Rosa – A Journey

I’ve been playing with this pose and the large skirt off and on for a few years, it keep recurring and I FINALLY got it just right.  Initially, it was a woman’s face wearing a dapper bird hat … but I scrapped her.  Somehow human beings just aren’t as intriguing as birds.

I sometimes fear I’m not very good at faces but I’ve done hundreds of them with good success, I think that I do enjoy the ’emotional neutrality’ of a bird.  The only way to build a mood or an emotional sensation is via the pose, the color, the angle of the cock of a head….

I had a mauveish background that really really wants a bold white.  This skirt will undoubtedly be white (famous last words) so I saw my Rosa fitting well there.

Doing my thing with the projector and some new acrylic pens (Sakura Permapaque) and so far, I really am enjoying them.  They go on smoother than the Artistro which ensures the texture of the canvas isn’t compromised at the outline, which is a massive downfall in my opinion.  Additionally the Sakura hold fast on the canvas while painting (as the Artistro did) and don’t smudge with the addition of oil.  A win all around.  I’ll keep you posted as I use them more often and maybe put together a product recommendation post I can update with my materials and what I find the best and why … on that seems a solid thing to do.

Anyway, back to the painting.  I really really wanted to work with the blues again as it went so well in the previous piece I’d tackled.  So I went back in with French Ultramarine as the base, Dioxazine Purple as the dark shading and a smoodge of Viridian Hue to pull in some green tones.  There was, per tradition, some Zinc White involved as well for highlights and easing the intensity of the colors.  I’d like to say I had a solid plan beyond those colors, but I did not.  I’d like to have gotten more iridescence (or any) in the piece, but I’m thinking some glazing with zinc white may assist in that once I get to that point.

It appears that Patreon won’t let me upload videos unless I use Vimeo so I cannot show you the timelapse until I get further in.  My plan is to combine them all at the end into one long video and post to Youtube .. more soon on that.  In the meantime, if you are itching to watch the time lapse you can do so on my Instagram (@heathergwinnart).

I’m just thrilled with this progress but let’s, instead, discuss the sagging of the canvas on the upper left.  *sigh* … I’ve always bought my canvases pre-stretched and prepared – so I know nothing about how to best address this.  I don’t know how big an issue this is going to pose for me as I progress but the lack of perfect tension is a frustration.  It’s always something y’all.  I believe I can purchase a canvas stretcher and a staple gun (which I have but mine is absolutely junky) but dammit that seems like something I just didn’t want to have to learn.  There is a reason most art programs start with some of the basics like this… this is likely a skill I need to sort out.

Next, there will be white.

–UPDATE 04/14/2021 —

And let there be white!

This was the standard mix of zinc white and raw umber with a very very small bit of burnt umber worked in just to warm things up a little bit.  All that blue really cooled off the whole painting and I didn’t want to go TOO crazy with the coolness.

The canvas issue is still a canvas issue and I’m paralyzed with ignorance regarding how to proceed… in classic fashion I’ve decided to simply ignore it for now and go about my business.  This may be a mistake, or not … whatever, I make a thousand mistakes most days and generally all is well in the end.  I’d like to say I’m one of those artistic geniuses who are meticulous and detailed and every single element MUST be perfect.  I admire those folk, but I am not one of them.  Life is messy and art is messy and I’m happier if I can just let some sleeping dogs lie.  Sleep on sweet boi.  

Now that this is all sitting and drying, and I’m looking at it out the corner of my eye while I begin new projects, I’m finding the lack of texture in the head and neck and ‘arms?’ to be far too smooth for my liking.  Debating on it all I’ve decided I may go in and ‘stipple’ those areas with a very small brush, lots of small dots of paint (as I did in The Enormity but without the counting).  I really do like the texture that provided, although this area is significantly smaller and more detailed so it will take a pretty damn small brush and a mountain of patience and coffee.  Fortunately I have all three in spades.

UPDATE – 05/13/2021

There has been so much activity on this one!

As I mentioned above, the general smoothness of things was causing me some issue.  It’s visually appealing in some ways but also like a Milky Way … the addition of peanuts to make a Snickers really brings the whole thing together.  So I added some crunch.

There is some subtle texturing in the head, shoulders and arms but the real KAPOW is in that skirt.  Working with the same stippling process I did for ‘the Enormity’ I just invested a million hours and a few cups of coffee to add some texture with zinc white and raw umber.  The results are excellent; however, as it goes … I then found myself dismayed at the central skirt area, it all needed more oomph and dimension.

Now that’s the ticket.  Some brightness to offset the muted white and umber tones and some shading to push the stippling texture to pop a bit.  I’m very very pleased with the strength of this at this stage.  More work needs to be done on the eye as it’s too flat still but first it all must rest, both in the studio to cure and in my brain to … well to cure in a similar fashion.  I feels decidedly incomplete to me but I’m not entirely sure where it wants to go next.  Some time and distance will assist.

–UPDATE 07/21/2021

Well, time and distance did it’s work and now I feel like she’s done.  The issue with the above piece was a lack of framing, I think.  There was so much empty space up there and I didn’t really want to work any kind of background in, but my eyes felt lost as to where to focus when I looked at it.  My eyes like to be directed when I’m looking at a painting and this wasn’t doing it for me. 

So I pulled out the masking tape and experimented, creating a frame in the image and using some raw umber thinned with a little bit of linseed oil.  The sharp edge created by the tape is VERY pleasing to me (and pulling that tape off was decidedly satisfying).  I’ve worked with various painters tapes historically and been left cold by their sloppiness.  Somehow, this cheap masking tape was just the ticket.  When I placed it (which I did carefully and I think it’s even everywhere) I then went over the edges with a thumbnail to ensure I had good adhesion everywhere and no gaps.  It seems to have worked beautifully … So beautifully I did the same on another piece which I’ll post in a minute.  

So… I am satisfied.  I worked hard on this one, learned so much about texture and detail and perfected a method for masking areas that will serve me well going forward.  Most importantly, I had so much fun and that’s really why we are all here.

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