Thursday, August 27, 2015

Outside the Comfort Zone

    When I was a child, my mother told me 'it's just as important to know what you can't do, as well as what you can."  I'm sure she meant this to be a comfort for I had a good deal to be modest about. Lessons in tennis,swimming, sailing, ice skating, skiing, dance, flute, life drawing, sculpture, golf,  you name it, I took it.  None of it stuck.  Mom professed admiration for my attempts until one  day she took another tack.
    I have been painting now for about 15 years.    The human figure still eludes me.  I've tried, I've really tried. The last figure class I took was 6 years ago, though even then I hedged my bets.  The class was doing figure,  and with Danni Dawson's permission,  I was off in the corner painting still lifes.  Homework involved portraits.  I did as best I could.
   Last week I stepped willingly outside my comfort zone.  I took a three day portrait workshop with Dan Thompson of the Art Students League of New York.  Dan was terrific.   The first day was grisaille (laying in the portrait with raw umber and white).  The next day was color massing.  But discouraged by how little my grisaille looked like the model, I started from scratch on a new canvas.  I was pleased with the result (bottom left). Day three, the class refined the features.  As I had no color masses to refine, I quickly added color  (last photo).
  If only I had stopped there,   Instead, I spent 4 hours hamfistedly 'refining' the masses.  If you think I'm going to show you the results, you're nuts.

Day one

Monday, August 3, 2015

To Thrash, Perchance to Sleep

                       The Blowhard © 2009 cindypackardrichmond.com

   In The Hours, Michael Cunningham writes "How was your sleep, he asks, as if sleep were not an act but a creature that could be either docile or fierce."
   I have met that creature, we go toe-to-toe nearly every night.  It has met my husband as well.  Neither of us sleeps well.  My husband has a snuffagufalous embedded in his sinuses that gets feisty when he lies down.  As near as we can figure, it is very rare for both of us to be asleep at the same time.  We compare notes in the morning.
    I don't drink because I think that may be tied to the Sleep demon. My husband refuses to give up beer.  I take a sleeping pill, melatonin and a benadryl at 8:30.  We go to bed about 10:30.  He falls asleep, I toss for about a half hour, then admit  Sleep is not on my dance card.   I go downstairs to watch TV.  If I eat something it will add to my woes later, but at that point I can't say I am entirely logical when it comes to peanut butter.  I try to manufacture yawns.  Back upstairs for a warm bath.  More enforced yawns.  Back to bed, thrash, thrash.  I pull on compression knee socks, hoping to quiet my crazy legs syndrome.  Nothing.  I go to the guest bedroom and thrash.  I sit up and peel off my compression socks.  I read.  Feet tingle.  Slap on some Salon Pas pain relievers on my arches  and hope my left foot won't seize up in a charley horse.  If it does, it's back to the bathtub to run very hot water over contorted foot.
   Round about 1:30 I finally nod off.  My husband's shift starts at two. I wake up as he is nodding off at 4.  Why is Sleep so bloody complicated?