Wednesday, October 31, 2012

carrying on with more of "dan", a new painting, and life painting session

the penultimate "bookman dan"
i have done just  a little more on the portrait of dan and i think i am going to let it sit for a while. i believe i'm on the road to over doing it and i may already have given it a wash or two too many. so i'm close to finishing it and will revisit in a week or so. here we are at present:

i warmed up the shadows on the light side of his face and cooled off the ones on the shadow side. some scarlet lake heavy with cadmium orange for the former and ultramarine for the later. some details on hsi shirt such as shadows and stitching were painted with a gray made from cerulean blue, alizarin crimson permanent, and raw sienna .  all this painted with a #16 cosmotop round. i will probably darken his sweater and the inferior rim of his *right* glasses frame (while still letting it fade into the shadow beside his nose). but as i said week.....maybe.

for this next project i have picked out this photo that i took in santa fe a couple of years ago. this first has been cropped to about what i want the painting to include and to manage the composition. the second is a black and white enlarged to be about the size of the head on the actual painting. this was done to facilitate the drawing which can now be done sort of "sight-sized".

i drew the figure and most of the background elements on a piece of  16"X20", 140#, fabriano artistico hot press paper. i started the painting process with a light wash of cerulean blue, scarlet lake, and cadmium yellow-orange(holbein) applied with a #26 cosmotop round brush.

drawing and initial wash
first features
after this was bone dry, i started on the features with mixtures of the same colors used for the starting light wash and switching to a #16 round. i usually start with the nose or eyes. in this case i started with her *left* eye and then moved on to the nose and finally up to the *right*eye. i wasn't so concerned with getting the value right immediately but with getting the shapes correct and connected to each other. in pursuit of this i tried to make each area look like a miniature painting when viewed up close. this was a point made by ted nuttall in a recent workshop. i have included a detail view of her *left* eye. some darker areas within the hairline, around the earrings, and some modeling of her cheeks and chin finished work today on the figure. i also started putting some of the background predominantly cerulean blue at the lower right corner of the painting and again to the left of the hair

detail #1 of features

detail #2 of *left* eye

a few more features and modeling on the face in "let me count the ways"
35-minute pose; 13"X10"

and lastly today one of the offerings from the life drawing/painting session at the vitamin studio from last week. one was terrible and is deposited in the circular file, another the model liked and so i gave it to her (it just felt like the right thing to do at the time and she was thrilled....or so it seemed). that left me with this last sketch that was of her head and upper torso and done over the course of a 35 minute pose.

Friday, October 26, 2012

returning to dan

i am going to let the last two paintings sit a little more. i will say that the more i leave them alone the moe i feel tht they are done. i can't think of anything on either one that would be more than just fussing.

digitally warmed up
returning to the portrait of dan, i think the changes are fairly obvious. i finished his glasses over his *right*eye. the rest of the time was mostly spent further defining the shadows, mainly darkening them with glazes of warm color (scarlet lake and cadmium yellow-orange). i have been working under indoor lights and see in daylight this morning that it has taken on a bit of a coolish tint. you don't see that here as i "corrected" it on photoshop before posting. i wanted to see how it would look warmer and i think some overwashes of the orange will bring it around. i will probably use some glazing of a blue soon, so it will be tricky with the push-pull of color temperature. i darkened the background in pretty much all places. specifically i added serial washes of quinacridone gold, permanent rose, and ultramarine blue(X2) to the upper areas. the lower were just layers o cerulean blue. i started on his hair with a darker value of ultramarine blue and burnt umber/sienna. i want his sweater to be a dark green so i started painting a bit of this on both sides the a combination of ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow pale.
more or less the real tints

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

getting close....i think

i had a few hours to work on the current two paintings yesterday but ran out of time for posting the progress.

