Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Portrait Painting Progression

I do still paint. I had to dust of my workspace, freshen up my pallet, and re-clean brushes before I could get started. I also had to juice up my inspiration before I tackled a portrait; a little Sargent always does the trick.

I started on a panel that already had a painting on it - an old crazy looking self portrait that I never wanted the world to see. A little something already going on on the canvas helps me stay loose and gives the new painting more interest and life.

First I lay in the darkest values. I try not to go back to my darks once they are in... for some reason, trying to darken an area far into the painting always spells disaster. Since the canvas started so dark, I didn't have to do much.

Next I begin adding medium and light values to begin to define features.

After a few more minutes, more details emerge and it starts to look like something.

She still looks older than she should so I keep lightening and softening...

I decide that the features are not right. To get them right I have to scrape the whole face back and start over. At this point I turned my reference and my canvas upside down. Looking at it upside down helps me see what is really there and not what my mind thinks should be there.

With the features redone she is looking more like the real person. Tomorrow I will put away the photos and work on softening and rounding everything, giving it more atmosphere and solidity..

Stay tuned... more photos to follow...

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