Thursday, May 30, 2013

new present.

original photo

our daughter and her beau are avid hikers and backpackers, spending as much of their off-time trekking around the cascades, wasatch, and other sundry rocky mountain and cascade ranges. one summer they spent some time in the mountains of southern utah and sent a bunch of photos to us. the inspiration for this painting is from one of those. amanda tells me that the sun was so bright that they had to keep their eyes closed while the photographer framed the shot and quickly open them on his cue for the photo. this led to a rather wide-eyed stare that i had to sort of correct for the painting. i think i am going to save this for a christmas present if it turns out okay (if either are reading the cat's out of the bag.)

 as usual i am anticipating that the background will
cropped for composition
be a challenge for me. i want to suggest the location without making too big a deal out of it and detract from the portraits. we'll see what i come up with.

i actually did the drawing for this last fall prior to the ted nuttall workshop i attended out in seattle while visiting the subjects. i never got around to painting it so decided now was the time. as sort of an experiment i decided to use two different combos for the flesh colors. on david i am going to use cadmium red light and cadmium yellow pale (or raw sienna if in shade) and on amanda i am going to use scarlet lake and cadmium orange. for both, cerulean blue will be the cool.  so, i put down a light, varied wash over much of the surface and let it dry. when this was dry to the touch i started on the features using a #16 round cosmotop brush and more or less the same colors as the underlying wash. 

first washes and features
at this point i am thinking, "so far, so good."

this quickly moved to the point that i definitely got too dark on david's tan. even george hamilton would be shocked! i decided to sleep on this overnight. when i came back in the morning i still thought it was too dark....its even more so than this photo below makes out. so, with more than just a little trepidation i sprayed a light mist over his face, let it sit for about a minute to loosen some paint and gently blotted the surface. i did this three times and ended with the result at the bottom which i think i can live with. as i darken the surrounding background i think this will make his shadows appear even lighter.

value too dark on man's face
i am actually fairly happy with the value of the shadow on amanda's face. i guess i did learn something from the debacle of the last shadow! a little bit of noodling with the background, having decided to put  some mid value pine trees in the mid ground behind the figures, brought this session to an end. more probably tomorrow if this insistent rain continues as predicted. the sun in this painting looks very inviting just about now.

after a wash off or two and more painting

apologies regarding the painting photos. my decade old compact digital camera is finally giving up the ghost and about half of the pixels on the sensor have dropped out. i first noticed this when the file size dropped in half when up loading. then i noticed the fuzziness. a new camera is in order i which one? i am definitely not photographer (as if that needed saying!) and dslr's are not my thing. so a compact, point and shoot with enough megapixels and good stable zoom. any suggestions????


  1. Hi Bob! I love the way this is turning out. I think it will be great. As for cameras, I have a small olympus 12 mp that I keep in my purse and of course my big Nikon that would not be what you want. I have had a couple small nikon coolpix camers that I think I liked better than the olumpus so you might want to take a look at those. They have some really nice ones that have great built in lenses. A friend has one that I love but my camera collection is complete (Jim tells me). Lol!!!

    1. thanks, both for the painting comments and the camera info, dean.

  2. You really are great at portraits Bob, you just nail it ! Even though this is not finished, you could see right from the first photo that this was coming out well . And talking about the background, you certainly don't shy away from difficulty . I am a bad photographer myself and my old digital camera ( Nikon coolpix ) is almost falling apart , but I will keep it till the end...probably will buy another one similar, it is easy and foolproof, so it works for me :-))) Have a great weekend.

    1. thank you for the comments, jane. sounds like we are similarly photography challenged. our cat louie offered some thoughts when sunning himself on the table by the window (on which the the much maligned camera sat). i found it on the floor when i returned to the studio..... there go another couple of megapixels! easy and foolproof sound like a winning combination. i will have to seriously look now that louie has added his opinion of the current equipment and tried a non-factory, post-marketing repair.