Friday Figures- Brother, can you paradigm (shift)?

Trying for the new. Oil on toned canvas
Reaching for the new. Oil on toned canvas, 16″ x 20″.

She had been working on this picture for so long that she had felt her style shifting as different areas of the painting neared completion, and now that it was almost finished, the sections began to merge ungraciously, with rattling edges.

Bailey White, in her novel Quite a Year for Plums, describes an artist (a bird artist, no less) whose work evolves, or possibly devolves, right before her very brush. It’s an apt description of the natural and sometimes unwanted growth that occurs over the course of an artist’s career. But when an artist takes a workshop, growth accelerates. Shift happens.

Follow directions, and you get results. Or at least a reasonable likeness. Mitsuno Reedy's oil portrait workshop. I'm thinking of it as a great set of new tools for the kit, all shiny bright. Tools that get sharper the more you use them.
Mitsuno Reedy’s oil portrait workshop last weekend shook me out of my comfort zone, snatched away my security-blanket pencil and stuck a scary brush in my hand. I’m trying to think of this line-and-angle painting method as a new tool rather than a  new style. I also like to think of my comfort zone as stretchy.

You go to a workshop to improve your technique, grow creatively and feed your art a big bowl of Great Artist. But then you have this new thing called style shift. You may love it even more than your (boring) old way of painting, but what do you do with it once the workshop’s over? Can you merge the new way with the old?

Today's figure session, with chignon-topped blonde. Oil on gray-toned canvas, 20" x 16".
Today’s figure session, with chignon-topped blonde. It’s still all about the drawing. Oil on gray-toned canvas, 20″ x 16″. Limited palette of raw umber, ivory black, cadmium red light, cadmium yellow, and titanium white, painted entirely with one #4 filbert bristle brush. Yes, a tiny, little #4 long-handled filbert.

Only time will tell.

Happy Friday.

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