Friday, February 5, 2016

Tahmoor's Table: the Inspiration, the Process and the Changed Face

Tahmoor's Table
mixed media on cradled panel
16 x 20 inch

Last month I did a series of very small paintings inspired by Picasso.  I decided to do a larger painting of the one I called "Amy" because I loved the posture or pose of her which was quite exaggerated in comparison to Picasso's "The Ascetic", where the whole concept came from.

After beginning my larger painting, the blank space behind her seemed too big and too plain.  I considered many options like a window or just a simple pattern, and when I saw Carolyn Plochmann's lace cover in her painting "Something Finely Made" I knew a lace curtain was what I wanted to do.  It offered the challenge of trying something new (painting lace) and also provided the background I was looking for.

I used molding paste to create the larger flowers you see in the lace and when they were just too bumpy, I sanded them down quite a bit.  I used acrylic paint and colored pencils and ink washes to achieve the look and was pretty happy with the result.

detail
 On the table I used some loosely-done fracturing marks I learned from Julie Ford Oliver's online tutorial and workshop.  I loved how it created movement all over the tabletop.

The bird was more hallow and ghostly-looking at first.  I had planned to leave it that way, but once I started to think of a name for the piece I stumbled onto some interesting knowledge.  I was searching for names that begin with "T" since "T...'s Table" seemed an appropriate name for the piece.  When reading about the name "Tahmoor" I read that its origin came from the Bronzewing Pigeon which are a group of pigeons native to Australia.  So I added some color to the wing and changed the beak to make it look more like a Bronzewing, and now the name Tahmoor was perfect!   How's that for a complicated, round about way of naming a painting?  Whoever said being an artist was simple?  :)

detail

The flowers were a happy turnout as well.  I think painting flowers can be difficult and I am ever-searching for new ways to paint them.  These were at first big blue blobs and they looked like Dr. Seuss' Truffula Trees.  But after playing around with some chunky brushstrokes, the result was exactly the happy flower I had in mind.  I mixed a lot of gel medium into the paint to give it a nice, buttery texture.


detail
The trickiest part was her face.  I am trying to get away from hard lines and my figures tend to have them, especially around the nose, eyes and brow.  There isn't anything wrong with hard lines really, I just want to learn and explore more with with how I paint faces on my characters. After conversing with Julie about my dilemma, she suggested I look at photos converted to black and white in order to discover value changes.  I looked at a lot of art online this way and then put my own painted face in black and white to see the "trouble areas", then went from there.  I used a lot of light skin tones to sort of smoosh out the hard lines and that did it.  It transformed her face by flattening the bridge of her nose and making the eyes quite smaller, but that was okay with me.  


Here's the original face in color...

close up of previous face with harder lines

And here they are side by side in black and white.  You can see a lot more light and dark contrasts in the original face vs the final outcome, especially if you squint.  A brilliant suggestion on Julie's part.  I had heard this suggestion before, but never took the time to do it.  

in black and white
Left:  before  Right:  after

I began painting faces in my sketchbook this week  and also started a new 16 x 20 inch painting.   I can tell you quite honestly, that painting and drawing faces with hard lines is deeply ingrained in me.  It just comes so naturally to do them that way, so I don't know if I will ever be able to change it without A LOT of practice and effort on my part.  Plus, I am not 100% sure I want to change when I look at the before and after side by side.   The "before" face feels a little more like "home" to me.  More comfortable.  More familiar.  That feels silly to say, but do you know what I mean?  I have been thinking a lot about this lately, on whether or not to tweak my style a bit or to just not worry about it and paint away.  To me, tweaking means growing as an artist and I definitely want to grow.  What do you think?

I am babbling now, so off I go to paint more faces.  Who knows what will come next?

Thank you SO much for all your wonderful comments in the last post about my show at City Arts.  It's still up and running until February 20 and I've had a lot of great feedback on the show.  If you live in Wichita or close, I hope you will get by to see it!

Happy Weekend everyone!

♥ Lisa

25 comments:

  1. A LOVELY post and a GREAT work of ART!

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  2. Tahmoor's face looks good both ways. I understand about the hard lines. When I draw faces they always have those...but that's just me.
    I sure wish I was near Wichita. I'd definitely come to see your art.

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  3. I love both faces Lisa but the after is my favorite. Really beautiful work!

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  4. I loved hearing about your process and how you went about changing her face. I'm not sure which I like better! I think it's good to know how to paint things in multiple ways, so you have options when you feel like doing something different, but I don't think it's necessary to change things when they work just because you think you should, especially when it's something you feel helps to define your style.

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  5. I am glad you pushed yourself...the second Tamoor looks so innocent and delicate. The personality you bestow by using different techniques enriches your style, and you can emphasize the qualities you wsnt your characters to have. I was intrigued the bird is looking at her, but she is looking away and i wondered about the relationship between her and the bird. Anyway, softening/lightening the bridge of her nose makes her look more child-like and the darker version she seems older, more mature. Using B&W images is a great way to see value. I often take a black and white digital image of my paintimg and compare with a black and white photo of the real picture to see if i am getting the value close...or if i want to manipulate it to make an artistic statement about shadows and light or death and life...thank you for sharing your process! Well done! The lace curtain is perfect back drop!

