May 25, 2012

Portraits in Oils - Week 2 - Wednesday

big form modelling...

I began by oiling in. The first color I started with the basic flesh color. The basic idea is to make the head into a flesh ball of sorts.  By examining the planes of the head and where the light is hitting it makes it easier to get the basic turning of the simple form.
The medium I used was a 3:1. That is 3 parts solvent/Damar varnish mix to 1 part linseed oil. A good place to start is with a bit of red umber mixed with white and starting near the bed bug line. Commit this to memory: "the darkest light should be lighter than the lightest dark". Already the image has moved away from flat Warhol like image to a rounded naturalistic form.
 I jumped back and forth between canvases once the paint got overworked and tacky due to the rapid drying provided by the addition of a few drops of cobalt drier. Here you can see the modelling of the form of the girls face, done in much the same way. It is becoming apparent how important the early stages, though seemingly simple, make up the map you will need later on to take the picture work.
One method I'm working with is learning how to properly use a well laid out palette. Here is my first try. Its simple but it seems to work. I've strung out the main colors of the flesh palette we are using. It helps to understand the changes in value and tonality and how to use it systematically to the best effect.
Another pointer, and I'm picking up a lot of good working skills, is to have two containers of turpentine, one for the first clean of the brushes and my smaller one for the cleaned brushes used for thinning, that way I wont get muddied colors while working. Also use more paint and have more chroma, in order to guard against inadvertent greying of my tones.
The next step after the big form modelling is to work on the planes of the face.  This is where small color shifts based on the values are added in. We had a reference picture to simplify the planes of the face, very useful. I also had to go back into my shadows and darken them to get more depth in my image.  I worked on creating more form and tonality in the shirt. You can see how having the initial big form modelling is a real asset/
I went back and forth into the two portraits. Here I built more into the female face but was really struggling to maintain her beauty, while my work was still to flat and the creases and planes too well defined to be believable.

I ended off on a positive note with my self portrait. Got some color in the lips. Nice form on the forehead and some definition in the shadow areas and some depth developing in the clothing and background. Looking forward to the Animation Lock down tonight and hump day coming to a close so I can get a little rest and really make a charge on the last two days of the workshop.

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