Monday, May 26, 2014

Take time to look at No 89

One Hundred Faces
Face No 89 is 1.25 inch square
I have a lot to say about No 89 and hope that I can express my thoughts, as well as, show behind the scene of painting No 89. 

The first thing you should know, she is small. I never counted this one in the dime-zone, however, she is one and a quarter inch square....more or less. I just checked and she could be considered quarter-zone (meaning her face can be covered by a quarter).

The next thing you should know is she is painted on the one text-place-holder out in the middle of the blank space surrounded by the dime-zone.

While painting one hundred  eighty eight faces, there has been a lot of time for thoughts to swirl around. More than once, I worked myself into a frenzy about what to paint where. In other words, some of the place-holders seemed more important than others. 

This one is a fine example of that. Right out in the middle. Alone. In my mind, she would stand out and needed to be special in some way. She demands to be seen because of her placement away from the crowd.

All of these thoughts are swirling along with wondering when the time would come to paint on this special spot. While I was curious, I held onto the plan to be intuitive about when and what.

While resting in the chair zone several days ago, I flipped through the pages of a W magazine just looking at faces.

reference for face 89
This one jumped out at me. I bookmarked the page and kept flipping. Then yesterday, after a great afternoon nap, I woke thinking it was time to paint No 89. I sat down at the easel and stared at the board wondering what face would show up today. 

Then, I picked up the W magazine and opened it to the bookmarked page. 
I had forgotten about her.

It all made perfect sense to me. 
Straight forward pose.
Exactly the pose that should stand alone, away from the crowd, surrounded by the dime-zone faces. 
I get thrilled when these things become so clear to me while painting.

beginning first sketch
First I decided to give the text square a background layer of white. After the first swipe of white, I stopped and painted all except the middle with black.  Then, went over the black with white leaving a black border edge. I continued with thin layers of white and really liked the result.

I did purposely paint the chin line. However, the face that you can see under the first pencil marks is coincidental.
I love when a face emerges even before I get going!
I laid down some pencil marks to guide me with the feature placement. 
iPhone reference
However, as you can see, the face covers the whole page and is very awkward to paint a quarter size face from a big magazine page. 
Instinktively, I picked up my iPhone and decided to crop out the part I was not going to paint. When I did this I realized that I could paint from my iPhone instead of the magazine.
editing reference
When I chose the square aspect mode, it dawned on me that I could use the lines to help with the sketch.
I kept a screen shot to paint from.
And do you remember the 1/3 rule? 
Of course, that is where I lined up the eyes.

layout for sketch
I erased my first bit of pencil marks and started over.
new sketch
Once I am deep into the zone of painting, I forget to stop and take photos. 
I was loving the result of every brush stroke. 
And, thinking about how often I do love every stage but feel it is unfinished and keep going. 
Somewhere along the way with her, I made a decision to "not" keep going. 
The very next thought was to leave off any color. 
In other words, wouldn't she be more special and different and demanding if she was painted in black and white.  
painting with iPhone reference in hand

she gets her number
When I am finished, I give them their number. 
They are too small for a signature and it just seems like the number is my signature.
The final touch. 

Face 89 in the scheme of 100 faces
But wait!
face no 89
I went back and looked at the magazine reference. 
Suddenly, the word jumped off the page!

Throughout this whole project, if you were talking to me about it I would tell you that my whole point in painting these many tiny faces all together on one piece of art was to get you to stop, get close and linger over the painting.

I want you to Look around the whole board at each and every face.
I want you to choose a favorite.
I want you to make comments about the ones that speak to you. 
I want you to see what I see.
I want you to see what I don't see. 
I just want you to Look and take it all in.
Take time to Look.

No 89 demands that you Look!


  1. very much enjoyed this...what patience to paint so small and 'beautifully'.

  2. Love it, and your love for every step of the way! <3

  3. That is incredible you must have excellent eyesight! I love the black and white, it does stand out more in the sea of brightly colored faces! I like the numbers on the pieces, especally since the finished piece will have your signature . How do you work on an easel with such tiny pieces? Do you glue them down?

  4. Love the story and explanation on this one, Sharon. I can't believe that you can do so much on such a little space. It has been quite a journey that you have been taking us on.


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