"?"  18"X30"
regarding the couple painting (for which i don't have a title yet) i needed to finish the woman's shirt which i did with a #16 round brush and predominantly mineral violet paint. i also charged some ultramarine blue and raw sienna in random places to break up the color and add some richness to the area. after that i tried to lose a few edges along the stripes. i put a little more detail on the bench and tried to leave a little more to the imagination with less detail. i decided that the background needed little but i did darken it at the top and along the sides with a glaze of ultramarine blue. the limbs needed a little more modeling. this was done with a layer of scarlet lake and cadmium yellow-orange (holbein) followed by ultramarine blue. i think that is about it for right now. i will put this up where i can see it several times a day and decide if more needs to be done in a week or so. if anyone is reading this and has an opinion i would love to hear it. any ideas for a title?

"toward the future"  16"X18"
in respect to the painting started at our life session, i mainly worked on the background. i framed in the upper right of the painting with  stripes of cerulean blue/cadmium yellow pale and darkened the enclosed rectangle around his head with successive layers of warm alternating with cool colors until it was about as dark as you see here. the colors were ultramarine blue, permanent rose, raw sienna, burnt sienna, mineral violet, cerulean blue (or really just an iteration of the colors used in his face) applied with a #26 round brush. i went with a stripe of mineral violet along the bottom of the horizontal bluish-green stripe to represent a shadow on the sort of lavender wall. for no other reason than i wanted to i added some splotches of mineral violet up top outside the "rectangle and down below inside. seems kind of silly at this point, but i do like an unexpected splash of arbitrary color here and there for interest and to do.....well....the unexpected. not sure this is valid but it was fun. i so hope there is a "rule" against doing this as that would even make it more fun, "oh, yea?"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

continuing couple's painting and first long-pose figure session

i have continued to paint on the large painting of the couple. i have been working the hands and modeling the arms and hands of the woman. additionally i have started the stripes on her blouse. the interesting thing i have noticed is that as i get further into refining the figures the value of the background is starting to seem more correct to me. we'll have to see when i finish the figures but i suspect very little more will need to be done relative to the background. here is a photo of where we are right now.

this last week also marks the first time in quite a while that i have painted from life. we had a 3-hour session with a great young model  at the vitamin studio this last wednesday. there were only three of us painting plus the model (and one guy shucking tomatillos....don't ask). i was interested in seeing how some of the newer techniques were going to work in this setting with limited time. it actually went quite well. the drawing gave me the most trouble as i hadn't done live drawing for several months, but eventually i got one that i thought would work. then i had to figure out what colors. dean mitchell, a noted african-american painter has said (hearsay, though i have been told by a reliable source) one can paint the skin of people of color that is believable if you don't use brown out of the tube. keeping that in mind i used scarlet lake, raw sienna, cerulean blue, winsor blue, ultramarine blue, and even some permanent rose. all put one over the other with thin glazes. i am going to have the majority of the background dark around his head and started working toward this end with a layer of cerulean blue, followed by raw sienna, and finishing with permanent rose. this has left us with a warm rosy undertone from which to darken with layers of blue. i put  a stripe of viridian and cerulean blue across the image at shoulder level just for a splash of color that isn't anywhere else in the painting and may be a window frame in the end product. his hoodie and cap are combos of cadmium red light and alizarin crimson. by two and a half hours thing were definitely needing time to dry as the whole painting was pretty damp and really not paintable with any modicum of control. so i packed up watched the others finish work on their oil paintings and then headed home after asking the model if i could take a photo from which to finish the piece. he obliged.  all of this was painted with a #16 round cosmotop brush.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

just a little more

i did not have much time last week to paint due to an illness, but earlier this week i was able to get a couple of hours in on the couple painting.

almost all the time was spent finishing the pattern on the man's shirt. i used a #16 round, ultramarine blue tempered with raw sienna and then charged with a dash of either alizarin crimson permanent or raw sienna here and there. i also tried to lose a few edges on the multitude of small "squares". additionally, i darkened the gaps in between the bench slats by putting on a wash of winsor blue and quinacridione gold. after lifting some color from the near slats on the bench i started dry brushing burnt sienna, cobalt blue and a little mineral violet to add some texture. i also put in some cracks near the ends of the boards and within the body of the slats. i decided to have them secured with some nails and added the heads near the end of the slats. these usually cause some splitting so those were added. all this was done with a generic "dark", like mixing two complements.  i indicated some light reflecting off of some of the surface of the nail heads and edges of the cracks by scratching off some paint with the point of a single-edge razor blade.

