One to Another

November 3, 2009

10/09 On Exhibit – Nat’l Juried Exhibit

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 5-Related Topics, 6-On Exhibit — pendantportraits @ 5:21 pm

The companion portrait drawings of Joe and Hilary were selected for exhibition at the Lore Degenstein Gallery at Susquehanna State University in Pennsyvlania for a National Figurative Exhibition. I placed the paired works within one frame, using a mat with two oval windows.

The works were created with coffees washes on sketchbook paper, drawn with Conte and graphite. Each drawing took less than an hour. Although the works are not for sale, here’s what I paid to present the works in this exhibition.

$25      The submission fee for this juried exhibition was reasonable.

$75       Mat. No local frame shop was able to cut a customized oval, much less two ovals within one mat. It was necessary to have a local sign company cut ovals in a 8 mm polyvinylacrylate (PVC) mat with their CNC machine. I painted the PVC mat with acrylic paint (several layers, plus detailing around the oval windows).

$135      I selected a frame with subtle engraving on the 3/4″ profile face in a deep warm red from the Ex Libris Framing. The cost included plexiglas, assembly, finishing of the back, and completion within a quick turn around time. The price included an exhibition discount.

$107     Packing, insurance and shipping (roundtrip) were another cost.

The total cost to present these works to the public in this exhibition is $342.


August 18, 2009

08/18/09 Joe (session 5)

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 9:56 am

Tues Aug 18 3:30-6:30 pm – no crutch, 3 hours, full medium in selected areas, pants, baseboard, face color brought up, arm color brought up, details on watch. Finito. (Scanned details – pending documentation of full work.)

August 17, 2009

08/17/09 Joe (session 4)

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 9:52 am

Our third session on the painting (fourth overall) was from 2-5 pm on Mon Aug 17. I worked on Joe’s arms, which are an important expressive passage. In his crossed-arms pose, he creates a foreground to his torso. The painting developed well. The cast shadow color is established, and I went ahead and deepened the value of his shirt.
In between – dilute gesso sprays, some glazing.

August 16, 2009

08/16/09 Joe (session 3)

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 9:34 am

Day 2 of painting (3rd session): Two weeks have passed since Joe and I were able to work together. Because of this, I began by making a portrait sketch to get the forms of his likeness clearly in mind (pen and charcoal on gray paper). After that, I applied diluted base tones of acrylic washes (no medium) to the painting. The Pastelbord is very absorbent, and it took these beautifully. Joe was wearing a dark t-shirt, yet I didn’t commit to this in the underpainting. Overall, the head formed up and the work developed well (as a painting not only as a likeness).

August 1, 2009

080109 Joe

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 1:06 pm

Joe’s initial session was July 22 (see separate post). We completed three drawings at that time.

On Aug 1, I began a 3/4 length portrait of Joe with his crutch in acrylic on 20 x 16 uncradled Ampersand Pastelbord. I taped pieces of colored paper around the edges to create an oval image area. The upper right and lower left had warm colors; the upper left and lower right had cool colors. I did this because I had the idea that the rotating colors at the perimeter would aid me in the development of temperature and saturation as active compositional factors. I began afresh (did not transfer one of the drawings). We worked from 2-5 pm. I prepared an acrylic wash in a spray bottle and used this liberally, along with spritzed water. The wash included fluorescent orange. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photograph of this stage.

July 30, 2009

072209 / 072809 Joe and Hilary

Filed under: --Joe & Hilary, 1-Progress/Sessions — pendantportraits @ 10:57 pm

For the time, Joe and Hilary have a bi-coastal marriage. Joe’s here in town from LA for an extended summer visit. Joe posed first, on July 22, and Hilary posed the next week, July 28. We did three drawings during Joe’s first session and two during Hilary’s.

As a visual artist himself, Joe knew to place small pillows at pressure points (sitting still does not come easily to him). Hilary had an exquisite sense of her pose during every moment. Her training as a dancer and daily yoga practice were evident; she was energized in her stillness. I worked longer on Hilary’s first portrait, which meant that I only had time to make companion drawings to the first two portraits of Joe.

I worked quickly on the first drawing of Joe. I’ve known him since our undergraduate years, so it seemed natural to make eye contact with one another. I used HB and 3B graphite. Hilary’s tucked-chin pose is one that she assumed naturally, and she said that it’s an aspect of a meditation pose. It inspires me to capture the shape of her head in this subtle position.

Left (above): Hilary’s Husband (first pose), graphite on Fabriano Ingres, 12 1/2 x 9 1/2″ (40×32 cm), July 22, 2009.

Right (above): Joe’s Wife (first pose), graphite on Fabriano Ingres, 12 1/2 x 9 1/2″ (40×32 cm), July 28, 2009.


For his second posed (at right), Joe faced the north studio window, and crossed his arms to help stabilize himself. He sat in the channel-back chair with my worktable between us (gently implied foreground). I drew a 9 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ oval in pencil (using a pre-cut mat as template) on a page in the 17 x 14” sketchbook, and after Joe arrived, spray-toned the sheet with diluted Golden diarylide yellow and Liquitex fluorescent orange for a low-tech airbrush effect. I turned the paper upside-down to utilize the movement of the spray to best effect. Although I quickly disregarded the oval, its presence affected the scale of the figure within the field of active paper tone. I used graphite to ‘glaze’ Joe’s t-shirt as a local ‘color,’ and to enrich selected areas; against the bright warm tone, the graphite has a distinctly blue cast. A few vertical lines in the back suggest Joe’s crutches within arm’s reach and provide a minimal background.



Left (above): Joe’s Wife (second pose), Conte pastel pencil and graphite on acrylic toned ground, 17 x 14″, July 28, 2009.

Right (above): Hilary’s Husband (second pose), Conte pastel pencil and graphite on acrylic toned ground, 17 x 14″, July 22, 2009.


I followed the same steps for Hilary’s second companion drawing (left, above): penciled oval > acrylic spray toned ground > Conte > graphite. The spigot was clogged on the sprayer that I’d prepped with color for Joe’s drawing, so I changed to another one that had a different spray pattern. We moved the channel-backed chair to the south side of the room, so that the lighting on Hilary would complement the lighting in Joe’s second drawing. This also placed her on the left, authorative side. Hilary’s composure inspired me to take on a more complex pose, almost a full-figure portrait. Louie (the most charming red Dachshund in Baldwin Park) wanted to get up on her lap; we compromised and got him to sit next to her. To make room, she pushed herself off to the side as far as she could. Even though Lou eventually jumped down, her seated position implies his presence. Her left arm is outstretched and her left hand hangs off of the armrest, recalling Frans Snyder’s hand in Van Dyck’s portrait of his friend and fellow painter. I used Conte pastel pencil for most of the drawing, shifting to 3B graphite in the final stage to achieve the feeling of the color blue and to correspond with the media used for the companion drawing of Joe. My favorite area of the drawing is the space between the back of her knee and the chair. Hilary is in the middle of a major creative project herself right now, and it may be a long time before she can pose again.

My husband came home while we were working on Joe’s third drawing; consequently, it became my portrait of Joe grinning at John. I used silverpoint on a chalk gesso panel (Panelli).

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