Author Archives: nalovera

Growing – Natalie

Thanksgiving break was a welcome and necessary reprieve for me. Although I did not get as much actual painting done as I had wished, I got an incredible amount of planning and idea generating done. I now have a clear vision of my path in preparing for my gallery show, and an idea of what my finished body of work will look like. This past week, I finally dove in to creating this body of work. Yesterday evening I had Gwyneth sit for me, and the Alex painting is almost done. Finally, the fantastical elements are beginning to incorporate themselves into my serious portraiture. I will be beginning my self-portrait soon, and have an even better idea now of where it is going (especially seeing as I got quite a few spider-slug studies done over break).

Below is the sketch and imprimatura for the Gwyneth portrait. I’ve included the imprimatura in both warm and cool light, because I think each holds the space a little differently, which is interesting to me. I haven’t yet decided which direction I will go with my color palate, but it is good to be able to see both possibilities. In addition, there is a close up of the face detail. As can be seen in the sketch, I am planning on giving her a dragon.

Gwyneth’s hair is certainly going to be the most difficult (and most fun) aspect of this one. I am not incredibly familiar with painting hair, so I have compiled some references for myself. First, is the work of Alphonse Mucha, one of the most prominent artists in the Art Nouveau movement in the 1890’s and early 1900’s He has an incredible knack for the silhouette and shape of hair (you can find some examples here). Second is a portrait of Alice Guérin done by Paul César Helleu. This one I had not previously known of, but found in my investigating. The hair is nearly identical to that of Gwyneth’s, although not quite so curly (here is the painting). Third, we have the famous Lady of Shalott, by John William Waterhouse, another example of beautiful long red hair (find it here). Fourth, comes the work of Sandro Bottecelli, who very much enjoyed his depictions of goddesses to have long curly hair. The one painting of his which I have singled out is Pallas and the Centaur, which can be seen here. And finally, there is the work of Gustav Klimt, another famous Art Nouveau painter. I have chosen the painting Danae, which features another woman with long curly red hair (here).

To finish up this blog post, here is the progress on the Alex painting, which is getting very close to done.

alexprog

Some unique little dudes have wandered their way onto her painting, and while not originally intended, I think I like them, so they will be staying.

In the light of these new paintings and plans, I think I am certainly going to revise the background of my Maggie portrait to tie in these fantastical elements and creatures.

I am excited to see what I will get done over the coming month.

Reflections – Natalie

I’ve done a fair amount of reflection in my past few blog posts, but I suppose there’s always room for more. Over the course of this semester I’ve both achieved and not achieved my goals. I actually have a much clearer and more long-term view of the trajectory of my work, and a vision for what I want to achieve not only in this semester, but further on in college. Continue reading

The First One – Natalie

Tonight I submitted the first of three college portfolios I will submit this year. T. Chris was incredibly helpful in the process, choosing work with me and then photographing and editing it. This past weekend, I measured and resized everything so that it was the proper dimensions according to the Slideroom guidelines, and I uploaded and named it all. Continue reading

The Source – Natalie

I’ve finally begun the process of revising and piecing together my portfolio, and as I do this, I’ve found myself reflecting on all of the things that got me here. So, for this post, I thought I’d give you all a little bit of insight into the source of it all: the art that has shaped my art from the very beginning. Somehow, this seems an appropriate thing to do as I approach the moment in my life when it will all culminate into a portfolio which may very well determine the course of my future.

So lets go back. Continue reading

How on Earth – Natalie

This past week I ran into a pretty big issue that may take a little time to resolve, it’s honestly pretty embarrassing to me but I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: I don’t remember how to paint portraits. Imprimaturas? Fine and good. But actually putting color on the canvas to resemble skin tone, depth, shape, and shadow? I’m having a harder time getting back into it that I thought I would. When I actually think about it, it’s been probably about two years since I last painted a portrait. Here’s the comparison between my two year old portrait (still unfinished) and my progress on the Maggie one:

It’ll come along, I just need to take some uninterrupted time to sit and work on it. I’m thinking of playing up some of the yellow highlights, like it appears in my reference photo. I do like how the eye is coming, though.

This past weekend, I began the process of migrating all of my portfolio works over from home to Westtown, so that I can begin photographing them properly to upload into my college applications. I have an email into T. Chris Willis to set up a time to meet about beginning this photographing process. I also need to contact T. Joyce Nagata about photographing my pottery. I’ve found two good articles on photographing paintings here and here. It looks like I may also need to contact T. Sarah Sullivan about setting up some lights with gel filters to balance color.

In looking ahead, I have some ideas for new paintings. I know I don’t want to stick solely to portraiture and abstract and fantasy separately, but rather I would like to merge the three to start to string together a coherent body of work. I am still mulling over how I will do this with the Maggie painting, but I am thinking of pulling in some elements of my floating amoebas with abstract tendrils of paint and a focus on mixing color.

Next, I am planning on doing a self portrait with poison ivy and a spider-slug. I know, I know. You’re wondering about the poison ivy. Well, in addition to gathering up portfolio pieces over the weekend, I also waged an itchy and exhausting battle against the poison ivy covering my arms, torso, and yes, even my face. I did, however, get some pretty gnarly shots of my eye all swelled up, and I thought it might make for some interesting and out of the ordinary subject matter (like the grotesque work of Jenny Saville which I mentioned in an earlier post). I also am looking to start bringing my creatures into realism, and what better way to do so than with a spider-slug on my head?

I am toying with the notion of doing a series of portraits of my friends, all playing with the abstract and fantastical. I think I will consult T. Chris Willis on this, but I am feeling hopeful. This weekend I will be staying at school and am planning on holing myself up in the studio to get some actual work done. Hopefully, I will be able to finish or get closer to finished on the Maggie painting, and begin the self-portrait.

Portraiture – Natalie

This weekend I finally got to get going on some of the stuff I talked to T. Chris about a week or so ago. Last night I had Maggie sit for me so that I could paint her. I painted her for about an hour and a half to try and get the bulk of the imprimatura done. Basically, the imprimatura is the sketch and toning layer of an oil painting. I first lay down a solid base color (this time I chose cadmium red with a hint of Venetian red to produce the warm pink color which underlies Maggie’s skin tone) by spreading thinned down paint with either a large brush, a paper towel, or a mixture of the two until I have an even medium to light shade covering the entirety of the canvas. Continue reading

Directions – Natalie

Last week and this week I got some productive setting-up done and am now feeling just about ready to really take off. I managed to start and finish another amoeba painting last week, and did some general sketching. I also worked on my one dragon painting, which I have vowed to finish up soon so that I may move on. Continue reading

Floating Islands and Mutating Creatures

Hello all, Natalie here to talk about some plans. I feel I should begin with informing you all of one fact: I grew up on the images of Tolkien and Shel Silverstein and JK Rowling and Maurice Sendak (for those of you who perhaps don’t know stories by their authors, that’s Lord of the Rings and Where the Sidewalk Ends and Harry Potter and Where the Wild Things Are), and they have greatly influenced me both as a person, and as an artist. Continue reading