This is my latest battle with my small self portrait. I'm going to put this one aside and start another one soon. I'm happy overall with the results. I picked up a few things working in layers this way that I'm going to play around with for a while. It's a little on the brushy side (less so than it looks in this photo), so in the next one I'm goin to use the same process but attempt to be more economical with my strokes; do more with less.
I went out this morning to do a couple of quick landscape paintings on 8"x10" panels. I'm teaching a landscape workshop next week and i told the students to only buy four colors, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow light, ultramarine blue, and white. Since they were beginning students I thought I would keep the palette simple. Only problem is that I'd never painted with that limited of a palette myself, so I thought I'd better give it a try. I was very happy with the results. The camera is just not working for me anymore I got to come up with a better system. The lemon painting also isn't photographing accurately for some reason, but it gives the general idea. It's a good idea, I think, every once in a while to paint a little looser once in a while. There are things to be learned on the cuff, so to speak, that I won't pick up with my more finished methods.
"Still Life with Portrait" 16"x20" oil on linen, is almost done. It's got that haze before oiling out for final touch-ups. I'm still not completely satisfied with the portrait placed the way it is. Last night I dreamed that I painted a frame around the portrait, so I think I'll give it a try. The grisaille is from my Tuesday night figure drawing group. We're doing one pose for the summer, about 8 weeks total. This is on a 16"x20" linen on gatorfoam. I wasn't completely happy with my drawing but the model was moving like crazy, so I locked him in, rather than chase the pose, and relied on my previous knowledge to finish the underpainting. I'll research the anatomy and make adjustments where needed. The self portrait is on an 8"x10" linen board. I'm following Speed's procedure of stating the basic planar divisions in the first pass, just trying to get that to feel right with very little detail. Yesterday, I went in and repainted it ading a bit more detail, but I may have lost the drawing, so I'll have to work that out before going in again. It's a challenging way of working and I'm really loving the whole process.
This is a lay-in for "Lemons" oil on linen, 9"x12", done over an umber rub-in on a toned canvas. As I stated in a previous post, I've been getting away from using thinned down washes in my underpaintings and using a frottis, rub-in, method instead. I just don't like the milky look of the wash-in and it doesn't motivate me for the overpainting. So after the rub-in I'm painting fairly directly, with large brushes and not too much paint to establish a good foundation for my next finishing pass. I'm really growing to love working with daylight setups and I'm going to have a hard time giving it up come September. I have my arrangement next to a north facing window and the same light shines on my easel. It's a little hard to see at first and it takes some getting used to, but what I've learned to do is to turn on my studio lights at the end of each session and to spend some time adjusting some of the things that look a little awkward with the lights on. It's a little bit like memory painting and it's giving the paintings a character that I didn't anticipate.
This is where I'm at with this painting so far. Not a great photo, but it gives the basic idea. At this point all of the canvas has been covered with a lay-in skin. Some parts have already recieved a finsihing skin, the turban, table and part of the wine bottle. Next week I'm going to concentrate on bringing the portrait to a finish. In keeping with the fat over lean principle, I used no oil during the lay-in. For the finishing pass I oil out the surface and than add a bit of oil to my paint mixtures. I've been using an open palette on this one rather than my usual procedure of mixing strings, and it's been kind of liberating. I'm mainly painting with stiffer bristle brushes as opposed to the softer synthetics that I'd been using for a while and I'm enjoying the difference in handling with that as well. I now reserve the synthetic rounds for adding that extra bit of detail or accent. Erica's a great model, and I've got a pretty good likeness, but in the next skin I want to get more of the light and how the specular light on her face really changes into some wonderful hues.
This is the lay-in, sometimes called "first painting" that was done over the simplified closed grisaille underpainting. I used the paint straight from the tube, no medium or thinner, and I painted it with the intention of establishing my basic forms, colors, and values, without too much fuss or detail (although I couldn't resist a flourish here and there). Now that I have pretty much the "idea" of the painting, I can take some time to look for drawing errors, things that might need to be changed. My goal is to be pretty fearless at this point and surgically remove and replace if needed. Although I'm pleased with the way this skin of paint looks, I know that I'm going to completely repaint it in the next skin, so I'm not falling in love with any particular detail etc; The figure in the background is from a portrait that I recently completed and it's kind of propped up beneath the curtain. It took me a long time to get it to sink into the background and yet still be distinguishable. In the next pass I'll try to push it down a little more and yet, somewhat illogically add a little more chroma.
This is the first stage in a new painting, "Mask" 16"x20" oil on canvas. I've been going back to my Speed and Parkhurst painting books and that's got me experimenting with some different procedures than I normally use. In this case I worked on a canvas that I stained with raw umber, using vine charcoal to draw out the main lines and shadow shapes. It was a little tricky because my stain wasn't completely dry from yesterday, but I didn't want to wait another day so I jumped in. Once the charcoal drawing was set I went over it with thinned umber and a fine brush. Next I rubbed in more umber over the shadow shapes. Lastly, I took some flake white to bring up some of the more extreme lights. The next session will consist of laying in the big tones and local colors with some rudimentary modeling to start the switch over from thinking flat to thinking 3d. I'll also be looking to get a variety of edges going from lost to sharp and everything in between. Well, that's my plan, so let's see what happens.
I started laying in my first thicker painting pass. My goal is to lay in most of the larger and smaller forms, wet-in-wet, in a broad manner. The photo was taken at the end of the day so some parts are already a little matte while other parts are glossy, but it shows what I'm aiming for. I'm pretty pleased with the way this first finishing layer is going and I'm cataloguing a lot of info to keep in mind when I go for the final finishing pass in the next layer. I still plan to make the final layer with broad strokes, the refinement I'm looking for has to do with the flow of the light, tipping of the forms, lost and found edges, accents and color notes. I had the model leave her dress and scarf behind so I could rough it in and go for more form while she's actually wearing it, next session. I had it on a mannequin, but the mannequin wasn't really filling it out. Anyways, I'm having a blast because I have no deadline and I'm taking the time to learn some things in my own way.