Friday, February 15, 2013

Such a Narrow Focus

A Long Lunch is a 20x24 oil done by Shirley Fachilla.

I painted the woman’s face more than a half a dozen times. Such a challenge! It was a lesson in values and edges, one that I’m still very much learning.
[For the art meaning of value and edge, please visit my Artful Definitions page.]
You see the woman’s face is shaped by a very narrow range of values. Because it’s completely in shadow, there are no highlighted planes to give it form and drama.
I tried to follow Peggi Kroll’s advice and create form with color changes rather than value. I tried to follow Carolyn Anderson’s advice and pay close attention to my edges.
I love rim light, highlights and significant value shifts so for me it was no an easy task.
I should have studied Sorolla’s Maria at La Granja before my first attempt. Maria’s entire figure is in light shadow, all beautifully done.
Of course, my woman has her own narrow focus; all aimed at her lunch companion. I wonder if he aware?


  1. Des conseils qui vous conduisent à une oeuvre talentueuse... Une belle maîtrise.
    J'aime l'atmosphère de cette peinture : sagesse, calme et plénitude et une belle complicité.
    L'harmonie des couleurs très bien nuancée...

    Gros bisous à vous.

  2. This is beautifully painted, Shirley. I love the softness of the piece...wonderful values and light!!

  3. The whole painting just glows, Shirley. I love her face, and even though it is in shadow there still are areas of reflected light on her cheek and along the jaw-line. It's beautifully warm and soft.

  4. The challenges are how we learn and grow. I hope you do some more with the narrow range of values. The Sorolla painting is such a nice example.

  5. Shirley!
    There is so much I love about your art!
    So much!
    I love your skill with the medium!
    I love the mood you create with your portraits! Your use of light is fantastic!
    It is thrill to check out your work!
    (Big storm in my neck of the woods last week! Nice to be back online!)
    Paint on Shirley!

  6. Shirley, this painting is really exceptional. Love the luminous glow that saturates everything--even the shadows are luminous. That inspired gesture of the raised glass imparts motion and life, and I can almost hear the sound of her voice as the figure on the left listens. And just a hint of definition in the faces without being overly specific--nice!


Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...