Saturday, April 17, 2010

Facepaint - complete

I've added the final layers and the 'icing' to this piece.   What is icing?  Its those lovely little touches that bring a piece to life.  A subtle highlight on a lip or nose.  The change in light as it strikes a curve of the hair; the catchlight in a eye.  All these are the 'icing' for a painting.  They push the piece over into a different place and breathe more life into it.

After the icing there's no going back.  All you should see in front of you is a stop sign.  A rest from view, then a closer inspection in a few days to see if there are any glaring problems.  Touch ups or not then it joins the pieces of history.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Orange on black

Orange on Black
9 x 12  pastel

As a break from the portrait that I'm working on, I did a quick sketch of an orange. I didn't have a reference or live fruit in front of me, so worked from memory.  That's not always a good thing, as memory plays tricks and not always good ones.

Of course as I used black paper for this pastel sketch, its a nightmare to get the colours to ring true.  That and artificial light.  And a scanner would be even worse no doubt with the reflection from the light.

I would like to try some more fruit in pastels.  The medium seems to work well and I like the texture and rich pigments.  Its as close to painting as you can get with a dry medium I think.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Facepaint update II

More layers. 

I'm building the skin tones and starting to lay in the hair.  I think the right eye is pretty much where I want it to be.  Its in deep shadow but still has a hint of catchlight there that I want to remain very subtle.  This girl has freckles too and I want to indicate those as well under the makeup but not make them prominent.

The scarf of course needs more work to develop form.  I don't know if I'm going for detail of the knitted fabric on it, likely not.

Each time I pass by this image I see something new.  The piece is a little unnerving, perhaps that direct baleful look that has that effect.  But having an effect on the viewer is all part of art I think.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Facepaint update

I've added more layers to this portrait.  I'm still not sure if its going where I want it to yet.  Parts of it are, parts not yet.  The right eye won't cooperate, but I'm hoping to persuade it to before long.

The paint around the eyes will be more smudged and defined at the same time.  The hair is a wig and bright blue.  That's a challenge and I may have to call in a bit of pastel to help me out on it in places. At least the 300lb paper is robust and allows some flexibility in scrubbing back without damaging the surface.

The whole piece is a little creepy but interesting at the same time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Face paint

I always return to portraits as a comfort zone even though I wander all over the map in terms of subject matter.  There is something about constructing the human form that is endlessly interesting.

I saw this reference in the April portraiture forum of WetCanvas and knew that I needed to try it. Its a bit sombre, almost eerie if you look at it long enough, but fascinating enough to keep me interested.

I figured it was time for another watercolour portrait.  This is the start of it on 300lb Arches paper.  It measures 12 x 15.  There's a lot of layers to go yet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The finishing point

You know how sometimes you just don't stop when the voice inside your head tells you to?

Today was one of those days.

Early this morning I started playing around with some pastels on a full size sheet of red mi-tientes.  It was coming together nicely and I was happy with the mix of colours and contrast against the background.

I had a break and a cup of coffee then came back to it and started fiddling around.  You know how the scenario goes.  "Well, I'll just touch up this section here by the stem.  I wonder what it would look like if it was darker on the right?"  Then before you know it, you've changed everything and it looks worse than that haircut your mother gave you in third grade.

But its all part of the game.  Live.  Learn. Screw up.