Monday, October 4, 2010

But Can She Act?

"Variations on a Diva" (24x30)

Why do I still assume because a model looks good, that she'll pose good as well? Actually, this girl did (does) so I've painted her again... But I do know some rather attractive people who couldn't make a facial expression or strike a convincing pose to save their life -- too bad, because you really need to be able to act a little bit to help the artist make a convincing picture... This girl is an excellent figure model, but when I asked her to give me a smoky night club singer, she went to town making up dozens of great poses without any direction -- it was fun just watching the wheels turn in her head as she kept trying new ideas...

Even though these poses are still, they're not static -- due to her imaginative acting skills, and loose edges in the brushwork. If I did anything right in this painting, it would have to be this one stroke on her infra-spinatus (don't quote me) muscle just left of the scapula shadow edge -- like Dean Cornwell said, when you pull off a happy accident like that, you should fall on your knees and thank God for it!

Anyway, I'm no DC, else I'd do it on command everywhere I wanted, but that little shape sure helps this piece. Working quickly through a multi-figure painting of this sort helps you stay fresh and not get bogged down in finessing the details (which would only drag the whole thing down into the manikin basement at Macy's).

After working out the composition, this one was all about edges and subtle value shifts in her skin temperature. I kept her eyes in a lighter value range to deflect too much attention to that area and keep a balance with the rest of her form...

The interest happens up close in the abstract edges of the strokes that break contours and create chaos amongst shapes that actually lend themselves to movement, keeping the original concept more fresh & alive. Of course I could never do that without a great looking model...who can act to boot.