satisfying this is for me, knowing that my journey can help other artists on their path.
Here are some sections of my presentation that I eliminated in the interest of time:
Pen & Ink with Watercolor goes back to the Egyptians and Greeks. Drawing with wash has always been the main medium in Asian art. It was widely used during the Renaissance, and became popular with French watercolorists of the early 1900’s
I first learned the technique in an art school class. We had 8 minutes to complete each 18x24 inch life drawing of a nude model. We used calligraphy pens for the drawing and, in the few minutes remaining, finished with watercolor. The model would change poses and we would start to sketch a new painting.
The classes were 3 hours each, so we did a lot of those large quick paintings over the semester. It was great training. My instructor was the renowned artist, Neil Boyle. I have also been inspired by the Pen & Ink with Watercolor art of Joseph Stoddard, Catherine Mayer, and Florian Nicolle.
Looking closely, you can see that Violett’s coloring is divided into three zones. Her forehead has some light yellow. From her forehead to the bottom of her nose, it is rosier because of the blood supply. The zone from her nose to the chin tends toward a bluish, greenish, or grayish color. It’s very subtle, almost imperceptible.
I am able to enlarge the photo as I paint. The more I look, the more the nuances of color become apparent. The color temperature of the light source is also important. Warm light will tend to produce relatively cooler shadows and cool light will tend to produce relatively warmer shadows.
Ironically, reference photographs are the critical piece of my process, and are often the weakest link. When I made the transition from portrait photographer to portrait painter, my clientele was mostly local, from Southern California. They would drive to me, here at Mandalay Beach, and I would photograph them for their portrait paintings.
But now, with the congested traffic situation, it is difficult for people to get here. And with the increased usage of the Internet, my clients are from all over the country. That is wonderful for me, but it also presents a problem in getting well-lighted and well-posed reference photos. Many people don’t have sharp or high enough resolution photos for me to see good facial detail.
Now that everyone is carrying a camera in their phone, clients do have access to more photos, but the photos are not always optimum. It is great when clients have had professional photography sessions and I get releases from their photographers.
British painter David Hockney has written the fascinating book, Secret Knowledge, about his revolutionary theory that some of the world's most famous painters, Ingres, Velázquez, Caravaggio, and others, used optics and lenses in creating their masterpieces.
Some painters today project photos onto their canvasses. While the public is often dismayed to learn this, I admire the inventiveness of those artists who pursue scientific advancements to improve their paintings.
A tool is just a tool and it is still the artist's hand and creative vision that produce a work of art. I had one resourceful teacher who used the edge of a credit card to make white lines in his watercolor paintings.
I think art should be judged by how it affects the viewer, not by what tool the artist used. I often wonder what Michelangelo and Andy Warhol would do with Corel Painter®! I hope they have Painter in Heaven!!!
Wishing you each much happiness in making your life a work of art,