Wednesday, August 22, 2012

here, there, and everywhere....but not there

i am feeling a little bit schizoid lately, being drawn in a number of different directions. i hadn't really spent anytime painting for about a week or maybe more when i returned to the portrait of annabel telling us a story. i really shouldn't spend so much time away from a painting. there are a lot of things that i don't like about this and it seems i can never satisfy myself with a painting of annabel that i like, despite numerous poses she allowed me to photograph. it may be that i am familiar enough with her that i fret over the likeness and lose the freshness and spontaneity. oh, well.

i painted some on her shirt using a combination of ultramarine blue and mineral violet applying it with a #12 round sable brush. its a little sloppy but perhaps in keeping with the technique on the rest of the painting. i painted her hand using a combination of burnt umber, brown madder, and cobalt blue and a #8 faux kolinski round. her *left* one isn't as complicated as the other being a palm-side view, but it may be a challenge on getting the lines to look right. i haven't decided on the background on the right side of the painting yet. in the lower right corner i put down some of the same shirt colors and i am not sure that is going to make it. i sort of find that when in doubt, use one of the colors you have already used and at least you will have some unity if not excitement in the overall end result. here are two shots at different stages described above.

i have put the remaining steps of "posing proud in hobart" on the back burner for the time being. it isn't because of lack of interest or dissatisfaction with the effort to date but i wanted to experiment just a little with a painting that i will probably use for one of the projects for the ted nuttall workshop i am attending in seattle in about two weeks. i have used a photo taken by babasteve of a young thai woman that he posted on his flickr account. i had received permission to use his photos as models in the past. once i hear back from him about this particular photo i will re-post it here. my most sincere thanks to him for his amazing photos.....they are quite an inspiration. in the mean time i will show the steps so far. the photo is unique in that it has bottom/frontal lighting. this is the reason i wanted to trial it before committing to doing it during the workshop.
drawing and first wash

to start the process i  drew the face and hand on a piece of 140# hot press lanaquarelle paper that measured 11"X14". i then covered the paper with a mid/light value wash using cobalt blue, brown madder, and cadmium yellow pale. as i had trouble on this hot press paper in the past to get an even wash i decided to wet the entire surface with clear water first. then using a #12 round sable brush i put down the wash in the usual top to bottom fashion. then it needed to dry. a good way of checking this is to place the back of your hand to the surface lightly. if it is at all cool to the touch it is still too wet to work on. it should and did dry a lighter value than depicted here when it was still wet. you can just make out the drawing under the wash.

beginning the features

i started with the nose but this time the shadow, rather than being on the underside of the nose, is on the upper plane, thus explaining the light as from below. the colors are mostly brown madder (i'm determined to tame this pigment!) and cadmium yellow pale (maybe some raw sienna???). i used a #8 faux kolinsky round brush (blick). i worked this up to the bridge area and then put in the wash below the nose on the upper lip. same colors but with cobalt blue in the center. the nostrils were the same colors darkened with burnt umber. i try to avoid a cool color like blue inside the nose. it just doesn't look right to me. i then worked on her *right* eye. i followed my usual procedure of putting in the shadow under the upper lid followed by the iris. i only put pigment on the upper iris and drew the color down with a clean damp brush to finish off the structure being careful to avoid the highlight. this was taken right over the bottom lid and used to define the the lower lid horizontally. the crease in her lid above the eye was prominent so i painted in a thin line of cobalt blue in the "depths" of the crease and finished it out with the warmer colors. the medial socket shape is important to get it to recede and i used cobalt blue drawn out with the warmer wash. at this point the iris had dried sufficiently to place the pupil in ultramarine blue sort of wet-in-wet to get just a little blur. laterally and over the temple area was then put in with cobalt and again drawn out with warm colors.when i reached the hair line i put in a dark value of ultramarine blue and burnt umber losing the edge at the temple. i extended the warm colors down onto the cheek in one continuous wash.

continuing steps 
i then turned to the *left* eye using the same steps, colors, and techniques. the colors used on the mouth were pretty much pure brown madder in various values. at least it does provide a full range of values which is useful here. the shapes around the chin were painted next using the same pigments. the bracelet is quinacridone gold. the fingernails turquoise blue. to finish out work for the day i stared to define the perimeter of her face with a dark value of the hair color on the *left* side of her face and under the chin/jaw area.

yes, the ear is too low and i will have to correct that first thing in the morning while it is in my mind. there are also some problems with the jawline. so far i think this is coming along well especially since most of it is an experiment with this unusual lighting.

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