May 26, 2012

Portraits in Oils - Week 2 - Thursday

First and Second painting stages 
Regular start to the day, set up my area for working. Oil in on both pieces to bring up the darks. The morning chat was extended over some coffee and donuts the nice ladies brought in, I know I'll regret it later though. My medium for the day is 1: 1 (1 Damar to 1 oil) + a little cobalt drier to speed things up.
The most important thing I've found out is to put the time in to properly lay out my palette. Today I further refined it and it is really helping the work progress.
Struggling with this female portrait, I decide to refine the shadows in order to help me really "see" the values. On some parts I mixed Persian/Indian red straight in from the tube and blended it on the canvas. I am surprised how much chroma is needed, further emphasizing the importance of as high quality materials as you can afford.
My work is angular and harsh. Above is Marthino's as an example of what this stage should look like. The lighting is very different, but he is highly adept and subtle value and tonal ranges, it is very impressive to me, and if you look closely at his work is is still very loose and painterly up close.
 I had to step back and re-examine my value range. It is really starting to click. I began describing the planes, and in some areas they are still very angular but as I begin to blend the edges they will be more convincing. Here I mainly worked in bringing up some of the lights in the shadow area and adding more highlights.
 The importance of a proper first painting and falling light/ flesh ball are very apparent, if they are not right it is difficult to hold the entire picture together realistically. Now I can tell why so many works I've seen (not by any accomplished artists, of course) look so flat and lifeless, they do not have proper control over sculpting the planes of the face on top of properly under painted value ranges.
Here is my happy little work area, my tabaret full of materials.  My piece has second painting done with a more full color range. The girls portrait is beginning to come together a bit better.
 After class, I am going to Marthino's talk about A renewal of Sacred Art at St. Mary's University.

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