I know I'm not alone in being grateful that 2020 is behind us, even though it does seem a bit silly to think that a change in the calendar date necessarily means a change in circumstances and events:) Despite that - there is something hopeful about a fresh new calendar year. We feel inspired and energised by hopes of better things around the corner and a sense of relief in leaving unpleasant things behind us in 'last year'.
This year could be your year to learn something new - hopefully something creative because the act of creating lifts our spirits and makes us feel a sense of satisfaction in making something beautiful, or in learning something new. It is empowering and gives the old self-confidence a boost to have a new skill to add to the repertoire!
I wish everyone who is reading this (that's you:) a better, more prosperous, but most of all a Healthier 2021. I pray that doctors will continue to look for a cure for Covid 19 and I am grateful for the vaccines that have already been developed.
To trace or not to trace? That can be a controversial subject amongst artists!
How do artists approach the start of their artwork? Do they dive straight in - no measurements, just 'eye-balling' it as they go? Do they make a sketch first and then paint it after they are happy with the sketch? Do they make a few guide-lines and then paint 'intuitively' adding and wiping paint off as they go until it looks the way they want? Do they make a grid over a photo and carefully copy the image onto the canvas one block at a time? Or do they trace an image onto canvas before painting?
The answer is: All of the above! It depends on the artist. Every artist has their own preferred method, and more times than not they switch between methods, depending on the type of artwork. For example, loose impressionist style landscapes may need no more than a quick notan sketch (map of dark and light areas) before diving right in, but a realistic portrait may need more attention to accuracy in the beginning stages if any type of likeness is to be anticipated!
Even the old masters of portraiture had their ways of transferring images to canvas. Some used life-sized steel grids which they would place in front of the sitter and then copy the outlines one square at a time. Some even had a type of 'camera-obscura' which would project the image onto the canvas and they could then trace around the outlines before painting!
When I started out I was told by a very successful artist that tracing could be helpful if there was time-pressure and a need for absolute photographic hyper-realism, but it was always best to learn to draw accurately by sight rather than to rely on devices such as tracing. I adopted that maxim and philosophy and so when I start a portrait I make a rough head shape on the canvas, then I draw some guide-lines for the position of the eyes, nose, mouth , ears etc. As I sketch I use dividers to make sure my proportions are correct before I start painting. An accurate under-drawing is essential to me to get a good likeness. I have learned the hard way that if I rush the early stages things can become out of whack very quickly and I end up frustrated and there will inevitably be tears:)
It's Sunday and that means it's a day for me to learn something new in the studio. Today I watched a YouTube video by Ian Goldsmith who taught me how to prepare panels for oil painting. My wonderful hubby got on board too, and he cut 9 panels for me and I spent some time preparing them for painting.
It was a big job, but well worth the effort. I have already sketched out 2 new paintings and I am enjoying the smooth surface already. I usually paint on canvas so painting on panels is a new approach for me.
Did you learn something new today?
Congratulations! You have bought a beautiful new artwork and you couldn't be happier. An artwork can be a significant investment and you want to make sure that you look after it in the best possible way. Here are some tips that may help you:
School holidays mean extra time in the studio for this happy artist!
At the moment I am adding the finishing touches to a very special memorial portrait of a gentleman which was commissioned by his lovely widow. The client provided me with some photos of her husband to work from and we discussed skin tones and she requested that his favourite checked shirt be included in the portrait.
Memorial portraits can be challenging because of the limitations of the available photos but with good communication and the client’s help most obstacles can be overcome. The joy and comfort that the finished portrait brings to the family is very special and I feel honoured to be able to help people in this way.
I'm slowly working on this new site with updated galleries and my first blog:) I hope to make it interesting and worth your while to visit. As you can see, there is not much here right now but you have to start somewhere, right? I will do my very best to post as often as I can, so check back regularly.
Maybe you could introduce yourself and let me know what type of content you would like to see on this blog?
My name is Karen Le Roux.
© 2020 Karen Le Roux
All rights reserved. Please don't use, reproduce, re-post or alter artwork and images without written permission.
Artwork is an intellectual property and is protected by the copyright law
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