another wash of darker color was added to the shadow side of the man's trousers and an initial darkening wash to the woman's slacks as well. i think that was all that was done.

we are into rather typical fall weather with some really nice warm, sunny days punctuated with a couple of cold, damp, rainy gray days. on the former i will probably go out and play and eschew painting, which will have to await the "indoor-weather" days.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

continuing on with current projects

i am going to try shifting into a little bit more steady posting as i found, looking back over the last few months, that i have had more voluminous posts less frequently. by posting more frequently, the offerings should be shorter, more easily digested , and in more real time as to how the work is actually progressing.

so, on the couple painting, the only thing done since last time was work on the plaid pattern on his *right* sleeve. of note here is that i tried to make sure about several things as i progressed. the first was to get he paint in the right place and more or less in the correct shape. second, was to get a darker value as the pattern turned into the form shadow of the sleeve. third, i wanted to get some change in hue within each square by charging a bit of either alizarin crimson permanent or raw sienna into random swatches. the last was to lose some of the edges on the squares, usually, on what would be the shadow side.

regarding the portrait on "dan," much more was accomplished. i guess i found that more interesting to pursue. the first thing was to get the *right* eye painted and the steps were the same as its partner on his *left*. i added more of the shadows on his face which are giving the form. so far all was painted using my trusty #16 cosmotop round and some combination of scarlet lake, cadmium yellow-orange (holbein), and cerulean blue (very little of the latter). i felt some of the background needed bringing up to speed and put down the first wash of quinacridone gold from the top and faded it out as we moved down on the paper. this will eventually be quite a dark grayish area, probably darker than his hair so that this background will act as negative shape describing the hair shape. this hopefully will contrast with his shoulders and sweater at the bottom which i am planning on depicting as a positive shape. at this point the *right*eye seems like it may be tilted somewhat inward and i will keep an eye (no pun intended) on this area as we move forward. it may need changing. at some point i drew in the shape of his teeth which i had neglected to do when i did the initial drawing. these shapes are critical as each person's tooth "landscape" is unique. get this off and you will lose some of the likeness. this i learned from ted nuttall. additionally, when painting the teeth i believe one needs to remain subtle, slowly bringing definition to the area. otherwise the whole thing will look "toothy" and "dorky", to use a common currently used  vernacular. i'll take credit for this latter notion, just in case it is wrong! in painting the shadow on the far *right* side of his face, i started by adding a stripe of color right in front of the ear that was hooker's green to try to suggest some reflected light from his sweater (which right now i envision as being dark green.) immediately after painting this strip i added the usual flesh colors to finish the shadow. when it dried i added another layer of the flesh color to darken it. this also was an attempt to add some arbitrary color that i find interesting in so many really good watercolor (or oil for that matter) portraits. in the past i overdid this in my zeal. again subtlety is the intent.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

continuing on with the "center-piece" and new painting start

over the last few days i have worked quite a bit on this painting but not a lot of it is very obvious. i did a lot of fussing with the faces. doing some subtle modeling on the guys face in shadow that shows on the photo, and correcting some drawing (or painting, not sure which) problems around her nose, eye, and far cheek. one of these days i will take stock of the drawing a little more before plunging into the painting to avoid this picky stuf that probably in the long run means little. i also put down some serial glazes on the back ground to bring it up to value and hue that i want. basically i'd like some glow that is still somewhat greenish around the heads and darker in the upper corners and edges. i think that the overall value is about what i am aiming for but i need to get the greenish coloration down. i think some winsor blue/ultramarine blue/cobalt blue or even cerulean over this predominantly yellowish hue we see here would work. these glazes are put down with my #26 round cosmotop brush and about 15% solution of color to water. there is a coating of permanent rose, quinacridone yellow, and winsor blue already on it. i 
decided to make the bench a greyish color to emulate weathered wood, which is departure from the metal that it actually is, and started this process by putting a burnt sienna and ultramarine blue wash over much of its surface. a little more of the modeling of the shadows and folds on the shirts and woman's hat and a few of the "squares" of color on the guy's shirt finished out where we are to date. i am probably at the point where i am going to have to put in the rest of the pattern on both of their shirts. i will need a good night's rest to tackle this (and maybe even a break of a couple of days). so far i have managed not to screw this up....hopefully my luck will continue.

