I attended a music workshop last night that happened to be in held in the space where Quartet is hanging, and one of the students brought up the artwork as a way to describe a musical concept (which thrilled me no end). The discussion made me realize what’s been missing in the violin portrait I started in March: I zoomed in so close on the fiddle that you don’t see anything of the human figure but the hand. That puts the focus exactly where I want it — the interplay of hand and instrument — but it does it through composition/cropping rather than through painting style, which is what was so fun about Quartet. I don’t want to abandon that painting, but I do want to get into something that excites me a bit more, so today I’m planning a new one.
First I cataloged the prepped painting panels I have lying around the studio and wrote down the proportions, then I dug through my reference photos for one I remembered taking a few months ago. I had a few shots of the same guy with slightly different angles and bow positions, and I used photoshop to crop them a few different ways. After half an hour of playing it was clear that the ideal composition required a panel size I don’t have (it’s the subset of Murphy’s law that applies to new paintings. No matter what size of canvas or panel you want, you own’t have it on the day you’re super excited to get going). It takes a week to order it by mail, and a day plus a trip to the hardware store to make, so I made a note on the image I wanted to use and set it aside.
Luckily I have LOTS of reference photos, all taken at various jam sessions over the last year or so, and I found a multi-figure shot that works wonderfully cropped to a 5:8 aspect ratio — a really strange size that I DO have in the studio! It has the beginning of a different painting on it, so I’ll have to give it a good solid base coat before starting the next one. Since the current painting is in oil, the base coat has to be oil, too, and it will likely take a day or more to dry thoroughly enough that I can begin the sketch. It’s not quite the instant let’s-get-painting gratification I was hoping for, but at least I’ll get the paints out and get something started.
- On 2017-05-14
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