Making Faces

Dear Liza,

I have been practicing drawing faces. My first one was Frankenstein, who is pretty easy. I mean, he’s make believe, and already dead, so that helps.
Faces of people who aren’t make-believe or dead are harder.

I will show you my other faces, if only so you will see how difficult they are to get right!

Frankenstein, still my most successful ‘human’.

There are proportions that are supposed to be used when drawing a human face. The eyes are halfway between the top of the head and the chin, the bottom of the nose is halfway between the nose and the chin…. someone said these are ‘just guidelines’ but it turns out, if you don’t pay attention, things go really wrong, really fast.

Sketch of basic proportions

For example, Lips should be human sized, not muppet inspired. These are size 10 lips on a size 6 face, I think. Eyes should … well, I’m not sure what they should do, but these are clearly wrong.

Totally scary FAIL of proportions

I got frustrated, and took a few days to play with collage, and, following Ruth’s advice, made some backgrounds. I felt better and strong enough to try another face.

Okay, I said, this is better. The eyes still aren’t quite right, but she definitely looks human. There may be hope. I liked her well enough to cut her out and tried placing her on my newly painted backgrounds.

She sort of disappeared into the pink, so I gave her some more shading and tried her in a darker setting. She not only looks human, but also like she is in a place, maybe out for a walk or solving a mystery.

I feel like there is reason for hope and I will continue to practice and learn. Here is my lesson from this: Most things are really hard at the beginning. You will sort of stink for a while. But if you want to get better, don’t give up.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Still Growing

Dear Liza,

Ruth Inman

I have been telling you about how life has changed during the corona virus shut down, including re-connecting with my old friend Ruth Inman. She is now an artist, and she lives in Illinois. She does a lot of different kinds of art, and her website is called Brush with Many Colors. You should go have a look sometime.

One of Ruth’s beautiful paintings!

Ruth has started an on-line art group using ZOOM, and I have been attending two times a week. At first I thought I would just watch and chat, because I have never had much confidence in my art skills. I have a tremor that makes my right hand unreliable at times, which makes it even more frustrating.

What my cards looked like before…

But Ruth is such an easy going teacher! She gives good directions but then adds, “But if it does this instead, you can make it work by doing this..” and knowing there are lots of ways to do it right has let me feel more confident. I started painting.

I am using the watercolors we found on the sidewalk years ago, so there’s not much of an investment, except time, which I have plenty of.

Getting better…..

This art class has happened just when I wanted to start making cards and writing letters for the elderly residents at Laurelhurst Village Home nearby, and I have started using the flowers I paint with Ruth and her friends for the cards!

My latest batch of cards

Voila, as the French say.

I have someone to teach me, a way to practice, and a place for my pictures to go and make people smile. It’s a very nice combination.

Love,

Grandma Judy