Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art School: Summer Term Week Three.

Zara (Oil on canvas board, 10x14"). Painted from live model in ~2 hours.

I wish I would have had more time on this one to add nuance to a few areas.  In a local art store, I found a canvas board measuring 10x14" and used it for the first time for portrait painting.  The aspect ratio works really well.  I always have a difficult time painting Zara, but generally speaking, I like how this turned out.  I find that the colors have harmony.  I tried four different approaches for painting the face.  I began by tiling (laying small tiles of paint of different color and values next to each other), but found that I started to lose the form and wiped it out.  For this same reason, I don't particularly like the way Renoir paints women because his impressionist tiles don't render nuanced form very well, leaving all his women's heads looking like balloons with eyes.  My final tact was to cover the entire face with a thin glaze of its relative color (like a watercolor) and then followed the form with longer strokes.  I then used small tiles and accents to add transition values/colors.  Many thanks to my instructor Meadow for her help.

Here is my initial lay-in:

It was drawn with a mixture of transparent maroon, sap green, and ultra-marine blue.  The drawing came together quickly -- around ten minutes.  I spent another ten minutes using a Q-tip dipped in turpentine to remove structure lines and clean some edges.  I also found it to be an effective tool to create a wash and develop shapes for the darker areas.

Elyssa (1710B Conte pencil on newsprint, 18x20").  Drawn from live model in ~2 hours.

Curly hair is always difficult to render in a short amount of time so I had fun with it, indicating the curls with a few loose, squiggly lines and wavy scribbles.  I'm relearning how to use the Conte 1710B pencil so there is some ramp-up time with that but it's starting to come back to me.  I often have trouble creating an attractive transition shape when the shadow on the side of the face runs into the cast shadow of the neck.  I treat them as two separate shapes.  My instructor, Stan, gave me some great advice when he said to combine them into one shape and fill the entire area with a single value.  Then go back and add nuance to the jaw-line.  That helped a lot.

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