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Tag Archives: portrait

facesilly

 

facefrown

 

We just finished working on gouache resists in my class. If you would like to try this technique, I have described the process here. I have used this technique for a landscape, animals, and still life but had not tried a human portrait. I used a really interesting book titled “Facial Expressions” by Mark Simon. It is a book of references of hundreds of expressions done by people of all ages to be used as reference material. I want to try doing a family member in gouache resist. This was an interesting project and fun to do.

goldarab

 

My class is working on watercolors painted on a gessoed piece of 140 lb Arches coldpress paper. We mix the gesso by using one half gesso, one quarter water and one quarter acrylic matte medium. We then use a large brush to spread this mixture onto our watercolor paper. Before the gesso dries, we  take a credit card and make marks in that wet gessoed surface. Some of us have stirred art sand into the mixture as well. The card marks and slashes, plus the sand, give an interesting textured surface to paint on, once dried. I have posted a tutorial here if you would like to follow it and try this interesting technique. You can also click on the image of the horse, above, to get a better look at the texture of the surface. I have read, recently, where you can take cut out papers and gesso them into the surface as well. I would like to experiment with that this summer.

Anna Bell4

Anna Bell4

We began this drawing class by learning to “see”, drawing objects, blindly, with what is called blind continuous line. We, then, drew continuous line drawings while looking, paying careful attention to the cross contours in our subject material.

Todd Dunn2

Todd Dunn2

We studied negative space and began to recognize when we could use the shape and space behind an object to help us describe the subject.

Alan Pareis3

Alan Pareis3

The students worked very hard to begin to see perspective and to measure the angles of lines with their pencils. They used a corner of a room as their subject.

Vanessa Fankhauser4

Vanessa Fankhauser4

During the fourth week, they cut photos in strips and practiced laying in three values. They worked from black and white as well as color photos to do this.

Alan Pareis2

Alan Pareis2

They studied the values they saw in a glass, still life study.

Myrna Nelson4

Myrna Nelson4

They learned to grid a photograph and measure and enlarge that photograph by creating a proportionate grid on their drawing paper.

Todd Dunn

Todd Dunn

They studied drawing their self portraits. If you wish to view a larger selection of their drawings you can find them by clicking here or by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the small label Student Art: Beginning Drawing.  If you click on each drawing, they will enlarge. Thank you to all the fine artists who took this class!

LionB

 

I need to kick-start myself into painting more frequently. Everything is getting in the way!

I had fun with this lion. I used a limited palette of about five colors. They were Arctic Ice, Raw Sienna, Copper Kettle, Halloween Orange and Sepia.

LionB2

 

I began by cropping my reference photo so the lion’s eye was near an area that is good for a focal point.  I drew the lion and splattered the surface of the painting with frisket, using a small brush. I wanted the resulting splatter to be tiny pinpricks of texture throughout the lion’s mane and shoulder. I began by mapping out where I wanted my most dominant darks. I know! Opposite of what the watercolor books say. I think that once you learn the basics, you can allow yourself some freedom of expression and there are some subjects that I build from light to dark and others where I map out the dark areas, first. I almost always push the darks even farther during my final steps in the painting.

LionB3

 

Next, I concentrated on the midtones and light wash shapes in and throughout the face area. This is where I want to draw my viewer’s eye, so I try to feel for the contours of the lion’s face, around the nose, eye, brow and muzzle. It helps to define what portions of the lion’s face bumps out and what rolls in and gives the face more of a 3-D feel and not read so flat.

LionB4

 

This is the step I washed in, very loose and wet, a background. I painted around the whisker dots on the muzzle and filled in the shapes in the eye and the nose. I added the background blue in heavy and light washes in and around the painting. I always bring my background colors into the foreground. I feel this gives a painting better balance. It takes a simple background and gives it a reason for being and helps to create a feeling that the subject is a part of the environment he is in rather than pasted on. I chose this particular blue because this painting is for a Detroit Lion fan.

LionB

 

In the final step I do all the tiny detail work and enhance some areas. I darkened and detailed the eye. I darkened the fleshtones in the nose. I defined more shapes around the eye. I darkened and defined the muzzle around the whiskers so the frisket areas would show up. I enhanced the shadow shapes under the chin, both sides of the ear and far brow line with Halloween Orange. I darkened all the shadow shapes. I removed the frisket once the painting was dry.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the reference for this lion.

sedonadrumming

 

sydneyposing

 

The last thing we practiced in watercolor portraits was rendering hands in a way that they are believable. One of the most common mistakes in portraiture are hands that are too small, proportionately. Another mistake is the artist not rendering the parts of the hands that bend by using properly placed cross contour lines to delineate the joints of the fingers and thumbs. Hands without joints always appear gloved and stiff.

Another watercolor portrait class has ended and I have posted up to two paintings by each artist who took one of the two sessions of this class. Some of the artists have been painting for years. Several have only had one year experience and have come to this class from beginning watercolor, so it is very diverse. They also have very different interests and make different choices about the techniques and references for their creations.

