Back (of head) Study

By W R Jones


    Lisa had this idea to paint from a model a few weeks ago.    I thought I had a pretty good back study going;  figured I finish it later at home by making up a background.    It seemed a brick wall with a towel rack might make a painting.   So I jumped in and started painting brick. 

    As is visible my brick painting skills are attuned with my brick laying abilities.    After a while I got tired of painting bricks and mortar so switched to the towel.    It  was about this time I had to pee or something.   Whatever the reason it forced me to get out of my chair and walk away from the painting.   Yes Yes I know I should have been doing this from the start when the model was there.

    Anyhoo, on my way back, I actually stopped aways back  from the painting and looked.   Damn – what the hell – how  did I  miss the fact the head was WAY too small for the body.   This was so entirely discouraging I stopped painting and drank for the rest of the day.

    I took the painting  to a friend to ask for advice.   “Look, I  says – I know the head is too small for the figure.  What do you think I should do with it?”   “Throw  it away!”  was her answer.   “You got any less drastic ideas?” I asked.   “You could  paint the head bigger.”   “That is very unappealing, anything else?”   “You could repaint the body.”   “Then I will have to move her butt into the painting and I don’t have a model anymore.”   “Well”, she says, “You could get a pair of sissors and maybe save a little of it.”   “Do  you think I could crop it so I had a head study and a back study?”   “No.”

    She is not the boss of me so I’m trying  it here anyway –  Ya Ya, I know,  the brick work is a bit weak but I’ve lost interest in this loser.  Sometimes you have to cut your losses and drink a toast to failure.



This entry was posted in Humor, On Suffering, Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Back (of head) Study

  1. I like the word, “Anyhoo.” I can’t see any error with this picture. I think you did a great job.

  2. Another fun read! We have all been there and somehow keep going back for more. Painting , not the drink. Oh well, maybe a bit of that too, now and then.
    Cropping and getting a small perfect version is always a great save. You get to keep the best part of your efforts and chuck the rest. But I like your idea to save two parts. I think the back feels human and solid. And the head is fine as is the brick work in this view.
    Bill,thanks for looking at my site!BTW

  3. rahinaqh says:

    I wish I could have that attitude with all the paintings that I’m not happy with. Looking forward to seeing whether you approach this subject from another angle. and thanks for making me laugh with your humour. r.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I like the severed head look. If it makes you feel any better, lots of people are out of proportion. For example, my favorite show this month is Castle, with Nathan Fillion, and hubby says his head is too big. (I personally think it’s perfect, in fact, completely and utterly devine).

    So, there.
    P.s. hmm..brick…. snort
    p.p.s. regarding my blog…you would think that letter (that is the actual letter) would have gotten a call to me after they got it, but I’m not surprised.) Since the blog entry, two more people have emailed me. I basically told them to leave me alone, they might screw up the process by trying to help.

  5. I just toasted to your failure. I think i’ll send you some of mine and you can toast me back, OK? Get drunk together from a distance.

  6. Well you got two paintings out of the session, so that’s a good thing, right? Saw or scissors can be very handy to redeem at least part of a boring painting that has one area that’s working well.

    And then there’s the story about Manet’s painting “Incident in a Bullfight”. (Read the story at the National Gallery of Art website here ). Manet apparently cut the painting apart and made two works.

  7. I think your rendering of the brick wall rocks. Speaking of walls, let me go back to your recent boar/motorcycle post. Like I said, the devils in the details and there are media people (I.e. newspapers, radio, TV, etc. etc.) that would rather spin a story to sell more soap. Here are some details: The great state of California planted several acres of tree saplings as part of a beautification and freeway project just outside of Carmel (and to bypass Carmel). The acreage lies between Hwy.1 and the ocean on what use to be an artichoke farm. The local wild mountain boars just love tree saplings and began coming down at night (these boars have black fur) from their coastal hill habitat and across Hwy. 1 to feast on them. Before the saplings were planted, they stayed in the foothills with no reason to come down to the low coastal area. Over a year’s period, there were collisions between drivers and boars. Instead of building a three foot fence or wall (that needed to be only about a quarter mile or so long), the state hired a hunter to kill the boars. Unfortunately, he could not kill enough of them to keep up with their reproduction rate! Still no wall (boars can’t jump) and no hazard signs as the boars continued their nightly foraging on the saplings). Fast forward to the night of the accident. A Carmel cab coming back into town runs into, and I quote the cab driver, “wall of fur” (the boars are big). He stopped to inspect $9,000 worth of car damage and then, a little later, walked back up the road to inspect the collision area only to find an unconscious motor cyclist who had also hit a boar (or skidded on the blood or entrails of the boar that was hit by the cab). This all happened in 2003. There is a golf club up in the same hill area that keep the boars off the course in certain key areas with guess what?,,, a three foot wall! The state just never got around to building a wall or even putting up a hazard sign! Of course, there are many more details to this case that was heard by a jury consisting of numerous retired professionals (including a retired gentleman that worked in the state Dept. of Highway Safety!).
    Bill, I’m a fan of yours and am looking forward to reading many more postings! You are a wonderful, creative, and very funny writer (and brick wall painter), but I wanted to give you a few more details. By the way, the motorcycle rider has severe permanent brain damage and is confined to a wheel chair. He was traveling at approximately 45mph. The state tried to establish his speed closer to 90mph. They also tried to prove that he was severely intoxicated. He was a professional kick boxer before the accident.

