Thursday, March 1, 2007

Pick a Weed, Find a Lily

At least that is how it worked out for me yesterday. I was finally so close to winning the "worst yard on the block" award, that I just had to deal with those Texas-sized weeds. At near completion on my first planting area I discovered a lily. I pulled up a horrendously large thorny weed and found underneath a squished, but still thriving baby lily poking up. That, my friends, made the entire hour and a half of weed-pulling worth it! I had completely forgotten about the bulbs I had thrown in last year (they were half-dead but I had hope) - that is what I love about gardening, I'm very bad at it, but the garden forgives me and does its best in spite of my efforts!

And as for my portrait of the boys, you can see for yourself. I clearly didn't get the likeness of the littlest that I did for the others. I'm irritated about that and soured on the whole thing, so I just gave it a quick finish and have decided to move on.

Here's a review of what I learned:
  • A 5B pencil was too dark and soft for this, I didn't have the control over it that I wanted. I kept finding myself wanting to lift out darkness.
  • Doing the three faces separately first was a bad idea. I had trouble combining the top two believably (although I think I eventually succeeded) and I later realized that I had to move the third's position - which made the light patterns all wrong. I just glossed over that in my planning, but I shouldn't have.
  • The hair falling on the face came out better than usual, but everything behind that is awkward. (I suspect this is largely because I was too ready to be done by the time I faced it.)
  • I need to think more about how eyebrows and lips function, so they don't look so pasted on.
On the positive side:
  • Two out of three likenesses is an improvement on my percentage.
  • Doing "washes" or layering the pencil marks was more effective for me than usual.
  • Portraits will always be my first love and I have hope that I will improve.
  • Doing portraits of people so close to your own heart is a risky venture. And, for this portrait, it worked out OK for me.
Alright, enough with the weed. I'm pulling that one up. And on to what I hope to be a lily. The Fine Line Artist's choice for the month is J.W. Waterhouse. I'm quite excited about it. More about that tomorrow.

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