Hey everyone I wanted to announce that I will be Teaching again at The Academy of Realist Art Boston with the addition of a new class. Along with teaching the Portrait Drawing Class I will be teaching a Portrait Painting Class.
Classes Start The 14th of January:
Portrait Drawing from 10-1pm
Portrait Painting from 2-5pm
Click here to contact the Academy of Realist Art for information and enrollment.
In preparation of this course I decide to make a panel with the stages of a Portrait Painting. Granted there are as many ways to paint a portrait as there are artist painting them. So the goal of this demo was to paint a portrait in a systematic way of learning that could appeal to artist at all levels.
With any well done painting DRAWING is the most important aspect the will make sense of all of the Hue, Value, Chroma questions that one will come across as the painting progresses. In this class students will first be asked to make a linear construct or "cartoon" on paper before transferring it to canvas. Like they say,"well drawn is well painted."
First off I like to start with a block-in of the head. In a general way I tick off the largest height and width and measure their relationships to each other. At this stage every line is an approximation that I will be willing to move or change at any time. I feel that one must start somewhere and if there is nothing on the paper there is nothing to correct.
I personally spend a lot of time on this stage of the drawing. I constantly refine the tilts and examine proportions to create a convincing silhouette. As simple as it my look it is the bedrock of what I will be building my portrait.
|Blocking in the Features|
Once all of the features are discovered vertically I can then run a plumb line in the orientation of the center line to find the width of all of the features.
After articulating the shadows I toned them in to compare the shapes to the whole. Once satifiy with the drawing it is ready to transfer.
|The Transferred Cartoon|
A couple days prior I toned some linen with raw umber and mineral spirits. I wiped it down until I could lighten it to about a value 6. Once the tone was dry I then transferred my cartoon to it.
|Raw Umber Wash Heightened with White|
Compressing my values I washed in a semi-transparent tone for all of the shadows. In relation to the shadow tone the background was slightly darker so I mixed a value appropriate to it. With Lead White I scrubbed in the light areas keeping in mind their relationship to the forms and planes. Any value residing in the half-tones I left the pre-tone of the linen. I then leave this wash drawing to dry before I apply the color
So I mixed several strings of color I believed I might find in this portrait. The strings to the left consist of Van Dyck brown and White for my neutrals. Then I have a grey/green consisting of Van Dyck Brown and Golden Ocher. To the right of that I have a grey/red made from V.D.B. and Light Red. On the opposite side is a mixture of Golden Ocher, Light Red and V.D.B. Next is only G.O and L.R. and last is a mixture of only Light Red and White. From this seemingly dull palette of mixtures I'm able to get a surprisingly beautiful natural variety of colors.
|Planar / Ébauche|
I approach my Ébauche Thinking about the Planes of the Head. I start with the shadow and then move to the half-tones. When I imagine shape of the planes I mix a hue with the relative value to the plane adjacent to it. At this point I'm not concerned with blending or modeling the form. If the values are correct then sense of the form turning will happen as a result.
|Finished Planar / Ébauche|
My reasoning for painting this thin washy layer is to establish in a quick way all the colors and there relationships to each other. One might be saying to themselves this seems quite laborious to paint with so many stages. But for an inexperienced painter all of these stages can help the artist develop a stronger structure in which to finish there painting.
The Form Painting Stage is when I repaint the whole head piece by piece to a finish. For some reason I almost always start with the neck. I slowly and carefully crawl over the form modeling the area section at a time. It helps a lot to have the Ébauche underneath, it allows me to think more about the modeling and less about the color. I try not to rush and move on to another part until the original section is finished. Whenever I catch myself moving ahead I take a quick break to regroup then I continue with patience. Often times when I rush I find I end up creating more work for myself later on. A lot of mindless feathering of paint doesn't amount to much but mud. So out of countless mistakes I've to be a little bit more deliberate with my paint application.