After Seated Boxer

Work in progress:
It’s 2015; time to get serious! (Yes, it’s the Year of the Serious – did you not know?)
I’ve started a painting after Seated Boxer, a Hellenistic sculpture. (read more)
In ancient Greece, athletes competed nude. I chose a side view of this statue.
I feel sorry for the guy; he was entertainment for the consumers, even in his middle years. If you’re female, you know what it’s like to be entertainment, so you tend to empathize. But I digress.
This is my biggest size so far. The board measures 24 x 30in (61 x 76cm). I think I like working with this size. I have room for details. It feels good.
The first two days, I drew with Conté crayon while looking at the photo I downloaded (I would seriously love to see him in person). I want the guy to be recognizable, but I just want to eyeball the photo – well, I finally took a scrap piece of paper and held the edge up to the photo in a couple places to gauge the proportions, then did the same to my drawing. ->

drawing After Seated Boxer
Drawing of seated boxer

The second day, I covered the board with paint. I had previously gessoed the board and my baking soda gesso was a little thirsty. (Did I say I’m serious, yet I used baking soda…)
The third day, I started the shading, with some burnt sienna paint I was given. Shading is the fun part; it makes the form. Except that I didn’t get enough paint on the guy earlier, because I didn’t want to cover my drawing, so I had to smear oil on the part I was going to work and then shade. I adjusted the back a little. ->

Start of shading After Seated Boxer
Start of shading

After a week of correcting, looking and shading, I’m working on the head. The curly hair is going to drive me crazy. When I finish all the shading and modeling, I’ll put on glazes of color. This photo is seriously atrocious, but I seriously don’t want to take another photo. ->

6 days of shading After Seated Boxer
6 days of shading

mostly looked at this which I found out later is a copy!
Well, I put a phthalo blue glaze over the burnt sienna, then wiped most of it off.  I put a pink glaze over the rock, which was so pink it hurt the eyes. So I scumbled a lot of white over that and lost a lot of details.
I guessed at a floor and wall corner.
I’m in misery about the head. I’ve painted much more crudely than ususal. Daubs, smears and streaks. It looks yucky close up, but the good viewing distance is about 10 feet (3 meters) away. At that distance, I can’t even see anything but daubs, smears and streaks.
I’m going to post the photo of this and think about whether I want to do anything else to it. I’m getting awful comments at home (“it’s another hurts-the-eyes painting”, etc), so I’d like to put it away. ->

After Seated Boxer
‘After Seated Boxer’, after 12 days work.

closed eyes

The beginning: A quick start at a face — I put on paint and wiped off eyes, cheeks, mouth, etc with a paper towel. ->

start of Closed Eyes
The bare bones start of a face, Closed Eyes.

Mixed up hansa yellow, quin magenta and phthalo blue.
I didn’t have time to do more and it may be a few days before I get to work on it again.

Well, the next day, I moved around some of the wet paint and kept modeling the face, I adjusted a shoulder, started thinking about how to drape the hood under the neck. I am glancing at a reference photo every now and then, but not paying a lot of attention to it. ->

2nd Closed Eyes
second day of Closed Eyes

3rd session with it: I added some coloring to the face. I mixed up a brown, applied that, then dropped in some quin magenta pigment and mixed that in, applied it to a lot of shadow areas of the face and the lips. I changed the nostrils, worked on the clothing a little, etc. But I was interrupted a lot, so gave up till another day. ->

closed eyes, 3rd session
eyes closed 3

Today, 4th time with this painting, I brought down some of the bright coloring. I put in details with my script liner brushes. Actually, I aged her. ->

Eyes Closed
4th session with Closed Eyes.

(from, but I can no longer find the photo that I referenced)

Experiment with casein fruit in creamer

It’s been 3 months since I made casein binder (casein + borax) and it’s still in the fridge doing fine! So, I made paint with it and dry pigments. Now I know why most of the pigments for sale are earth pigments, inorganic. They mix up easily. Those organic pigments are another story. I had to take the advice I read online about wetting the pigments first with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). That worked. Then, I could introduce my binder. Their staining power is enormous. My hands, the plate, the table, the sink, dog, everything had to be scrubbed. But the good news about that is that I only used a very small amount for the painting. The excess I scooped into old medicine bottles and refrigerated.
If you want to buy intensely colored organic pigments, put on rubber gloves and an old apron! Oh, and forget buying an expensive muller. It seems to me that the paint grinds up nicely with stuff you find around the house, like the glass stopper of a potpourri jar. And a knife.
Step through the images below by clicking the arrow. You’ll see how I tried to paint a still life with casein. I’ll get better! Oh, and I used Hansa yellow medium, quin magenta, phthalo blue and titanium white.

orange in creamer 2nd
orange in creamer 2nd
The 'table' is the darkness of the tinted paper. I love and hate how fast the casein dries. There's also a drying shift with the oranges and yellows.
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Okie migrants

Florence Owens Thompson, a Cherokee woman from Oklahoma, with children Katherine & Ruby, standing and baby Norma in her lap.

