Saturday, January 22, 2011

Portrait Preparation Work

A busy day today. I had decided to complete the composition on the portraits. There are two, each with the same face but both different. One will be a landscape, and so I spent the first hour or so researching landscape views using Google Earth and selecting a few, then adding the most appropriate to the composition in Photoshop to finalise the digital mockup.

Then onto the second picture; The Mathematics of Nazimova. The portrait itself was rather empty so I had the idea of adding a ribbon to it with the number pi scribbled on it. Then, I thought that the ribbon was a trail, pulled by a bee. Upon drawing this though I found myself doodling and draw a snaking vine, one wrapped around another with onions along it's side (yes! onions!) and one flew off to become a hot air balloon onion.

I decided to trust my unconscious and go with it. I grabbed a cute little onion, and a budding branch from the garden and took some reference photos then sketched in a bit of both. The result is undoubtedly something about maturity or flying the nest or separation of some sort, even perhaps yes! the separation of cold mathematical logic from warm nature.

Once the mockups were done I traced the drawing and scanned it so that I could easily make a duplicate. One was overdrawn as the landscape and the original overdrawn with the mathematical elements. Both suffered from one compositional limitation; that the face and background touching it needed to be the same tone and similar colour, because much of the outline in the old photo blends into the background invisibly. Trying to draw a line where there is none would be a mistake. That limitation led to innovation; the "sky" of the mathematical picture will be a desert floor, the background being an inverted landscape, and the face of the second picture will be a silver-clouded sky.

So, now I have two pictures drawn. The next step is to transfer them to panel, then paint some colour studies to confirm the hues and tonal balances.


John Salmon. said...

So, what are you going to do after lunch?

Mark Sheeky said...

I was going to say idle hands make light work but I think I got that quote wrong :)