Sunday, February 24, 2013

At First Glance #4


5" x 7" ink and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico rough paper
(Click to view a larger image)





This is the fourth At First Glance picture.  In this series I try to capture the essence of people that I see in Miami.  A more comprehensive description of the series is here.

It's funny about an image like this one.  I feel like I can tell you nine or ten things about this gentleman, without actually knowing a thing about him.

Part of the constraints I set for myself in the series is to draw in pen, with no advance pencil sketch.  The idea is to keep the "sketchiness", just as though I am out and about sketching from life.

Is that crazy, or what?   The first time I draw any of these folks, it is in variably too big.  Then I overcompensate and draw too small.  I am finding it takes four or five drawings to get it right.  And then comes the watercolor, which, thus far - knock on wood - I have had no problem with.

Conclusion:  This series is a form a self-torture that is just about better than anything.   When I am done with the series, I will just cut off my ear and be done with it.  

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Note:  I have made a subtle revision to the original watercolor and have replaced the image in this post.  I apologize if any offense was caused by the earlier version.  Please know that I had not noticed the feature in the earlier version, and that it was unintentional.  If, like me, you didn't notice and have no clue what I am talking about then I am relieved.  Ah, the vagaries of watercolor..

43 comments:

  1. Your conclusion is funny unless you really do then it would be kind of gross

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    1. I agree, it'd be gross. And Van Gogh did it already so I would just be a copycat anyway. Maybe the nose..kind of a modern tortured-artist Voldemort sort of thing. Yeah.

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  2. Okay, now this one is by far my favourite from this series, its brilliant. With not knowing anything about him, you sure were able to capture so much about him. The light, movement, the mood... and even when you left everything blank around him, I still can picture all of it.

    Great piece and leave the ears on : )

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    1. Wow, I love that word brilliant! Thank you!! I really like your comment about the white around him, because I've given that white a lot of thought, both positive and negative. You've put another reason in the positive column. I love the idea of concentrating on the figure and leaving things to the imagination.

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  3. Hi Dan,
    I do feel as if I know this gentleman; I can picture his gait as he's walking down the sidewalk talking on the cell phone. All that work is paying off; you're capturing the subject! So, keep that ear on and enjoy the multiple drawings!

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    1. Okay, I guess I'll keep that ear. If you all keep making remarks like this, I want to hear them! Thanks!

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  4. Worth the suffering, I'm sure it'll get easier! Do you find you invent lives for people when you sketch or paint them?

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    1. You know, it has gotten a bit easier this last time (on an as yet unpublished figure). I think I am developing a system. Soon I'll be doing one an hour - boy I hope so.)

      As for your question: He is a lawyer, a sole proprietor, in a run-down law office downtown with an aging secretary; a bit of a wheeler-dealer right to the edge, but not over; he has season tickets to the Miami Heat and the Miami Dolphins - he buys two so he can bring important clients to the game; he owns a Rolex; and he is married with three children. So, no. ;)

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  5. usually I can click to enlarge...but for some reason not this time. I like your businessman on the phone...please don't cut off your ear!

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    1. Okay, for you I'll keep it. Only for you, Celeste.

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  6. Hi Dan,
    I have an idea...don't finish the series - just keep going. I love these drawings. This one has caught something about someone I do not know so that I feel I do know him. Drawing/sketching/painting are the best ways of really looking.
    Stew. stewcrowther.wordpress.com _________________________

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    1. It's funny how a remark works - "just keep going" - you got me thinking and wanting to do a hundred of these! It would be cool to be in a room with 50 at least. Thanks!

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  7. I do wish you to go on with this " self-torture", as I really love these people !
    I am not sur that "cutting off your ear" is a good idea, though as Van Gogh had a very difficult life ... :o) !!

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    1. Yeah, you're right. I have it easy. I'll have to keep the ear, I guess. Darn.

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  8. Man in suit? In Miami? Hmmm.. I thought it's about wearing Bermudas and colorful shirts with Hawaiian prints :D
    Nice one Dan! Although I find it more convincing if he's in Manhattan or something teeheehee

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    1. I love the images you and other folks have of Miami. All the business people down here where suits. You have to go to the Keys to see that sort of thing. I think. Maybe that's my illusion!

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  9. I love your lighthearted self examination. I think your work is great!

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    1. Thank you Beth. Greatness is what I strive for. ;)

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  10. Your self torture is paying off. This was a hard figure, but no matter what you had to go through, it came out great. He's got motion and energy and you can see it. It's going to be a valuable exercise for later watercolors when you might want to add a figure to the scene to bring it alive. Happy stretching.

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    1. Thanks Linda! You are right - I hadn't thought of it that way, but it may help future works.

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  11. Bet that this guy will be happy to go home and relax! Nice piece.

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    1. Yeah, poor guy - works too hard. Thanks!

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  12. Your practice is really paying off. Please don't cut off your ear!

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    1. Thank you. You know, I haven't got a vote yet to cut off the ear so maybe I should reconsider..

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  13. This is a great challenge, Dan, but hold onto both of your ears! I think you're succeeding.

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    1. It is really special to hear you say I am succeeding - I will keep both ears for that! Thanks!

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  14. How many people live in Miami? You'll be old and deaf before you paint them all... surely... and you know how people are.. you'll finish and new ones will move to Miami or be born there... so you'll NEVER be finished... your ears are safe. (Must admit you gave me a much needed chuckle today) Love this fellow... I think I know him.

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    1. You know, you are right! My ears are safe! What a relief!

      I love your comments, Captain - thanks. I may have given you a chuckle, but you gave me a laugh!

      You do know him. Don't you remember?!

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  15. I really like these illustrations...they have so much movement. Now you have me wanting to head to downtown Wichita to snap pictures of people so I can paint them.

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    1. 'Taint easy, Lisa. I had quite a time getting frontal and near frontal pictures surreptitiously. Good luck!

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  16. This is great Dan, please don't cut off you're ear you'll get blood on the sketches!

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    1. I hadn't thought of that! Very practical, Phil. I'll put that in the "don't" column.

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  17. Your commentary made me laugh. I think we all have been there. Great results!

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  18. Oh no--I missed the first one! This is a wonderful painting; I think I know this guy, too. I like that he is mid-step.

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    1. Well thank goodness you missed it! Glad you like it!

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  19. Hi Dan - I've been away, ill, but am fine now and will try to get my show back on the road ASAP!

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    1. John, I am glad you are fine. What a shame. I am glad you finished that great ship beforehand. Can't wait for the secret tour!

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  20. I love the movement and the energy in the painting Dan. You have really captured his persona. If it wasn't for your conclusion, I would never have guessed at your self-inflicted torture as you make it look so easy.

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    1. I am glad it wasn't apparent. Thanks, Wendy!

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  21. Fantastic Dan (lots of people in HK with their phone glued to their ear) perfectly captured.
    Great way of self torture......now I'm going to jump into your idyllic scene and stay there for a while

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    1. Enjoy it, it is there for you to enjoy. I should sell tickets. But things there are not as peaceful as it seems..

      Thanks!

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  22. There's such energy in your glance-moments! I used to commit "DWD": drawing while driving (at stop lights). That really makes you focus.

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