Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a 4 hour demo at Blick Art Materials in Kabsas City! Here are some progress shots with some thoughts on my process.
My palette is a semi-organized thing. I lay out my colors separating cool from warm, progressing through the hues of the rainbow and from light to dark.
I mix across the palette to create lower chroma flesh tones.
After making a basic sketch in charcoal, I started by laying in a background color, against which I can judge all subsequent mixtures.
Next I blocked in the darkest shapes, simplifying everything to one basic tone on the shadow side of her face.
On the light side I included more variety in hue than I did on the shadow side, and started to add in smaller shapes like the eyes. This looked pretty weird with no mouth included!
Once everything was basically blocked in, I started to include more accurate plane shifts, varying tones in more subtle mixtures. I simultaneously adjusted the drawing as I went along.
The eyes and nostrils were of the last parts to be clarified in the painting, because they are the smallest parts of the face. I wanted to be sure of the overall placement before including such small details.
The finished sketch, after a little more work on the hair and clothing. :-)
February 12th, 1pm-5pm at Blick Art Materials Kansas City
Stop by Blick Art Materials (4144 Main Street in KCMO) between 1pm and 5pm tomorrow to catch me painting live at the store! I will be doing a portrait from life in oil paint and taking questions as I work.
While you're at it, pick up some art materials at a good price. Check out the specials and a 20% off coupon here!
I'm currently finishing up a small (9" x 12") study in preparation for a larger painting. In addition to finding all the right hues for the large piece, so that I'm making changes on a small scale instead of a larger scale, thus saving time and paint, I'm also looking for the best value scheme to support my focal point and express form.
Taking a photo of your work is often helpful as it lets you see the image smaller and with details compressed, which will allow you to see errors that weren't as obvious in person. Even better if you are able to flip the canvas to get a mirror image.
Another thing that I regularly do, especially toward the end of the painting process, is convert a photo of my work into black and white and analyze the values alone. When I'm working with students, this really helps them to see where changing values will increase the depth and sense of form in their work. Often there are settings right on your smart phone or tablet that will allow you to make a monochromatic image without having to use a photo editing program.
We are commonly so hung up on color that we lose sense of the underlying values. Notice when looking between the two images, above, that some of the intense colors in the feathers and costume look much darker than expected in the black and white version. This is because the colors are intense, which we commonly erroneously interpret as "bright" or light in value.
It is likely that I will add some lighter values to the feathers on the right hand side of the painting, but overall I like that the lightest values in the painting are exclusively on the areas of the model's hair and skin. This means she will not be lost in the sea of hues and feathers which surrounds her.
By the way... I've been obsessed with peacocks lately. I'm collecting peacock imagery over on my Tumblr, and likely will on my Pinterest as well. (Some are tucked away in the Art Deco board. I'm obsessed with Art Deco, too!)