Thursday, September 26, 2013

continuation of new, as yet untitled, painting

i showed the beginnings of this painting a couple of posts ago. the inspiration for this painting comes from one of steve evans' great photos of a young man hanging off of a wagon. i am deeply appreciative of steve allowing use of his photos for these purposes.

intial washes and features
in the previous photo i had just put down some initial washes and worked a bit on the eyes. on subsequent steps i continued work on his features and the large shadow making up the planes of his face. as in other paintings i have done of non-cuacasians i have used the same colors that i use in caucasian skin only in different proportions so that the overall color is a warmish brown and the value deeper. up until now i have avoided using "brown" out of the tube such as burnt umber or burnt sienna.   i chose instead to make the color with glazes of complements going from warm to cool in subsequent applications. so, if i put down raw sienna on one coat i will put down mineral violet on the next. vermillion on one then hooker's green on the next. this always trying to make sure that the over all color is warm over the center of the face. i will at times allow cool to enter over the temples or forehead as those structures often are cooler than the rest of the face.

a little more detail and darkening background
with cool skin tones
after this step i decided that the face was too cool so i put a glaze of raw sienna and then brilliant orange over the whole thing except the sclerae. this looked better to me. as i moved forward on the face and figure i tried to keep his apparel (hat/shirt) moving in a forward direction as well. initially i put down a wash of manganese blue graded to ultramarine blue on his shirt and a wash of alizarin crimson dulled with a touch of hooker's green on his cap.

additionally, i worked some on the background with the somewhat abstract dark behind the figure trying to keep the colors varied and interesting but not so much that it will compete with the face. i also am trying to tie the figure into the background along the shadow side by having a change in color when moving from one to another but maintaining the same relative value.

warming things up and more detail
one of the things that i learned (relearned?) at the jozwiak/nelson workshop was that "design" was as important or perhaps more important than "composition". charles reid has often said when asked about the compositional feature "center of interest" that he didn't understand the concept fully in terms of what the intent was. he has said that the concept of center of interest meant to him that the rest of the painting should be  less interesting

or uninteresting........a concept he rejected. instead he preferred to fill his paintings with warm next to cool, dark next to light, lost near found edges....all over the painting. this i think is the concept of design.

face starting to come together and darks in clothing, etc.
with that in mind i started putting in some darks around the face (not really on the face) in the clothing and a little in the background. that is depicted in the last photo. also in the last photo i am starting to bring the skin tone to the final temperature and color.....a rich, warm, milk chocolate brown over the shadow areas. with the multiple thin transparent glazes these areas just glow with a depth only accomplished by this technique (i'm not sure it really shows up in the photos but irl it is striking).


  1. What an amazing and strong portrait, there is really something going on in this expression. Great work also on the shadows that set off the little boy perfectly !

    1. good to hear from you, jane. i hope that your summer recess leaves you renewed and ready for the fall and winter.

      thanks for your nice comments. i do like this which is unusual for me while actually doing a painting.