  8. Nava says:

    “This was so entirely discouraging I stopped painting and drank for the rest of the day.”

    Sounds just like me, only I usually end up tossing the brushes at the wall, kicking the easel and – needless to say – hitting the water bucket; and then spending the rest of the day cleaning the mess created by my rage.

    OK then, I will toast to the failure of the body, but I do like the head. makes me want to know what she is ogling your drink, hoping for a sip?

  9. wrjones says:

    Preston – thanks. I love a blind eye. If you saw the head and back together you would see the problem.

    Cathyann – thank you. I have cropped back to a single linen fiber (short). It had some pretty blue color on it.

    Rahina – I will use this approach as I often do. Anything to get a decent reasonable painting, upto and including stealing and signing my name to the work.

    Susan – great idea. Download video chat for Gmail and we can spend Friday nights looking at bad paintings and drinking.

    Diana – wow you have a good memory. Yep, it is me and Manet, the sissors people.

    David – thanks for “the rest of the story”. It would have made me ponder a little longer but I still would have denied the claim. Let’s assume the pigs wondered across the road a mile on down just at the edge of the fence. Does that mean the state should have made the fence 10 feet longer. Sometimes you are just shit out of luck and should not expect the rest of the world to pick up after your misfortune. I would like to sue the motorcycle rider for my share of the cleanup of his body. If he had been driving a car he would still be walking. In fact he should have been walking to save gas to begin with. (Yes, of course, my view point would swing 180 degrees if I were the rider.)

    Nava – kicking the easel? Don’t you have a dog?

  10. They say… (and of course I always believe “them”) that if there is even one inch of a painting that you like then it was worth it… so there….. and that’s all I have to say about that….

    (Thanks for always making me smile, Bill!)

  11. If it’ll make you feel any better, we’ve all got a few of these beauties kicking around our studios…and for some reason, I keep thinking I will be able to fix them someday, until I finally decide to break out the gesso…

  12. wrjones says:

    Marian – I will expand on that saying to look for a single good thread to unravel. I must say I think your painting skills are growing by leaps and bounds. I’ve been very impressed with your latest works.

    Paula – I did gesso for a while now I use the wastebasket. The next step down from a failure like this is the shredder instead of sissors.

  13. Bonnie Luria says:

    Here Here! A toast to failures. The back of the head painting is a good piece. One of the benefits of using panels and not stretcher canvas is that you can saw off what you don’t want or like.
    If I toasted my own failures, I’d be drinking alone and in danger.
    My liquid of choice is Gesso. Not for drinking- for erasing.
    I’ve got stacks waiting for a coat or three in my closet.

    Your posts always make me laugh.

    PS- I tried to satisfy your recent request and put up a landscape…..

  14. PegiSue says:

    I’m am just so happy to read that someone else does drawings/paintings and when they aren’t going right, you turn to alcohol!! It just makes ya feel better and not really give a shit about the painting!! IT’S ALL GOOD!!!!!:):)

    Your blog is the highlight of my day…maybe I should drink more….


  15. wrjones says:

    Bonnie – I looked at your landscape – I think you should invite me to lay under those trees for a little rest. PS. Don’t invite Carol because she says I can’t stay with you. I hope it snows in New York and the subways stop running.

    You always impress me!.

    PegiSue – You are my kind of painter! I think we should be pals.

    CONNIE – (notice I capitalized your name) I LOVE your comment.

  16. Bill – The head turned the way it is, I think is one of the toughest, if not THE toughest to paint and you did a masterful job!

  17. liz Holm says:

    LOL! Well, thank the gods you’re a painter and not a brick layer. You’re also a great storyteller! So fun to read your post! I have to say, the cropped head looks good to me, and your skin tones are superb. I started out painting watercolors with a group of artists who substituted vodka for water. They said it gave the paints a special sheen. I think it gave the artists a special sheen, too.

  18. Jala Pfaff says:

    I like it.
    “Had to pee OR SOMETHING…” Aagh, don’t tell us what the “or something” was!

  19. wrjones says:

    Liz – are there any openings in that group?

    Jala – Good thinking not to expound on the “or else”.

  20. PegiSue says:

    In case you needed to know….IT’S TIME!!!LOL

    I think we are pals!! I need to start posting about moving tho, then you will see HOW much alike we REALLY are!!!!!LMAO

  21. wrjones says:

    Hi Pegi – there should be a lot of painful stories to tell about moving. No one wants to hear happy stories – just pure pain. Once you have completed the move and have the guest bedroom set up I will stop by for a few months for some painting and drinking to celebrate the failures together. You should probably let your husband know you are expecting a long term houseguest so he knows not to invite his mom, sister, etc to stay in the guest room until after Christmas 2010 or New Years if there is a big party planned.

    Your painting Pal,

  22. Bill, if you know when to cut your losses, you’re ahead of most of us (including me). that’s a great skill to have! Holly

  23. Carol King says:

    This post made me laugh. There have been many times I’ve stopped painting and started drinking. I’m much better at drinking.

    I actually like the disembodied head and the headless body. I think it showed ingenuity on your part to cut the painting. Frame them separately and give them to a magician friend.

    And you cannot, under any circumstances stay with Bonnie. I’ll be there in November. HA!

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