Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nancy's Cheek

I completely repainted the chin and mouth area and a bit more today. This time I matched my color string to the poster study by keeping right next to my larger canvas and trying out the mixtures directly on the poster. It's a little hard to tell because todays pic photoshopped a little dark but the values are keyed to match. I had a little bit of a revelation in cast painting class yesterday. Up until recently I've always painted with fairly large bristle filberts, but I decided to start using smaller rounds to kind of get myself ready for cast painting the GCA way. I had the idea all wrong in my head. I was painting with the tip of the brush trying to pile micro-form on top of micro-form to eventually add up to the larger forms. My instructor saw what I was doing on my cast so he came over and demonstrated on a little section of my painting. He used the heel of the brush to lay on paint stroke next to stroke, without too much fussing around, using the tip only when needed to lay in a subtle tone between tones. That's pretty much the way I painted with bristles so once I got the idea my cast painting just kind of took off. So I decided to re-work the portrait along the same lines and it's making a lot more sense to me now. With the direct method, form has to come first, than detail if needed. I knew this, but in my zeal to learn a new method I completely "duhhed" out on it. Well, that's why I'm there, to learn.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nancy Form Beginning

Got started on painting the chin. Slow going, as I'm trying to get each small section exactly right before moving on. I decided to go with a warmer shadow mixture than I used in the ebauche by adding more Red and Yellow Ochre. I'm using a small Raphael synthetic round and I'm placing one stroke next to another without much blending. I know Tony Ryder in his demo starts with a dark base and then works up to the lights, but my training is more to go right for the exact tone and then adjust it if needed. The hardest part is keeping the big forms in mind while playing with the smaller ones. That's where the poster hopefully will come in handy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peppers Revisited

The one on the left is the latest version. After spraying with re-touch varnish, I did something most people would find a little unorthodox. I waited about a half hour for the varnish to dry and then with a very soft brush I oiled out the painting using linseed oil and oms, fifty-fifty. Then I patted the surface with a Viva towel to leave just the thinnest residue of the oil. I do this because the retouch sets up way too fast and when I go back into a painting I like the feel of working wet in wet. This is one of my favorite stages in a painting when I just take my palette and tweak a little here and there. Hopefully at this point I'm not looking to make any major changes, just things that could be improved on. For example, I went back into the darks on the peppers because I felt there was too much variety in the reds. You can't have juicy shadows and lights, somethings got to give. I also made the driftwood darker where it turns under and made less contrast in the area to the right of the peppers, as I felt the detail was distracting. I made the light on the cloth more intense and a little brighter. I always hear my former instructors advice to "smash the light".

Finished Ebauche

Finished the ebauche. It's a little more chromatic than it looks here in spite of using a limited palette of Ivory Black, Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red Light. Lost my way a little around the neck. I wasn't feeling it and I wasn't really "on the form". It's like a giant map of my mistakes which I'm looking forward to correcting when I start form painting in earnest tomorrow. The hardest part of the ebauche technique is that you can't really judge the value of the paint until you put it on the canvas, because of the thinned down paint.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nancy Ebauche

Got a little more done on the ebauche (underpainting) stage. It's a little tricky using oil paint likes it's watercolor, but I'm starting to get used to it and I'm digging it. I got to give Tony Ryder credit this ain't easy and mine doesn't yet have the form logic of his ebauches, but I'm trying my best to make it work. My idea is to keep the values darker and grayer until I roll up to the more intense lights around the cheekbone. I'm also trying to nail any microforms I come across as well as looking for larger pathways of form that the light will use to connect the various planes. One way that I differ from the Ryder methds is that I carefully mix up color strings with a palette knife before I start to paint. I do end up doing some brush mixing anyway but I prefer to have the string as a base. I'm working on a 9'x12' Utrecht oil primed linen on board which I'm enjoying more than I thought I would. It responds pretty well to the paint.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nancy Poster

