Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gary update 4

I know, everyone is likely tired of this week of little updates, but this is a bit more substantial I hope.

I've had a free morning and the brush and brain seemed to kick into high gear so I made good inroads on this portrait of Gary.  I'm still in colourful, impressionistic mode and so far its working, at least in my eyes.  Gary may be horrified! :) 

Here's a closer view showing more of the strokes and colours.  As always, the camera and my photoediting skills fail.  The portrait real life.  If the sun comes out and I get some decent light I'll try for another photo. 

A note on colours for those thinking of what colours I used and why.  In anything, its really not about colour, but about value that makes or breaks a painting.  I could use any colour on the face and if it is the correct value for light or shadow, it would work.   However, in most skin tones for caucasian faces, there is the traditional palette that I use consisting of:

Cadmium red light
Cadmium yellow light
Yellow ochre
Sap green
Manganese blue
Ultramarine violet
Titanium white

From these colours, all the variants arise in the stronger pastel shades of blues, violets, oranges and pinks that add interest.  I haven't used any medium with the oils, but mixed colours out of the tubes, washing the brush in odorless turps when required.  The strokes are not blended much, its more like studying the light and shadow, choosing a colour then laying down a stroke.

There are still refinements to be made on the face and the shirt to be done.  The background is an off white that I may darken a little in spots for interest.  I wanted that contrast with the figure and intense light instead of a traditional darker background.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Gary Everest update 3

I feel like I have a split personality in painting as I arrange and rearrange colours constantly at times before settling on a palette that works for me.  It comes intuitively and after much knashing of teeth and pulling of hair.

Gary lives in Hawaii, so tropical and beautiful and both colour and light rich, so I wanted to reflect some of that light and colour into the portrait.  Not as a background but in the skin itself.  I am introducing blues, reds, greens and pale oranges into the skin and seeing how the values 'read' for me as I work my way around the portrait.  I want this to be a loose more impressionistic painting.  Its moving more into a style I find myself leaning towards in my work lately, despite tight paintings of fish in previous posts!

Note that I haven't completed the eyes yet.  They are usually the first thing that I tackle in a portrait and I have - several times.  And wiped them - several times.  All will be well.  Let's see what tomorrow will bring in terms of colour and light.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Portrait update

My update is small and tentative.  I'm still finalizing my palette for this portrait of Gary Everest and confess its been wiped several times.  I want colour and movement and life in it as Gary's just that kind of person I believe.  Shots of colour below were a bit too intense, so I'm moving into a more sedate version above, but there will still be intense spots of colour to pull in the viewer.

I'm adding to it a few minutes here and here as time is limited right now, but I'll get there after my eureka moment when all falls into place and the brush takes over from the brain.

You can have a peek at Gary's progress on my portrait over on his blog.  He's hitting up the colour too!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Portrait in progress

Me and my big mouth.

Ages ago, I sort of challenged Gary Everest to a portrait swap of sorts.  What was I thinking?  Gary is a portrait artist extraordinare located in Hawaii and I, well I paint fish and water in Newfoundland!   At least we're both on islands!  However, the deed is done and now I have to come up with the goods, as Gary has already made a start on my portrait which you can see on his blog Gary L. Everest Paintings.

Portraits are challenging subjects but so very interesting.  Like everything else, its a matter of breaking it down into pieces, analyzing light and shadow and matching colours and values, all while keeping a likeness.  Gulp.

My week off work is filled with visitors and activities so I haven't had much of a chance to work on it, but early this morning, when even babies were asleep, I did a freehand sketch on an 11 x 14 canvas panel.  The mottled purple you see on this panel is from a watercolour stain.  I was using the plastic wrapped panel as a support for a watercolour piece and there must have been a small hole in the plastic where the water leaked through.  It won't impact the painting as I spray a light coating of matte varnish over my under drawing to seal it before starting to paint.

I'll be adjusting the drawing and angles as I paint to get it to do what I want. Now I need to decide if I want to use colour or try a grisaille using the new tube of Gamblin's Torrit Grey that I got yesterday.  The reference has a lot of interesting colours in it that I can emphasize, but I like the thought of monotone too. Decisions, decisions...