So it's been a while. Hay. I wonder if anyone is out there that still reads this lol. Lets pick up from current place since there is so much that has gone on since my last post. Global pandemic, BLM and Karens.
I recently started doing 'tiny' little portrait studies, about 5-6 inches in height in oils on linen just to spruce up my skills a little. Small paintings generally mean one sitting, it means I can try and focus on getting colour down cleanly and not getting suck into the detail. I generally wanted to improve my portraits without a huge commitment in doing large projects. Basically have my cake and eat it too.
I did a grand total of two and felt like I achieved my goals for the portraits individually before I decided it's time to advance onto setting myself a new challenge with them. So my current mini portrait is 6x8 and a master copy of Solomon J. Solomons portrait of his sister Henrietta Lowy Solomon. It's a stunning and delicate portrait that I am excited to work on.
Cropping it down to just focus on the portrait I got a little timid and decided to sketch out the portrait before hand in pencil on toned paper in the size of my linen board to work out any kinks before I committed to linen. I actually chose to draw it sight size as well as I had a photo printed of it that I am borrowing from school. This way I could almost grid the lines across or 'trace them across' as a figure of expression just to get a little more accurate. Just to be clear tracing across just means you are transferring the top and bottom lines and any landmarks such as features in our cause to ensure everything sits in the correct place. If you look at my image aside the print you could draw a line straight from her forehead horizontally across until you hit the top of the forehead on my drawing same with the bottom of her chin and other features. This method usually only works if your subject is placed to the side of your canvas so you can trace across. I am aware her smile was lost in my drawing and it definitely needs a few tweaks.
Aware of my previous mistakes of the mouth being too long and not really giving the impression of a slight smile I was cautious when approaching my linen board. I decided to draw onto it with pencil for more control and accuracy.
I then went in with Raw Umber as the book suggested and painted in my grisaille however I did not start with a toned canvas as you can see, I decided to map out my values and focus on my edges and put down a layer of impasto (thick paint) for the forehead and collar. I read in the book that they advised students not to start on toned canvases to be able to keep the colours more pure and vibrant. I hope I understood that correctly. However i've recently been experimenting with both using a wash and without for the portrait and I do believe I prefer leaving the face blank for my approach.
Anyway I shall wait a week for the thick paint to dry, also that gives me a little more time to read further and see how to approach the glazing and I will be back hopefully with a decent update and a finished portrait!