It's Friday . . . and what's in a Face?

Look at those eyes! 
As close as the closest of friends . . .
Look at that nose! 
It starts where a good nose ends . . .

--Look at that Face, from The Roar of the Greasepaint

One of my favorite possessions, a small oil painting study from the 1920's, 
found UNDER SOMETHING ELSE(!) when I bought an old frame.

Today's the dreaded day I come to 
 -- in every piece  --

where I have to add the face.

You see, some just turn out so much BETTER than others.  Very often, they don't look anything like my drawing.  Very often, they don't communicate what I wanted the piece to say.

A man's face is his autobiography.  
A woman's face is her work of fiction.

-- Oscar Wilde

Occasionally, they're JUST RIGHT and then everybody's happy.  I wish I had a little more control, of course.  I'm not sure why I don't.

A few facts:

1) I find that I don't breathe while I'm stitching faces
(this could be part of the problem!)

2) The prices for my pieces are often directly connected to how much face work is involved (in case you ever wonder why artists price the way they do, that's one part of my formula:)



Lips + eyes = $$$

3) Even worse than trying to apply a face to one of my pieces is trying to take one off.  (The un-picking can take longer than stitching it on in the first place, and of course one must worry about scarring!)

I noticed that one of my favorite artists, Cathy Cullis, has started a personal 365 challenge that puts Small Works' Happy Thought to shame (in terms of level of difficulty). Check it out.  Every day she is sculpting a little face, and she is posting photos on her site.  I look forward to following her project.  And I can't wait to see the picture when they're all grouped together!

Are we to paint what's on the face, 
what's inside the face, or what's behind it?

-- Pablo Picasso

I guess Picasso hit it on the head -- or on the face -- with that line, because portraying what's behind the face is exactly what I'm after.  The face tells the story. 

For instance, as a kid you can tell a lot about what kind of day
it's going to be by the look on your mother's face.

God has given you a face, 
and you make yourself another.

-- William Shakespeare

All I know is, I wish I could ask a higher power to make TODAY'S face.   But either way, I'll let you know how it goes. Actually, you'll know just how it went when you see the look on the face.

(Happy Friday.)


Allie said...

Love the Oscar Wilde quote! You'll get there Susan - and do it brilliantly! You always do, my dear.

Leenie said...

Very best wishes to finding a fine face on your project. You're right that you seldom feel much control in what happens in that part of art work.

I love your quotes. Good question from Picasso. A lot like water...do we paint what is in the water or the reflections?

My question is...why do we say un-pick? At both embroidery shops where I've worked that is the term for removing a mistake. Some employees are very good at the process. But UNPICK, if you think about it, makes no sense at all.

Again, good vibes coming your way and BREATHE!

susan m hinckley said...

You're right, Leenie . . . never even thought about that. Unpick makes no sense at all, because we don't pick to begin with. I have no idea about the origins of that word, but now I'm curious and I'm going to try to find out!

Michelle @ Periwinkle said...

I like this post a lot, thanks.

luanne said...

Where I grew up, no one used "unpick" to mean picking out or removing stitches, and although it technically doesn't make sense, to me it clearly & concisely conveys the process. Strange! I like it & am glad to have a new descriptor for such a tedious process.

May you not have to unpick any eyes or lips this time!

I'm in the process of trying to teach myself how to draw birds in my own (previously non-existent) style, and have learned firsthand today the significance of eyes... a make or break feature, for sure. Good luck, but I'm certain you'll succeed beautifully as ever.

susan m hinckley said...

Can't wait to see your birds, LuAnn! (Please promise you'll post some when you're happy with them.)

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