One to Another

July 1, 2010

062910 – David & Fun

Filed under: --David & Fun, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 12:42 am

Note: Image pending.

With the academic term behind us and much of the summer before us, we three have returned to our project.

Fun posed beautifully today for nearly three hours. We agreed that is was a ‘very Savannah day.’ The weather was overcast when I arrived around 1 pm. As we worked, a torrential thunderstorm passed through. By the time that I returned home, the sky was clear and bright. Fun’s expression in the portrait shifted nearly as much, developing from grave, to open/alert, and then youthful.

One of my objectives for the day was to get a better sense of the overall tonality that I want in these works. I worked on dark gray toned Canson paper with white, warm white, mid-gray, sanguine, black Conte, and charcoals. These materials have an affinity with painting ~ and today’s drawing is painterly.

Another objective for the day was to scale Fun’s portrait to that of her husband’s portrait. In his drawing, David’s head is 1/7 of the height of the full composition. He told me that this is the proportion between the width of the base to the height of a Doric column (according to some theorists). I found that the Tuscan order, also referred to as Roman Doric, is considered to typically have this 1:7 relationship. At the end of the session, the scale is not yet right. I need to focus both on Fun’s own scale relationships (head to torso and so on) as well as the scale relationship between the two works.

To match the scale, before we started the session, I flipped over the drawing on tracing paper that I have of David, and translated placement notations for the head, hand, and seat onto the paper for the drawing of Fun.

Color of light — warm/cool (backlit).  Relaxed – in pose leg stretch.

Fun commented that food is an additional shared love with David. I looked for a food that has an important role in both the Asian (for Fun) and Italian (for David – this is not his nationality, but he loves Italian food). I found garlic. Here are some excerpts from web sites.

The Wonders of Garlic “Garlic was a symbol of the cosmos as manifested by its successive layers of skin that form the bulb. The Greeks and Romans ate of this magical herb. They used it as a health protector and aphrodisiac.”

Chinese food symbolism “Garlic is considered a lucky plant because in legend and history it has been used as an antidote to poisons of all sorts. It has other prolific uses such as when it symbolizes luck, health, or rich progeny in numbers or economics. Garlic and five are partners in the fifth day of the fifth month festival and in many dishes that use at least five ingredients. Emperors knew that garlic was good for the blood, they wanted it served in many of the foods presented to them. Some Chinese rulers prized it as a sexual tonic; that is why monastic kitchens in their country forbade its use.”

Ingredients for Chinese Cooking “Integral to Chinese cuisine, the use of garlic can be traced back to Shi Ching, the Chinese classic book of poems penned by Confucius in the 6th century BC.”

Garlic History “The word garlic comes from Old English garleac, meaning “spear leek.” Dating back over 6,000 years, it is native to Central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Egyptians worshiped garlic and placed clay models of garlic bulbs in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Garlic was so highly-prized, it was even used as currency. Folklore holds that garlic repelled vampires, protected against the Evil Eye, and warded off jealous nymphs said to terrorize pregnant women and engaged maidens. And let us not forget to mention the alleged aphrodisiacal powers of garlic which have been extolled through the ages. / Surprisingly, garlic was frowned upon by foodie snobs in the United States until the first quarter of the twentieth century, being found almost exclusively in ethnic dishes in working-class neighborhoods. But, by 1940, America had embraced garlic, finally recognizing its value as not only a minor seasoning, but as a major ingredient in recipes. / Quaint diner slang of the 1920’s referred to garlic as Bronx vanilla, halitosis, and Italian perfume. Today, Americans alone consume more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually.”

I need to remember to take a nice big clove of garlic to the sessions in mid-July, to test if this might be incorporated.

Matthew, their son, realized that we are making a separate portrait for each. David (the contractor working on their home, who is a photographer) commented that highlights will always make the subject look thinner (I’m using warm highlights to the left/east, and cool highlights to the right/west).


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