Saturday, February 19, 2011

portrait time

drawing of charles reid for the painting
i did decide to do a portrait and chose as an inspiration a photo that i took of charles reid at the workshop in jackson hole in 2009.  i am a little concerned with getting things "right" in that he has taught me a lot about portraits and i don't want to make a glaring gaff.  additionally, i'd like it to be at least a reasonable likeness of him.  because i wanted the drawing to be darker to show it here on the blog than i would on the watercolor paper and i suspected that i was going to have to do more than the usual number of corrections, i did this drawing in a sketch book first. it is here on the right. i put more shading in than i usually would for just a drawing for a painting so that i could get a feeling for the structures around the mouth which were giving me trouble.  the next step would be to transfer this to a sheet of 140# fabriano artistico 16"X20" cold press paper.  to do this i will tape the sketch and the overlying paper to a large window and lightly trace the needed contour lines sans shading. this is not a perfect likeness but it is likely as good as i am going to get it with the current level of my drawing skills. for those of you who know charles i will leave it to your judgement as to the resemblance.  i will start painting this later today or tomorrow.  there are two ways to go about a portrait like this.  one is to put down a light flesh tone first all over the face and neck with cadmium red light and cadmium yellow pale (about 3:1), let it dry, and then start with the modeling shades and shapes.  the other way is to start right in with the shadow shapes using darker versions of those colors with or without cerulean blue (or raw sienna substituted for the cad. yellow).  i think i am going to go with the latter here as the shadows are strong and a male's face lends itself to this approach, i think, better than a woman's or child's.

bad painting, bad painting......
i have had a bit of a gap in posts as i saw some flowers at the local farmers' market on friday and thought it would be fun to do a still life. i got the flowers, set up the still life with fruit and various objects and started painting.  alas, i really didn't like the way it was going and decided to abandon the effort. i think i was getting a bit heavy-handed with the paint and was overdoing the flowers so that they were losing their freshness. i has been a while since i painted a still life, so i was definitely out of practice. about 2/3rds of the way through i elected to abandon the effort as irretrievable, but i will post it here for your edification.  i find that my good paintings are outnumbered by my bad attempts by about 3 to 1 and this i fear was one of the three. in pursuit of honesty here is the abandoned result:

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