Saturday, July 25, 2009

SuziBlu - portrait #1and #2

It was late. I was tired. My brain was scrambled from a day in front of my computer doing billing and insurance work.

There was no way I could contemplate making art.

So, what's the best way to spend an evening if the TV is just too, too silly to stare at?

Why, find some "how to make art" videos and plant your tired eyes in front of your PC.
I am taking (silly me) another course in drawing portraits, and this one is from my favorite, fabulous, forty year old fighter-for-all-who-hanker-to-create-art; Miss SuziBlu.

I'm sure you know her, she is all over the web and is truly one of a kind. An enthusiastic cheerleader who unstintingly shares her art making experience and love of all things pigment related. Oh, can she make you laugh out loud! At home. By yourself. At your computer.

I found her on You Tube last year and have been addicted ever since. She is so gracious that when you take one of her courses, she lets you download the videos, and there are a lot of them, so you can watch them anytime, anywhere. No wireless needed. No time limits. No trouble at all.

So, here I was, as I said, tired, red eyed, stiff necked and sore bottomed staring at Miss SuziBlu tell me to pick up a pencil and just draw. I had a dull #2 with no eraser left on the bitten end and my wide ruled tablet of note paper.

And, much to my surprise, instead of taking notes like I always do, I put down my ball point and picked up that ratty pencil and did a drawing while Suzi demonstrated how to make a charming, young, beautiful artful face on the video.

Before I knew it, the video was over and I had a drawing laid on top of those blue lines. How wonderful is that?

Now Suzi is in the second week of The Goddess & The Poet class and has started in on colored pencil.

I watched video #2A and got out the Moleskine purple label she recommended for the class and did another portrait today.

This is another face based on a model advertising eye shadow. It's a shame they all wear false eyelashes. It's hard to see the real shape of the eye, but oh, they are such pretty girls. I forgive Maybelline and Cover Girl and all the rest. It's wonderful to have such a plethora of pretty faces to learn on.

On of these days I am going to graduate to color. I have been stuck in graphite on the Pursue Portrait course because (a) my faces are too realistic in an awful way and (b) the last time I tried color, I got an awful mess to show for it.

This art making stuff takes years and years and I've been told it takes 10,000 hours to get good at anything.

That part's OK, but do I have 10,000 hours of play time left to work it out?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pursue Portrait # 7 and #8

The Pursue Portrait on-line class with Pam Carriker is a really nice class for me. It is really a challenge to draw a face and put some of your own into it.

I have been looking around at old photos and am not finding many with me in them at all. That's because I am always the one behind the camera.

Even when I was young, my sister, Gloria, always said, "Your turn! Get in the picture!"

Guess I didn't listen to her very often.

I took this photo with my digital camera last week and was trying to find a nice head tilt image. I'm happier with the lips and eyes and even the nose has the somewhat square shape I see in the mirror.

I got tired of looking at my face, so I ripped apart a few magazines. Photographs of women in purple eye shadow are really fun to draw!

One of these days I will get up the courage to add some color to the sketches I am making.

Now who wouldn't love to have a face like this to draw everyday?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Portrait Class continues

The work continues. Looking at one's own face is such a challenge. It's difficult to be involved without being critical. This was done from a photo taken when I had my adult Bat Mitzvah in 1985. Of course, while I worked on the drawing, I was filled with conflicting memories of that day. Glad I had completed another goal, happy to be with family, but concerned about where I would be going goal-wise from here.

I shouldn't have worried. God always makes sure you have lots to learn.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Portrait Class

(Diffuse Glow)

I am taking a portrait drawing and painting class with Pam Carriker at and after practicing on a "generic face" that Pam created for us, I moved onto the next lesson where she encourages you to draw your own face. sigh.
This is not so much fun.
I do not have a 30 year old face. Or even a 40 year old face. 50 is just a memory and now I'm in the middle of my 60th decade and let me tell you, the invention of digital camera is fun for computer use, but not so much fun when you need a blurry version of yourself.

I remember, fondly, my first Kodak Instamatic. Point, shoot, instant flash if needed and then you send the roll away and you get 24 or 36 softly blurred images as memory keepers. Those were the good old days and I didn't even need it then. I was young. My face was unlined and thin and my skin glowed with youth!

Now, however, I have an amazing digital camera that is brilliant at capturing tons of photos one after the other and not one costs me a penny. I can shoot hundreds and still not fill up my 2 Gigabite SD card. If I want a copy of any photo, I print it out at home or have them uploaded at Snapfish and get prints for .09 cents each - a special deal...

But try, just TRY to get a soft focus shot of an old face. Grrrrr. I finally resorted to using the "diffuse glow" option on my photo editing software and after playing with it for 90 minutes, I got about 12 photos that I wasn't afraid to look at. Sheesh.
This first photo is diffused and glowing, but softly. I had to jiggle it so my face wouldn't disappear altogether.

(Digital image)

After lunch I got out my Polaroid camera and took about 10 photos of my face an arms length away. I was on the porch and it was a sunny day, so the photos were not flashed, but boy oh boy were they blurry! My arms are just not long enough for the 3 foot focus of that camera.
Having lunch settled me.
I decided to try to do a portrait, so I printed out a few of the photos that I had fooled around with and sat down with my pencil and paper.
Guess what. There was just not enough detail to get a fix on my chin.
So, I went back to my computer and took another look at all the photos I had taken earlier in the day. I had shots coming from all kinds of angles. Up close, 3/4, full front, left side, right side, smiling, teeth, no teeth, frowns, surprise!, dreamy and whatever mood I could think of to describe what was happening on my face.
How and when did my nose get so Big!?
What I realized right then was, I had some really good photos of a face. Just a face. OK, so for now it is my face, but so what? It's something to draw and someone I know. I was suddenly glad for all those pictures. I was happy with them. I felt good inside. And, I don't know why. Something inside me had changed from before lunch to after lunch. I was OKAY with these pictures and I was going to use them as is.
I printed out a bunch, thank goodness I had figured out how to set my digital camera to black and white setting, and I sat down again at my drawing pad.

(First Self Portrait)

This is what happened.
It's a near likeness. Maybe only I can see it, but it is my first self portrait. I am going to trust that it is OK. I am going to be happy with it just as it is and I am finding out that "diffuse glow" comes from within.
Who knew?