Thursday, April 14, 2011

portrait challenge for april: rembrandt's "girl in the window"

rembrandt" "girl in the window"
as i said last time i posted i have joined wet canvas and specifically both the portrait group and the watercolor group. as it is getting toward the middle of the month with two paintings to do before we arrive on may's doorstep i decided that i needed to move ahead and start one of the challenges for april. since i have been doing some portraits i will start with that one.  the theme for this month is rembrandt and the painting that i have chosen from the menu is the one pictured here: "girl in the window".
drawing, initial washes and start of features 
i started by drawing the figure using a modified contour drawing onto a 16"X20" fabriano artistico cold press 140# paper. after i was satisfied with that i decided to go with an initial wash using cadmium red light and cadmium yellow pale along with a bit of cerulean blue over the flesh toned areas and tried to tie the figure to the edges of the paper with cerulean blue in  a couple of places. i tried to get this dark enough as the watercolor dries a value or two lighter than i appears when first applied and wet. for this i used the largest kolinski sable round that i have which is a #12 (kalish). you can see how this wash covers a large light/mid-valued shape in the middle of the painting due to the deft placement of the arms juxtaposed with the face, neck, and upper chest. as her blouse is going to be white i carefully avoided these areas on the initial wash. this is shown in the first photo of the project.

nose and eye features close-up
when this thoroughly dried i started with the nose putting down a darker version of the same flesh colors (perhaps with raw sienna substituting for the cad. yellow pale) for the underplane of the nose.  after rinsing the brush which was a #6 round that pointed really well, i drew out the paint up and over to the top of the nose and modeled some of those planes.  the cast shadow of the nose is cerulean blue which bled into the underplane paint to give a nice darker blend with out much fussing. the right (hers...our left) eye was started (the same color combination, darker version) putting in the shadow under the upper lid. the iris was applied next with pretty much pure burnt umber right out of the tube being careful to avoid the highlight. i tied that into the lower lid with  damp clean brush. the important shape medial to the orb was put in and drawn out both below the eye and medial portion of the upper lid. at about this time the iris had dried sufficiently to put in the pupil with pure ultramarine blue. i tried to put this in somewhat large to give her the "belladonna" look. the lateral eye socket shape drawn out over upper lid, lower lid, and lateral plane out to the hairline finished out the right eye. i started on the right lateral mouth and added a bit of the background next to the cheek at the same time i put a blush of red on the adjacent cheek just to start to get a tie-in. some of this is better shown on the close up. the brow was put in wet-in-wet with burnt umber.

hair and some background
to finish out work for the day i got some fresh water, let the above dry and started in on the hair and some of the background. the latter is going to be challenge for me as i don't like to put multiple dark glazes over each other and will try to get the appropriate value in at "get go." the hair is various applications of burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, and alizarin crimson permanent. as i never seem to be able to resist, i did put some curls and highlights in by scraping the paint just as the sheen came off the surface using a palette knife. i usually overdo this an probably did here, but....oh, well, it is fun. i also put a blush of red with cadmium red light on her left (our right) cheek and carried i back to hairline trying to get a bit of reflected light with both raw sienna and some cerulean blue. the background was put in using ivory black, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and mineral violet (there may be some alizarin crimson in there somewhere as well). you may notice that i drew some of the background color into one of the fold shadows on her blouse near her right (our left) shoulder.  i plan on doing this in most of the blouse shadows that abut the background to get tie-ins so she doesn't seem like a cut-out figure pasted on the paper.

that's all for today.  i think i will be able to finish it tomorrow or at least get a sizable portion done. until then, ttfn.

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