Friday, January 05, 2007

The Dream

"The Dream" - 8 x 10" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.
Copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater.
Please click here to bid.

Today I decided to try a color study to see what I'd be up against with this Sargent project. So out whipped the paints and an 8 x 10" canvas, and this is what I came up with. Sargent said:

  • a perfectly delineated line between dark and light was a fault, and laziness
  • dragging paint thinly across the canvas to create the idea of transparency was no substitute for a thick glob of paint of the exact correct tone
  • to achieve proper facial features/ likeness, the initial underpainting, no matter how blobby, of the head, had to be properly constructed
  • better to scrape off a poor start than constantly try to correct it.
  • make sure you have plenty of paint on your palette and don't try to spare it
So I kept all these things in mind as I worked on this, and tried to ignore the fact that my intended final canvas is 8000 times larger than this little one.

Bring on the comments, folks, I can take 'em. Also, on Sunday I'd would love to post progress from my participating readers, but I sense y'all are still holding back, because I don't have as many as I'd like. Doesn't have to be big, folks . . . email me. portraitswithcharacter @


Rita said...

Hi Maggie,

This horse is excellent!
If you want to be nit-picked then the only thing that stands out to me is the nostril closest to us feels like it needs to be smaller/ contracted. I'm figuring it looks this way (as you've painted it) because of the lighting and the shadowing on that side of his/ her face which might be making it look bigger than it actually is.

Other than that I think this is super. I especially like the bg colours you've chosen and how they've been applied.

Reading over Sargent's "painting requirements" I can at least say that I'm adhering to his "don't be stingy with the paint" rule. Nothing quite like slopping a big blob of paint on a canvas...or on a palette...or on someone that just happens to be walking by...

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Thanks, Rita. You're right, the shadow makes that nostril look huge. I had an email that commented I might try to make my color choices look more effortless, like JSS did, and as much as I'd love to disagree, I did change the tone of the shoulder once, and you can tell . . .

And hey, can we make lobbing paint at passersby part of the project?

holly said...

Sure . . . but save it for your Jackson Pollock project.

I looked at your piece several times, trying to critique it ala Sargent, and all I/we can say is that you did a superb job. Really superb.

The palette, handling of light, brushstrokes, all spot on. John started to question the 'detail' in the lower left background, but I reminded him that he did indeed include more than a 'fade to black' ("his" black) when there was something to say.

*Really* looking forward to the large one; seems it's going to be easier for you than you think. (I'm a lot better with my eye than with my brush, promise.)

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Thanks Holly . . . I appreciate someone with a direct hotline to John. ;)

Katherine said...

My goodness - you've got a a hotline to John set up - when did this happen?

On the horse - take a look at JSS's watercolours because in some ways I think they are closer to the way you like working than the oils. And your fave modern painter is a watercolourist - so I challenge you to have a go at a watercolour before the month is out! Of course if you challenge me back all bets are off as I'm useless with a brush!