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  6. I am glad you pushed yourself...the second Tamoor looks so innocent and delicate. The personality you bestow by using different techniques enriches your style, and you can emphasize the qualities you wsnt your characters to have. I was intrigued the bird is looking at her, but she is looking away and i wondered about the relationship between her and the bird. Anyway, softening/lightening the bridge of her nose makes her look more child-like and the darker version she seems older, more mature. Using B&W images is a great way to see value. I often take a black and white digital image of my paintimg and compare with a black and white photo of the real picture to see if i am getting the value close...or if i want to manipulate it to make an artistic statement about shadows and light or death and life...thank you for sharing your process! Well done! The lace curtain is perfect back drop!

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    1. Well hello there my artistmonk friend! Nice to see you here in blogland! Does this mean you might post your art here at some point? :)

      About the bird...I am not sure he is really there. I think she may be imagining the bird is sharing a meal with her. Or possible he is singing to her and we have caught her glancing away a bit as she intently listens to his song.

      Thanks for visiting and your great comment! If you will blog, I will come see you there! xo

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  7. i reaaaally love this, lisa... i'm gonna love what you do no matter what. i don't think it's possible for you to veer from your true voice, hard lines or not.

    xoxo

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  8. She looks like a Tahmoor! I love the story about how you got to the title and added the right bird and the lace. It's very organic the way you arrived at all of your ideas and decisions. Just exactly what I like about art making:)

    As for the face, I see your point about the way you normally do faces. Maybe if you tuck away the value shift information you can continue to think about how to use it in other ways. I like your softened results a lot though. It added a completely different dimension to the figure and composition in general. You have lots of options now for expressing different moods and ideas (with the faces).

    Keep going!
    Libby

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  9. First of all I LOVE the curtain behind. It is really wonderful. Personally i love the original face--but I think it is important to keep trying different techniques and eventually you will find a happy balance between what makes your paintings "you" and adding tweaks here and there. I've finally started blogging again-I hope you will come and visit my blog janetsartplay.blogspot.com and see my newest paintings.

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  10. Lisa! Her face is beautiful. I see exactly what you mean about the softening effect. What a great idea to look at it in black and white. Sometimes less is more and I think less shadow has transformed her so amazingly well. This process could work for other subjects too. I will be experimenting!!!

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  11. Everything about this painting is perfect!

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  12. i enjoyed reading about the unfolding of this lovely piece.
    it is interesting how our art can take us on an adventure.

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  13. Enjoyed looking at your recent blog posts. Your painting style seems very personal. I especially liked the "Winter Sled" mixed media, and the beautiful texture of the curtains behind "Tahmoor." I have an art and exploring blog at saltairandpistachios if you would like to visit it.

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    1. Hi Barbara, I have went to your blog today and really enjoyed looking around. I didn't see any way to comment so I hope you see this. Loved your charming mixed media piece. I am so drawn to houses of any sort.

      Thank you for visiting and your kind words.

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  14. saltairandpistachios.com is the correct blog site

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  15. Dear Lisa - what a super post. It was so generous of you to show your thinking process. Honestly I love your style and so to me your faces look wonderful. Such a great title for your lovely painting as well. Hope you are having a super start to February. God Bless!

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  16. Dear Lisa - what a super post. It was so generous of you to show your thinking process. Honestly I love your style and so to me your faces look wonderful. Such a great title for your lovely painting as well. Hope you are having a super start to February. God Bless!

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  17. Lisa, such an interesting post! I love how you explained, about the way you have created this painting! I find it amazing! I understand, when you say, it feels like home to you. I feel, you should always paint from your heart. So, if you feel the calling to explore/tweak, then do it, if you don't, then don't. Follow your soul!
    Your art has grown onto my art! I feel I am so much more free and my backgrounds have exploded, and that is because of you!
    Big Hugs!

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  18. absolutely beautiful painting, and I too enjoyed hearing about the process. Although I like both faces, I think the after one fits the delicacy of the lace curtain and the overall feeling of this painting. So nice if you can do faces both ways - or even a combination - and great to push yourself to grow as an artist, even though it can be so challenging! I do love everything about this painting Lisa!

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  19. Beautiful post and love this painting....the background is amazing!

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  20. Hi Lisa---what a post! You did a great job of explaining. It's totally beautiful. You definitely should always paint from your heart. I can relate on so many levels.
    Keep on doing wonderful paintings---like this one!

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  21. Really great change on the face, Lisa! Love the softness of your paintings so much and feel home as soon as I see them :) ♥ Conny http://piaromsartjournaling.blogspot.de

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  22. What a fabulous painting. I enjoyed this post so much, Lisa. Absolutely a gift to us all - explaining your methods and thought process. Thank you. Blogging at its best!
    I really enjoyed all the comments too.

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  23. I love how your paintings always hold a story , like in this case the name of the work . Change and experimenting is good , but I think one of your trademarks is actually using the stronger lines.

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