Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brushes and portraits

Portrait study 1
oils - 7 x 9 canvas panel

I have kept playing with the limited palette and trying to achieve different skin tones with the colours that I have. This one has gotten a bit chalky and needs brightening. I'm not sure about pale skin tones with the Zorn palette, but perhaps I need more practice with it.

I treated myself to some new flat brushes and have a problem with one already. They are Royal & Langnickel which are usually very good, but in this one, the bristles keep disappearing up the ferrule and I have to grab them and pull them down again. I resorted to taking a hammer to the brush ferrule to flatten it further against the hairs, which seemed to do the trick. I'm presuming its just a fluke brush that left the factory and not a continuing problem.

The majority of the brushes I use for oils are flats with a few filberts as well that give a softer, more rounded edge. The number of brushes that are available are staggering and you do need to do a little research before heading to the art store to find what will best suit your purpose.

Empty Easel has a good article on brushes that takes some of the mystery out of them.


Rose Welty said...

Jeanette, this is one of my favorites of your self-portraits! The harmony of the palette...the expression on your face...the tilts and angles...the direction of the eyes - I just really love it.

Well done my friend.

Sonia said...

This is really a stunning portrait!!

Jo Castillo said...

Exceptional portrait! Thanks for the link to the brushes.

Jennifer Rose said...

this is a wonderful self-portrait! I actually really like the chalky look, gives it a nice soft finish. hopefully the brush thing was a fluke, I hate spending money on what you think is a high end product only to find its not working out they way you wanted. My oil painter art tutor has a huge box full of brushes. I had never seen so many brushes in one place, the box had to have been 3 feet by 3 feet square. Even with all those brushes tho all I wanted to use were the pallete knives (which he had all kinds of shapes for too :p)

Jeanette said...

Thank you Rose. Its not done yet but I don't want to beat it to death either, so I'm proceeding cautiously.

I'm enjoying the process, but need to find new victims - er models... I'm tired of doing myself but everyone runs when I ask them to model or pose for a photo :)

Sonia, thank you for your kind words.

My pleasure Jo, the world of brushes is huge and often confusing.

Jennifer, thanks. I can see areas that I need to change here, like the left side of the face is perhaps too warm compared to the right. Its in shadow but not that red. Looks like sunburn! :)

I don't have huge numbers of brushes. I usually wear one out then replace it and never seem to have spares when I need them most.

Billie Crain said...'re just whipping these out, Jeanette! You achieved a nice rosy glow on your face with this palette. I can't see the chalkiness on screen either.