Friday, January 15, 2016

Careful - Your face will freeze like that!

Betty Richardson aka Arty AuntieDid your mother ever tell you this?  Mine certainly did.  Kids love to make faces. Apparently some adults do as well with all the duck face selfies I see on the web.  Never got that, nor do I understand it, and I have a niece or two I think needs to hear that old axiom -- Careful, your face will freeze like that!  Most of the time, I feel good when I can make a 'good' face for a picture.  Must less making a ducky one!

And speaking of faces, drawing or painting faces is my bane.  So much trouble with perspective, spacing, shapes, roundness.  I want to draw whimsical faces. I want to draw faces that look real. I want to include faces in my art and in my art journals.  And the good Lord knows I keep practicing (they say it does make perfect, doesn't it?).  Well, I finally did it.  I drew a face that looks like a face. Not a circle. Not comic. A face. 

Art by Nika Rouss

And I credit inspiration from Nika Rouss at Nika in Wonderland for making me actually stop and think about the construction of a face.  It has never before occurred to me to draw half a face.  But Nika posted an absolutely stunning watercolor on her page here, (along with many others) and in my art journaling group, Artful Journeys  that for whatever reason, made my lightbulb go off.  I get so few of these moments, I had to act upon it immediately.  Isn't she just gorgeous?

When I can visually see something, I can pretty well draw it, or something reasonably close to it. But if I have to make something up from memory, well, the results can be pretty disappointing.  So I called up Nika's beautiful painting on my computer screen, I got out my large Dylusions journal and turned to a page with some leftover mop up paint.  I spritzed and sprayed some assorted Dylusions sprays on top of the acrylic paint, and put down a base layer of paint, then using my TCW Flower Frenzy stencil, added some of the stencil around the page as a base layer.
Anxious to get underway, I grabbed a sketch pencil and did a rough face outline and started on the eye.  Now I have practiced drawing eyes over and over and over.  I can always get the right side of the face pretty well, but the left side is always a bit wonky.  (My left side is completely challenged in every way, but that's a whole other story).  So this concept of a one-sided face really appealed to me.

When I got the basic shape of the face, the first layer of my TCW Flower Frenzy stencil was really speaking to me for her hair.  As I finished up the eye, with several erasures, and finally settled on a nose shape (real, lifelike noses still elude me), I grabbed up my stencil again and this time I used Polished Jade Dylusions sprays and extended her hair over both sides of the spread. I love how the color changes on the stencil when flipped over and on top of the alcohol ink as it progresses across the page.

I finished off her eye with Caran D'Ache NeoColor II and titanium white acrylic and the face with a Stabilo All pencil and a smidgeon of Cadmium Red Light and white acrylic.

I used some advertising words found in a magazine as the quote on the page, and outlined those as well with NeoColor II in black, dark blue and lime green.

The fun part about using the Stabilo All pencil was the ability to smudge and shade using my finger.  Granted, it is far from perfect, but for me, it IS perfect.  And the TCW Flower Frenzy Stencil was just the right size and flexible enough for me to bend and shape it around as her hair.  This is the closest to a real looking face I have ever drawn.  I will keep practicing, and one of these days I might actually draw an entire face.  But for now, I'm super happy with a one sided face.  I made progress, so practice does pay!

So go out there, practice drawing ordinary, everyday things. Sketch faces. Practice those noses, eyes and lips.  One day we'll all be drawing and painting fun and exciting faces. This day was my best yet.  Show me yours!

As always, keep it artful!


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