It has been the year of letting go of many things. Letting go of assumptions, old habits, bad habits and FEAR.
Thanks to summer classes, I am getting the paint down faster and trying different styles. Two hours for a relatively finished painting was nearly impossible for me. My teacher, Bert Seabourn, has been serving up examples of his own work as well as artists such as John Neito to push the boundaries. So far, I think I have improved my speed, refreshed my rendering skills and abandoned the grid. There isn’t enough time to be precious. Taking the examples and going off in my own direction within the time limits is next on the list. Hopefully this will translate into better plein air painting when the weather cools down!
I have also taken on the traditional practice of doing a self-portrait. Since I am not a portrait painter, this is the ultimate challenge. Until the last few weeks, I hadn’t attempted to draw a face or a figure since college and never painted one. I doubt I’ll ever master portraits but I’ll take any excuse to try something new and expand my horizons. All of it makes me a better artist with a larger ‘toolbox’.
In light of this ambitious project, I took advantage of the chance to get a close up look at portraits by Ingres and Bouguereau this week at the “Gods and Heroes” exhibition at the OKCMOA. The exhibit has traveled all the way from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. I was most taken with “Torso” 1850 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (right). The mastery he brings to his work is more obvious to me in this simple, singular subject rather than the expansive mythological epics of the time.
So let’s see how it goes…!