Last night it snowed wet, warm, crystalline, icy particles, almost like sleet. Today I will see an optometrist and have my yearly eye exam; obviously I am very finicky about my vision, always trying to tweak my prescription to see more exactly from all ranges. Every visual activity (reading, drawing, using a computer, painting, driving a car) requires a different depth of field. Yesterday I stretched a 32 X 38 inch canvas, preparing it for my next self-portrait. Last evening I placed a medium value, warm, burnt umber ground on the canvas, using alkyd medium, in hopes it would dry quickly, and be ready for me to paint on today. This morning it was wet.
This bring me to today's plans. First I have to shovel the snow and prepare the cars for travel. I will have limited time in the studio. I will not be able to start the new self-portrait because its ground is wet, so I will probably make a couple of drawings. Then I will be off to the optometrist.
Let me tell you why I need to begin another self-portrait, so soon after completing two of them. I find my ability to find form and connect it to expression better than ever before. I also want to keep the size of the head larger than life, and get its entire form in the canvas; the last two self-portraits cut off the top of the head and pinched the forehead, requiring me to distort the top of head by diminishing its size (in the first drawing I post today you can see this kind of distortion in the man's head). And, I want to try using a ground, something I have not done for several years. The burnt umber ground will allow me to immediately interact with a mid-level value, so both light and dark values can instantly be in play. Usually I have to struggle to deal with the overwhelming white of the canvas, and rarely feel comfortable with the overall composition until all the white is covered with new paint.
Here are the drawings from yesterday:
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