Saturday, February 26, 2011
A portrait in progress
I teach an acrylic painting class at a local University Art store two Thursdays a month. It is a two hour class, and we paint everything from still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. This handsome young North African man is a portrait we are currently painting. I started out by painting in the man's basic skin color (the local color of his face) and then quickly sketching in some purple shadow values to start to bring out the features of his face. Next came some high light values with a few of them in some colors that I was observing from the reference photo. Exact colors are not too important at this stage. It is more about establishing features with value shapes and just starting to get a feel for color hues in the face. The final (but not completed) stage here shows more facial hues and continued value exploration. The portrait is getting a little less crude and more polished as I continue to explore colors, values and the planes of the face. Lesson here?... paint the rough facial hues and value shapes in order to begin the process of organizing the face. This process can take hours to days depending on how long you want to paint at each session. I tend to crawl at a snail's pace so that each time I sit down to paint again, I approach my subject with a clear head and fresh eyes. At each session, I "polish" just a bit more. This process for me cannot be rushed. At each stage, as the face "emerges", my eyes are more sensitized to the facial hues, values, planes, and edges on the face. When I start a portrait, there is a lot I flat out do not see, but as I polish, I begin to see more and more! NEVER think that you can go for all the facial nuances from the get go. It just does'nt work that way. Stay tuned for the final stages.