Face a Day May ~ Episode 2

So here we are: Friday again.  I have been diligently showing up and doing my face a day for 12 days now.  The collage at the top of the page is the total of what I have produced this week. I reported on the first 5 days last week.

If you are mathematically sensitive you might be aware of a niggling feeling in your brain at this point – why?- Well, yes, actually the collage contains EIGHT pictures and not seven.  That’s because I was feeling especially motivated, last Saturday and I actually produced two faces for that day – the mans face, top left and the woman with the scary expression (she sort of fascinated me and only took 5 minutes, so I let her join in!) Those two were from an hours gesture drawing session, courtesy of  https://line-of-action.com/  a website that provides gesture drawing practice, on demand. I suppose I could have included the other 11 or so gestures….but, they are mostly 30 second of 1 minute efforts and not much to look at.

Then there is the girl with the cute, short hair and the warmly lit face.  I painted her after a long, crowded, visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday. Her inspiration was not directly from the Art Museum but, tangentially so, instead. The special exhibit at the Art museum, until May 15th, contains a number of (mostly water-color) works by Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. It was Singer Sargents awesome work that I mainly went to see (sorry, Winslow, your work is cool too, but Singer Sargent is truly the master of light AND PEOPLE) …..Anyway, long story short, I looked at Singer Sargents work and came home wishing that I could’ve also seen the one piece of his that I love over all the others, “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” (which resides in the Tate in London) and THAT is where the girl comes from.  She is actually one of the daughters of an illustrator friend of his  engrossed in painting paper lanterns, at twilight.

The next face, is from Pixabay. Something about this young boys liquid brown eyes and soulful expression caught my eye and got me busy with the old water colours, that night! I will say, I did not really expect to be using water colours all that much, in this challenge. I really didn’t – But, they’re a quick and effective way to add colour into the mix!

Tuesday I was really tired, so it was a quick, 20 minute, baby-face. Chalk and charcoal on toned grey paper.  I notice that when I am tired, my judgement is usually off and things go awry, faces are very sensitive to such things and a small inaccuracy can make huge changes to how a person is perceived.

Wednesdays face is the biggest picture. The one I feel most pleased with, this week – you can tell I was feeling much more peppy and this was 50 minutes of intense “zone” time! Chalk pencil on black Shizen Pastel paper was just super effective for this boy with his wistful look. It is an odd sensation when you reach a certain point in doing a face and you look at it in its entirety and it seems to be almost moulded out of the paper, rather than a flat representation of a face.

I finished up the week with a quick 10 minute effort in Sepia and white chalk and a more leisurely old man face in pastel pencil of about an hour.

Phew! Part of me is really surprised that I have managed to do a face a day for 12 days in a row, so far.  I have never done anything like this before! Though I have painted a drawn more than a couple of hundred faces, over the last few years.  It makes me feel mostly really productive, happy, zoney, and sometimes tired and ready to give up! But, most of all it teaches me that even if I am tired, if I can show up and get started, something worthwhile will come out of it, even if it is only 10 minutes and when I say,”worthwhile”, I am not necessarily taking about the visual result on the paper, either 😉

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8 thoughts on “Face a Day May ~ Episode 2

  1. Hilda, your faces are great! I especially love the boy on the black paper. Impressive to do a face a day! You are so right that even when we have to force ourselves to show up it’s worth it! I thought you’d appreciate that last night I laid in bed to watch tv and realized I didn’t draw anything! I didn’t want to break my streak, so I asked my son to grab my sketchbook and drew a jellyfish. Whew! Got it done.

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    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed my faces…Yes, white chalk on black paper is especially effective and fun to do! I do totally appreciate your dedication! Well Done! I once lay in bed and started drawing the ceiling fan because I felt I hadn’t done enough art lately!!….I am certainly not feeling that “I haven’t done enough art” in these last couple of weeks 🙂 Keep up the good work, you’re doing so well!!!

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      1. Thank you, Jon, that’s the thing about working from photographic references a lot – many of them are extremely candid, or at least the ones I choose to use are!….you cannot get a live model to pose in such unconscious and human ways 🙂

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  2. Wow! Your faces are ALL so good!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Could you tell me more about the black Shizan paper? I am not familiar with it. Also, when you say, white chalk, what do you mean? Are you using pastels? I enjoyed reading about your art. 😃🎨👍

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    1. Aw, Thanks Jill! Practice is really key to doing faces! The black Shizen paper is handmade in India and has deckle edges – very easy to get a soft, skin-like texture on that stuff, it has a very soft almost velvety tooth. The piece I used came from a pack of 25 different colors – from Dick Blick – but, if you are only interested in the black, you might want to know that you can also get just that color in a 5 pack of 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets, also from Dick Blick….(if you want larger sizes they can be ordered direct from Shizen who has a US dealer. When I say white chalk, I am referring to either Generals white charcoal pencil or Koh-I-Noor chalk pencil. I tend to use pastels in pencil form for much of my work, but, I am working on adding those dusty little sticks for larger areas, areas of less fine detail and (the white Sennelier) for the brightest of highlights! I seem to be off and on experimenting with different pastels and also different supports…so, you might well see me post some more on THAT subject as time goes on!! Best of luck with your own faces.. they’re really coming along! 🙂

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