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Getting my Yayas Out

April 21, 2009

I needed a little recreation after finishing the last oil painting, so I turned to media that I’ve worked with in the past and tried to work more loosely than I know how to in oils.

First I took photos of  some sketches I’ve done over the past few months and projected them onto large sheets of watercolor paper (full imperial size, or 22 x 30 inches).  Then I let loose with the watercolor.  The first one came out about the way I’d planned, even though I spilled my water container all over it :

I wasn’t as pleased with the second, so I worked over it with pastel, but now I’m thinking of washing the pastel off:

And then I started trying to do a portrait of my son Damien, based on a photo I took in Borough Market last year when the two of us took a quick weekend trip to London.  I took a shortcut by getting the main proportions up with a projector, but that didn’t get me through the painting process with no pain.  This is very large for a portrait – and I kept losing the likeness from working too close to it.  I’d think I was doing ok as long as I stayed close, but then I’d step back and it would be awful. This is getting closer to what I want, but the contrast is a little to strong.  Still, I’m almost afraid to touch it at this point.  Poor Damien  was sick all last night, and I felt that I’d put a hex on him by painting him with such a pallor.

Now I’m ready to go back and attack another oil still life, I think.

Update – Damien walked by as I was posting this and said over my shoulder – “Not your greatest achievement, Mom!”  I guess there’s still more to do on this one….

21 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2009 12:58 pm

    You are cooking!!!! Amazing and inspiring work, Casey. All that time of dissatisfaction has paid off with your determination. That first large wc figure is stupendous! Don’t touch that portrait of your handsome son. What’s great about that portrait is that it incorporates the color and spontaneity of your sketches with a magnificent rendition of the face. I’m inspired. If only I had more time….

  2. April 21, 2009 3:08 pm

    These are wonderful. Your son looks wonderful even tho he said that. You spilled water and still it loos beautiful! How come that never happens when I do something like that?

  3. April 21, 2009 3:19 pm

    I love the first watercolor. Working with the happy accident is much of the joy of creating.
    Coincidentally, I am also struggling with a much larger than life portrait (mine in oils). I think it’s because of the way humans are tuned into faces and discern even the most minute “off” quality. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking maybe the way to go is to embrace the off quality and make it central to the painting.

  4. April 21, 2009 3:33 pm

    What a great idea to project your drawings on the wall … I imagine that not having to spend a lot of time on the drawing phase must allow for extra freedom in the painting; the top one is just amazing–it looks like watered silk, and such a languid pose!
    The portrait of you son is fabulous too–I love the expression on his face, and the shape of his face and head; he is a classically handsome young man!

  5. April 21, 2009 4:40 pm

    Impressive!!!! Wonderful, Casey. The figure and your beautiful boy. When’s your show?!

    How long have you had the projector? Are you going to show us? Please? And are you stretching your watercolour paper like a canvas? Fascinating. Congratulations. I’d love to see these IRL.

  6. annie permalink
    April 21, 2009 4:58 pm

    Oh, Casey, that first painting is so free and spontaneous–I love the way the water flows on it. And I agree with the others about the one of your son–great lines and it catches all the things that one wants in a sketch and wash.

  7. caseytoussaint permalink*
    April 21, 2009 5:33 pm

    Thanks everyone!
    I agree about portraits, Jean – the difficulty is that you can’t be wrong even on details. I find that my perception when I’m up close is all wrong, as well.
    Robyn, the projector (a Sanyo) is a brand new toy for me. My husband used to use it for power point presentations at work, but as he almost never has to do them anymore it is now being stored in my studio. I’ll get a photo of the setup soon. For the watercolor paper I use paper stretchers from Ken Bromley in England. I love them – I’ve got a couple of really large ones and one of the other sizes. I don’t know how to do a hyperlink in comments, but here’s the code:

    or just google Ken Bromley art supplies. You save money in the long run because you can use cheap paper with good results.

  8. caseytoussaint permalink*
    April 21, 2009 5:38 pm

    Oh – and yes, Laura, the fact of not having to struggle with the drawing really loosened me up. It was lots of fun. On the second one, someone stopped by my studio while I was working and I wasn’t able to finish it, and later put the pastel in to try and save it. I’m tempted to wash it all off and see what happens.

  9. sandy permalink
    April 21, 2009 5:50 pm

    Wow, you have been busy, and each is so interesting and fetching!! And aren’t children demanding?!?

  10. April 21, 2009 5:56 pm

    Ahhh…Critics… 🙂

    I’m off to spill my water on my painting from last night. It worked for you…WOW. Gorgeous.

  11. April 22, 2009 1:23 am

    Wow–fabulous, Casey! These are all beauties. I love the portrait of your son, and the first one in particular is just stunning to me! Way to go!

  12. April 22, 2009 2:07 am

    XXXe!!ent art.
    You really capture the flow of the human body.

  13. April 22, 2009 2:36 am

    I love, love, love the first figure – what a wonderful free, loose, evocative painting. And Damien is a handsome guy – I see a toussaint resemblance….

  14. April 22, 2009 6:48 am

    Oh, I agree with Shirley about the first figure, it’s really beautiful! Damien’s portrait is excellent, I love that expression! Even if it doesn’t quite look like him the portrait stands on it’s on. Great comment from him too, don’t you just love honest kids?! 😉

  15. April 22, 2009 12:36 pm

    Well I *really* love this portrait!!! There is life & spirit in it. And the first painting is absolutely fascinating!

  16. April 22, 2009 8:24 pm

    OH, I think you should spill water more often. I love the first one very much

  17. April 22, 2009 11:45 pm

    You’re good! It’s fun seeing you try new, bold things! Damien is nuts—that’s a wonderful painting.

  18. April 23, 2009 7:10 am

    Great work Casey…love that first free flowing one!

  19. April 24, 2009 2:25 am

    My first time seeing your work….it’s beautiful Casey! Particularly love your wonderfully expressive nudes. The human form is truly one of the most inspiring subjects to draw & paint.

  20. April 25, 2009 7:21 pm

    Magnifique ce nu sur fond bleu et quel fonds !

  21. April 30, 2009 9:38 am

    I just love the top one. It’s amazing how your water pot spill just adds loads of interest! I also like what you did with the walnut ink on the ex-pastel one.

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