Face Making

Le blog de l’artiste peintre franco-américaine Gwenn Seemel. Les articles sont en anglais et en français, et souvent ils sont bilingues.

The challenge / Le défi

2010 . 07 . 29 - Comments / Commentaires (6)

David is going on a very long bike ride this summer. His big project made me want to do a big project of my own, so I built a 92 by 46 inch frame and stretched some canvas over it.

David va faire 725 kilomètres à vélo cet été, et son long trajet m’a donné envie de faire un gros projet de ma manière. J’ai donc construit une toile qui mesure 244 par 123 centimètres.

Gwenn and David

Then we did an intimate photoshoot, just us along with a camera and tripod. And I got to work…

Ensuite nous avons pris des photos de nous-mêmes, et je me suis mise au travail…

The painting is almost bigger than our entire apartment, and it’s definitely taller than the ceiling fan—which is one miscalculation that I’m certain I will never make again! When I paint, I like to work the whole composition at the same time. That’s going to have to change for this canvas, and that thought terrifies and delights me!

Le tableau est plus grand que notre lit. Il est presque plus grand que notre appartement tout entier! Quand je peins j’aime travailler toute la composition en même temps, et je ne peux pas faire ça avec cette toile. C’est à la fois terrifiant et délicieux!

- David David David
- Working the whole composition
- Working on many paintings at the same time

- Do you call yourself an artist? / Prenez-vous le titre d’artiste?
- Finishing a painting / Finir un tableau
- Un petit «hello» des États-Unis

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(6) Comments / Commentaires: The challenge / Le défi

-- Nadine M Robbins -- 2010 . 07 . 29 --

Love it smile

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-- Karina -- 2010 . 08 . 01 --

He’s going up to Port Townsend?? I’ve done that drive many a time… that’s where my mom lives!! Random, small world smile I love PT, what is his residency involving?

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-- Gwenn -- 2010 . 08 . 02 --

He’s getting his Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts through Goddard College, which is based in Vermont but now has a west coast campus in Port Townsend.  I haven’t been yet (I’ll go for David’s graduation), but I hear it’s beautiful!

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-- Claire -- 2010 . 08 . 04 --

Hi Gwenn!
It’s so funny to see perpendicular black lines… the opposite of what I normally associate with your work! Of course that’s to help judge proportions as you work from your primary photo, right? I remember trying to do that exercise in art class in Middle School… it was much more challenging than I expected it to be!
What I would like to know is what materials you’re using; is the graph in charcoal and the outlines of the figures in oil? It looks like you used something water-soluble but I can’t figure out what that would be. (I only took an introductory three months of art class back in the day!)
I love reading your blog and watching your vlogs—these time-lapse clips are particularly fascinating, as we get to watch the faces and personalities take shape before our very eyes. I’m looking forward to seeing how this painting develops!

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-- Gwenn -- 2010 . 08 . 04 --

Yes, the grid helps me lay out the composition proportionally.  But, like any tool, it can be a trap.  If I get too attached to the grid being “right” I lose a sense of what I’m doing with the painting.

The grid and drawing is done in charcoal, which is basically a pure pigment.  Then I overlay the lines in acrylics, a water-soluble opaque paint which is otherwise similar to oils.  Once the lines have dried, I brush away a lot of the charcoal, and whatever is left on the canvas is incorporated into the paint as I layer it on. 

I’m looking forward to the painting taking shape too.  With its large size, it’s like having another person in the studio…a person with a big personality!

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-- Jeanne -- 2010 . 08 . 30 --


This is awesome!  I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.  I love time-lapse photography.  It’s so fun to be able to watch your work in progress.  Your ceiling fan comment made me laugh out loud.  Thanks for sharing this.  smile


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