 

 

Sue Joseph2

Sue Joseph2

Barbara Steinkamp2

Barbara Steinkamp2

They studied face parts by painting eyes, noses, hands, mouths and ears, individually. They learned work from the use of a grid for proportion and to work toward a likeness. They studied composition and how to design a portrait that would be more pleasing. They studied skin color and

Leslie Vrchota

Leslie Vrchota

how to create a rich and colorful black using yellow red and blue.

This class was not limited to the human face and included figures in landscapes and animal portraiture.  I also handed out a list of watercolor ideas  to challenge them to reach.

Henn Laidroo2

Henn Laidroo2

John Kelty2

John Kelty2

The above portraits show people doing something and suggest a story for the viewer.

Kathleen Smierciak

Kathleen Smierciak

One artist challenged herself to paint white on white.

Mary Smierciak

Mary Smierciak

Another artist created a colorful gouache resist of her son in his winter bicycle gear.

If you would like to view the entire gallery of this fall’s watercolor portrait class, click here. You can also access this page by clicking the link to the Student Art: Watercolor Portraits at the top of this blog page.

Thank you to all of you very talented artists for continuing to take these classes and share your work here. I continue to be inspired by your talent and creativity!

thegirls

 

I was lucky enough to be able to spend time with my three Granddaughters this summer.  We went to the zoo and I snapped the reference photo for this portrait right before they rode the train. I am a lucky Grandma.

In order to draw this composition, I used a simple grid.

thegirls2

 

I frame the composition that I want from the photo.  I use two “L shapes” that I have cut from a matte in order to do this. I then draw a grid over the surface of the photo dividing it into three sections vertically and horizontally. This grid helps me to draw the scene or figure in proportion. It also shows me the four areas or “sweet spots” where it is best to create a center of interest. I chose this composition because the foreground and background girls were near and in a good place for a center of interest.

thegirls3

 

I then have to measure my watercolor paper (height and width) to be proper multiples of the dimensions of my reference photo. I grid the watercolor paper (lightly) with graphite and draw my composition.  Before I begin to paint, I gently erase the grid lines with a soft eraser.

I do not grid everything I create but it helps with more difficult subject material where proportion or likeness is needed.

 

by Nancy Longmate

by Nancy Longmate

horsefriends

 

horsefriends2

STEP 1 :        Monochromatic Study

horsefriends3

STEP 2 :   Splatter

horsefriends

STEP 3 : Lift and Soften Edges of Some Splatters and Add Color

 

The above two paintings are Nancy”s and my final attempts with working together on splatter painting. We completed five paintings, each, experimenting with subject material and color. We practiced and painted a grisaille, first, in all five paintings. We used this technique to paint buildings, portraiture, city scenes and landscape.

I have learned that it is very difficult to ruin a watercolor and that it is harder to get mud than I thought. I learned I could paint a monochromatic study and still return to vibrant color. The splatter helped to create interest  and  enhance depth in some of them. We called them our dirty paintings because we had to get used to the way they looked following the splattering phase. I think the splatter helped the “look” of what I normally paint just like the masa paper and citra-solv collage helps my paintings.

A tutorial of this technique can be found here and here.

selfthreecolor

I followed a suggestion from the artist and author, Betsy Dillard Stroud.  She wrote a book titled The Artist’s Muse in 2006. The book comes complete with decks of cards that have creative art exercises listed on them. I tried one of them for the above self portrait. The instructions were to choose one color to represent your spiritual self; one to represent your physical self and a third to represent your mental self.  Then you are to take those three colors and create a self portrait. I chose quinachridone orange (copper kettle) for physical self, quinachridone gold for spiritual self, and phthlocyanine blue (arctic ice) for mental self.

selfthreecolor2

These three colors are the three you see on the top row of the image above. The other blobs are example mixtures of those three colors.

I was very skeptical as I began to work on this, but was presently surprised by the results very early on in the painting. It was relaxing to be concerned with only three colors (not as daunting as I supposed).  More than any other exercise I’ve done, I quickly began to realise the importance of value as compared to the small role that color plays. I  also learned a great deal about how I could stretch these three colors and what they looked like combined with each other. I also learned how they behaved and looked when applied dark, applied light and when I used them to glaze, one over the other. I will try more of these three color paintings in the future. Maybe I will choose my colors for other reasons for other subjects. Colors that I think look angry or colors that may reflect the colors of a rainy day. There’s no end to how I could assign three colors to a painting!

I rate this exercise worth trying!

 

lillymae

The above painting is one I have done for a friend of mine. This is her half Halflinger mare, Lilly Mae.  I used frisket for the white strands of mane and whiskers and highlights on the eye and the hardware and stitches on the bridle.  After painting strands of mane in for hours!, I had to do some lifting with a sponge to blend some of the lighter colors. Her mane is lighter than her body, but not white.  I worked extra hard on sculpting her face and capturing the veins and the jawline to lead the viewer’s eye to Lilly’s huge soft dark eye. That took several layers of very light washes.  After removing the frisket from the metal hardware of the bridle, I went back in and shaded areas of it. I used Harvest Gold, Raw Sienna, Halloween Orange, Copper Kettle, Burnt Umber, Sepia, Prussian Blue and Blue Stone to create this portrait.

Thankyou to those of you that have enquired as to my whereabouts. I have been fine, but the Holidays and all the shoveling and blowing of snow that I’ve done has kept me away from painting and blogging. I will try to be more present!