to get a little bit of a break before attempting the shirt patterns above i decided to start another smaller painting of my oldest and, arguably, dearest friend. he is always smiling and i have a photo of him from his blog . he is currently a volunteer for the peace corps in njala, sierra leonne, teaching english teaching to classes of university students learning to be teachers. i just can't say enough about this endeavor and am very proud to know him.

i started out by deciding on the composition where i wanted to get his head high on the paper and almost centered. i imported his blog photo to photoshop and cropped it and enlarged it so that it was "real" sized and composed as above. with that out of the way i drew the image on a piece of 300# hot press arches paper measuring 15"X11".

using my #16 cosmotop round (this has become my go to workshorse lately) brush i put sown a wash of varied colors including scarlet lake, cadmium yellow orange (holbein doesn't make a pure cad. orange), and  cerulean blue. i tried and was mostly successful in avoiding the highlights in his eyes and t-shirt. when this ws slightly dry i put in a darker value hair shape using burnt umber and cobalt blue.

this needed complete drying before moving on to the features. using the same colors and brush, i started the features on the *left* eye. switching to cobalt blue i painted the iris after finishing most of the surrounding structures. i then moved on to the nose. as i continue it will be challenge to stick with what is actually seen in the dark shadow to the *right* of his nose, i.e. nothing, as opposed to what i know is there. the modeling of the face, start of the mouth, and some of the background were also painted at this sitting. i want to keep the whole thing moving along at more or less the same stages in all aspects of the painting. i think i will stop at this point today.

Friday, October 5, 2012

center-piece painting for upcoming show

the truth is that i have been thinking about this painting for quite a while. the issue was that i knew i wanted it somewhat larger than i usually paint and that i wanted a somewhat different shape than customary. the point being that i thought it could make a nice center piece for my show at the pumphouse coming up in january (through february). the size thing was just a matter of getting up enough courage and confidence that i could carry it off. the larger brushes that i recently got (cosmotop round #16 and #26) will definitely help technique-wise. the compositional ideas i needed to bounce off someone with more experience and savvy than i. this was afforded at the recent ted nuttall workshop where he presented his ideas of cropping photos to make interesting compositional statements. after that lecture i fooled around with my image on photoshop and came up with what was to be the actual composition. ted agreed with that and so here we go.

these series of photos show from top to bottom the first and subsequent steps in the process i am using to paint this piece. i started out by drawing the figures and rough placement of the bench on a piece of 300# cold press arches paper that measured 18"X30". this is different than the hot press i have been using the last month or so. i wanted to see if the techniques i had been using recently would work on this surface.

i started the painting with a light value wash on the faces of the figures using scarlet lake, cadmium yellow-orange and cerulean blue for the flesh colors and my #16 round cosmotop brush. this light wash was also placed over the arms and hands.  as this dried i did the same thing s for the hair using mainly the burnt earth colors with a touch of cobalt blue to darken it here and there. some of the features came next with cobalt blue for the irises of their blue eyes, but the rest of the colors remaining the same as well as the largish brush. of note, this would have been impossible if the brush did not point and was not stiff enough to hold its point well.

i know that the background will be a challenge for me both to get it dark enough and still have a transparency that makes watercolor so appealing. to this end i decided to make several layers of alternating cool and warm colors until i was getting to the general greenish tint and value that i wanted and then add some texture on the top of that to suggest the foliage that made up most most of the background. you can see this in subsequent serial photos along with the start of some work on the shadows and patterns on their clothing. the last thing i did at this stage was put down a initial wash of mainly burnt sienna on the bench. you will note a reddish blush on the woman's shirt and that is the remnants of a rusty red color i started putting on her shoulder and then thought better of it. i finally decided to stay true to the reference photo and make her shirt a dark blue-black stripe (as seen at the very top of her *right* shoulder.) i hope that the scrub-out with the "magic eraser will be enough. so far the paper surface and its sizing remains intact!.