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.

13 comments:

Barbara M. said...

Hi David,

Love the portrait and your description of the process.

Ciao,

Barbara

AutumnLeaves said...

Stunning work, David. He is indeed a handsome young man. And by the way, my book came yesterday and it is fabulous! I can't wait to sit down and begin reading (I skimmed yesterday).

Carol Blackburn said...

Looking wonderful, David. Thanks for explaining your process.

Mike Porter said...

Helpful explanation...quite instructive. Taking time to see the face is my version of your lesson here.

Dee Doyle said...

Enjoyed your description of process. Am curious about how much or how little to "polish" without having the process change to "overworking."

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks, Barbara. Ciao back up to you.

David Lobenberg said...

Autumn, That is so cool that you got my book! If you have any questions, please let me know. Enjoy!

David Lobenberg said...

You are most welcomed, Carol.

David Lobenberg said...

Yep, Mike, seeing can take some time alright.

David Lobenberg said...

Good question, Dee. I think the answer depends on how detailed and close you want to get to your reference photo or what is in front of you in real life. I like to paint impressions where brush strokes are evident and you can see the painting process.

Dee Doyle said...

Good to hear! Thanks!

SKIZO said...

Beautiful
work
good creations

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks, Skizo!