Saturday, March 19, 2011

sitting bull: narrative of previous step(s)

repeat of yesterday's work for reference
the first thing that i did was put a light wash over the upper lid of his left (our right) eye as i felt that it was just too much of a beacon shining out of an otherwise shadowy side. the side plane of his shadow side face was painted in one step from the upper cheek, blending in with the eye socket, down to the shirt line in the neck using a #10 brush and burnt umber and alizarin crimson permanent. i modeled what little needed doing on the other cheek using the same colors and brush. i thought that the shadow indicating the sunken feeling just below his zygomatic arch (cheek just above the lateral portion of the mouth) on his right was important and darkened this area with the same hues and losing the edge all around. i defined the nose a bit more with the same mixture/brush but with a little more alizarin in the combination. the mouth was painted with a #6 round and the same burnt umber and alizarin by putting a dab in his right corner, a dab in the middle just to his left of the midline, and in the far shadow side corner.  after a rinse and good shake i used the damp brush to draw this pigment out to the rest of the upper lip, blurring the mid portion on each side to break it up a bit and carrying it down to the edges of the lower lip.  the important shape under the lower lip was cooled a bit with cobalt blue and extended using the trusty umber/alizarin combo.  the hair was extended using combinations of ivory black, mineral violet, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue. when this was losing its sheen i scraped in the highlights using a small palette knife. i usually overdo this and did here but it is so much fun i can't resist! with the face just about done except for some finishing touches i moved onto the clothing and the problem of portraying the fringe on his leather jacket. i put in a fairly dark overwash of pure burnt umber more or less right out of the tube to paint the area involved and sort of emulated the fringe, but the bulk of the work was done by palette knife and scraping as you can see. i think this will work and looks fairly convincing. after putting down a light wash to start to define the red bandanna i ran out of time and stopped for the day.

this portrait is starting to look more like sitting bull in the photo and i am pleased that i have been able to make some nuanced changes "on the fly" so to speak, but he still looks younger than his real age at the time of the photo. i think adding some of the wrinkles will help and i will experiment with that tomorrow or later today.

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