Frustrated with the freakin’ painting.

I’m really not liking my Painting class, at the moment.

I stayed home from class today due to the fact that I would have had to go out into a lightning storm and heavy rain to get to school.  As a consequence, I ended up having to prop my giant canvas up against a table and sit on the floor to be able to draw it with minimal distortion.

I’ve got two photos of my work-in-progress.  Despite my reservations, I’m going to show them.

Done at the end of last week, on an easel.
Done at the end of last week, on an easel.  24″x30″, soft pastel.

The first photo is of what I did in class at the end of last week.  When I was doing this, I was working from a reference photo.  Though it’s probably one of the more developed drawings in the class, I am not sure it totally captures the likeness of the model.  Prof wanted us to “finish” these over the weekend, which just wasn’t happening for me, because I’m like, “what does ‘finished’ even mean?  20 more hours?  On this @&%$ paper?”

As for the expression, we had to make some kind of severe facial contortion for this assignment.  There are images from the same photo shoot that I like better…but they weren’t dramatic enough.

What I can say is that I was working with my paper taped down to a gigantic drawing board, the likes of which I have little to no hope of being able to carry back and forth to school.  I was also working on a gigantic easel, which somewhat eased the process of trying to transfer a relatively small photograph onto a giant piece of paper (even though Prof hadn’t told us we would need such a gigantic facial image, hence, I had to use geometry and ratios to figure out how to reduce the image size to scale with the canvas.  Which I could have done much more easily by coming home and cropping the thing with a fixed image ratio, in Photoshop — but I got the impression that I wasn’t to leave class).

Trying to redraw this on canvas.
Trying to redraw this on canvas.

When I was working on “transferring this over,” which really wasn’t tracing, it was re-drawing (which for some reason my prof wants us to do from our preparatory drawing, not from the photo)…I was trying to figure out how the face looked so much more heavyset in the latter piece than in the former.  Now that I have both of these images available on my computer, though, I can flash back and forth between both of them, and see the differences.

I know that my prof wanted me to “fix” the eyes in the original drawing, because she said the right one was too large and too high.  I can see that I did make the eye smaller in the latter drawing, but at the cost of the tilt of the eye line which was inherent to the original photograph, which was inherent to the original expression.  I also made the lips and mouth smaller and higher placed altogether.

This happened the last time I tried to do this assignment as well — in my second attempt at drawing the face, I put the eyes too close together.  That, in turn, led to me destroying a canvas with modeling paste because I tried to move forward too quickly, instead of correcting the sketch.

As much as I hate to do this, I may try and widen and lower the mouth, plus reposition the eye on the right.  I just hate to do it because everything is in relation to everything else — except the border of the canvas, which my prof wanted us to draw first, because for some reason it’s important to her that the face touch the canvas on three sides.

Yeah, I don’t know.

When I was in this prof’s Figure Drawing class last time, too, she wanted landmarks made at the edges of the paper and for us to draw in the interior from those landmarks.  I don’t do that very well.  I start with the most important part of the gesture in the composition, and work outward from there.  I think she’s trying to get us to use her working method because it works for her, but that doesn’t mean it works for anyone else.

I’m kind of irritated that I have to do this at all, when I really don’t even want to draw or paint a face.  I’m just not into faces.  But I’ve noticed that in this class, both this time and last time, the prof is trying to get all of our assignments to circle around “identity” in some way, aside from the landscape drawing, which was meant to be an Environmental Justice piece (which couldn’t help but comment on some way on how we’re destroying our world; hence, politics).

I think I’m going to print these out and try to compare them, and see if I can get the second image closer to the balance the first had.

And…I just got a warning from the National Weather Service that there is a cyclone which may be a tornado which may touch down near Sacramento.  I think that’s freaked me out enough that I should step away from the computer…


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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