This week as usual, I read my semi-weekly newsletter "Painter's Keys from Robert Genn. This one was entitled--So What? Boy did it hit the mark for me. A writer asked Robert how to elevate their work beyond the "so what" level. She stated she could draw and paint well but she knew there had to be something more. Robert said that in the literary and theatrical world they had a French term deus ex machina which means "God from the machine" or roughly translated, "God made it happen." This device is used to solve an unsolvable problem or when an author paints himself into a corner.
Here is the gem of advice. "Ask yourself what extraordinary thing could be made to happen in your picture. Examples would be, among many things, a burst of light or an unlikely inclusion. You need to think of something just a bit magical. An engagement of imagination brings a shot of emotion, drama or surprise." Wow, did that make me see things in a new way. It gave me permission to be a little unorthodox. Thank you Robert Glenn. To read this newsletter just click here.
My still life paintings from now on will be influenced by the "so what?" question.
This week I decided to paint a portrait just for the fun of it. A few months back a friend of mine posted a picture of her daughter on Facebook that just captured my imagination. Her pensive look and flowing golden hair was right out of a fairytale. After getting permission to paint her using the photo, I finally got around to put image to canvas. It's not finished but I'm off to a good start (I think). Her hair is light and golden yellow but with the light coming from the top, it glows with an angelic softness.
I've finished the top portion of the hair but the lower part is fine curly, almost fuzzy, ringlets. The challenge is to capture that softness without breaking up the lights and darks and loosing the form. There is a reddish cast to the yellow ochre and gray green cascade of strands so I laid in the darks first. Tomorrow I will pull out the lights where necessary to the right of the ear and below. Her entire left should is covered with soft, fuzzy, single strands. Not sure how to tackle this just yet. I am keeping the background high key and light filled. When finished, I will post a better image. Wish me luck!