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Rachel Oto and Mary (the light hearted lamb)

Rachel Oto weaves stories with words, guitar, folded paper and waves of sound.  I asked her to help me out with a new artist portrait series.  In this series, I want to create line drawing portraits of musicians integrated with their instruments and tangles of other line drawings of symbols of their identities.  I asked her to send me a few photos of herself.  They were good photos, but after drawing for a few hours I realized they were not what I wanted.  Moreover, I didn’t take any of the photos.  That source photo issue is one I’ve been grappling with.  I think I need to be the whole who takes the main photos of a piece in order for drawing to feel right.

Here’s the process of my first drawing of Rachel:

rachel-oto-portrait-beginnings-process-wFor the supplementary details, Rachel sent me a photo of her elaborate high heels, these great origami paper explosions, her guitar, and a soldering iron next to a bunch of creative-person contraptions and doodads.  Homegirl has a lot going on.

I returned to her portrait a few weeks after this initial attempt, and decided to start with what I know.  I had taken some great photos of her at The Lexington during the Coronation event, so I chose one of those and began to draw it in my surreal Lorna fashion.  I found the big shapes and then the smaller ones.  I over drew and then undrew.  I traced the face so that up close it looks bazaar, but from far away it’s recognizable.

I got to repurpose some of the supplementary line drawings from the initial attempt.  Here’s the second portrait process PLUS some Rachel Oto music (check out her Sound Cloud)! I drew her boogying a bit at the end. 

I would have just uploaded the video (instead of embedding it from YouTube) but I’m out of memory with WordPress (and e v e r y w h e r e).  I need to consolidate my previous work quickly in order to make way for future work.  This would involve slowing down for a second.  I’ll mull it over…

Here’s the final 12″x15″ portrait of Rachel.  I’ll call it, “Rachel Oto and Mary (not pictured)” …maybe.  Hmmm.  How will I title this new series of portraits?  Artist Name + song lyrics?  Artist Name + inanimate contributors?  Prob Artist Name + whatever stands out about their portrait.  I fucking love Rachel’s song, “Mary” so I’ll stick with “Rachel Oto and Mary”

rachel oto portrait 12x15 more w

Here are the options that didn’t make the cut:

This version includes the source photo with some blue saturation.  I figured I was complicating things, so I decided to scrub it.  I’ll save the photo integration idea for a different project.  The background photos do add some depth, though…[Feedback, please]

rachel oto lorna alkana w blue

 This one is before I changed the background to gray.  I like the gray more because my black shape fills are evident with that distinction.  If the background is black, those fill choices are moot.

rachel oto lorna alkana w black

 Here’s the source photo:

rachel oto source photo lorna alkana w

If you know a musician who might appreciate a Lorna portrait, leave a comment with a link to his/her website and music

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