Do you see the baby in that photo? I didn’t!! I haven’t even drawn the baby!
I thought the baby’s head was just a piece of blanket. What the heck! I wear strong glasses, but…
Florence worked 16 hour days, 7 days a week, drank Lucky Lager beer and chewed Garrett snuff.
At the time of the photo, she already had seven kids. She later had 3 more.
That Dorothea Lange photograph of her became famous, but she had to keep working the fields of California to feed her babies.
In her older years, her grown children managed to get a house for her. Soon, she moved back into a mobile home. A house felt too strange, after all those decades of tents, trailers and just plain camping out.

I drew the bottom half of her face way too broadly:

Okie migrants
Okie migrants, first drawing

I just narrowed the jawline and chin. I also had to raise her ear. I had it too low:

Okie migrants, corrections to face
Okie migrants, corrections to face

I’m so disgusted with myself. I’m never going to be able to see details.

BTW, I was conceived in Northern California (Albion or Fort Bragg, I think), where my Okie parents (Moon) were working chopping and hauling trees with Okie relatives, the Pyle clan. They came back to Oklahoma where I was hatched, and had one more, for a total of 7 kids.
Well, gotta get back to drawing that. I’ve got a lot to do to it.

OK,  I may be finished:

Migrant Okies
Migrant Okies

Oh, I know the position of the hand isn’t spot on. And her mouth. I was disappointed in my observational skill, but I got over it.

I certainly didn’t want to draw the tentpole. (Oh, by looking at the photo very carefully, I saw that her other hand is resting lengthwise on it. And I read that her thumb was partially erased. I can see the outline of it in some photos…of the photo.) So, I drew in a full head of the baby. It looks like a baby’s head to me! I kept it very delicate – lightly drawn.

It takes a village

It takes a village.
Just like vaccines, which require widespread adoption to be effective, privacy tools like encryption require widespread use to be truly effective. People don’t want to encrypt and decrypt emails that aren’t sensitive, just to help others hide truly sensitive emails in a mass of encrypted mail.
These days, the few encrypted emails might as well scream, “Hey, we have interesting secrets! Store us until the day you can crack the code!”
Please do peruse the software suggested here: to see if you could use any of it.
I’ve started my own version of the only surviving painting of Torrentius. All his other paintings were burned, by the state, I believe. The religious state. Because he was an atheist and partier.
Ironically, the painting is about temperance. Moderation in all things. Ha, ha, it’s the survivor and witness of a display of intemperance, of extremism. By the ‘village’.
Yeah, it takes a village. But the actions that village takes are determined by action or inaction by the villagers, stretching long into the past.
Well, my painting is just started. I’m experimenting with egg tempera!

unburned-egg oil emulsion
Unburned (beginning)

And here is a layer of water-mixable oil paint mixed with both oil and water, over a layer of egg-oil emulsion:

Unburned: oil over egg emulsion

The emulsion seemed sticky and wanted to come off with the over-work.

Days later, the paint still isn’t dry. Maybe because the weather turned hot. Maybe because the board was prepared with acrylic gesso? I’m growing old waiting.

Update 25 of June:

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I will never again use egg tempera on acrylic gesso. The painting is still sticky! Possibly, I shouldn’t boil sumac leaves and twigs to help color the paint, either. Yes, I did that.


Ooey gooey, icky pooey. The background is still sticky. I suppose I’ll put this aside. Say bye:

more unburned
Still sticky!

The Girl with a Metal Earring

In The Girl with a Pearl Earring, does that earring look like a pearl to you?
And the way she’s ducking her head forward is very cute, but I painted her sitting upright. Here’s my drawing, freehand as always:

drawing girl metal earring
Drawing for girl with metal earring

I made a huge mistake and decided to oil paint on watercolor paper. See, I thought spraying the paper with fixative would seal it. I was wrong. I could only move the paint around for a minute. The oil was slurped into the paper, I suppose! Or into the surface sizing? Here’s the shadows that stuck in place almost immediately:

Underpainting girl with metal earring
Underpainting girl with metal earring

I now have enough paint on the surface that today I was able to paint her skin tone a little better. I’m done, though the camera exaggerates the underpainting. It doesn’t show through quite like that 🙁 :

Girl with a Metal Earring
Girl with a Metal Earring

(enhanced signature, because it didn’t show)
Oil on watercolor paper 12 x 16 in / 30.5 x 40.5 cm.

Some thoughts while I was looking at the photos of that wonderful Vermeer painting: Why isn’t her earlobe extended? The earring looks heavy.  And it_ain’t_no_pearl!
Europeans of that time had no cheekbones? No eyebrows?
Was she tired? Was she slouching? It looks like she was ducking her head forward, because the cloth hanging from the turban is swinging backward, isn’t it?
Is that veining in her cheek, above the cast light of the earring?