Updated: Feb 15
New term new me. I'd like to set myself a few goals this term and some of them are things i've already known to do just haven't really implemented them the proper way in my paintings yet. Most of them are technical however it's time to now step up the level of my paintings by finally making these few amendments.
Goal one - Fat over lean. What this means in painting terms is for example anything in the shadows of your painting should stay painted 'thinly' and we build up thicker paint in the lights to bring out the lights and give them more depth.
Pure colour: Mixing purer colours and painting without muddying the colours is a big issue of mine. I tend to over blend which means it changes the value of the area I am painting. The way to fix this is to mix bigger mixtures of paints that I need and paint areas accordingly. Lay down the colour and don't over blend. Mixing the transition colours is also a big part of this. The transition colour for example is the colour in between the light and the dark, given the name transition colour.
Figures! I am desperately awful at painting and drawing figures and I would love to get to a happy place with them this term. I would like to make a habit of doing more quick sketches and artist copies as well to compliment my learning in school.
On Tuesdays I teach two foundations classes where I don't get to draw that much however I am lucky enough to be able to practice a few 'starts' or the general scaffolding lines. I strongly believe a good drawing lies within the drawing stage, everything else is pretty easy to colour in eventually however if you mess up the drawing you are basically painting chasing your own tail the while time while painting to fix it. These are two drawings I did this week that took an hour or less each I wanted my students to practice starts and gave them 3 casts to draw, I wanted them to slow down and just worry about their line work and if they had enough time get to the shadow shapes like I did in image two.
A portrait I was excited to work on this week was the one below of the model Jack Ford. I've been wanted to paint a new model in school for a while so when one comes along you can't help but get really excited about it. He has a face full of character that's fun to capture, although I was significantly late to class due to colossal rain I managed to achieve a happy start in that time. I am sticking to 4 colours black, white, raw umber and yellow ochre. This portrait is a good example so far of where I tried to stick to the 'fat over lean' rule. You can see how I have painted thinly in the darks and let some of the canvas peak through. In the lights I applied paint generously and tried to mix those transition colours being aware of not over blending. The portraits below are the same stages just taken in two different lighting conditions. I wanted to keep a very moody feel with this portrait and I am pleased I am achieving it so far. Another little touch I added to the portrait was to scratch out a few hairs with the back of my paint brush to give a few hairs a high light and make them pop a little more. This was a technique Rembrandt used in some of his paintings and even used copper plates covered in gold leaf so when he scratched off the paint it revealed the beautiful gold underneath. I have another session on this (3 hours) to go.
Working on a 10 week portrait below I did some preparation for it, I started off with a quick charcoal sketch and worked out my composition and how I wanted the portrait to just be laid out. The second image again is a quick oil sketch I did of the same pose working out the colours and seeing how I would like it to look in paint. Finally I spent a session just painting my composition on my final canvas. I wanted the focus to be a lot more on the ruffle collar than anything else so I exaggerated it's size a bit to give my viewers that effect.
Upon recommendation of one of my teachers I did a very quick ruff painting study once again keeping my darks thin, copying a master painter and using a scrap piece of linen to do this study. I actually am pleased with the small study and would like to do a mini series of studies of them. Keeping the darks thinly painted makes the white of the ruff more vibrant and pop out more.