Worked on poster and got a jump start on the ebauche. Poster is not quite as dark as it looks here. I'm really finding it helpful to refer to the poster in order to keep the values within a certain area compressed within that range. Otherwise the painting will end up with a spotty look to it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nancy Looking Down

Started a new portrait of my wife looking down, as if reading a book. I actually asked her to read while posing but it turns out she can't without her glasses, and I didn't want to include them. I used vine charcoal directly on the canvas and then I shaved the drawing down using a hard synthetic bright. Tomorrow I will do a poster and begin a colored ebauche. I'm going to try a limited "Zorn" palette of Cad red light, white, black and yellow ochre. I'm going to shoot for making a pretty detailed ebauche, as I've been inspired by the work of Tony Ryder. My wife didn't really want to pose again but she couldn't say no because tomorrow's my birthday. I'm going to try and get it pretty well finished before I go back to work on Monday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Peppers Almost Done

Just about finished. I won't know what touch-ups are needed until it has a chance to dry and I can spray it with re-touch varnish. I really concentrated on rolling the light across the table cloth to give a diminishing effect. I decided to mottle the background with a subtle pattern rather than paint the cloth up. I didn't want it to be in competition with the table cloth. How much detailed cloth do you need in a painting anyway? Sometimes the details can go into overkill.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Driftwood and Cloth

Finished the driftwood and got a start on the cloth. I would have liked to get the cloth in one go because it took me a while to get the mix to be the right combination of temperatures but alas I had limited time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More Peppers

Heres a photo of what the peppers look like while I've been painting the last two. Pretty shriveled up. Instead of substituting new ones I decided to go with my original drawing and work partly from memory and what's left. My classical training has made me less of a slave to observation and I'm better able to conceptualize the form. I also got a start on the driftwood. I couldn't figure out what colors to use at first so I tried mixing burnt and raw umber for the heck of it and it seems to be working.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Second Pepper

Sorry for the glare, these photos are coming out really terrible for some reason, maybe the red is throwing the camera off. Anyways, I blasted another pepper in last night after work. The peppers are really starting to crinkle up now but I'm staying true to my original form structure. I'm using three different reds to capture the intensity of the rolling light. Cad Red deep, Cad red, and Cad red light.I'll post a truer pic when I'm all done.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First Pepper

Hard to photograph with just my easel light but here it is anyway. I really downplayed the highlights in order to emphasize the form. At this point the peppers are reflecting light like tinfoil so it's a bit tricky but I think I pulled it off. One down, two to go.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Peppers Poster

The poster looks a little darker than it actually is, but it gives the general idea. It's my first time doing one and I'm finding it pretty helpful. The only problem is that delaying the actual work of painting the peppers could be a problem. They're starting to shrivel up a little, but they haven't lost their color so if they hold up I'll paint them, wrinkles and all. Otherwise I might have to change the title to "Dried Jalapenos and Driftwood. I've also included a photo of the inked in canvas. I tried something new on that as well, I used tracing paper and vine charcoal and then went over it with thinned down india ink. Hopefully I haven't made the ink too dark.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Driftwood and Peppers

Started drawings for a new still life setup. I started off with a thumbnail to try out the composition and then I zoomed in on a detail of the pepper and a section of the driftwood. I wanted to work out some ideas I had about the lights and the highlights on the peppers. I know that value based observations won't work for the peppers because their are a lot of false contrasts, so in my sketch I paid careful attention to the form and downplayed the flashy highlights and contrasts. The larger outline drawing is the actual size cartoon for the painting. I'll trace it and transfer it onto an 8"x10" canvas thats been lightly stained with raw umber. I'm going to start painting this one pretty directly without any underpainting because I'm worried about how long the peppers will last. I also plan to do a small scale color poster study which also should eliminate the need for an underpainting. I've decided that if the peppers don't last I'll just replace them, but I won't change the drawing, I'll just match the colors and stay with the original forms that I've mapped out in the block-in.