March 3, 2009

Last pose at Studio Incamminati Portrait Workshop

I have posted my four finished works (below) from this class but wanted to highlight the various stages of finish that each 3-hour session produces toward a final image. My hope is that you and I see the progression (warts and all) during this process.

Night 1) Tonight the pose and vantage point is excellent. I am painting on a lead primed linen canvas that is 16 x 16” square. Not your typical portrait size canvas, but I wanted to try something different and focus on the face while deemphasizing the neck and shoulder area. Stephanie is our model and has an elegant face. The model is lit from above with warm light producing a flow of cool shadows down the face. I struggle to paint on this new awkward surface. My paint won’t seem to stick and I am hoping that next week, with some oil paint down, that painting on top of it will be easier.
Night 2) Tonight was easier as far as paint application. I used a medium comprised of a mix of one part linseed oil, one part damar varnish and five parts turpentine. Primarily, I worked on further refining the head and feature shapes, skin tone values and cool shadow values. Next week, I'll add more detail in the eyes. The model has light blue eyes and the left eye is in light so it will be cool to make this a focal point. 3) Tonight, I spent most of the time making sure the color values were correct on the face. This stage involves a lot of relating of values and picking the right color for those values. For instance, what is the value/color of the shadow under her lip and how does that value/color compare to the value/color of the background? This is where the rubber meets the road for a good painter and one that can trip up the less experienced. I realized that it is important to step back a lot and look at the painting vs. the model. You can't spend too much time noodling details or you will lose what's great about the big picture! 4) As you can imagine, the final night is all about the details and scrambling to finish unfinished areas like the background and subject's clothing. I am satisfied with the final result and progress I've made in this class. I also took some pictures of the model so I'll compare a blown up picture to the final painting to see where I may have strayed. You can see all of my finished paintings from this portrait class in the post below.

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