Monday, January 05, 2009

Alla prima portrait

Self portrait
oils 7 x 9

I'm trying hard to loosen up my oil painting and act on instinct instead of overthinking things. So I worked on this piece for about 2 hours and think I have a likeness there, but the hand needs some work. The position of the fingers was complex and I sort of glossed over it. I also need to work on brightening the skin tones. I want to replicate the translucent skin, but not overwork it. To do that now, I may have to wait til the first layers dry for a day or two before adding more paint.

I'll go back and tweak some more. The eye colour isn't right yet. My eyes are blue but not quite that blue. I find one of the most difficult things for me in oil portraits is getting the eye colour correct. I need to do a series of colour swatches for different coloured eyes to see what mixes I can come up with. These ones need to be greyer to tone them down I think.

I do need to look around and invest in a good book on colour and oils. Any recommendations?


Jo Castillo said...

I recommend Helen Van Wyk for her plain language and practical sense. She has two books on color recipes.

She was on PBS and was a great teacher of basics, but she new color. Watching her old tapes has helped me to understand.

This is coming along great, love the spontaneity of it.

Robyn said...

The sound of two hands clapping! Awesome.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Jo, I'll check out that book, I do need a decent reference for colour.

I guess if I fiddle with it later, its not alla prima anymore is it? Thanks for the support Robyn.

Anita said...

Its definitely you! One of these days I will try oil portraits again.

Great thread on Portraiture forum at WC by Larry Seiler, a self-confessed alla prima artist, on portraits and how the impressionists, particularly Manet and Sargent, painted - a lot of scraping off of paint!

Billie Crain said...

i like how you used the same blue of the eyes throughout the portrait. whatever color your eyes are, this works for me as is.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Anita, I'll check out that thread.

I must have been too lazy to put another shade of blue on the palette Billie. :)

Jan said...

I agree with Jo about Helen VanWyk's books. Her "color recipes" work for me.

I don't know what you actually look like, but this portrait looks much like your other self-portraits. I'm assuming it's a good likeness, but I know it's coming along as a good portrait.