Friday, April 20, 2012

portrait with more dramatic lighting: sketch

i want to experiment with painting a portrait that has more dramatic or even atypical lighting. i have this photo of my grandson sollie snapped on christmas morning as we were opening presents. the light was really yellow due to the incandescent bulbs. so, i manipulated it on photoshop elements to give more lifelike flesh coloration and then reduced it to black and white (with enhancement of the contrast). that gave me the result shown here to work off of for the painting.

flesh tone enhanced
black and white (duh)

i started with a drawing on a piece of 140# hot press lanaquarelle paper measuring 11"X14". i thought that to get the whole thing to hang together i would have to lay down an initial wash over the face and the background so i chose quinacridone gold for the yellow, permanent rose for the red, and cerulean blue for the blue. the later may have been a mistake as it is rather opaque and may not glaze without causing some "mud".

initial "unifying" wash

from this point on i pretty much proceeded as i would on any other portrait using the same colors in different proportions. i painted the far eye and its surrounds first and then painted the large shadow that demarcated the light form the dark side of the face. i made this warmer near the light and with a relatively sharp edge and faded it into a cooler color as his head turned away from the light. i painted the mouth next being careful to get the light and shadow and therefore the shape correct. his mouth is definitely a little kid mouth and it would be very easy to make it "older" and thus make him seem older than his 4 years.

half done
i blocked in the front of his hair and scraped in some texture with the palette knife and painted some of the shadows on his hoodie with ultramarine blue and brown madder. the same colors were used for the background shape adjacent to his*left* arm/shoulder. quinacridone gold was used to paint the light value shape in front of his face. there are a few things that bother me at this point but it is just an experimental sketch so i won't fret over them now. plenty of time for that later!

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